Transition to Freedom
Today is the last day of International Women's Month as well as the last day of quarter one of 2019. As such, I wanted to do a video blog because 1) I haven't done a blog post in a long time and 2) I have a lot to say and I didn't think a written post would do you or me justice.
In the video, I share what I have been doing in the past few month and how I am TRANSITIONING to become the best version of myself.
Would your viewpoint of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. change if he still was a prominent leader in the American civil rights movement yet married “Becky” instead of Coretta?
Ummm... Something that makes you ponder.
We would hope that our viewpoint wouldn't change about the great Dr. King based on whom he married, but as "woke" Black people, we tend to change how we view activists and artists who are "woke" and date white people because we believe that the dichotomy of wokeness and dating (or marrying) white can’t exist.
I know that was an out-of-the-blue, random question but it stemmed from attending a book signing at Barnes and Noble this last Sunday.
Franchesca "Chescaleigh" Ramsey (popular from The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore on Comedy Central and MTV's web series Decoded) did an eight-city nationwide book tour to promote her new book, Well, that Escalated Quickly (WTEQ). I must admit, I really didn't know much about Franchesca. I vaguely remembered her from the 4 Black Lives Matter Myths Debunked episode of Decoded. I didn't have an interest in going to the conversation/Q&A/book signing because I didn't know much about her and I wasn't really interested in purchasing the book to learn more about her. But after I saw that Atlanta's own Myleik, CEO of Curlbox and Black Boss Lady in her own right, was going to be hosting the conversation at Franchesca's Atlanta stop, I decided to buy her book so I could be an engaged participant during the conversation/Q&A/book signing.
Amazon Prime, in all its awesomeness, delivered WTEQ to me two days after I ordered it. I was well on my way to see how Franchesca escalated things so quickly (pun intended)! In the first chapter, I learned that she was the beauty and brains behind Sh*t White Girls Say…to Black Girls (SWGSTBG) and I immediately went to YouTube to review the video. To my surprise, this was the same comedic video that I laughed my ass off when I saw it six years ago. So I plugged into her channel and watched videos that she posted years ago, including her hair tutorial video since, like me, she is a fellow loc'd Queen. Then I clicked the link to her wedding video of her marrying the love of her life, Pat. When I saw Pat was white, I cringed.
Why was I cringing when I saw this beautiful, Black woman marrying the love of her life and her best friend?
Because like many black people who identify with being "woke," I didn't believe that any true activist who spoke out on the injustices against black and brown people could or should date (or marry) someone white.
I pondered this as I read her book and prepared to attend her book signing. I started thinking about Donald Glover, W. Kamau Bell, Jordan Peele, Wanda Sykes, Serena Williams, and the list of celebrities who have spoken on racial issues and social injustice yet date (and marry) white people. Outside of the two flings I had in my 20s with white males, I have never had a serious relationship with anyone outside of my race, so I had no idea how a "woke" Black person could date a white person and why they would want to do so.
When I arrived at the Barnes & Noble, I saw a sea of beautiful black women mixed with a sprinkle of black men and other races. As I sat in my chair in the second row, I felt anxious. I was eager to hear what Franchesca had to say about her book but more importantly, wanted to know if someone would ask her about being an activist while married to a white man.
Fortunately, I didn't have to wait that long. The host of the conversation, Myleik, candidly asked her about her viewpoint on it.
And this is what Franchesca had to say:
The points that she made were valid and her input opened my eyes to a different perspective that I would not have understood since I have never been in a serious relationship with a white man.
Sometimes, as a "woke", Black, cisgender, Christian woman, I turn a blind eye to issues that don't affect me personally. But God has a way of humbling me to understand the struggles of others and empathize with people who don't necessarily look like me. As a Black woman, I can still empathize with the struggles of Black men, especially when it comes to the legal system. As a Christian, I can advocate for Muslims. As a cisgender woman, I can still weep over transpeople who are brutally murdered over how they identify themselves.
Franchesca taught me a small yet powerful lesson: Whoever a person dates does NOT shield them from social injustice, racism, sexism, and xenophobia. Dating a man does not shield me from the experiences of males making inappropriate remarks to me. Likewise, people dating outside of their race are not shielded from experiencing racism. I can still advocate for Black men even though I'm a woman and a brown or black person dating a white person can still advocate for social equity. When you hear about or see an injustice being committed AND KNOW THAT IT IS WRONG, you can (and should) call it out.
So if Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. still wrote Letter from Birmingham Jail, gave the I Have a Dream speech, marched from Selma to Montgomery and decided to marry Becky instead of Coretta, I would still respect him as the civil rights hero that he is because of his leadership in the American civil right movement.
.The last full week in January 2018 has been deemed "The Blame Game: Black Women Edition."
From the reprise of the John Grey's clip, "Be Delivered from the Spirit of Girlfriend," to two Black male music artist Black female bashing, Black women can't get a break.
