ain’t no future in frontin.

( from too sense, swiped from postbourgie)

I’m sure you’ve seen the video of Obama denoucning Wright yesterday, and the emerging narrative seems to be that Obama wasn’t forceful enough when he said this:

You know, I have been a member of Trinity United Church of Christ since 1992. I have known Reverend Wright for almost 20 years. The person I saw yesterday was not the person that I met 20 years ago. His comments were not only divisive and destructive, but I believe that they end up giving comfort to those who prey on hate and I believe that they do not portray accurately the perspective of the black church.

They certainly don’t portray accurately my values and beliefs. And if Reverend Wright thinks that that’s political posturing, as he put it, then he doesn’t know me very well. And based on his remarks yesterday, well, I may not know him as well as I thought, either.

Of course he wasn’t. What people want is not for Obama to denounce Wright, but to denounce black people everywhere who have the gall to be angry at America for how they are and have been treated. What they wanted Obama to say was that racism is uneqivocally a black problem, that white people have moved past it but that black people cling to greivances as an excuse for out of wedlock births, unemployment, or incarceration.

It doesn’t matter that rhetorically and policy-wise, Obama has struck the right balance between personal and governmental responsibility. It doesn’t matter that he’s confronted black anti-Semitism, black homophobia, black apathy. When Obama dared to mention that white people might harbor irrational prejudices of their own–he was pilloried by conservatives and liberals everywhere who don’t want to feel guilty suspecting every black teenager of being a drug dealer for “throwing his grandmother under the bus.”

They didn’t want him to condemn Wright, they wanted him to condemn black people. So of course they’re not satisfied. For all the talk of how white people are attracted to Obama and the alleged “absolution” he could offer them, what they really want is for him to publicly shift the blame for the racial divide squarely on the shoulders of the black community, so white people can stop thinking about it.

And he didn’t do that, so they’re not happy.

Being biracial, I know the feeling of searching for that “older brother” or father figure to help you make sense of the world in terms of racial and gender identity.

Obama had the added burden of his father being absent–and so he was looking to fill both a personal void and find someone to help wade through all the self-destructive bullshit black men are told to be. Though Wright was surely not the only one of these father figures, he was clearly an important one. And the idea that Wright would betray him so fully and completely is both heartbreaking and infuriating.

And anything Obama did or said in response was completely justified.

mixed feelings about the path i’m on.

(originally titled: “i’m not about to play mammy to anyone”)

the other day, i got my membership packet from DONA international in the mail. i thumbed through the two newsletters & introductory info packet. i just sighed & thought, “i paid XX dollars to join an organization that won’t recommend you unless you get w/ their program, & these fuckers don’t even give me a membership card? blah.”
then i looked at the newsletters more closely. i saw maybe one photo of a black woman & baby. i sighed, swallowed hard & heard that lovely little voice inside my head going all crazy: “wtf? you know there are black doulas, & there are black women who utilize the services of doulas . . . this shit’s gotta change. get your training ASAP. read those books, find out if jackie from family birth mark is gonna be doing any classes in late spring to early summer. read some books. get comcast to come install cable, so you can research your ass off. & get ready to deal w/ those white folks, especially those who don’t think of you as ‘really’ black; & don’t forget the skeptical black folks who think you’re on some new age erykah badu earth mother bullshit . . .”

i’ve since calmed down. i thought about some things, had some talks (thx karas & mommy & trace), & came to the conclusion that i must simply place one foot before the other. i will be certified as a birth & postpartum doula. i will seek clients who are under or unrepresented within the realm of home birth & anything labeled “alternative” child birth. i will pick the brains of everyone who works across the hall from me so we can get the data that confirms my suspicions about why doulas didn’t work in the public health centers (um, hello gov’t mistrust & mistrust of white folks). i’m flipping through doula blogs to view the profession from women who’re not writing newsletters, but chronicling their lives & work. i’m gonna explore the connections that i can make w/ black midwives & doulas between philadelphia, nyc & the dc area. i will not allow myself to use my clients as platforms for my agenda, but i will not hesitate to remind myself why i am doing what i do. i will commit myself to providing the best possible service, & remember that it’s about what the client wants/ needs. (that’s gonna be hard cuz i’m one bossy motherfucker. maybe i ought to become a midwife instead? lol)

i’m gonna be dealing w/ the privileged. i know that. whether i connect with clients on a deeply personal level or not (i don’t know how i wouldn’t when i’m intending to be present at the birth of their child, for crying out loud), i have to remember i’m there to do a job. i can’t present everyone with my ideas on how to really have a birthing revolution. i should also refrain from anticipating that when i have a black client, i’ll automatically have some magical “yay i’m glad you’re black; let’s have a revolution” sort of thing going on. it would be cute if that could happen, but i’m not about to presume that it will.

i’m just trying to be as realistic w/ myself as possible. it won’t be all drama, of course. i want to lend strength, bolster confidence, & create comforts for my clients. i want to use my knowledge of aromatherapy & such to help them. i want to become a licensed massage therapist & combine all of my skills & training to assist my clients in having the most blissful pregnancies & births possible. & i mean that.

there’s so much i want to do. i’m praying that i can get it all done without compromising my integrity.