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To be a black girl like me

We’re all connected –

Black girls of my generation,

Like coiled hair in box braids,

Like the stars in a constellation,

Like we’re in on a secret

They’ve tried to bury,

But when we unearthed it

They started to worry.

Told us it doesn’t matter.

Told us it’s worthless.

Told us it was of no consequence

Because that secret was us.

And possessing this truth

Even though it’s no privilege,

It’s another obligation

We have to learn how to deal with;

To protect each other

Like the buried treasure we’ve always been,

To make sure the secret gets out,

To make sure we don’t fall back in.

We’re precious jewels,

We’re diamonds in the rough,

We’re under pressure to conform,

Because we’re more than enough.

We don’t fit the mold of

Eurocentricity;

Our jagged edges

Can cut through anything.

We’re not angry, we’re sharp

And being silenced cuts deep.

The kind of power black girls hold

Is not a secret anyone can keep.

We’ve got dirt in our lungs,

We’ve got bruises on our skin,

We’ve got blood in our teeth,

You see, there’s pain in melanin.

Bruises are our heritage,

We’re hurt and we’re scarred,

But the ugliness of the world

Does not reflect who we are.

We are stars,

Burning bright, unheard

And untouchable,

We’re precious stones

Never left unturned

And unbreakable.

Black girls struggle.

Black girls rock.

Black girls are magic,

But black girls are not.

Black girls laugh.

Black girls cry.

Black girls go missing

And no one asks why.

Black girls are suffocating,

In ways no one understands.

Did anyone try to #BringBackOurGirls?

And #WhatHappenedToSandraBland?

It’s a big deal

To be born in this skin.

It’s not a club

To let Rachel Dolezal in.

There’s no instruction manual,

Just a lot of terms and conditions.

Rebellion is the biggest risk;

Freedom is the mission.

Black girls are Amandla, Zendaya

Keke, Solange, and Nicki;

Black girls are Laverne, Lupita

Quvenzhané, Willow, and Gabourey.

And you might think

In all your outgroup bias

That we’re all jealous of Kylie,

But she’ll never ever know

How awful and wonderful it is

To be a black girl like me.

-Chido

 

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B.I.T.C.H. part 5

Because

Inevitably, bitterness

Took over and

Consumed me the way

Hypocrites consumed church offerings

 

Because

I urged

To rebel against everything

Created to

Hinder me from saying these things

 

Because

It’s all

Too taboo, too

Cliché and

Heresy

 

Because

Insincerity is

Truth and

Cluelessness is safety and the manifestation of both

Harbors a relentless thirst for transparency

 

Because

Injustice

Turns softness into

Coarseness and lewdness into

Holiness

 

Because

Ignorance is a survival

Tactic

Carrying away women’s words and killing us

Haphazardly

 

Because

Inside me

The

Cracks are still

Healing

 

Because

Independence

Takes

Continuous

Hurt and bravery

 

Because all

I’m doing is

Toughening myself up and

Climbing out of the

Hole you buried me in

 

Because

In every language

There’s a word for ‘bitch’, but too long have we

Confused the word ‘bitch’ with

Heroine

 

Because a bitch

Isn’t

The worst thing that you

Can call me,

Honestly

-Chido

 

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Who’s Allowed to Say “Nigga”?

Rather than waste your time whispering sweet nothings and engaging in foreplay about this subject, I’ll just come right out and say it.

Only black people are allowed to say nigga. Only.

Why?

Well first and foremost, if you are not black and a black person tells you that they don’t feel comfortable with you using an anti-black slur that is still a very strong reminder and representation of the attitude used to enslave Africans for 245 years here in America and elsewhere, you need not ask why. That being said, for some humanity is a given, for others, humanity has to be explained. Take that for what you will.

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Nigga is a slang term variation of the word nigger. Arguably the difference between “nigga” and “nigger” is its usage. Nigga is often used by Black Americans as a familiar term of endearment. However, there is no real difference between “nigga” and “nigger” except for the spelling, especially out of the mouths of non-black people. Even within the black community there are instances where the term’s meaning is still largely derogatory. For example, I was scrolling through my tumblr page just the other day and happened upon a thread where a group of black bloggers on the site were discussing black men’s attitudes towards dark-skinned women.

