The Scarlett Johanssoning of Grace Jones

Halloween is coming.
And rather than that eliciting excitement and child-like joy at promise of publicly acceptable cosplay and free sugary treats, I’m holding my breath waiting for some celebrity PR statement claiming they didn’t know Blackface (or other forms of cultural appropriation/insensitivity) was still unacceptable in this here post-Racial America.

IMG_7153.JPGLast night, innocently enough I was scrolling Tumblr. Tumblr has become my favorite (secret) form of social media because of the high anonymity, yet ever-present cultural relevance factor. I can find out everything going on in the world just by scrolling my dashboard and because of carefully crafted follows I’m not inundated with neither too much seriousness not too much foolery. I digress, so I’m scrolling tumblr and I see an advertisement for a “Vegan leather doo-rag”. My knee-jerk reaction was to exclaim “These pumpkin spice loving mother ——- have gone TOO far!” Hey, I’m not perfect.

IMG_7152.JPGBut it really did feel like the straw that broke the camels back. I refuse to believe that white people are that oblivious. That “blackface” feels innocent. That wearing a sombrero holding “roadside fruit” signs is naive. That they’ve really been so oblivious to other cultures WITHIN THIS COUNTRY that they feel things like baby hair, Timberland boots, doo-rags, full lips big hips and tan skin were standards of beauty of their own making. Is Columbusing genetic?

Now, I want to be clear that not all white people are “sleep” to these issues. However, it seems that they live in entirely different time zones than the repeat offenders. I’m looking at you Katy Perry and Juliane Hugh. Is there no one around them (of any race) to say, “hey you know…maybe that’s not such a good idea?”

The thing that bothers me most is the sense of entitlement to other people’s cultures. Pop culture imperialism. Armed with the knowledge that America is fast becoming mediocre in all measures of greatness among our global community, when I leave the country it doesn’t dawn on me that being American means much. However, because of media and pop culture we are WINNING. In organizational change, company culture is oft known as the slowest and last thing to change. Culture can outlast leadership, in the positional sense. So when Scarlett Johansson is a standard of beauty in nations that don’t naturally produce women who look like Scarlett Johansson it becomes very clear to me that the U.S. is still very much relevant.

When I was in Bali I had someone point out to me which lotions and sunscreen to buy because they had skin bleach. And while I was keenly aware of skin bleaching practices it was not until I was faced with consciously choosing products that DID NOT have bleach (which were far fewer in number) that I realized how real an issue it is.

As a woman of color, it is incredibly frustrating a) to be a woman in a society which feels entitled to my body. You feel you can manipulate control and have part ownership over my hair my skin color my garments and undergarments my size my sex and my womb. B) you take your shares of me and dip them in bleach, slathering white paint over brown skin and calling it beautiful. Colorful hair in a young black girl is ghetto yet on a young white girl is fashion forward. Gelled baby hair on a Latina girl warrants a side eye, yet vogue puts it on a wispy white model and it’s the head-turning look of the season. We have made entire industries whose sole purpose is dedicated to the Scarlett Johanssoning of Grace Jones.

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I’ve had it up to here with the dumbstruck faces of ignorance plastered all over white media especially in October. I am no longer accepting apologies. Don’t be sorry, be better. I am no longer willing to have the long conversation about why it’s wrong or inappropriate. Do your own research. I, sadly, am growing increasingly more intolerant of these instances of intolerance. How the hell am I supposed to help when I’m exhausted because YOU don’t want to help yourself?

Kerry Washington gives perspective, ” I don’t want to live in a post-race world because being black is really exciting. I mean, it’s who I am. I’m a woman, black, from New York, an Aquarius – these are things that create who I am. I’m interested in living in a post-racist world, where being African American doesn’t dictate limitations on what I can do – but I don’t want to live post-race. Our differences are so fascinating and wonderful. We don’t want to all be the same. Who wants that? Hitler did, but who else?”

I may be labeled as the angry black woman after writing this, but that’s untrue. Anger is a symptom, a surface emotion for a deeper feeling. I am, in reality, the disappointed black woman. Disappointed that people still shield themselves behind the colorblind cloak as if that’s acceptable or makes them immune to prejudice; automatically equitable. Guess what? Raven Symone, it doesn’t. Disappointed that there are people who still live in places where it is perfectly true that everyone is the same and that there’s no one to question why. Disappointed that we don’t employ empathy more in our daily actions, considering the lasting effects on what we do or say. Disappointed that someone will inevitably read this, claim I have attacked all white people and will have missed my point entirely.