In videos that have resurfaced on social media: Kevin McCall and J. Holiday gave us a piece of their mind on Black women:
Kevin McCall stated:
"The issue in the Black community right now is a dating issue and a parenting issue, specifically for Black women because my mother was a Black woman...Women, y'all need to stop putting this white man and this job before yourself, before your destiny, before your children. And then you wonder why ni**as can't really rock with you like that cause you trying to do our job."
And J. Holiday had this to say:
“So apparently, the Black man is still losing to the women. I get it. No disrespect. I was raised by a woman. I have two older sisters. I have absolute, all respect for Black women. But with that being said, understand this, man. Black men, African American men, men from the hood, we go through everything to make sure that who we care about are taken care of. We don’t swing our dicks around. We don’t do all this bullsh*t to be seen. I could be that n*gga over here f*cking n*ggas up. I know a whole lot of b*tch a** n*ggas that sing that I could call they a** the f*ck out. But I don’t. And understand this, I got daughters, man.Cardi, Beyoncé, SZA all y’all muthaf*ckas stop using that f*cking pain to make it ok to say some f*ck sh*t on your record and get nominated for a Grammy for going through some bullsh*t cuz so have I as a Black muthaf*cking man.”
I'm not sure what satisfaction some Black men get out of telling Black women everything they feel is "wrong" with the Black woman. I think deep down inside some Black men are displacing their insecurities on us. Black women are the most abundant group obtaining college degrees and the fastest growing group to start businesses. We are winning, some of us without a man present and that hurts the ego of some Black men who then suddenly become relationship experts who then, blame Black women for everything wrong in Black love. Most of their arguments are futile that stems from abused egos that have suffered years without an outlet.
Black men pride themselves on being strong, but many of them equate that with not showing emotion, often referring to a Black man who does as a "b*tch a** n*gga". The lack of emotion and the hypermasculinity breeds unresolved issues which are deflected on to the Black women. I pray that Black men begin to uncover truths about themselves and their feelings and learn how to deal with the issues of powerlessness imposed on them by a racist and oppressive society. Only then, can they heal from centuries of pain, become accountable, and move forward toward growth and love.
One man, in particular, can attest to the healing powers of therapy and understand the pain of Black women:
Until these Black female bashing, pseudo-psychologist, relationship experts get it together, just gain insight and advice from Kanye West:
And I always find, yeah,
I always find something wrong
You been putting up with my shit just way too long
I'm so gifted at finding what I don't like the most
So I think it's time for us to have a toast
Let's have a toast for the douchebags,
Let's have a toast for the assholes,
Let's have a toast for the scumbags,
Everyone of them that I know
Let's have a toast for the jerk-offs
That'll never take work off
Baby, I got a plan
Run away fast as you can
- Kayne West on "Run Away"
When you are faced with a misogynistic, emotionally damaged Black Man who wants to impose his deep-rooted issues on you, run away!
That's how I felt this morning after I saw a clip of John Gray telling women that when they carry themselves like wives, then a man will find them.
I respect John Gray as a pastor and a man of God but I'm fed up with men, especially Black men, giving their (unsolicited) opinion to women in a way that puts burdens of shame on single women.
For the past few years, Black men have become self-proclaimed experts on relationships. Tyrese, Rev Run, Steve Harvey, etc. have made money off of the vulnerability of the Black woman's desire to be loved romantically.
Humans are relational. We were made to connect with others and thrive as a collective. And because of our human nature, we want to share our lives with others, particularly a life partner. Yet, statistically, Black women have one of the highest percentages of being unwed.
According to Black Demographics, Black women were more likely to be married than white women until about 1970. During the 1970s, when Black women finally were able to get proper assistance from the government, provisions in welfare laws offered more economic incentives for single mothers. Two-parent families who had a man working a low-wage job were often penalized and received up to 20% less assistance than single mothers. The economic incentives for single moms created cohabitation because marriage would result in a substantial loss of aid to the family. The rise of cohabiting households caused a decline in marriage in the Black community and damaged the connection between Black men and Black women. Since then, Black women have been "Waiting to Exhale" longing to breathe in a world where Black love manifest.
In the midst of our pain, so-called relationship experts were birth. These emotional predators profited from emotionally abused Black women. They had us thinking their opinions were the answers to finding and keeping a man.
We have been told to fit a certain criteria in order to be married. We have been told that we need to cook, clean, be polished, be a lady, cover up, be sexy, not be promiscuous, be a freak in the bed, don't be angry in order to be loved. A list of do's and don'ts were our answer to being in a committed relationship. But how many relationships have flourished from these list?
When Jay-Z's released 4:44, a lot of women commended him for being transparent about his infidelity and being vulnerable to publicly apologize to his wife, Beyonce. I think so many women applauded Jay-Z because he didn't blame Beyonce (or Becky with the good hair) for his infidelity. He admitted his faults and strived to do better. He did everything in his power to make his marriage better. As women, we are tired of getting blamed for the lack of Black love. Jay-Z, in a sense, told men to be accountable, do better, and be better for Black women.
