As We Go On…

14 May

In the spirit of graduation season I can help but think about moving forward, growing up, creating new goals and forging ahead past all obstacles to reach them. Right about now, students all over the world are finishing exams, taking a breather, anxiously awaiting that moment when they can stand in line and hear their name called signifying to many that they have made it! Finally, they have made it!

Writing this blog over the past few months has been a very teachable moment for me. I began with the mission to write for a specific audience. An audience who I felt in some way needed me to clarify and teach them a few things. I think now though, that in my writing I have discovered a few things on my own. Towards this ending though, and I say this ending because it is only one ending leading me to the beginning of a new journey, I am fully aware that the prejudices, the racism, the discrimination, the sexism, the stereotypes, all of that does not end once we have become aware of it or conscious to it. No. It does not suddenly disappear and upon gaining this knowledge we do not acquire some innate power to overcome all of these trials and tribulations. Fairytales make it so that we believe this is what happens. Disney makes it so that this is what we believe (though we know a lot about the images Disney portrayed by now don’t we?).

Like graduating from 8th grade into middle school, high school into college, college into the real world, learning all the while; becoming knowledgable about oppression not only in our hegemonic society but in the world calls us to act. If students graduated from 8th grade and just stopped doing work, they likely would not make it through to graduate high school. The same could be said for high schoolers and college grads.

And so in working on this blog this semester, and visiting other blogs centered around similar topics, I have held on to one thing: we must take what we have learned and move forward with it. We must be hungry for education and knowledge.  We Must not let our privilege shield us from the realities of others and most of all we must see the struggle of others as our own struggles that we may be strong enough to combat it as a collective unit. Paulo Freire said that the oppressors are not strong enough to initiate the struggle against oppression because they seem themselves as too far removed from the situation to want to do anything about it. He said that only the oppressed have the power to act because they are angry enough to work towards a change. We as a people must recognize that we all have a role in our oppressive society. We have to learn what that role is, and then work towards a change…

And black women, our black is beautiful for so many reasons, but we too must realize that the struggle is not only ours. As we fight negative stereotypes, media representation, and hurtful comments, we too are fighting against oppression of all people.

THIS is how we fight:

dinner for action 2

We Organize…

Westfield State University's 1st Annual "Dinner for Action", March 2013

Westfield State University’s 1st Annual “Dinner for Action”, March 2013

Collectively...

Collectively…

We Travel...

We Travel…

We become that 1 in a crowd..well, in this case we are 5 in a crowd

We become that 1 in a crowd..well, in this case we are 5 in a crowd

RA Life 2013-2013

RA Life 2013-2013

We Dance...

We Dance…

We Step...

We Step…

As a Family, We Achieve...

As a Family, We Achieve…

We SMILE through the pain....

We SMILE through the pain….

Smile some more...

Smile some more…

We Share Our Stories, WSU Vagina Monologues,2013

We Share Our Stories, WSU Vagina Monologues,2013

We Gather...(Kind of like the Consiousness Raising Groups between women before there were Womens Studies Courses) lol

We Gather…(Kind of like the Consiousness Raising Groups between women before there were Womens Studies Courses) lol

We Graduate...

We Graduate…

And We Fight Back!

And We Fight Back!

So, You Mean I’m NOT Crazy?!

1 May

This week in my web searching, I stumbled across a couple of new WordPress blogs by the names of “Black Girl Thinking” and “Black Stereotypes”. Now, I have my own qualms with the choice of title for either of these blogs, but the content of them, is well, perfect! Sometimes, as a black woman in America, I feel a little bit crazy, just a little bit. Someone may make a racist comment, be sexist towards me, be sexist in general, objectify me, exoticize me…something will happen, and I will deny myself the right to call their actions into question. I will tell myself, “well, maybe they really have never seen a black person before”, or “it’s possible that they really didn’t know that black women could have long natural hair”. I will tell myself these things out of habit. I will tell myself these things to make myself feel more comfortable with the fact that that person is wrong in their actions, or their comments, or their beliefs. BUT, every so often, I encounter another person who can affirm what I feel, who knows I am not crazy in my feelings. I did not read every post on these two blogs. I am not saying I completely agree with every post, but these people know what they’re talking about. I can appreciate that. Visit their blogs to see for yourself!

http://jesuiss.wordpress.com/2012/11/27/black-stereotypes-fried-chicken/

http://blackgirlthinking.wordpress.com/2012/02/01/dear-black-man/

Look at me. NO. Really LOOK at Me..

26 Apr

This woman only scratches the surface of day to day stereotypes black women face. She only scratches the surface of the hurt we feel on a day to day basis because of these stereotypes…. You may have watched this video in disbelief, shaking your head surprised that anyone could ever make such awful assumptions, but if you have friends, family, aquaintances or if you are one who has ever said these things, or thought them, you are just as guilty.