Thoughts on Lee Daniels’ The Butler

Typically I would wait until I’d collected myself. Typically I would try and find the perfect words and the most eloquent metaphor to speak to it but to be honest…it just had to come now.
I held my breath through the fire hoses. As they sat at the lunch counter being called Coons, Niggers, kicked, spit on, beaten, tortured…I held my breath and I hurt so badly I could barely take it. I tried to go to the place they went to. I looked at them and imagined they, in those moments, were out of body. I tried to go there with them because it hurt too badly to stay.

Watching history through the eyes of The Butler was immaculate, and emotional. Beginning at cotton fields, daddy shot dead with no regard for his humanness, his manhood or his being. Mother driven mad…perhaps from going to her own other place one time too many after the habitual rapes, its hard to live all full of poison. From this beginning to Yes We Can. It was a journey that I watched in two hours but my grandmother lived, this piece of history was hers and…I couldn’t help but think of her as President Obama’s voice filled the theater.

I had to walk quickly to the car, and the entire walk I was aware of how safe I felt. There was no threat of lynch mobs or KKK. I did not have to hold my breath as white people passed me, praying to just disappear and be left alone. In fact, I realized, the fight I find myself in most often is one to be seen. My mind raced with these thoughts as I neared panting trying just to get to the car before the dam broke.

As I locked myself in, I lost it. I cried for so many reasons saying nothing more than Thank You to God. I felt…I feel gratitude that I am in the position I am in. I recognize where I come from and the shoulda of whom I stand. I felt all of it. If I had to describe it, it was as if my being gained another dimension. I was plugged into my ancestry on a level previously much more flat in affect.

I have always been proud to be Black, and actually to be Southern as well. I know the past of both and I know what I represent and how contextually a “me” is the answered prayer sewn in the soil of Georgia red clay by slaves. And I know how it feels to stand in a plantation house as a guest and have a woman who looks like me serve me a meal. I know how it literally makes you want to wish for any other moment. To be in any other place and time. That feeling at the State Dinner? I’ve felt that. Do I feel like an imposter? Being who I am, where I am? No. Even the fact that I feel at home in a system that’s been historically oppressive, and arguable is still so, speaks volumes.

But this….new recognition it is one of deep deep awareness, and humility, and responsibility. When I look over the course of my own life, I want to feel I stood for something. That I served a purpose and yes, advanced the lives of Black people. I owe them that much.

Yes owe. I absolutely feel indebted to those that came before me and as I sobbed in my car I thought of the position I have been put in and the opportunities I’ve been afforded. I guess there are some Black people who do not feel this pull. Who feel as though we are all just human and want race to be more neutral. But the truth of the matter is, ever since the inception of this nation race has mattered. Race and, yes, racism is a thread woven in the tapestry of america and why should we ignore it? Why pretend that it does not exist or that it has no meaning? The last sixty years, the last two hundred and fifty years happened. They happened, and we as a nation are still healing from it.

So while I do not necessarily share the feelings of those raceless humans among us, I understand. It’s hard and it hurts and taking it all in, becoming one with the scars and the open flesh wounds its a heavy burden to bear. But I will hold your piece until you’re ready. And when you are, I will embrace you and welcome you warmly. I am holding it. I will hold it, and even if it brings me to my knees like it did tonight, I will surrender to it and say thank you. Thank you. Still I rise.

Blood on the leaves

Southern trees bear a strange fruit–I have been intentional about not posting about the current events nor my feelings in relation to them. Partly because I did not wish to feel it, and partly because I do not want to release anymore negative energy into an already woeful America.  However, when I woke up this morning I knew I had to. I woke up with Kanye’s Blood on the leaves on my mind and I tipped my hat to his timely genius. Those magnolias and poplars might be free of the bodies, but there is still blood on the leaves.