Paying attention to @sicksynse’s comment: “I see a lot of mixing of niggas and women… Men belong with women, niggas belong with bitches…” you can see clearly that “nigga” is not a term of endearment or camaraderie in this case. It is paired with “bitches” which is a derogatory term for women, showing that this person believes that “nigga” is the similarly derogatory term for men, black men specifically. They are not alone in this belief. I hear nigga used as a derogatory term by black people just as much as it is used in the familiar sense. This further emphasizes the point that the word can never fully be stripped from its roots as it functioned in many derogatory phrases in the past as a tool to denigrate black people. Black Men vs. Niggas

So why do black people say it then?

The idea that using a derogatory term or slur within the community that it was originally directed towards is nowhere near a new concept. It is not uncommon to hear gay men call each other and themselves “fags” or “faggots”. Lesbians do the same with “dyke” and “butch”, women call each other and ourselves “sluts” and “bitches”, and African Americans have done the same with “nigga”. The process is called reappropriation. The idea is to take power away from that word, and ultimately your oppressors or an oppressive system, so that it can no longer be used to marginalize you. It sends a bold message to society that you choose to accept whatever it is that society hates about you and that you won’t let bigotry determine how you feel about yourself. Sometimes reappropriation works so well that that the once pejorative term becomes the preferred term. For example, “gay” began as derogatory but it is now often preferred over the term homosexual in colloquial usages. However, such a change can only be outlined by the group in question. The LGBTQ+ community is the one who outlined what terms are okay for members outside of the community to use, like gay in reference to a homosexual man (only in reference to such and not as an insult or a substitute for words like “bad” or “uncool”) but words like the aforementioned “fag” and “dyke” are still not okay for anyone who is not a gay man or lesbian woman to say respectively.

An important thing to note is that not all black people agree with the reappropriation or reclamation of the word “nigga”. In the first episode of Black-ish of the new season called “The Word”, we follow the debate within the family members on whether or not black people should use the n-word. At the end, Dre lets his son Jack know that when he gets older it will be fine for him to use it but ultimately it’s a an educated decision that only he can make. That is true for all of us as black people. It doesn’t mean that we’re not going to get into debates amongst ourselves, but it is a matter that is subject to discussion and debate within and only within our community.

“But if black people can say it, why can’t I?”

“But my black friend calls me nigga!”

“But my black friends don’t care if I say it!”

“But it’s in all the music I listen to; it’s impossible to not say it!”

“It’s just a word!”

  • I hope surely by now we’ve covered the issue with the first one. If you’re not black, it’s not your term to reclaim, plain and simple.
  • Like I stated above, it is often used by black people as a term of endearment, but guess what, there are so many other words in the English language, and every language for that matter, that are terms of endearment by design – pick one and keep the word out of your mouth.
  • As for your black friends letting you say it, they are the minority, especially if you’re white. Most black people have very conservative attitudes towards the use of the n-word by white people, and rightfully so. Sometimes many non-black people of color get away with it in communities where black people live in close proximity to non-black PoC’s, especially Mexicans and Puerto Ricans. Even though they’ve given you a pass, it’s still not your word. However, in some communities and friend groups that are close-knit, usage of the word may even be encouraged, and in that case, you’re still wrong, but if you’re friends have 100% signed off on your usage of it, use it behind closed doors and don’t take that with you anywhere else. But even then, you’re still wrong.
  • Just because you participate in what you feel is “black culture” i.e. listening to rap music, it doesn’t mean that you’re black. Period. Bleep it out, change the word to “nugget”, shut your mouth, I don’t care. Keep that word out your mouth.
  • Words are powerful. If you tell yourself anything else, you are lying to yourself. You sat here and read this whole thing right? Why? Because words mean something.

