Demonizing Motherhood

attachment parenting, Social Justice, Women's Health

In the last few weeks/months we’ve seen a plethora of celebrity pregnancy announcements and pregnancy photo shoots. Women like Beyonce, Ciara, Blac Chyna, and Serena. All have been beautiful!!!! Yet I continue to find myself falling down the rabbit hole called “the comment section”. I can hear yall now…. “No…. don’t EVER read the comments!”. I already know this, but since I’ve done it, I may as well vent.

Never in my life have I seen so many folks hate on the miracle that is “giving life”. After noticing this in the comment sections, I began to see it in real life and realizing it applied even to my own life. Black people are quick to tell you not to have any more children no matter your circumstances, even villify you for having more than to, or go so far as to scare you away from the thought of child birth.

So here we are again, black folks policing one another for doing something as normal as being pregnant and giving birth.

Please explain to me, why are we like this?

I found myself guilty of hiding my pregnancy from those close to me and my community, at the risk of gossip and chatter. I didn’t announce that I was pregnant with Jojo until I literally had no choice. I was 30 weeks pregnant and back in my hometown where I knew someone would eventually see me. I tried to get pregnant and we planned this baby, yet I felt shame! We have programmed ourselves to be embarrassed about natural things.

If people like Ciara, Beyonce, Blac Chyna, and Serena are slandered at every turn for getting pregnant (all under various circumstances, not that it should matter anyway), what hope is there for average folks like us? Ciara was ripped to shreds by black men and women alike for her photo shoot with new husband and toddler, Beyonce accused of blasphemy and glorifying what pregnancy is/should be, Blac Chyna was called every name under the sun including a gold digging bitch, and Serena somehow hates herself and got pregnant out wedlock (all in the same sentence).

Someone explain to me why we hate ourselves so much, why do we hate the thought of our sisters bringing life into this world. Why is it so hard to believe that we might equate ourselves to goddesses for being able to sustain another life? We are doing things that are at the very root of who we are and what our bodies are made for and people hate us for it. It’s disgusting to say the very minimum. I can’t say that I’m very surprised either, I’ve expressed my disappointment in black men in previous post… They slander us at every turn and are silent when we need them. Yes, I still see you. Pretend revolutionaries, if you tear down your women… You are tearing down the base of your so-called revolution.

There is a literal criminalization of black mothers in the justice department, if something happens to our children we are directly at fault. Even if its at the hands of another, but God forbid we are pregnant and happy about it… we are heathens for that as well. Having immediate access to videos of our husbands, brothers, sisters, and children gunned down in the streets is a form of reproductive injustice. Black women are literally afraid to have children. Even with this reality, women are attempting to celebrate these moments and OTHER BLACK PEOPLE WANT TO RIP THIS MOMENT FROM THEM!

Stop it, stop contributing to the Jezebel, welfare queen, single mother rhetoric and start celebrating these women. Celebrate normal everyday women along with the celebrities. Stop judging women for doing things that are natural and normal. Don’t you dare comment on how many children a black woman has, don’t ask if they are done, don’t tell your horrific birth stories, don’t do any of it. We are already victims of sexism AND racism, don’t contribute to it. Misogynoir is real, and if you don’t know what it is, look it up.

It’s time to start celebrating our womanhood.