I have always thought that anger was a surface emotion; and yet so many people were and are full of it. Boiling to the brim with hot destructive anger, I asked myself what was behind it, what was underneath it? Fear…fear that, as my friend Demetric (a Black man) said, “I hate the fact that the subconscious paranoia that I’ve walked around with for years has been validated…”  My own fear that one day I will have to raise a Black man and explain to him why his passionate bold temperament may make others uncomfortable yet his calm articulate agreeability may disguise him as less than a man.  Disappointment…disappointment that nearly 150 years after the emancipation proclamation and nearly 60 years after the civil rights movement we (Black people) are still living in Jim Crow America and feeling as insignificant as the 3/5ths.  Shame…shame that any of us believed that this had changed; waking up the day after the verdict to a message from our President who looked eerily like Mr. Bojangles.

What I can take away from the weekend that I had in the human relations conference, and the volatile, racing pulse of social media is that we are holding on to a lot of pain. The muscle memory of this nation has stored whippings, lynchings, fire hoses, and german shepards as if it were yesterday.  We have not forgotten, and we certainly have not forgiven. White America stands in one of a few places but namely one deeply apologetic and unsure how to move forward, or deeply resentful and unwilling to acknowledge one’s own part in racism and discrimination vehemently separating self from ancestor. And I think in times like now, Black America despite how learned or educated we are feel like that old Ye lyric, “…even if you in a Benz you still a nigga in a coupe.” And self included. As much as I tried to remain calm and at piece, a large part of me felt that by remaining silent I was, in a sense, turning my back to my race. Something I learned this weekend was the power of silence and how in saying nothing, it can often be construed as agreement or even worse, apathy.

While one piece of me says “YES! let us wake up right now in this moment and see something bigger!” She reaches for my John Swails poem: …because that freedom you/think is dressed in all that money/ain’t nothin’ but a bigger cage/and you never even left the plantation! A larger part, a part that was really emergent because of the conference wonders what are we as a people not acknowledging so that we can heal? What are we missing? Why are we letting fear of what was keep us from the potential of what could be? And more pressing, how do we begin to own it so that we can grow together?

I understand we have a past. I know that past every time I walk down the street in this white washed city with white noise of Spanish drowned out by the hum of BMWs. People fighting not to see my dark skin and kinky hair, assuring me that they don’t see race and everybody is human like that is supposed to take away the discomfort of being followed around stores or being called “exotic” because that feels better on the tongue than Black.  I am not willing to forget it, but God how can I, how can we begin to forgive it? This is bigger than Trayvon or Emmit or Martin or Malcolm, this is the pregnant precipice of our possibility as a race and as a country; how and if not us, then who?

Black.

Here at the intersection of my various identities, I hear with my Black ear, I want to respond with my Higher Education academic voice, embrace with my Southern arms and comfort with my feminine heart. I wonder what it means to be at the university where as I walked back from a meeting, I saw three BMWs and a Ferrari all driven by students.  I wish I could give my students my experience of sharing $100 worth of food stamps between 6 people just to save our money for the Alpha party on friday night.  I wish I could gift them with a Jocelyn Milton, a Denelle Niles-Brown, a Demetrius Richmond, a Jane Redmond, an all of the other mentors that we had at UT who pushed the Black students to be not only successful but to achieve things far beyond our eighteen to twenty-two year old vision.

I get so angry sometimes with administration who claims to want to increase diversity, yet makes it so difficult for those students to stay here. I get frustrated at no step shows, no cookouts, no sets, no cultural identity here on this campus.  It falls heavy  on the backs of one student organization that has no frame of reference or invested support.  But then…there are those who lend their time, and love, and advice, and will help you in any possible way but they cannot do everything for every student.  What is the solution? Is it more money? Does it go deeper than that? Why is it a struggle…why do I have to convince you that the welfare of Black students is and should remain a priority of university administration?

I thank god multiple times a day that I am my mother’s daughter and do not hesitate to question authority or speak out against the status quo.  I am grateful that for the times I have asked for help, it has been offered to me.  I am proud to be a Black woman in pursuit of a PhD from the south in a family that appreciates education and the importance of pushing outside of one’s comfort zone.  And I often get extremely sad when I hear about stories that make my own the exception.

