a few quick notes about no wedding, no womb

i wrote it on tumblr, but for those of you who don’t read me there, i thought it’d be a good idea to share my beliefs on this quote-unquote movement here. (google the whole thing, i’m not giving them any linkage)

because i tweeted it but didn’t blog it:

the whole quote-unquote movement is gender essentialist. point blank. period.

the finger wagging and shaming aside, this initiative seeks to push all MAAB (male assigned at birth) and FAAB (female assigned at birth) persons to marry one another, regardless of being self-identified as trans, or being gay or lesbian self-identified.

because of the illegality, in most states, of what’s called same-sex marriage, this initiative cannot include cisgender gay, lesbian, or bisexual (or pan or omnisexual) ppl or any trans-identified people. by its own definition, no less.

monogamy is not the default setting for all humans. it is a choice. compulsory monogamy and heterosexuality encroach on the rights of an individual to do what they wish with their bodies.

furthermore, there has been little to no discussion by the NWNW folks regarding causations of single parenthood & correlations between single motherhood & the catastrophic outcomes they seem to think are rampant in the black community.

encouraging anyone to marry for the sake of a child is dangerous. ask any one of my friends who has lived through a domestic violence situation, either as the scarred child or as the abused spouse.

& if i say shit else about this, it’ll be because someone on team finger wag has come at my neck w/ some bullshit.

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zomg i’m single!

so the fuck what?

this is all the discussion y’all are getting out of me. thanks to this piece from the crunk feminist collective, i don’t have to go too deep.  i’m including links from a twitter rant i went on regarding this very subject, for good measure.

first, i wanted to know if anyone had introduced to this larger conversation the idea that monogamy is not the default setting for our lives, but a choice.   as in, we choose to be monogamous, or we don’t.  & if you don’t realize that you choose monogamy, this is where you should find another blog post of mine to read (like the one about tina knowles).   we do not have to couple.  some of us are polyamorous, some of us never partner — even when we decide that we wish to parent.

nobody that i know of, with the exception of the ladies at crunk feminist collective, has mentioned that queer (by queer i mean lesbians, bisexual, pan/ omnisexual, trans, intersex)  self-identified black women aren’t considered in this conversation. again: we are not a monolith. you can’t have this conversation without considering the fact that the women being discussed are hetero, cisgender (not trans women — trans ppl are invisible in virtually every conversation about marriage, and just about everything else), & at the very least hold bachelor’s degrees. because ppl who don’t finish college don’t matter in this conversation, no matter what they’re doing w/ themselves, unless it’s to count them as undesirables.  further, who’s to say that marriage is everyone’s goal or ideal? it could be argued that “we aren’t talking about those people,” but if that’s the case then it must be stated so from the onset of each conversation regarding unmarried black women of certain income levels and sexual orientations.  period. know your audience.

if the root of the “problem” of unmarried black hetero cis women is that there aren’t enough desirable black men to go around & we’re looking at that strictly in terms of education, then who’s to blame? parents? schools? both? neither? high school dropout rates are nothing to sneeze at. the prison industrial complex, fueled by some rather draconian laws, also removes men who might otherwise be “good catches” from the dating pool.  does this mean that some of those “lost ones” were never marriageable to begin with, as their parents/ support systems failed them long before they got outta high school? okay. i’ll take that. but that isn’t the case w/ everyone. i feel like too much of this conversation is based on simplistic ideas of what a “good black man” is, and what a “good black woman” needs.  also: folks get married later in general, because they’re doing more than their parents’ generations did w/ their lives. the need for a college education has increased — even to get administrative assistant gigs. so if we have to take more time between high school and college to fill up these lives of ours (with greater expectancies, even for black men & women), maybe it’s not even as deep as the media panic suggests. ::gasp:: maybe we’re doing so much that holding ourselves to standards based on folks who lived life differently (slower, w/ less autonomy as children/ young adults, w/ different or less education) is a waste of fucking time! i’m just sayin.