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Dear Black Men

Social Justice

Dear Black Men,
I came to you two weeks ago with concerns about your lack of representation in regards to Korryn Gaines; I was met with white noise and static. Again you met us with silence, and those who did respond to the issue at hand responded to us with ignorance and anger. You met us with hostility and victim shaming, once again you did nothing to protect us.
I don’t need your responses of “not all black men…’ or “maybe if she had done this or that differently”. You sound like the white apologist that blame us for our own deaths, and expect respectability politics and compliance to keep us alive. You love black women in their effort to love you unconditionally but you treat us like Kaepernick critics when we hold you accountable. All your life you’ve been waiting to disrespect us when we step out of line, or call you on your shit. Waiting for the opportune time to call us bitter black bitches when we hold you responsible for your actions or lack there of. We have stood up for you for so long that WE are the true MARTYR’S in this cause. You want us to suffer so black liberation can live; you want to be liberated so you can further oppress us.
Nate Parker’s rape allegations have come forward and hear you are once again, vilifying victims. Using black liberation as an excuse for sexual assault, using conspiracy theories to shame a dead victim. Why do we, a new generation, continue to feed the code of silence? That black women should not condemn black men when they are indeed some of our most vicious abusers. And maybe you personally have not sexually assaulted anyone, but maybe you stood idly by while your homeboy did, or listened in on crass conversations and said nothing. You’re guilty, and you don’t want to hear that. Our community confuses holding you accountable with criticism; it’s not the same thing. Accountability improves our community and makes us better; it helps us to raise better men and encourages conversations about rape culture and consent.
While you’re defending Nate Parker’s “alleged” actions, he’s admitting to them and admitting to his privilege. He admitted she was unconscious and he took advantage of her. He admitted that he never really understood or learned about consent and rape culture. Nonetheless you can’t get over your own privilege to see that, it’s a lesson that black men in America could all stand to learn and a productive conversation to have. You would much rather burn your own women at the stake in an effort to preserve your pride.
We protect black men at all cost; we protect them so often and so viciously that victims protect their abuser. 60% of black women are sexually assaulted, at least 25% occur in childhood and at least 30% occur in adulthood. These aren’t strangers assaulted women, its people we know. It’s you, your friends, your father, and your uncles. Yet you manage to make excuses about your pervy uncle, further enabling his behavior, and when we come forward you spend your time blaming us. Of the 25% of black women assaulted in childhood, how many of those girls deserved it? Pedophilia within the black community is a real problem, and we encourage it by thinking we can protect our daughters simply keeping them away from Pervy Uncle Joe. 90% of children that are subjected to sexual assault are assaulted by people they know, so you are not protecting your children, you are in fact protecting and enabling Pervy Uncle Joe.
What about those assaulted in adulthood? Their assailants were more than likely not strangers. How many of your friends have gone to a party with the intention of taking a drunk girl home, a girl they know will be comfortable with them? What about your married friends committing spousal rape? What about girls you’ve slept with before these are real situations, situations that you know of. You know about these situations and take part or do nothing. You know about these real life situations and reduce to sluts and whores that got what they went looking for. 
Sexual assault and unhealthy relationships with sex within our communities go all the way back to slavery. Where we were treated like property, raped and beaten in front of our husbands in an effort to diminish your manhood and make you feel helpless. We were forced to bear the masters children in order to produce more livestock, or forced into sex with other slaves in order to create the strongest hardworking offspring. Black women had no choice but to be used as concubines, then suffering the abuses of a jealous spouse. This is where the hypersexualization of black bodies begins, but instead of changing a 400-year-old trend you perpetuate it further. You hypersexualize young black girls, or sit by and listen to your friends do it, you encourage rape culture, and you negate yourself of responsibility when it comes to educating your sons about consent.
So again here we are… begging you to come to our aid. Begging you to see us as victims and not villains. Black men don’t need more allies, you have them, but we do need you. We need you to hold other black men accountable, and we need you to protect us, women and children alike. Stop perpetuating the hypersexualization of our bodies, and taking innocence from us.

The disabled community and police brutality

Social Justice

So just a quick fact about the Holocaust: in a effort to create a pure and superior race the Nazi’s not only murdered Jews but Gypsies (Romanian decent), Slavs, Mulattos, Homosexuals, and the Handicapped.
You may be wondering what that has to do with anything at all, and how it could possibly be relevant today. Well let me share a still very relevant poem by Martin Niemöller that I especially love and the answer may become more apparent.
 

“ First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me”

 

In this fight FOR equality and AGAINST police brutality many people find themselves exempt, or find a certain margin of disconnect between themselves other marginalized people. We cannot use these feelings as an excuse to continue to look the other way in terms of police brutality and disenfranchised groups of people. Right now it may not be about you, but eventually it will be your turn. It has been painfully obvious in this fight against police brutality that no demographic is exempt, women, children, and the disabled are all targets as well.

What has become increasingly difficult for me to watch, is the lack of empathy when it comes to police interaction with people of varying forms of disability. Just here in Charlotte North Carolina, A deaf man by the name of Daniel Kevin Harris was gunned down after what police say a seven mile police chase took place. His brother commented that they both had negative experiences with police officers because of the inability to communicate with him, which is what triggered his fear. He was more than likely trying to get home in order to have someone translate for him. Witnesses say he seemed to be doing sign language in an effort to communicate before being shot to death. Should a difficulty communicating be a death wish?