I ask myself, often, how this work–the work of diversity and educational equity, minority retention in higher education, and specifically the success of Black students–will take shape in my life and my work.  It is just a much a part of me as spirituality and as one of my major defining identities, has definitely shaped if not guided many of my decisions. How can I use the passion I have for this work in a productive way that will not severely alter my faith? I find, far too often, that when I have had “the race conversation” it is never genuine, it is never productive, it is never more than mental masturbation.  How can people learn without me teaching? I always thought that if I was simply myself, this amalgamation of alleged anomalies: an educated Black woman from the south with supportive family, no illegitimate children or baby’s daddies, who speaks well, writes well, can articulate herself clearly in an array of populations, etc….if I were just me then people would surely see that maybe Black isn’t what I always thought it was.

I don’t know if I was right.

I am not sure if that is enough. Maybe I need to paint a broader stroke with a bigger brush.  What I know is that, it pisses me off that my people, Black people feel they have no resources; specifically my students, surely they know all the people in their corner rooting for their success?  Where is the disconnect?  Can’t you see me doing this work, talking on these committees advocating on your behalf? Programming, advising, mentoring, don’t you see I just want to help? And its not enough, and if I continue on this path it will exhaust me. It can’t be this…the work has to be different. This work is not my work, it is everybody’s.  And the fact that we don’t see that…

The Morning After

Though admittedly I was not as emotional watching this election, nor was I as nervous about the outcome should my preferred candidate lose, it was still wonderful to see President Barack Obama be re-elected. As I watched the election results, however, I had the words of two other Black men on my mind. One of a professor, Dr. N who pointed out the partisanship is really urban versus rural. And the other of my advisors husband who said many things and among them, “relax into it, you don’t do the work.”

I had a friend’s mom ask me if I was voting for President Obama because he was black. I told her yes, confidently. Among other reasons, but I would be lying if I discounted this truth. And why should I? I even love the unease that comes to some at having a Black man, in specific, as the leader of our nation. As I looked at the city of Chicago and the diversity in the crowd of POTUS supporters I thought, this is why I have to move back to a city. I love the culture that dwells within metropolitan areas. I love my own city and how distinct each neighborhood is but they blend together so effortlessly to make one delicious Atlanta. I have never considered myself a Democrat, but I have to say the ugliness of intolerance curdling to the top of the GOP within the last 5 years has been disgusting.  I figure in cities its a constant mix, a stirring of the pot as transplants move in, out, and throughout. And to some extent, for me, its about education and professional opportunity.  On the other hand its about urban youth and the chance to make a difference. To say, look at me–in to me, see–I look like you we are each fighting our own battles but do not fight them alone anymore. I am here for you, there are no excuses, let’s move.

When I think about my own purpose and my own aspirations I get overwhelmed. For a class assignment  I am having to consider where I’ll be in 2, 5, and 10 years and I have been supremely uncomfortable with verbalizing it. When Henry offered that I don’t do the work, I felt about a million lbs lift off my chest. Of course I don’t. I get out of the way and the divine does the work. That’s it. The anxiety of paralyzing fear over choosing the right path…I just have to walk confidently in the direction that my heart choses. Right now, more than ever, that is teaching.

I had what I would call “a moment” with my class on Monday and we took a time out from lecture and addressed some frustrations and other elephants in the room.  After class I received messages from them claiming how pleased they were and how close they felt to their classmates. I was honest with them, and in turn they were honest with me. And we can only grow from that. Mondays class is why I have to do this work.

Lastly, I thought about my Pakistani classmate who pointed out the humanity in out political system yesterday. At the end of last night Mitt Romney may not be the president but he got to go home to his wife and family. He is not in exile, President Obama wished him well, and he is still in every sense of the words, one of us. We see ugly campaigning but we do not see a dictator nor military coups, nor violence. What we see is bad, but the perspective she offered reminded me of how wonderful it truly is to be in a country that supports civic disagreement and the freedom of speech.

I suppose having held all this, the morning after has been one where I smiled, said thank you to my source and set an intention to get out of the way. Its not President Obama, its something he represents to each of his voters. Its a promise we need upkept. Its work we ultimately have to do ourselves before we can see it.  And that’s the great irony of it all.

Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Racism in California

Last night in a bar over bourbons, I got what Terri would call “hooked.” I was talking with two friends of mine about the difference in racism as it is in the south versus here in southern California. I explained that in my experience, racism in the south was a lot more open and overt whereas here in California it is quiet and secretive.
One of my friends argued that because it is not said, that perhaps I am jumping to conclusions about the stares/looks/whispers being because of my race. I retorted back with, “as we haven’t had a conversation, what else would it be?”