& really, if marrying someone is about loving them until your last breath exits your body, can we consider one thing: the purported crisis of unmarried black women suggests that there is not enough love for us. that we are not lovable. that there is scarcity in the black community, so we must either take what we can get from black men or marry white men if we want to be married at all. this is wrong. love is infinite. there is no reason to think, for one minute, that any one of us is not lovable. that we are not desirable — to anyone, whether they be white, asian, latino, man, woman, gender non-conforming, cisgender, transgender, disabled, blue collar, white collar, no collar, or anything fucking else. if we marry because we want to spend the rest of our lives surrounded by the love, care, and support of another person then why on earth would we let fear run us off our paths? no, i’m not saying that there aren’t rough patches. heaven knows that i’ve lived through my shit and may continue to go through things before i find a good lover (i don’t necessarily seek to marry). but under no circumstances is being single a detriment. it’s never wrong. it’s not a bad thing. we’re not born partnered. we choose to partner — some of us because of conditioning, some of us because we find that wonderful person to be with. & it’s all good. it’s about intent, y’all. if your intent for seeking a mate is because that shit is on your checklist of successful shit to do w/ your life, you might be setting yourself up for what we call the okey-doke.   ultimately, the lens through which our romantic situations are being examined is flawed, to say the least.   & to say the most: it’s fucked up, limited, & doesn’t actually apply to as many folks as these “experts” (like finesse “my best jokes are about my teen mother” mitchell, jimi izrael & steve harvey) would have you believe.

this rant’s over. i’m dropping the mic like randy watson. but if you wanna read more juicy commentary:

visit the sugar shack

read this op-ed via the philadelphia inquirer

& another dope post from the crunk feminist collective

this piece from the nation, featuring the words of the fabulous melissa harris-lacewell & courtney young is made of pure unadulterated win.

i’m off to go be single and cook for myself, feed myself, bathe myself, & sing my face off at karaoke. cuz that’s what manless almost-30-year-olds do, apparently.

train wreck!

soooo i was on twitter mindin my own beeswax, being the benevolent servant of the god/dess that i am. & i tweeted that i wasn’t even finna read jill scott’s essence column on interracial dating & why it hurts her feelings.  (because they are her feelings. & what’s my reading gonna do?) shortly thereafter, i was @ replied by @Interracial_Mag with a link to a blog post about their (i’m guessing the guy in the profile picture, who IDs as the primary writer of the blog, a white hetero cisgender man) view on jill’s essence column.  now, i was gonna sit down and do a well-thought-out comment on this man’s blog. but i realized after some back-and-forth w/ him on twitter that it may be better for me to go paragraph-by-paragraph and really express what it is i think/ feel about this. and maybe i’ll put all my little comments into a neat package and send them to the writer of the interracial love magazine blog… or not. either way, i had to say something. cuz i’m a bigmouth.  my notes are in italics and bracketed. i call this the lazy blogging method.

Jill Scott, Interracial Dating, and Interracial Love Magazine!

“Not a day goes by that the question of “What do you think of interracial dating?” is not asked somewhere in social media land. It continues to be one of the hottest, highly debated, and most controversial topics of our time.” – Interracial Love Magazine, 2010

Due to the response of Jill Scott’s recent celebrity contribution to Essence Magazine, we decided to write our response.

But first, an introduction is on order. We are Interracial Love Magazine. We blog on topics that primarily support interracial love, sex, and dating between white men and black women. Unlike many blogs within our niche/category, Interracial Love Magazine is written primarily by a white male. [my first question: why is it called interracial love magazine, instead of black women dating white men magazine? race isn’t just about black & white folks, is it?]

As the site has grown, as well as the topic of interracial dating, we have felt the need to expand our content to discuss issues of white and black culture, race, and even celebrity news.

In Jill Scott’s case, you get all of the above!

We used to think that any attention to the subject of interracial dating was a good thing. But, Jill Scott dispelled that theory with one fell swoop.

For black women, there are internal mechanisms within themselves and their culture that prevent them from pursuing interracial relationships. Part of our work here on Interracial Love Magazine is to overcome these barriers. [what are the internal mechanisms within black women? name them specifically. can’t it be argued that those mechanisms are directly related to larger societal conditions/ norms that impact all ppl within US society, not just mechanisms within the culture of US black women only? if the primary writer of this blog is a white man and the writer of this post is that same white man, why is it his job to overcome barriers that aren’t his, unless those barriers serve specifically to keep him from dating black women? this implies that black women need saving from themselves. no good.]

In our view, nothing defies the social stigma of racism, prejudice, discrimination, oppression, and hate than interracial union. Jill Scott’s impulse to “wince” when she discovers her friend has a white wife defies this principle. [how so? maybe racism, prejudice, discrimination, oppression and hate are present in her life as a black woman in this world. this suggests a “sweep it under the rug” stance.  or, “it’s not a problem for me (white cis man in the US), so why/ how is it a problem for you?” not okay. how is this helping anyone, again, except the writer?]