10 Things I’m Tired of Hearing About Racism

Racism is often a hot topic to debate. Don’t get me wrong, I welcome debates and intellectual discussions amongst peers because it often inspires a lot of learning and exchanges of anecdotal and experience-based evidence which you would not otherwise get. The problem is when you get stuck debating over what racism even is in the first place or the same basic details of how our (U.S.) society and government works; you can’t learn anything, and frankly, it’s just exhausting. So I’m going to lay down the top 10 ignorant remarks that I get on the daily, being the Samantha White character, usually, in my mostly non-Woke group of friends.

1. “That’s racist against white people!”  

(Also known as reverse racism)

I hear this so often it hurts me. I’ve even heard that I’m sexist against men, which is equally as wrong for the same reason. I think Samantha White explains why best.

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The bit before explains that black people, and people of color in general, can be prejudiced, but not racist. Prejudice is still awful, but let’s say that Mexicans and all non-black latinxs collectively got together too say that black people were the lazy ones and stealing our jobs and redirected a Donald Trump-esque speech onto us. Would the U.S. suddenly be more motivated to carry on immigration reform? Would latinxs start making more than us on average? No. If anything, Fox News would just have a field day talking about the in-fighting go on between us, but no change would occur. People of color don’t hold that kind of power in this society to oppress one another, nor white people for that matter, and the same goes for women and men. I’m still waiting for the day that white people stop being eligible for promotions and top positions like CEO’s and presidency because us people of color think all they’re good at is stealing ideas from everyone else and trying to pass it on as their own – aka Colombus-ing. However, the stereotypes and prejudices that white people have against people of color change all of our qualities of life and justify our dehumanization. For example: “Mexicans are lazy” — Latinxs/Hispanics make the least of everyone in this country, “Black people are thugs” — Black people have a record of the most recorded stop and frisks and the highest rate of reported murders in police custody, “Muslims are terrorists” – Muslims, Sikhs (because dumb-asses can’t tell the difference), Arabs, and South Asians have reported over 1,700 cases of discrimination and hate crimes since 9/11. But you know, I called the one Noah movie whitewashed (I gave you 2 links there) and said my favorite fairy in the Tinker Bell movies is the black one so I guess that’s equally as bad, right?

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2. “What if white people…” 

No. Just stop. I already explained this. We live in a white supremacy, you have that power, I don’t. You can’t compare our actions on the same scale because our words/beliefs/actions don’t hold the same weight in society, only you can benefit from racism, not me, yadayadayada. Moving on.

3. “You make everything about race. Not everything is about race!” 

Oh hunty.

First of all, I didn’t make everything about race. Guess who did? White people.

“When race emerged in human history, it formed a social structure (a racial social system) that awarded systemic privileges to Europeans („whites‟) over non-Europeans („non-whites‟). Racialized social systems , or white supremacy for short, became global and affected all societies where Europeans extended their reach. ..a society‟s racial structure is the totality of the social relations and practices that reinforce white privilege…the task is to uncover the particular social, economic, political, social control and ideological mechanisms for the reproduction of racial privilege in a society.” Bonilla-Silva 2006

Race is a social construct, but they created a system in which they benefit from being white and seen as human and people of color were seen as less than and like experimented on us and shit, like lab rats.

So, that being said, white people still benefit from the idea that there are certain hereditary qualities determined by race, breed, and ability that make some people more suitable for certain jobs and power than others – aka eugenics. I wonder who the master race is? And even if you’re not a full-blown eugenics major, the microagressions associated with the school of thought comfortably still exist in society and media. Long story short – people still develop preconceived notions about a person’s character based on their race.

I’m not saying that EVERYTHING is about race, and that was hyperbole on their part to begin with, but people often underestimate how often race is a factor in the events of everyday life, for people of color that is, because of the following statement:

4. “I don’t see color.” 