Since I have lived in California I have been stared at, belittled (though this, I feel comes from being black and Southern more than anything), and subject to more “colored” and “gal” speech than I ever was at home. I explained to them that even walking into places you can feel eyes on you. And because there are so few Black people in San Diego, it can feel lonely and cold. My friend asked if I had been to Southeast SD and I said yes, but it pissed me clean off.

As I could feel myself getting angrier I knew I had to back off and walk away from this argument. Even our bartender commented that we got too serious. For me, it felt like my points were not being validated and intead were subject to reinterpretation; as if somehow I was unable to discern racism from any other type of discrimination.

What hooked me was not feeling heard, and having to defend a point I know exists. On the way home CR asked me why conversations about race are so hard, and I responded that its because they go nowhere. I say this even as an educator who teaches the importance of having “the race conversation.” It feels as though often when you try to explain the lived experience of a minority there is so much defense in the rebuttal that it turns ugly quickly.

And I get it, no one wants to be called a racist. Especially white people. Especially especially white people who think they are liberal. But the truth is, we’re all a little bit racist. Sadly. But we don’t have to let that stop us from learning about and from one another, we can work towards unconditional acceptance and love of others. When I say, I was treated this way because I am black and someone says, are you sure? I take it personally, and I shouldn’t. That’s my bad. I feel as though I am a person who does not play “the race card” often if ever and so I really feel some kind of way about being interrogated over my decision to use it.

There’s two things at play there, someone who needs validation of yes! Racism exists and yes! You experienced it. But there is also a person who casts doubt first, empathy later if at all. Work to be done on both sides.

I came home and called My Person because I was angry and needed to vent. Even in her whitness I feel she got it, and maybe that’s all I needed, to be heard and feel understood.

I am sure that people in California and people in the south will never agree on the issue of racism being bad in both places…but that’s okay. Just know this from me, give me the deep South any day of the week over being followed in the grocery store or called a pretty colored girl. At least at home I know exactly where not to go to avoid being called anything crazy.

Leaving my Blackness at home

I am was supposed to be going to hear this speaker talk about the African American community and Catholicism today at noon.  But when I woke up with tears in my eyes, and the first thing I saw when I checked my daily news was more outcry about the Trayvon case; this time a letter from Sinead O’Conner, and then uproar from The Hunger Games fanbase about Rue being black…I just had to check out.

I called my mother and told her how tired I was of either being villianized or victimized.  “Can’t we just be left alone?” I asked her.  Maybe that’s too much to ask for, or maybe its “wrong” to want that but that’s truly how I feel at times.  Is the Trayvon case a race thing? Or is it a justice thing?  Or is it both?  Why is Rue being black even an issue?  Quite frankly I side-eyed it myself as she supposedly came from the agriculture district.  Alas, I didn’t read the books so I brushed it off as perhaps my own misunderstanding of a situation.  The “fans” claim that it was just because she was not how they pictured her in their minds when reading the book…while the Black community feels some kind of way about the renig of emotion because somehow the love and affection felt for Rue doesn’t apply to a little chocolate girl.

I am just exhausted.  You know that old joke, where the plane is too heavy and they are making people jump off in order of ethnicity? The first call is for African-Americans…then Blacks…then Coloreds and the black man says, “Sorry hombre but we’re niggas today.”  I feel like that.  Let it be somebody else.  Anybody else, stop looking to me for action.

Ironic though it may be that I am writing this post…but sometimes you just get tired of your skin (and all that it holds for you and other people) being the topic of discussion.  My 11 year old sister said it quite profoundly, “its just fear.” If you ask me, the world could use some sage.  A cleansing, and moving of all darkness to the light.  Why is American blonde hair and blue eyes?  That’s not my American.  Can’t we just expand…can’t we hold more than we’ve been given? Can’t we accept more truths than those in history books?

There is a woman coming to speak about the porn industry and the demonization of the black body.  Supposedly black women are hyper sexualized in the media, or maybe black people more readily accept the sexual energy that we hold.  Who draws the line between acceptable and obscene?  Are we trying to save the little girls who shop at Abercrombie like we try to save the video vixens?  One of those groups are grown women capable of making their own choices.  And why porn?  The sports industry is in some ways comparable to slavery, where is the uprising there?

