This week, my mind has been tracing back to these distinct moments in my elementary and middle school social studies classes growing up. I remember when we first learned about slavery, the Reconstruction, Jim Crow, and the Civil Rights Movement. I remember thinking that I couldn’t imagine being alive during a period of such racial turmoil and hatred toward people of color. I couldn’t fathom the physical strength and mental resilience that it took my ancestors to endure such dangerous and toxic conditions day in and day out, constantly living in a state of fear and uneasiness, knowing that there was no system to protect your basic human rights because the only system that was in place was created to abuse and oppress you. After that thought is done, my mind traces back to these moments of shock and horror as a little girl, listening to my mother tell me about the America that she grew up in, and the America that her parents grew up in. I remember her rubbing my back gently and reminding me that things aren’t like they used to be, baby. Things are much better now.
Continue reading “Processing the End of a ‘Post-Racial’ Era of Political Correctness”
I spend a lot of my quiet, introspective, alone time focused on my personal development by way of unravelling the many layers of my identity. In other words, I’ll sit and ask myself questions like, “Who and what have had the greatest influence on the person I am today?” “How did the environment that I was immersed in for most of my upbringing and adolescence impact the way in which I perceive people and the world as an adult?” And, “When did I start caring about my Blackness more than I care about the other elements of my identity?
Continue reading “3 Reasons Why I Always Seem To Be Discussing Race”
I have proudly indulged in Ben & Jerry’s ice cream for over a decade. It’s unique flavor combinations have complemented my high school breakups, accented my gossipy girls nights in, and served as the perfect pick-me-up after long, stressful days at work. But last week, when I found out that Ben & Jerry’s released a bold statement standing in solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter movement and speaking out against systemic and institutionalized racism, I had never been so proud to have given one company so much of my money over the years. Continue reading “3 Important Lessons that Ben & Jerry’s Support for #BlackLivesMatter Taught Us”
Donald Trump and I live in two very different Americas.
He lives in an America where irresponsibly spewing baseless judgments, accusations and declarations about anyone and anything without justification will win you an army of devoted supporters. I live in an America where presenting a well-researched argument with multiple scholastic references will still leave my knowledge and competence of the subject area at hand in question. He lives in an America where there are no consequences for a consistently poor and questionable track record of work. I live in an America where making one small mistake will impact my entire reputation and be leveraged as the reason for why I am unqualified for certain positions or opportunities. He lives in America where treating people with disrespect isn’t a reflection of anything but his own poor manners. I live in an America where emphasizing a point a little too strongly makes me aggressive, unapproachable, and part of the reason why Black women are so unlovable. He lives in an America that excuses and rationalizes his pervasive character flaws. I live in an America where my oversights are representative of everything that’s wrong with Black America.
Continue reading “What White Men Can Get Away With, But I Never Will | Unpacking White Male Privilege”
It’s been a painful and challenging week. From stomaching the horrifying deaths of two unarmed Black men at the hands of white police officers, to watching or being among the protesters in Charlotte being teargassed, to being subjected to listening to the distorted, institutional biased media coverage, all while having to show up and be fully present at work and in our daily routines, I’ve straddled between feeling drained and distraught all week.
Continue reading “Learning to Love On You When the World Isn’t”
In a perfect world, we’d all see eye to eye. Despite our differences, we’d understand each other’s lived experiences, and lead with demonstrating empathy and support. We’d avoid making harsh generalizations or rash judgments, and rather than characterizing or shunning certain behaviors and stances that we didn’t understand, we would graciously accept the fact that not understanding something doesn’t make it wrong.
Continue reading “Leading with Dialogue Rather than Criticism | Understanding the Racial Blindspots of White People”
This week, I’ve had the privilege of attending the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 46th Annual Legislative Conference in Washington, DC. Here, I’m surrounded by inspiring, Black change-agents who are all working tirelessly to eradicate the social and systemic injustices that plague our community. For a few days, we don’t feel like minorities. We look around rooms full of positional power, and we see ourselves. For a few days, we don’t have to justify our feelings or make a case for our perspectives; we don’t have to code switch or rework our standpoints so they fit within the unspoken dominant expectation. For a few days, we are surrounded by a sea of raw, authentic, beautiful Blackness. And it feels good.
Continue reading “Learning to Play the Game to Change the Game”