“I want people to understand that my goal to improve the self-love of young African-American women should never be confused with advocating racial supremacy. There are a lot of young black girls who I meet in my travels who don’t have a lot of self-esteem. So if I communicate to them that they’re beautiful, no white person should find fault in that. It doesn’t mean that young white girls aren’t beautiful, because they are just as beautiful.”—Lauryn Hill (via blackfashion)
I love being Black. I love being called Black. I love being an American.
I love being a Black American, but as a Black man in this country I think it’s a shame that every few years we get a change of name.
Since those first ships arrived here from Africa that came across the sea there were already Black men in this country who were free.
And as for those that came over here on those terrible boats, they were called niggah and slave and told what to do and how to behave.
And then master started trippin’ and doing his midnight tippin’, down to the slave shacks where he forced he and Great-Great Grandma to be together, and if Great-Great Grandpa protested, he got tarred and feathered.
And at the same time, the Black men in the country who were free, were mating with the tribes like the Apache and the Cherokee.
And as a result of all that, we’re a parade of every shade.
And as in this late day and age, you can be sure, they ain’t too many of us in this country whose bloodline is pure.
But, according to a geological, geographical, genealogy study published in Time Magazine, the Black African people were the first on the scene, so for what it’s worth, the Black African people were the first on earth and through migration, our characteristics started to change, and rearrange, to adapt to whatever climate we migrated to.
And that’s how I became me, and you became you.
So, if we gonna go back, let’s go all the way back, and if Adam was Black and Eve was Black, then that kind of makes it a natural fact that everybody in America is an African American.
Everybody in Europe is an African European; everybody in the Orient is an African Asian and so on and so on, that is, if the origin of man is what we’re gonna go on.
And if one drop of Black blood makes you Black like they say, then everybody’s Black anyway.
So quit trying to change my identity.
I’m already who I was meant to be I’m a Black American, born and raised.
And brother James Brown wrote a wonderful phrase, “Say it loud, I’m Black and I’m proud! Say it loud, I’m Black and I’m proud!”
Cause I’m proud to be Black and I ain’t never lived in Africa, and ’cause my Great-Great Granddaddy on my Daddy’s side did, don’t mean I want to go back.
Now I have nothing against Africa, it’s where some of the most beautiful places and people in the world are found.
But I’ve been blessed to go a lot of places in this world, and if you ask me where I choose to live, I pick America, hands down.
Now, by and by, we were called Negroes, and after while, that name has vanished.
Anyway, Negro is just how you say ‘black’ in Spanish.
Then, we were called colored, but shit, everybody’s one color or another, and I think it’s a shame that we hold that against each other.
And it seems like we reverted back to a time when being called Black was an insult, even if it was another Black man who said it, a fight would result, cause we’ve been so brainwashed that Black was wrong, So that even the yellow niggahs and black niggahs couldn’t get along.
But then, came the 1960s when we struggled and died to be called equal and Black, and we walked with pride with our heads held high and our shoulders pushed back, and Black was beautiful.
But, I guess that wasn’t good enough, cause now here they come with some other stuff.
Who comes up with this shit anyway?
Was it one, or a group of niggahs sitting around one day?
Feelin’ a little insecure again about being called Black and decided that African American sounded a little more exotic.
Well, I think you were being a little more neurotic.
It’s that same mentality that got “Amos and Andy” put off the air, cause they were embarrassed about the way the character’s spoke.
And as a result of that action, a lot of wonderful Black actors ended up broke.
When we were just laughin’ and have fun about ourselves.
So I say, “fuck you if you can’t take a joke.”
You didn’t see the “Beverly Hillbilly’s” being protested by white folks.
And if you think, that cause you think that being called African American set all Black people’s mind at ease…
Since we affectionately call each other “niggah”, I affectionately say to you, “niggah Please”.
How come I didn’t get the chance to vote on who I’d like to be?
Who gave you the right to make that decision for me?