Black women have been the most emotionally battered group in the world. Since slavery, we have been told that everything is wrong with us, from the way we look to how we act. As of late, it has been us, the Sisterhood, to encourage each other and shower each other with love. And maybe that's where the love starts. Not from men but from ourselves and from God. We need to drown out the pseudo-gurus and love on each other like never before. We are enough NOW, as is, before we learn how to cook, before we wait 90 days to have sex, before we get rid of the "girlfriend" spirit and before we (fill in the blank). Yes, we all have room to grow and be better, but because we do (or don't do) something does not mean we are not worthy of love. We are worthy of love NOW.
Advocating for diversity and inclusion is not a fashion statement but a lifestyle that is reflected by ones actions and words.
L'Oreal Paris UK recently fired transgendered model, Munroe Bergdorf. In a Facebook post that has since been deleted, Bergdorf reported said: "Honestly I don’t have energy to talk about the racial violence of white people any more. Yes ALL white people. Because most of ya’ll don’t even realise or refuse to acknowledge that your existence, privilege and success as a race is built on the backs, blood and death of people of color...Your entire existence is drenched in racism. From micro-aggression to terrorism, you guys built the blueprint for this s***... Come see me when you realise that racism isn’t learned, it’s inherited and consciously or unconsciously passed down through privilege. Once white people begin to admit that their race is the most violent and oppressive force of nature on Earth… then we can talk.”
Companies and people like L'Oréal use social justice as marketing tools to appear inclusive, diverse, and socially conscious while giving backlash to people of color who speak the truth about the insidious and rampant reality of racism and inequality. People of color are often used for their charm and beauty for the benefits of whites until people of color use their activism to speak against oppression, violence, systematic racism, and ecomonic and social inequality.
As the great Angela Davis said, "In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist. We must be anti-racist."
The Four Women Blog is boycotting all L'Oréal products. We will not support any people or companies who use social issues for economic gain or social notoriety. Practice what you preach! #istandwithmunroe
The revitalization of many major urban US cities has been a topic of discussion for the last 20 years. Areas that were once crime and drug ridden have transformed into areas of increased social and economic development. But many people question if gentrification helps the low-income families who already live in the area or benefits the middle- and upper-class who are moving into the neighborhoods. While the gentrification process lowers crime rates and increases fiscal revenues for the city, many local businesses and lower-income families are displaced because of rent increase.
Why is it that the largest group of college graduates and the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs are making less money compared to any other group?
Essence Magazine gives the scoop of this alarming disparity.
Black women would have to work approximately 731 extra days in order to be paid the same amount as white men. We must #resist the status quo and demand #BlackWomensEqualPay
Written by Shatara Monet
Oh Black woman ! Why are you so upset?
Walking around here with your face like that?
What has the world done to you besides hurt you with no regrets?
Some days I feel like I carry the weight of the world on my shoulders and can't pick my head up. Even with that feeling inside, the world still thinks I am angry and stuck up. It hurts to carry this pain and look myself in the face and pretend its okay. I suffer and most times I suffer alone. That is why my face looks like black stone.
Oh black woman! You have always been strong you can think like that because you are wrong. Give it to Jesus ! Say his name! I promise if you believe in him you will change.
What about the times I called on Jesus and Jesus never came. What happened to the time when I said his name and I didn't change. Why cant my feelings be real? Why can't my village help me heal? You want me to get on my knees and pray my pain away. Give it God and still feel the same way?
Oh Black Woman ! Why are you playing victim? Your not suffering your just being weak. You should be grateful you have a place to sleep. You have been doing this for 400 years so why change now? Count your blessings and don't question God. It is a reason your here , your trials make you strong.
See thats where your wrong, because depression and anxiety is real and it doesn't make me feel strong. Even when I know things around me are good I still think everything is wrong. I feel like I always hurt the people around me.
To be continued...
Before being woke was the "it" thing, Jodie Landon from MTV's Daria had her eyes wide open. As an African American teen at Lawndale High, she understood the dynamics of being a minority in a majority white population. She was refined, intelligent, and unapologetically black which is why she is our #WCW!
In May 2008, the US House of Representatives declared July as the Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. Throughout the month of July, minority mental health awareness advocates and organizations increase public awareness of mental illness among minorities in order for improved access to mental health treatment and services among minorities.
Mental health issues affects 1 in 5 Americans but African American women remain one of the most undertreated groups for depression in the United States. When a black woman suffers from a mental disorder, the opinion is that she is weak. And weakness in black women is intolerable. African-American women experience higher rates of depression than their white female or black male counterparts, but receive lower rates of treatment for depression — specifically adequate treatment due to racial and cultural needs not being met. A 2012 report published by researchers at the University of Wisconsin found that poverty, parenting, racial and gender discrimination put African-American (AA) women — especially low-income AA women — at greater risk for major depressive disorder (MDD).
A national campaign [is needed] to destigmatize mental illness, especially one targeted toward African Americans... It's not shameful to have a mental illness. Get treatment. Recovery is possible."
- Bebe Moore Campbell, 2005