In her article from Essence Magazine, she goes on to give a graphic account on the treatment of black people and how the white woman was revered and regarded in American society. She also mentions how black men and women stood together and shared a common struggle. This is true. And it’s important that we remember this part of American history. It should never be forgotten. [forgotten? possibly. depends on whose history you’re telling/ reading. often ignored & dismissed as an antiquated stance that has not evolved to conceal itself or withstood a shift in larger social consciousness? absolutely.]

“If a Black man even looked at a White woman, he would have been lynched, beaten, jailed or shot to death” – Jill Scott

Fortunately, since the days of slavery, and the beginning of what would be the Jim Crow era, things have changed in this country.

We are surrounded with many examples of interracial relationships connected to iconic beauty within white culture like Kim Kardashian and Reggie Bush… and Heidi Klum and Seal… just to point out a couple of the more recognized celebrities. [now, look. things have changed. but i don’t know how much they’ve changed w/ the very obvious lynching threats of the jena 6, and the noose found in the library (among other assorted madness) at UCSD this past february.  with these things — and what i imagine to be more incidents of racist fuckery, subtle as well as obvious — meeting black folks all over on the regular i can’t say that things have changed so much. i really can’t.]

Neither Seal nor Reggie Bush look fearful of retribution for their involvement with their white partners, do they? Do you think they look over their shoulder and wonder if a lyching [sic] rope (innit called a noose? shouldn’t you just call it that?) has been tied around the closest tree for them? …Please…  [reggie bush and seal, first off, have the luxury of being able to hire people to protect them from threats for being involved w/ non-black women. they have the luxury of having people read their mail for them, so they may never see any threats against them or their partners.  furthermore, reggie and kim k have breakup rumors swirling around them like flies around shit. why use them as an example at all? oh. wait.  nothing in your statement of intent says that your blog supports healthy relationships btwn black women and white men. never fucking mind.  (the argument that the person behind the twitter account said the kim & reggie example was used ‘for familiarity.’ plausible, but unwise in my opinion.  celebrities are usually not more familiar to us than people we actually engage with on the regular. are they? i mean, wait, does that mean i’m BFFs with erykah badu cuz i play her music a whole lot?)  also: that “…Please…” implies that jill’s calling to mind the jim crow era is exaggerated, or otherwise wrong. if that’s where her mind goes when she thinks of black men and white women, so be it. don’t be so dismissive.]

Also, Ms. Scott says: “Most of us end up doing this important work alone, with no fathers or like representatives, limited financial support (often court-enforced) and, on top of everything else, an empty bed. It’s frustrating and it hurts!”

I’m not quite sure what the message is here, do you? [aside from the grammatical error in this question: ask jill. or ask the essence editors. i’m sure someone will get back to you.  essence magazine has a great track record of engaging ppl in all kinds of discussion. for real.  also: this quote speaks to something that a white hetero man could never understand, because he’s never experienced it. the treatment of black folk as a monolith has fucked up repercussions. & i’ll leave it at that. but don’t start popping shit about something you’ve never experienced.  you don’t know what the message is because it really, really, really isn’t for you.  this is what privilege does: it lets you think everything is for or about you, even if/ when someone says ‘this isn’t for or about you.’]

If you read the statement, it implies that black men are shirking their paternal and financial responsibilities to their offspring and will only comply based on a judge’s order. Is that the case?  [in the context of the piece, it could definitely be suggested that she feels this way. again: ask. & ask some black men you know.]

If we said that here, every African-American reader would be leaving sharp biting comments to the effect we were “generalizing” or “miscategorizing” or “marketing negative stereotypes.” [you have no way of knowing what all of your black readership would say/ do.  but it’s quite possible that someone would take you to task for suggesting this. absolutely. the messenger, for some folks, has a lot to do w/ how the message is received.]

Yet, Jill Scott is free to slander black men at will. Is anyone offended here? Is she…”entitled?” [funny that entitlement would be mentioned here.  cuz you’re talking about something that wasn’t even pointed at you in the first place. i’m just saying, remember that you’re likely coming at this from a place of relative privilege. white privilege. male privilege. hetero privilege. cisgender privilege. mind your manners.]

It also suggests that the black woman feels abandoned and should be worthy of our concern and sympathy. [any human being is worthy of concern and sympathy, if you roll like that. i most certainly do.  and maybe some black women do feel abandoned! it’s valid if they’ve been abandoned, or told something along the lines of ‘you aren’t worthy of love’?  don’t you think? also, if you think that jill scott’s words paint black women as a group in need of rescue then kindly remove that fucked up and condescending tone from your line about the “internal mechanisms” of black women and our culture. again, mind your manners.]