There is so much information out there created to tell you how a black woman thinks, how she lives, how she works, how she looks. I am here to tell you it is ALL wrong! Look at me, really look at me, and then ask. I will tell you whatever you want to know.

Letter to Little Brown Girls

1 Apr

Dear Brown Girl,

You are beautiful. You are radiant and unique and natural and pure. See how the sun rises as you smile and the rain falls when you’re sad. See how the moon glows in your essence. The world, this world, our world revolves around you brown girl, it just doesn’t know it yet. Hold your hand up to the light. You have a brown all your own. Little brown girl you are unique in that. Vanilla Chai to Caramel to that sweet Dulce con Leche, smooth cocoa brown chocolate , dark chocolate good for every man’s heart, and everything in between. Little brown girl do not be afraid of standing out. Do not try and hide behind a man that uses and abuses your brown; Makeup that lightens your brown, hiding that which God hand crafted, and he saw that it was good brown, creating us in his image brown. Money, that comes and goes. Fear.  It’s somethin’ about fear that makes you lose yourself–makes you forget your brown. Little brown girl always remember who you are, where you came from, and where you are going. Remember your roots, your ancestors: African, Dominican, Puerto Rican, West Indian, Caribbean. Little brown girl remember your hips. Embrace them. Move them to the beat of the congas, the ‘ting of the steel pan. Listen to the talking drum and remember what it tells you, remember the history, so that you can one day, pass that brown on to another little brown girl. The smell of mama frying sweet platanos, coconut tart, and curry on a Saturday morning , a mix all her own, and and dance brown girl! Raise your hands, reach towards the sun and remember all that you have done, and all that you can do. Brown girl, this world is yours, it just doesnt know it yet. Straighteners, perms, texturizers, extensions. Mariposa’s “Broken Ends, Broken Promises — Poem for my grifah rican sister” brown. Shout:

Black hair is beautiful.

¡Que viva pelo libre!

¡Que viva!”

And smile, little brown girl, because those who stare, point, laugh, taunt, they do not understand just yet that the sun rises with you, the trees sway when you walk by, the clouds shield you from danger, the grass grows for your comfort, the birds sing to put you at ease, and the moon shines because it knowns that even in the dark, little brown girl, even in the darkest places, your brown is beautiful, and it is all yours.

Brown girl, you are Maya Angelou’s “Caged Bird”, her “Phenomenal Woman”, Neruda’s “Brown and Agile Child”, brown girl you are me. I have been where you are. hating your brown one minute and loving it the next. trying to match your brown, trying to find somewhere — anywhere it can belong, cutting your brown,giving your brown away, selling it for parts because no one has ever told you that “the world, it revolves around your brown”. no one ever told you, hold on just a little while longer cuz God has created someone special, someone just for your brown. no one ever told you there is no other like your brown.  Little brown girl, I am writing this to you, so that if no one ever tells you, “I love you”, well, I do.

Top 10 Myths About Africa! Did You Really Just Say That? Listen to Yourself!

27 Mar

Top 10 Myths About Africa! Did You Really Just Say That? Listen to Yourself!.

27 Mar

One of my favorite things about this blog is the pictures the author finds to post that speak a thousand words about black women 🙂

Aafroscandic; Beauty, Culture & Life

My Black is Beautiful
Gladys Kyotungire
Uganda

Glad_o

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10 Things I Want To Say To A Black Woman by Joshua Bennett

27 Mar

This poem, spoken word, is BEAUTIFUL. It is more than just a poem because you can feel the emotion as he speaks, you can feel the pain as he feels it, and in 4 minute this poet breaks down the good, the bad, and the ugly of being a black woman. From the heartache of being a fatherless child to the joy of having women from generation to generation teaching you how to be strong, and how to live life to the fullest!

He talks about the beauty of a black woman’s voice. To know what it is he speaks of is to have known a black woman, and I mean really know her; not just gone to bed with her, mistreated her, said hello to her in passing. When you really have gotten to know a black woman, her voice no longer is just sound echoing out of her mouth it becomes stories between her words that you hear. you can hear the struggle, the hurt, the strength, the hope, the love in her voice as well. God did a wonderful thing when he created black women you see, and to be able to capture that is a powerful thing.

Bennett reminds us in case we ever forget that a woman’s place is not in the kitchen, but everywhere and anywhere she wants to be. He reminds us that to be truly happy, to find love, cooking is not a necesity, but rather that the ability to love and hope are vital. Bennett embraces wiht his words the infinite and natural beauty of black women. He doesn’t even mention long hair, short hair, real hair, fake hair, makeup, fresh faced because those things are not who we are as people, as women, as women of color — people often forget that.

The power women of color possess, the power black women are born with is something incomparable and uneasy to grasp. Bennett reminds us we are more than our hips and waistlines, though every aspect of who we are is just as important as the next and theone before it. I could talk about this poet and his words forever, but I’d rather you watch the video and tell me what you think.