I ain’t under your rule or in your dominion And I am entitled to my own opinion.
Now there are some African Americans here, but they recently moved here from places like Kenya, Ethiopia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Zaire.
But, not the brother who’s family has lived in the country for generations, occupying space in all the locations New York, Miami, L.A., Detroit, Chicago… Even if he’s wearing a dashiki and sporting an afro.
And, if you go to Africa in search of your race, you’ll find out quick you’re not an African American, You’re just a Black American in Africa takin’ up space.
Why you keep trying to attach yourself to a continent, where if you got the chance and you went, most people there would even claim you as one of them; as a pure bread daughter or son of them.
Your heritage is right here now, no matter what you call yourself or what you say And a lot of people died to make it that way.
And if you think America is a leader on inequality and suffering and grievin’, how come there so many people comin’ and so few leavin’?
Rather than all this ‘find fault with America’ fuck you promotin’, if you want to change something, use your privilege, get to the polls!
Commence to votin’!
God knows we’ve earned the right to be called American Americans and be free at last.
And rather than you movin’ forward progress, you dwelling in the past.
We’ve struggled too long; we’ve come too far.
Instead of focusing on who we were, let’s be proud of who we are.
We are the only people whose name is always a trend.
When is this shit gonna end?
Look at all the different colors of our skin…
Black is not our color. It’s our core.
It’s what we been livin’ and fightin’ and dyin’ for.
But if you choose to be called African American and that’s your preference, then I ‘ll give you that reference.
But I know on this issue I don’t stand alone on my own and if I do, then let me be me.
And I’d appreciate it if when you see me, you’d say, “there goes a man who says it loud I’m Black. I’m Black. I’m a Black American, and I’m proud”.
Cause I love being an American. And I love being Black. I love being called Black.
Yeah, I said it, and I don’t take it back.
”—Smokey Robinson - A Black American (Def Poetry Jam)
Why is human sexuality so complicated? I mean seriously. Most people are well aware of the 3 main sexual identities/orientations: heterosexual (straight), homosexual (gay) and bisexual (both). You’d think that those 3 covered everyone but no, there are more. Asexuals are those who have no attraction or sexual interest in either gender and Pansexuals are attracted to all genders, including those who do not fit into the binary gender classification of male/female (transgender). Then, there are the Polysexuals who are attracted to many genders but not all of them like the Pansexuals, so they may be attracted to men and trans-guys or some combination of the genders including the ‘other’. Confusing much? Glad I’m not the only one. For instance, isn’t the whole purpose of being trans to physically become the opposite sex (Male to Female [MTF], Female to Male [FTM]); so wouldn’t those individuals still classify themselves as either male/female at the end of their journey? But what about those trans who began the transition but don’t complete it? They undergo hormone therapy and maybe even get top surgery (men: breast implants; women: breast removal) but they never get bottom surgery (genital area) so everything ‘down there’ is still the same as it was at birth but clothed they look like the opposite sex. What orientation is that person, what orientation is their partner? MTF, FTM but what if they stop at the ‘to’, never fully becoming a female or male in the physical definition of genders. Like a FTM who has hormone treatments, looks like a male and lives her life as a male including name, hair and dress, but never had the surgeries and starts dating a gay guy, technically he is still a ‘her’ so aren’t they straight? Am I the only one who thinks about these things?
And who came up with these sexual identity/orientation categories anyway? Why are there so many? I say every able-minded human approaches his or her sexual attraction for another person with reckless abandonment. Everything doesn’t need to be categorized. Categories are the reason there can’t be peace on Earth, they allow for exclusion and there will never be peace where a group of people are excluded. The next time someone asks you what your sexual orientation is tell them: “I am Nothing, I am Everything, I am Love”.