We all are saddened by the plight and struggle of single mothers. [i don’t look at single parenthood as a pitiable plight. the writer of this blog post should speak for themselves. and i feel a “but…” coming on!]

But, that’s not Jill Scott’s agenda. Her goal is to “strike a nerve” among black men. [THERE’S THE “BUT”! where did she say that? if the writer of this post and i are reading the same piece, i sure as shit don’t see that. she said there’s a sting that has yet to stop burning.  & it’s true. because it ties into the idea that black women are not worthy of love. because emancipation was legal only, and did not make it so we received love and care. it did not stop the rapes, the mistreatment, the brutality, the distorted images.]

The reality is that black men have chosen to date outside their race for quite a while now. Black women could learn something from their male counterparts in this aspect. [shut the fuck up. black women could also benefit from an analysis of our situations as individual. especially when jill’s talking about us. to us. about black men. everyone isn’t dating the person they’re dating for the same reason. because we’re not a monolith. jill’s speaking from personal experience and possibly from conversations w/ other black women. you, if you are indeed the white man who’s primary writer of this blog, are speaking from what exactly? oh. your own personal experience? like i thought. back that train on up and remember that black women don’t owe an opening of their hearts to white men. the social stigma alone, which still exists ON ALL SIDES is a motherfucker.  nobody can undo years of conditioning by reading a blog post, or even through intense dialogue. leave individuals to their individual choices.]

Look, the bottom line is that black men do not owe anyone an explanation. Even Jill Scott. They are free to date anyone and any race of their choice. The same tactic is used on black women every day in blogs and social media to target them for “hating on their own race” or “emasculating their black men.” [that’s another generalization on the writer’s part. and what does “even jill scott” mean? did she say she wanted an explanation? does this writer know something that i don’t? what does an explanation have to do with the targeting of black women for emasculating black men? especially on twitter or facebook? this is not clear to me as a reader. honestly.]

Why is it that writers / bloggers are so selective and precise in their descriptions? [because they wanna be? creative license?]

Listen to how she delivers her “anonymous friend” to you in her piece: “handsome, African-American, intelligent and seemingly wealthy…”

Could you assume that if the gentleman that Jill Scott referred to in her article was some hardened thug, this article would have never been written?[it could be assumed. but if she was asked to write about interracial dating — black men w/ white women in particular — and the anonymous friend wasn’t part of a particular class standing, would the piece mean any less to certain folks? maybe. maybe not. we don’t know, cuz that isn’t what was published.]

In Summary

With Jill Scott’s influence and celebrity status in the black community, she could have set an enormous example by electing to throw her support behind equality, mutual respect and hope between black and white people in this country. [the path to mutual respect and equality begin and end w/ individuals. and i’m sorry, but why put that on her? and why this treatment of black women as a monolith who’ll listen to one person or go to one place for enlightenment? did jill say she hates white ppl? did she say any of that? i really don’t think that’s what was published… ]

Instead she added more confusion and dissention to an already complex issue. [dissent. not dissention. also: dissent implies that everyone was of one accord to begin with. probably not true. no group of people is a monolith.]

This is a blog. The advantage of a blog over a static website is that you have the opportunity to make a permanent impact with others simply by commenting on the articles here on Interracial Love Magazine. This is an important article. Leave your comments below.

Interracial Love Magazine is a monster on Twitter. We are very active and just as controversial. Follow us on Twitter here @Interracial_Mag.

Think about it. Want to be a leader? Follow Interracial Love Magazine.

**

my summary: jill scott isn’t the key to unlocking the imaginary ‘coloreds only’ chastity belts being worn by hetero black women in the states.  don’t put any of this on her. also: privilege is a motherfucker. i am choosing not to go into further discussion of this site, especially not its questionable (to me) sponsorship or overall tone of racial fetishizing, which slapped me in the face from the first time i clicked the link from twitter.

couldn’t have said it better myself!

my big sister omi just laid it allllllll the way out in this blog post.  (i’ve italicized it for clarity between it and my own words.)