After once again falling down the rabbit hole of facebook comments I found a plethora of individuals that could once again validate this mans death at every turn. No matter how undeserving it actually was. So how many more people have to die because of a miscommunication? May it be a language barrier or a hearing impairment? What’s more concerning is the lack of education in dealing with individuals with disabilities this puts ALL of our disabled family and friends at risk. They are already 50% of the victims of police brutality. So who do we call to help them when they are in need? Or when we as caretakers are in need of assistance? Because lets not forget the behavioral therapist shot while trying to assist his autistic patient. In reality disabled individuals are the reason for 15% of 911 calls, so why aren’t officers better equipped to handle these situations?

My younger sister has a disability and so does her boyfriend. He recently called 911, nothing was wrong and he was scared upon the arrival of the EMT’s, so because he wouldn’t open the door they called the police for assistance. Imagine how this incident could have very easily been tragic. He could have reacted in a way they may have perceived as threatening. So now we have to have conversations about how dangerous the police can be when essentially they should feel comfortable calling them when necessary.

So this isn’t a fight that black straight men are in alone, women, children and the DISABLED are in this fight too. We have to actually be in this as a united front because we are all in this together and we could all be victims at some point. We have to put enough pressure on our local police that they start to implement change and reform, in order to better police in our communities. We know that none of us are immune, so are you going to wait until this mass genocide affects you? Or continue to hope that you can skate by undetected?           

 

 

#sayhername

Social Justice, Women's Health

I’ve read a million stories and articles about Korryn Gaines, I’ve even watched her videos. No matter what I see, no matter what conflicting evidence I come across… I still sympathize. Why? Because she is me. I see her and understand her fear, her fear for her life and and her children’s lives. A fear of the world we live in, and a fear of the world our children will inherit. My newest fear is, I will die protecting myself and my children and the world will be silent. More importantly out black men will be silent in light of my death. They will riot and protest for other men… But they will be silent for me because I don’t fit the stereotype they have envisioned for black women. Today’s black men want to be Huey Newtons and Malcolm X but they don’t want Angela Davis or Kathleen Cleaver. They want quiet Corettas. 

Not only do black men refuse to speak on this injustice but they want to silence our dialogue! God forbid we mourn our fallen sister or we’ll have wannabe hoteps in the comments telling us why she deserved it, why she was a bad mom, and how crazy she was. I’ve seen more black men protect the image of Miss Teen USA after her use of the N-word, than I’ve seen come to the aid of Korryn. The dialogue they have created is similar to that of “All Lives Matter” and “Blue Lives Matter” crowds. Comment sections are plagued with compliance and respectability politics. “Well maybe she should have gone willingly”, “maybe she should have been respectful”, even “maybe she shouldn’t have had a registered fire arm in her own home”. I wish you could see my eyes rolling back in my head right now at the sheer ignorance.

What about this, “what if she hadn’t been watching our people die on camera for the last three years?” Black women (women in general) don’t just brush things off typically. So while our brothers and sisters are dying on camera, we are mourning every death. We see our family in every victim, and we still have to go on. We are suffering and making every attempt to go on with a normal life. Every death is personal to us, and the fact that this is the case for us and black men find themselves so disconnected from the death of black women disturbs and disgust us. In reality there have been three black women murdered in the last week and I haven’t heard a peep from the peanut gallery, unless it’s been in an effort to dismiss or derail a status that I have posted. I’ve even seen a few people admit to falling short then proceed to liking and commenting on post condemning Korryn. I actually prefer silence to lies.

I know I seem as though I’m taking this entirely too personal, because I am! I personally mourn every victim, I write about and speak about every victim. Yet my brothers are SILENT! This could easily be me, even your wife or girlfriend. The fear and desperation are real. You don’t understand the desperation of the black woman, or a MOTHER’s desperation. Do you know what it’s like to raise little black children and wonder if they will be the next Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, or Michael Brown? Maybe they won’t die, but then you have to worry about them being body slammed at a pool party, maybe even at school by an over zealous police officer or a vigilante. These are real fears, and you don’t understand what it’s like to walk around with this blanket of fear. We even wonder if you will be killed for simply spending time with your family, but that fear isn’t mutual. Because we can die too, for the same things you can be murdered over. Yet our fear for your life and the need to protect you trump the fear we have for our own life.

So imagine years of trauma, systemic oppression, and excessive police force in your home. That constant fear has turned into reality. Desperate to save your life and your child’s, because why would you give your child to the same people that murdered a little boy? Women and children are not exempt in this, that’s painfully obvious. So we protect each other, and we protect our children. Because I don’t see black men protecting us. We have to protect us, by any means necessary.