Yes. You. Do. Yes. You. Do. We all see it, we just don’t all know how it affects us and affects the way we interact with people. Odds are, if you aren’t afraid to talk about race, you’re probably less racist/prejudiced than those who claim to not see race. Racism is not something that can only be manifested by verbal battery and use of racial slurs. Actually, many of the worst acts of racism are usually silent or passive-aggressive. Someone who feels comfortable acknowledging the racial diversity present in the room and speaking openly on racial issues amongst people of color or people of other races is probably more enlightened as to how to unlearn the microagressions of racism/prejudice that are passed down to us by the previous generation, society, and media. Those who don’t feel comfortable bringing up race amongst mixed company are probably, no, definitely more comfortable bringing it up when they’re only around other people like them, in which case, there is usually no one to check them or call them out for saying something offensive, which you may or may not have known was offensive beforehand.

You cannot, I repeat, CANNOT, claim to not be racist/prejudiced unless you actively take steps to unlearn those things, whereas the opposite is more often than not, very passive and innate.

And lastly, lying and saying that you don’t see race or that race doesn’t affect how you treat people is not only ignorant but it’s also offensive. Saying that you don’t see race is saying that you treat people as if they’re exactly like you which implies that the only way people can get along is if we’re all the same. This is also known as colorblind racism. It’s also stupid just because, if you really treat everyone like they’re the same you’re probably ignoring many cultural differences and you probably overstep your boundaries a lot (i.e. If I say nigga, you (a non-black person) can’t say it right along with me. We’re not the same and the word is not yours to reclaim. Why? Because I’m black!)

So to answer number 3 more closely, a lot of things are about race because everyone sees it but not everyone takes steps to unlearn racism/prejudice so it affects the way a lot of people treat others, often in a negative way. Just because you don’t want to deal with that reality, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

5. “Not everyone is racist.” 

True. People of color can’t be racist – See number 1. However, ALL —and I’m only going to say this once, so listen very closely, ALL WHITE PEOPLE ARE RACIST. Yes, I said it. Nowadays, apologists and white feminists online don’t want to speak any truth that might make them lose followers but if I don’t tell you the truth, who will? All white people are racist, all people of color are prejudiced, all men are sexist, all straight people are homophobic, all cisgender people are transphobic, all able people are ableist, all people who are privileged in a certain aspect are unaware of how they are privileged and the way they abuse that privilege, and all marginalized groups are capable of internalized hatred and prejudice against themselves and others marginalized in the same way UNTIL they take active steps to unlearn those ideas that are currently society’s default.

I’ll give y’all a second to wipe up your privileged tears so that we can move on.

Not having the intention to be racist does not make you not racist. 

Not having the intention to be racist does not make you not racist. 

Not having the intention to be racist does not make you not racist.

Ignorance is not an excuse for racism, so if someone calls you out for being racist, don’t be so quick to say “I’m not racist!” because you’re most likely lying.

6. “I’m so sorry you thought I was being racist but—“

But nothing. If you are a white person, you do not get to define what racism is to people of color; you do not get to tell us what it’s like to be us. You have never experienced racism — no, shut up and read number 1 again — therefore you have no means by which to judge it. So if a person of color says something is racist – listen. Also, don’t proceed to say anything after the “I’m sorry”. Everyone knows that “I’m sorry but–” is not an apology and anything less than an apology is a way in which you’re using your privilege to continue to silence people of color, so at that point, don’t pretend to care about not being racist and don’t pretend to be an ally either.

7. “White people are oppressed too.”

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Yes, there are several –ia’s and –ism’s that can marginalize white people in addition to people of color (homophobia, transphobia, classism, ableism, anti-Semitism, etc.); however; white people are not oppressed on the basis of race.

8. “Racism is in the past; we’re post-racial now.”

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Ok. Anyone stupid enough to say this is not worth my time or energy. NEXT!

9. “Yeah, of course there’s racism, but things are never going to change. What’s the point in dwelling on it? It’s not like we can do anything about it.

In my eyes, this is a thousand times worse than number 8. It’s one thing to not want to make a change because you don’t think that there is anything that needs to be changed, which, coming from a position of privilege or a victim of internalized hatred, is almost understandable – almost, but to know that there is injustice in the world but trying to silence those around you who have taken to civil unrest because your internalized inferiority makes you think there’s nothing that can be done about it? That’s just evil.

