i am sean bell.

i got this video from jo, via a post at dawson’s ink. i give thanks for stacey muhammad’s project. i’m really quite speechless. teach the babies. save them. save us. & please share this video. peace.

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the black male privilege checklist.

you read that right.

The Black Male Privileges Checklist
By Jewel Woods
© Renaissance Male Project (2008)

What does “privilege” have to do with Black men? We understand some kinds of privilege. The privilege to call a black man “Boy”, even if that black man happens to be 60 years old or older. The privilege to drive a car and never have to worry that the police will racially profile you. Privileges that have nothing to do with what a person has earned, but rather are based entirely on who a person is, or what color they are.

As African Americans, we have the ability to critique and condemn these types of “unearned assets” because we recognize that these privileges come largely at our expense. We have also learned from social and political movements that have sought to redress these privileges, and academic disciplines that have provided us with the tools to critically examine and explore them.

However, there is another type of privilege that has caused untold harm to both black men and women but has not had the benefit of being challenged by a social and political movement within our community, nor given adequate attention within our own academic community. The privilege that I am referring to is male privilege.

Male privilege is more than just a “double standard”, because it is based on attitudes or actions that come at the expense of women. Just as white privilege comes at the expense of African Americans and other people of color, gender double standards come at the expense of women.

Given the devastating history of racism in this country, it is understandable that getting black men to identify with the concept of male privilege isn’t easy! For many black men, the phrase “black male privilege” seems like an oxymoron — three words that simply do not go together.

While it is understandable that black men are hesitant or reluctant to examine the concept of male privilege, the African American community will never be able to overcome the serious issues that we face if we as black men do not confront our role in promoting and sustaining male supremacist attitudes and actions.

Inviting black men and boys into a conversation about male privilege does not deny centuries of discrimination or the burden of racism that we continue to suffer from today. As long as a black man can be tasered 9 times in 14 minutes, shot at 50 times on the morning of his wedding night, or receive less call-backs for a job than a white man with a felony record, we know that racist sexism that targets black men is alive and kicking.

Examining black male privileges offers black men and boys an opportunity to go beyond old arguments of “personal responsibility” or “blaming the man” to gain a deeper level of insight into how issues of class and race are influenced by gender. Gender is one of the most important tools in the production and reproduction of power because it relies on consent and not just coercion.

The items represented on the Black Male Privileges Checklist reflect aspects of Black men’s lives that we take for granted, which appear to be “double standards,” but in fact are male privileges that come at the expense of women in general and African American women in particular.

I offer this checklist based on years of experience working with men, and with the faith that we as men have far more to gain than we have to lose by challenging the privileges that we take for granted.

I believe that there are more similarities between men than there are differences. Therefore, many items on the Black Male Privilege Checklist apply to men generally. However, because of the specific privileges that black men have in relationship to black women; there are specific items that apply only to black men. I will leave it up to you to determine which items apply only to black men, and which items apply to men in general.
The Black Male Privileges Checklist
Leadership & Politics

1. I don’t have to choose my race over my sex in political matters.
2. When I read African American History textbooks, I will learn mainly about black men.
3. When I learn about the Civil Rights Movement & the Black Power Movements, most of the leaders that I will learn about will be black men.
4. I can rely on the fact that in the near 100-year history of national civil rights organizations such as the NAACP and the Urban League, virtually all of the executive directors have been male.
5. I will be taken more seriously as a political leader than black women.
6. Despite the substantial role that black women played in the Civil Rights Movement and Black Power Movement, currently there is no black female that is considered a “race leader”.
7. I can live my life without ever having read black feminist authors, or knowing about black women’s history, or black women’s issues.
8. I can be a part of a black liberation organization like the Black Panther Party where an “out” rapist Eldridge Cleaver can assume leadership position.
9. I will make more money than black women at equal levels of education and occupation.
10. Most of the national “opinion framers” in Black America including talk show hosts and politicians are men.

Beauty
11. I have the ability to define black women’s beauty by European standards in terms of skin tone, hair, and body size. In comparison, black women rarely define me by European standards of beauty in terms of skin tone, hair, or body size.
12. I do not have to worry about the daily hassles of having my hair conforming to any standard image of beauty the way black women do.
13. I do not have to worry about the daily hassles of being terrorized by the fear of gaining weight. In fact, in many instances bigger is better for my sex.
14. My looks will not be the central standard by which my worth is valued by members of the opposite sex.