I just get tired.  I wish I could leave my Blackness at home and for once not be someones fucking political cause, social justice issue, discomfort, or charity case.  But maybe that’s just me.

The truth about chocolate

As I scrolled through my twitter time line reading gush after gush about David Beckham and his sexy new H&M ad, I wondered why it was that I was not moved by the commercial.  I sent a text to Cleo about it after thinking for a few minutes and came to the conclusion that I am just not attracted to white men.  I can say that the sexy ones are sexy, much in the way that I can say that Minka Kelly is sexy…but I am not sexually attracted to them.  Is that learned?  Where did that come from?

It became blindingly clear that if I want to date in San Diego that I will have to consider interracial dating and the more I thought about it the more uncomfortable I became with it.  Why is that?  I suppose a lot of it is ego-related.  So much of the way I define myself is wrapped up in my blackness (whether I want it to be or not) that not sharing that with my partner would be odd.  It would be especially odd to be with a partner who does not consider his race a factor; and most whites are not exactly outspoken about their whiteness.  I want a black man who came from a black woman…relationships are filled with enough questions, “why do you wrap your hair” doesn’t need to be one of them.  I feel so closed-minded voicing that out loud but its how I feel.  So much of my life has been spent being the token and being the representative for black women (or so it seems) that I just have no desire to do that in my relationship.  I wish to be understood, and I don’t find anything wrong with that.

Much in the same way that I want a Southern man.  I like the province. I like men who drive trucks not hybrids.  I like men who get dirty from yardwork, not hiking.  I like men who grill, not roll sushi.  That’s my truth.  I like chocolate.  Southern dark chocolate.

Patti Sanger always says “the penis does the picking,”  or for women, he’s gotta make the panties wet.  Her words, not mine.  But I get it and I agree.  Your body has got to respond to this person at the primal basic level.  Why is it that I can trust my gut on a move across the country but when it comes to picking a man I second guess and give myself the third degree?  Fuck that.  I will own it.  Team Cocoa Brown Shake Down.

Ranting of an angry “Black” girl

I just got really angry hurt  by the fact that I do not know my ancestral culture.  I was thinking of my admiration for cultures, specifically tribal cultures, and I love learning their traditions and ways of interacting, I especially love learning the meaning of the language.  I wondered what connection I had to these things.  Was it something I lacked and thus sought out?  Then came the anger, in a flash it filled my entire body head to toe ready to Hulk SMASH because my people, whoever they were, were long since raped of their culture and given this bullshit American culture where nothing is sacred except the ego.  I don’t know where in Africa my family came from.  I don’t know any dishes from our tribe.  I don’t know the significance of any ceremonies.  I don’t know how to say “hello” or “I love you.”  *Sigh* I do not have it in me to hate any one person or group for the lack of history my people have.  Perhaps that is why we’re so lost. With no anchor, we’re just drifting in the sea of life.

Initially I wanted to write about the Māori, the indigenous people of New Zealand

New Zealand Maori sharing in the sacred act of hongi, exchanging the ha or breath of life.

As they were the tribe of people I learned about from a movie The Whale Rider that I watched in class this week.  Since the class I’ve looked up things about the Māori and already decided that I have to go there to learn.  I watched the movie and the children were in school performing traditional Māori dances and songs, and I thought to myself, this must be what Hebrew school is like, why don’t “we” have anything like that?

Thoughts…

Who is we?

Black People.

Why are we even called black? Is it because we don’t know what else to call ourselves?

So we settled on the easiest description.

What does that word mean? What does it hold?

Well, I imagine it holds whatever you think it does, names are just buckets…but so are all words. You fill it up with yourself.

Valid.

When I say that I’m “Black” what am I putting into the bucket?  Do I say it with pride, with distinction, with candor and zeal? Do I believe it to hold a richness, a light, a way?  What have I accepted as true about the thing that I call myself?  Furthermore, could this be why so many black people don’t want to be “black”? Because of the things they have put in the bucket of meaning?  Ghetto, ignorant, uneducated (yes, the two are different), hostile, aggressive, sex-crazed, inferior, and weak.    I challenge anyone who finds themselves upset at the thought of being called “a thing” to redefine it for themselves.  Make it what you feel and fill your own bucket.