Every time marginalized groups gather and create a movement to bring about change, change is accomplished. Every damn time. I.E. Civil rights movements, women’s rights movements, gay rights movements, etc. etc. etc.

I especially don’t understand Americans who think like this since this country is so young and yet so much change has been accomplished in such short periods of time. Black people have come a long way from being considered only 3/5 of a human being — not nearly far enough, but far.

The same person who says the ignorant phrase above, also says that people back then were different from people now because people now don’t care. Well first of all, you’re part of the problem, and second, look at the way society runs now. We no longer have to rely on biased government-endorsed news stations to report and spread news. We are the news. Information spreads so much faster now and we have the ability to access all the information we want to know at the touch of a button. Does everyone take advantage of that? No. But guess what? Social media and my friends (my woke friends) are largely what got me involved with social justice. Instead of polluting the air with your ignorant, inaccurate, defeatist nonsense, why not start a conversation with people you know. People can’t care about things they don’t know about and people can’t change things they don’t think they have the power to, but make no mistake, people can change things. We have, we are, and we will always continue to, despite people like that trying to convince us otherwise.

10. “Maybe if people stopped talking about race/racism so much it wouldn’t be that big of a problem! All you’re doing is dividing us.”

Racism is not an awkward situation that only gets more awkward if you talk about it. Race is not like a hashtag on twitter that barely anybody knows about or notices until people keep using it and it starts trending. Talking about racism is not like throwing garbage into a landfill where the more you talk about it, the bigger the pile gets and the worse the problem gets. Mentioning race is not like saying Bloody Mary in the bathroom mirror three times and all of a sudden the haunting ghost figure appears; however, some people do get scared like it is.

Talking about racism is like walking in on your parents having sex. In the back of your mind you’ve always known that your parents had sex at least once (to make you), but you never really think about it because it makes you uncomfortable. But now, since you’ve walked in on them, it’s become more of a reality that you either have to deal with and come to terms with or remain uncomfortable for the rest of your life.

Those who acknowledge the existence of racism are not responsible for the persistence of racism.

We’re already divided. Racism already exists. Like I noted in the previous point, those who talked about race all the time and shouted about their struggles in the streets are the ones responsible for making a difference, not those who went on shucking and jiving and tap dancing for massa. Yeah, I went there, because this is something I mainly get from people of color. Learn your history and stop being dim. Pretending to be white is not going to give you white privilege so gtfo with your Rachel Dolezal ass.

And here’s a special 11th one because I love y’all so much.

11. “You don’t have to be so rude about it!”

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#WhiteGirlsDoItBetter: White Feminism, Black Twitter, & Misogynoir

Just last week, the Twitter-sphere was invaded by the trending tag, #whitegirlsdoitbetter. Many of the pictures featured were of white women with “fat asses” twerking, or trying to at least, or posing haughtily with captions like “RT to ruin a black girl’s day” or “White girls winning” along with the infamous tag. The premise behind it is that black women are only good for their bodies, mainly having bigger butts than other races typically, but if white women also have large asses, there’s no longer use for black women. I’m pretty sure that thought process is what ruins our day more than white girls in butt pads.

Not soon after this blatant act of misogynoir started, Black Twitter swooped in to remedy the situation by serving the tea scalding hot and busting a few guts while they were at it. Many tweets focused on hot topics like cultural appropriation and the exclusion of women of color in mainstream feminism, otherwise known as white feminism. My favorite were tweets concerning Serena Williams’ recent win, leaving Maria Sharapova to humbly be gifted second place, because her win set off a chain of racialized body-shaming in the media that has actually been going on for the duration of her career, attempting to overshadow her tremendous accomplishments. Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 5.06.54 PM

Where are the lies?