“When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds. Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be.”—Patanjali (via bodymindandsoul)
This weekend the nation celebrates the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. And as I hear commercials on the radio announcing events at the African-American museum to pay tribute to the slain martyr, I can’t help but think about all the things his wife, Coretta, gave up to be “Mrs. King”. Last year I snagged a first edition “My Life With Martin Luther King, Jr” by Coretta Scott King at a yard sale for $1. Published in 1969 (a year after her husband’s assassination), I knew the book would be full of praises for Martin, his civil rights work and his greatness as a man, father, and husband. And it was. But I got more from the book than that. I realized that Coretta made great sacrifices, even before the Montgomery Bus Boycott and Civil Rights Movement that followed. While hundreds of thousands of people know that Martin had a dream, many don’t know that Coretta gave up her dream to be with him. She was a student at a conservatory of music when they meant and aspired to become a professional concert singer but Martin wanted a wife who would be home when he walked through the door and a career as a singer didn’t permit that. The more I read, the more I realized that Coretta was just as extraordinary as her husband. She endured death threats and other despicable acts just as he did; their home was bombed while she, their infant daughter and a family friend were inside. She also had to deal with rumors of her husband’s infidelity (though there is no mention of it in the book) and the fear that the next march could leave her husband-less, their children fatherless. Martin was stabbed in the chest once before by a crazed fan at a book signing, he escaped with his life then; the Lorraine Motel wouldn’t be as giving. Coretta shared her husband with the nation, even uprooting their entire family when he decided to combat economic inequality and housing segregation of the North by moving to a slum in Chicago. It is said that behind every great man is a great woman but that’s wrong. Beside every great man is a great woman. It’s not popular knowledge but Coretta is the reason Martin Luther King, Jr’s birthday is a national holiday. After his death she lead the crusade and until her decline in health, she continued to carry the torch. So while I am proud to celebrate the life of Martin Luther King, Jr.; I am equally, if not more, proud to celebrate the life of Coretta Scott King. May they both find peace in eternal rest.
Me:Know what I hate more than ignorant black people? Ignorant black people who think the World owes them something...The sense of false entitlement some of these people have is ridiculous, as my mom says "that welfare mentality" smdh
Jasen:What do you think about people of any race who say their present difficulties are a result of historic, systemic inequalities and racist policies? Do you think such claims are relevant today? What about policies originally enacted to try to compensate for past wrongs, such as affirmative action?
Me:I believe that there are two forms of people, those who regardless of their current state/environment will work to better themselves and their families financially, socially, etc. Then there are those who will use their current state as an excuse not to work, or actively seek work or an education. Many of us (in terms of minorities) were born with a negative script for our lives already written, simply because of the environment we were born into: single parent, alcoholic or drug addict parent(s), in the ghetto/hood, or on public assistance. But the script can be rewritten, my problem is when people let their current state define who they are and settle for a life of public assistance without trying to better themselves. I always heard (and believe) that ‘you can’t help someone until they want to help themselves’. I have 0 respect for anyone who sits around their house all day doing nothing productive waiting for the money to be made available on their EBT card. Now for those who have jobs but maybe because of their educational status, can’t obtain a better one that pays enough to support their entire family and needs some help, there is nothing wrong with that. They are doing the best they can with what they have but continually striving to get more (out of themselves, not the government) and pushing their kids towards being successful, productive citizens. The same goes for those who become ill or, due to the current economy, gotten laid off. We all need help at some point for many reasons. But I know people who have NEVER worked a day in their lives. They dropped out of school, had a kid, got on public assistance, then continued having more kids. And their kids grew up and did the same thing, had kids and got on public assistance. That is beyond ridiculous. We all make dumb choices, if we didn’t we wouldn’t be human but to create generations of financial dependence on the government is just sad. Racist policies do still exist in workplaces to marginalize employees of colors and/or women (see the Coca Cola HQ discrimination lawsuit: black employees were making substantially less than their white counter-parts and were segregated to certain departments, among several other complaints). But even in racial/gender/age discrimination, those people actually have jobs. It used to be ‘The Man’s’ fault for all inequalities against minorities, the reason why some never tried to succeed but now ‘The Man’ is multiracial, a minority himself and people still haven’t attempted.