The last line brings me to my final point: men quote “Any Means Necessary” but don’t understand the concept. The title alone is pretty literal. How are you a true revolutionary and you hinder women in the movement? We ARE the movement! We are the backbone of this cause, and we are moving this revolution forward. We protest for you, we riot for you, we organize, we raise your children, we love you unconditionally, and you spit on us! We coordinated this movement, women! We will continue to fight for you and you will continue to disrespect us, because you think your ego is bigger than this cause.

A reflection on police brutality 

Social Justice

As I become increasingly involved in “The Movement”, (through writing, planning and carrying out events, and speaking engagements) I have become bogged down by emotions and it’s made it harder for me to write these days. And it’s hard because I see myself, my family, and friends in these victims. I even took it upon myself to watch the “The President and the People”, but it only made me increasingly angry and upset. Because we continue to ask for support for “Blue Lives Matter” and we want people to go above and beyond to prove that they are not anti police. `But whose proving to us that they aren’t anti black? I see the anti black rhetoric ALL the time. Who is choosing to stand up to their peers and family members at our expense? I’ve heard people say I’m afraid to send my children out because the Black Lives Matter protestors are out creating a ruckus, or they’re afraid of what will happen to their family members who are police officers.
This is my entire life, except I’m not afraid of protestors because I’m out there with them. I’m afraid of police officers, I’m afraid of what will happen to my husband or child, even my sister or mother. I just recently spoke at candle light vigil for the victims of police brutality(organized by UTEP’s Black Student Union which I’m a member of), where we also gave respect to the police officers in Dallas. I wasn’t a big of some of the things we did but when are we ever all on the accord? Nonetheless I spoke about being fearless in the face of adversity, and by that I meant stop encouraging our children to be victims because this is “A MOVEMENT”. I can’t send my sons out into the world ill prepared: this isn’t the 40’s, 50’s, or 60’s I’m not going to tell my sons that they need to hold their heads down and avert their gaze while speaking to a white person or police officer, Or get caught up in respectability politics and compliance. My son shouldn’t have to do more to avoid being shot by police or vigilantes. We have to stop ruining the childhoods of children of color by telling them not to be too black or brown, and not to have pride in who they are. So many people have to have hard conversations with their children at such a young age. My son cant play with toy guns like most little boys because I’m afraid he’ll be shot within seconds of a police encounter, and the community wont protect him they’ll talk about how he looked so much older and menacing(did you know that’s a problem for children in schools too?) than he actually is and how he shouldn’t have had said toy gun in the first place.
Personally I’m done with the apologist rhetoric, my family is done walking out into life afraid. I can’t constantly be plagued with fear because I see my loved ones in these victims, because at this point we are only accepting accountability for these actions. It has become recklessness with no regard for human life. What’s even worse are the people trying to justify the behavior and the deaths, people that I’ve considered friends.
A disturbing statistic that I’ve come across this week after viewing a video of a North Miami behavioral therapist being shot in front of his patient (whom the police later said they were aiming for), Up to half of victims of police brutality are disabled individuals. For me that’s exceedingly terrifying considering my little sister falls into this category, and like many disabled individuals she has an occasional melt down. If my parents were to call the police for help that would put them all in danger! How disturbing is that? Not only that but my best friend works in a group home with disabled individuals and I fear for her as well, because with a heart similar to my own she would do what she could to protect them if she needed to. I shouldn’t have to worry about her life or the life of my parents for simply doing their jobs, much like this Blue Lives Matter theme we have going on. But your employment and job are temporary, my friends and family will be black forever.
Phillando Castille was simply out with his family when he was killed because he had a registered fire arm which he expressed in the video. That could easily be my father or husband, and society would justify that too. I don’t understand why you wouldn’t be bothered by this? I don’t understand how you can call yourself a friend then justify murder of my people? Because you aren’t truly a friend, you still separate my family and I into the “Other” group, a group you cant really identify with. You just keep us around for entertainment.
Everyday we draw a little closer to an age of disconnect with the black community, and people hate it. They don’t understand why we would separate ourselves when we fought so hard for integration and equal opportunity. We still don’t have it, and honestly black people thrived during segregation because we had to be self-sufficient. As we speak black dollars are being withdrawn from major banks and deposited into black owned banks, children are being withdrawn from school and parents are teaching them at home with amazing black home school communities, black people are quitting their 9-5’s and starting their own businesses. This is the turning point a real revolution, as much as you want to overlook it and turn your head it wont stop. The train has already left the station.