White people saying the word nigger.  Does it hurt? If it does, why?  Because of the things in the nigger bucket.  The lynching, the lashing, the abuse, the rapes, the hoarding of knowledge, the destruction of family, the kidnapping. Those things are in the nigger bucket.

Men calling women bitches.  Aggression, anger, indifference towards men, superiority complex, rigid arrogance.  That’s in the bitch bucket.

But what else?  What could someone call me that would hurt me, lest I’ve accepted their bucket as my own?  Exactly.

So fuck yalls buckets, I’ll fill my own.

I always knew I liked the Kraus quote.

My language is the common prostitute that I turn into a virgin.

Karl Kraus

Black Barbie White Ken

Now for those readers who know me personally, this post may elicit a -_- face.  Here’s why:

I have never (seriously) considered dating outside of my race.  The reason why this makes 0 sense is because my step-dad is white and my mother is black, he has been the live-in father in my life since I was in elementary school so clearly I have had intimate proximity to interracial love.  Why now is it just coming up on my radar? Oddly enough, this article I read by Tamera Mowry where she addresses the topic, she says to (Essence) Do you have any advice for women considering dating outside of their race who may be apprehensive about it?
TAMERA: Well, I always find these questions so interesting, because I’m a product of an interracial marriage — and I never really grew up seeing color. I honestly realized that my dad was White when someone told me in middle school. They’re like, “Oh your dad’s White?” I’m like, “Oh, my gosh, he really is White.” I knew what race was, but it didn’t matter to me. Yes we are an interracial couple. The thing is we do still deal with that. People always question that. If anything, it hurts, but we do have more people supporting us than making stupid comments. We kind of just ignore it and focus on the positive. Love is love and a lot of times people might be in the situation they’re in because they put barriers up. Like some people only want to date a model, or an actor, or an athlete. You’re only limiting yourself. Open up to what’s out there because God made us all.

Honestly I never thought twice about her dating a white guy…I was more concerned that he worked for Fox News to tell you the truth. In any case, it bugged me that I could be openly on the bandwagon for GLBT but still gave black guys with blonde girlfriends major side-eye.  Do I mind interracial dating?!? Of course I can never really say that I do because I am so close to it.  I love my sisters more than anything, and without the “swirl” there would be no them.  Plus having my white side of the family has definitely been interesting, I doubt I would have been exposed to such jarringly different traditions and customs had my mom married a Black guy (gross generalization, yes I know). It’s all shaped me and my family so much I can’t objectively answer that question.

When I look at the picture above of Taylor Kistch (Tim Riggins) and Jessica White all I see is sexiness.  I’m not thinking about race relations, if he cares about weave, if his mama likes black girls, if she hates herself, none of that.  I see HOT.  Could I ever see myself with a white guy? Mmm technically I’ve semi been down that road but as we all know my serious boyfriend tally sits at 1: Deeds.  However, my Senior prom date was white…and before and after prom we dated, just very fun and casually though there were kisses, and other random date-like-things of that nature.  I never really “count” it though.  I guess even then I was skeptical of his intentions…and if his mama liked black girls.

I look at one of my favorite celeb couples, Khloe and Lamar Odom, and I never think about all the negative things either. Maybe because Khloe openly identifies with her Armenian ethnicity, or maybe because when I see them all I can see is love.  Truly.  I love seeing them because it just shows how much two people with big hearts can take care of one another.  Maybe that’s silly or naive, but that’s all I got.

So perhaps I can start to open my eyes to it a bit more. Not just for other people but for myself as well.  Just ingesting the fact that love is love, and beings are beings.  Our skin color is just a part of our story, it doesn’t mean we are incapable of creating new chapters with others.  Every time I think I’ve opened myself up to infinite possibility I find some new area where there’s more work to be done.  So I guess I’ll proclaim it, whoever I’m sent, if he is black, white, or otherwise if it is right, I will not fight it.  Tamera was right, so often we put up these barriers, but ultimately God made us all.  I know, as with everything, that who ever God made for me is just for me.  Who am I to put preconceptions on a blessing?