 Screenshot_2015-07-14-13-56-20-1 Screenshot_2015-07-14-13-55-32-1 Black Instagram didn’t do so bad either. Screenshot_2015-07-14-13-35-25-1 Needless to say, Black Twitter was not happy. This is also not the first instance of rampant misogynoir on social media and misogynoir has been in existence for just as long as anti-Black racism has. Many instances happen, sadly, within the Black community, most specifically by cisgender straight black men who somehow manage to promote themselves as “pro-Black” while simultaneously upholding white supremacist respectability politics, praising Eurocentric beauty standards, and refusing to acknowledge the multitude of black people who identify with the LGBTQIA+ spectrum and therefore alienating the majority of black people in the world; however, this time we’re talking about white women.

Even though straight, white, cisgender men hold the most privilege in society, when white women fail to check their privilege or demonstrate acts of shameless racism, it can be a touchier subject. The reason being is that straight cisgender white women’s privilege is affected by one factor: sexism. The shared experiences of sexism and misogyny in patriarchal societies is what brings together women of all races, classes, sexual orientations, abilities or disabilities, and so forth, under the umbrella movement of feminism — or at least it’s supposed to. Things go awry when WCS (white cisgender straight)  women fail to check their privilege. Not all women’s struggles are the same: women of color experience racism and sexism simultaneously, the same way that lesbian/bisexual/pansexual/etc. women experience sexism and homophobia together and trans women experience sexism and transphobia, also known as transmisogyny. An example is the gender/race wage gap. wagegapbrokenupbyrace-011 We’ve often heard how women make .77 cents to a man’s dollar; meanwhile, only white women make that amount. Latina and Hispanic women make the least of all women and the only race of women who make more on average than white women are Asian women. White women even make more than all men of color. gr-race-earnings-624 This “oversight” or, the way I see it, purposeful omission, should completely change the way we talk about the wage gap, that’s if we don’t want to be done dirty like we were during the fight for women’s suffrage. Long story short, feminism has had a long history of white women claiming that “We’re all in this together” and then in the same breath, silence women of color and use our support to only benefit themselves.

So now along with the privelege and the persisting white feminism, we have a new generation of white women who are envious of the hyper-sexualization of black women and the lack of agency it affords us — yeah.Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 4.59.23 PM

It’s a twisted and tangled web of inferiority from internalized misogyny that actually almost has me feeling bad for white women — almost. In order to appease the male gaze and satisfy fickle male-dictated beauty standards, white women have resorted to tearing down black women for possessing the only things that black women have that white women don’t, according to society. Black women are often “praised” for their bodies: having big lips, big butts, tan skin (mostly where light-skinned black women are concerned), and curvy figures in general. My guess is that all white women have been in a coma since the beginning of colonization where they have been the standard of beauty that has been imposed on women of all races all over the world. Black women were ridiculed and shamed for their bodies, even put in human zoos, while white women were concurrently taking steps to imitate and appropriate those very same features (i.e. bustles). I’m sorry, did I say were? I mean are.

Then…

7_Human-zoo

Now…

 

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All the above are examples of the objectification of black women by none other than white women.

Black women, especially those who posses these features that are so sought after by white women are systematically shamed and ridiculed in society, especially with racialized slut-shaming terms like hoe and thot, that assist the view that black women’s sexuality is dangerous and must be controlled while the media simultaneously exploits it. Yet, white women (and sometimes non-Black women of color), who either naturally have these features or acquire them artificially, are praised and are allowed to maintain sexual agency and bodily autonomy over themselves while being recognized as the epitome of beauty and feminine allure, both having the assumed purity and humanity of whiteness with the sexual allure of typically black features (i.e. Kylie Jenner, Kim Kardashian, Iggy Azalea).

Alright, so let’s recap shall we? White women are pretty much the most protected of all women,  society’s beauty standards are made to reflect them (big butts, big lips, and tan skin only “came into fashion” once they were achievable by white women), people of color, women of color especially, have less privelege than them, women of color have literally fought for their rights time and time again in the name of “feminism”, and yet, they feel the need to remind us of how they’re “winning” when women of color have been losing for centuries. Nice. #whitegirlsdoitbetter Screenshot_2015-07-12-09-34-28

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