12.12.2009
an exercise in restraint
i’ve done a bit of meeting and greeting lately. feels good. i am grateful for the confidence and clarity it’s brought. plus, i haven’t done deep visualization in a long time, so it’s been catalyzing.

it’s also reminded me how impatient i can be in the “will he/won’t he call” stage.

typically, i don’t mind doing a little legwork if i think the guy’s worth it. if you want something, go get it, right?

since i’m nearly always operating from my intuitive, heart-self and not my head, i often see and am attracted to said potential. therefore, my natural inclination is to give them what they need without deep regard as to whether or not they are able to return the favor. i always get the basic, “decent guy” packaging, so they are at least willing to try to reciprocate.

unfortunately, where i can get ocean-deep, they often flounder. and that’s when things fall apart. so i’ve decided it’s probably better to step back and let them show themselves first.

now more than ever, i am totally focused on cultivating intentionality in my relationships–even in the beginning stages.

love can come and will be reciprocated as applicable. i’m open to that. and i’m still gonna get mine when i want it. however, there will be no commitment without real, tangible outcomes, and i have no problem stating that very clearly.

you want me? that’s sweet. prove it.

over the last thirteen years, i’ve learned three big lessons: first, there’s a thin line between mysterious, creative depths and the masking of unearthed and unacknowledged pain. second, if i need a crowbar and forceps to approach your psyche, it’s not gonna work. third–and probably most important–a well-rehearsed melange of coping and defense mechanisms is not a personality.

lots of really “nice guys” have all that going. in spades.

so, yeah. i’m ready to hop back on the merry-go-round.

…just understand that i am heavily armed.

this goes, for friends, too. shit.

after much contemplation, i’ve realized:

i’m everything i could ever want in a mate. & i’m not mad at that. not one bit.

i’ll be marrying myselves sometime between my 30th birthday & the day i die. invitations pending, i suppose.

dulled my senses & blurried my sight.

& i used to love HIM . . . meaning god. as a man. because i was raised christian, and therefore any idea of a woman in the bible (from what i was taught in 2 years of christian day school) was never really positive. the first woman mentioned in the bible is eve. and eve instituted the downfall of mankind by eating the apple, etc. i was never taught, in my schooling (or my home discussions, or in church) about positive women in the bible, aside from the virgin mary — who was really just a vehicle for the christ. she was insignificant. she did not matter. and, it was implicit that she did not matter. i’m sure that in some situations, it was plainly stated that since she didn’t ‘save anyone’ that she wasn’t of any import. and mary magdalene was a whore — she couldn’t have possibly been an actual apostle or jesus’ wife. and so on, and so on.

so, being the me i was at 14-18, i had to think twice about all of that. every time i went to church and was told that i should feel the presence of god the father, i would feel numb. i would feel like i wasn’t getting everything i should have from that spirit. if it makes any sense at all to anyone besides me: i felt like i was getting an abridged version of god. like there was more to the whole experience, something people weren’t talking about or even thinking of in their own ruminations on the creator.

so, i strayed from that path i’d been told to follow. i went to a quaker school, participated in a guided meditation group (complete w/ chakra cleansing!) led by a former nun who worked as a teacher at my school, and read about religions that were not anything like christianity. i wasn’t particularly moved, but definitely intrigued. and i noted that i only felt connected to any higher power when singing or surrounded by music — secular or religious. i was concerned. because of the teachings i’d had as a little kid, i thought something was wrong with me. that something was broken. that god could not reach me because i was not right or pure.

per anyone i’d ask, or any research i’d done (by reviewing sermons) the alternative to feeling the way i did was throwing myself fully into a faith practice that never felt 100% right. that didn’t make sense to me, either. so, i drifted.

and then i read it: i found god in myself/ & i loved her/ i loved her fiercely

it meant everything all of a sudden. it meant freedom. it meant i needed to learn about oshun, i needed to research ishtar, and that maybe lilith wasn’t just the name of some music fair.

& then i learned that god isn’t male or female, necessarily. something a christian minister once told me was that the god of your own understanding is the god you serve. purely. truthfully. honestly.

& through orisha worship, through ancestor reverence, through living my life in a way that makes me feel full and right?

i saw the divine. she, the divine feminine. he, the father. the holy spirit. i touched it. it filled me up. i saw the balance, i saw both sides.

(this is likely going to be fleshed out later, to tie back into the title. but gimme some time, my laptop ain’t shit and i’m moving!)

full moon gratitude

i’m in a very serious state of flux right now, and struggling to remain focused on my silver linings. this is an attempt to count the things that are present in my life.

transformation
cheerleaders
jarritos sodas
quorn turk’y loaf
serendipitous mercury retrograde happenings
food items properly smothered in bbq sauce
gold eye shadow
bronzer
bacon
water
honey
killa (word to la voz latina)
fertile ground
quirky black girls
west philly

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