While at one time I believe it was necessary, I don’t agree with Affirmative Action. I believe we should be judged on the content of our character and not the color of our skin. For instance, all the Ivy Leagues (I believe, I know for sure Harvard and Princeton) offer free tuition to any accepted student who’s total household income is less than $50,000, regardless of race. Students have to earn their way into the college just like everyone else then the award is based on economic factors. But for a school to accept a less-qualified or ill-prepared student simply because of their color is bad for both parties because that student will most likely fail classes and/or dropout/dismissal which will affect the college’s retention numbers, etc. The student added diversity but they weren’t prepared for the level of course work and the result was failure. But then there is the problem that the majority of poor-performing schools are in the inner city with a student body composed predominately of minorities. So it’s basically, there’s a lot of work that needs to be done.
I’ve been attending a Christian church for 21 years, not as consistently recently as in the past but you get the picture, I know the church fairly well. I always viewed living righteous as the sum of an equation. And each person requires a specific equation to get the correct answer but everyone’s equation is different from the next person’s. My equation may be A2 + B2 = C2 but the next person’s may be E = MC2, we are both trying to get the same answer: living righteously, but our methods of getting and staying there are much different. So when I’m told that I have to do this specific thing and do that specific thing to be a Christian, I decided to drop the ‘Christian’ title. I’ve come to accept that my equation, in its ever-growing complexity, isn’t listed under living as a ‘Christian’ according to popular ‘church folks’ standards. But God is so big, so complex, so magnificent, and we, humans, in our minute understanding of who He is, pigeonhole his love. We say that God can’t love others but only those practicing our respective religion, that whoever doesn’t pray, sing, shout like us won’t make it to Heaven. Mathematically, God is every math book ever published or will be published. He encompasses every equation from basic addition and subtracting to calculus and beyond. So instead of forcing our equations onto others and trying to make them live for Him in the manner that only makes sense to us; encourage them to use what works for them, use their own personal equation, develop their own sum.
Let me begin by establishing that I am a follower of Jesus Christ and believe in the Trinity. Before you discredit the rest of my post, I do not live my life blaming every misstep or disappoint on the devil/enemy. I think we give the devil far too much credit for his ability to ruin lives and destroy relationships. Recently, I asked myself: “Do I believe what I believe because I really believe it, or because I was born into it without a choice”. I struggled with this for weeks; looking for a sign to reaffirm my faith in the mysterious, super natural, spiritual being of God the Father. I took a break from church to step back and examine everything without outside influence. This was an internal struggle that needed to be handled accordingly. Me, Myself, and I needed to have a sit down with The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. I made a resolution to live my life fully and completely, divesting myself from any dead or empty people, places or things; religion included. Then I realized why I was so lost and questioning my faith, because I had spent my entire life living religiously without a longstanding real relationship. I had an encounter with God previously and we even had a few exchanges over a period of time but when the other areas of my life began to preoccupy my time, I didn’t have the energy or time to invest in developing our friendship further. Actually, my lack-of-attention lead to the opposite; He, once again, became an acquaintance. Now, I’m just grateful He doesn’t change his contact information frequently.
My name is Lauren. I’m old enough to know that politics is the longest running, largest game in the history of the world. Grew up in the Baptist church, went COGIC, now I’m just trying to re-establish a relationship minus religion. I love my natural hair, napps and all. I believe that there is a song for every emotion and situation in life, I live off of music. Lastly, I’m the grand-daughter and daughter of a breast cancer survivor and a woman currently battling the disease, respectively.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll explore these topics more in depth via a series of posts and videos. My opinions are those of my own, developed from my life experiences and influenced by my environment. You don’t have to agree with or even like them but please respect them and I’ll respect yours. Peace.