Sex & Sexuality
15. I can purchase pornography that typically shows men defile women by the common practice of the “money shot.”
16. I can believe that causing pain during sex is connected with a woman’s pleasure without ever asking her.
17. I have the privilege of not wanting to be a virgin, but preferring that my wife or significant other be a virgin.
18. When it comes to sex if I say “No”, chances are that it will not be mistaken for “Yes”.
19. If I am raped, no one will assume that “I should have known better” or suggest that my being raped had something to do with how I was dressed.
20. I can use sexist language like bonin’, laying the pipe, hittin-it, and banging that convey images of sexual acts based on dominance and performance.
21. I can live in a world where polygamy is still an option for men in the United States as well as around the world.
22. In general, I prefer being involved with younger women socially and sexually
23. In general, the more sexual partners that I have the more stature I receive among my peers.
24. I have easy access to pornography that involves virtually any category of sex where men degrade women, often young women.
25. I have the privilege of being a part of a sex where “purity balls” apply to girls but not to boys.
26. When I consume pornography, I can gain pleasure from images and sounds of men causing women pain.

Popular Culture
27. I come from a tradition of humor that is based largely on insulting and disrespecting women; especially mothers.
28. I have the privilege of not having black women, dress up and play funny characters- often overweight- that are supposed to look like me for the entire nation to laugh.
29. When I go to the movies, I know that most of the leads in black films are men. I also know that all of the action heroes in black film are men.
30. I can easily imagine that most of the artists in Hip Hop are members of my sex.
31. I can easily imagine that most of the women that appear in Hip Hop videos are there solely to please men
32. Most of lyrics I listen to in hip-hop perpetuate the ideas of males dominating women, sexually and socially.
33. I have the privilege of consuming and popularizing the word pimp, which is based on the exploitation of women with virtually no opposition from other men.
34. I can hear and use language bitches and hoes that demean women, with virtually no opposition from men.
35. I can wear a shirt that others and I commonly refer to as a “wife beater” and never have the language challenged.
36. Many of my favorite movies include images of strength that do not include members of the opposite sex and often are based on violence.
37. Many of my favorite genres of films, such as martial arts, are based on violence.
38. I have the privilege of popularizing or consuming the idea of a thug, which is based on the violence and victimization of others with virtually no opposition from other men.

Attitudes/Ideology
39. I have the privilege to define black women as having “an attitude” without referencing the range of attitudes that black women have.
40. I have the privilege of defining black women’s attitudes without defining my attitudes as a black man.
41. I can believe that the success of the black family is dependent on returning men to their historical place within the family, rather than in promoting policies that strengthen black women’s independence, or that provide social benefits to black children.
42. I have the privilege of believing that a woman cannot raise a son to be a man.
43. I have the privilege of believing that a woman must submit to her man.
44. I have the privilege of believing that before slavery gender relationships between black men and women were perfect.
45. I have the privilege of believing that feminism is anti-black.
46. I have the privilege of believing that the failure of the black family is due to the black matriarchy.
47. I have the privilege of believing that household responsibilities are women’s roles.
48. I have the privilege of believing that black women are different sexually than other women and judging them negatively based on this belief.

Sports
49. I will make significantly more money as a professional athlete than members of the opposite sex will.
50. In school, girls are cheerleaders for male athletes, but there is no such role for males to cheerlead for women athletes.
51. My financial success or popularity as a professional athlete will not be associated with my looks.
52. I can talk about sports or spend large portions of the day playing video games while women are most likely involved with household or childcare duties.
53. I can spend endless hours watching sports TV and have it considered natural.
54. I can touch, hug, or be emotionally expressive with other men while watching sports without observers perceiving this behavior as sexual.
55. I know that most sports analysts are male.
56. If I am a coach, I can motivate, punish, or embarrass a player by saying that the player plays like a girl.
57. Most sports talk show hosts that are members of my race are men.
58. I can rest assured that most of the coaches -even in predominately-female sports within my race are male.
59. I am able to play sports outside without my shirt on and it not be considered a problem.
60. I am essentially able to do anything inside or outside without my shirt on, whereas women are always required to cover up.

Diaspora/Global
61. I have the privilege of being a part of a sex where the mutilation and disfigurement of a girl’s genitalia is used to deny her sexual sensations or to protect her virginity for males.
62. I have the privilege of not having rape be used as a primary tactic or tool to terrorize my sex during war and times of conflict.
63. I have the privilege of not being able to name one female leader in Africa or Asia, past or present, that I pay homage to the way I do male leaders in Africa and/or Asia.
64. I have the ability to travel around the world and have access to women in developing countries both sexually and socially.
65. I have the privilege of being a part of the sex that starts wars and that wields control of almost all the existing weapons of war and mass destruction.
College
66. In college, I will have the opportunity to date outside of the race at a much higher rate than black women will.
67. I have the privilege of having the phrase “sewing my wild oats” apply to my sex as if it were natural.
68. I know that the further I go in education the more success I will have with women.
69. In college, black male professors will be involved in interracial marriages at much higher rates than members of the opposite sex will.
70. By the time I enter college, and even through college, I have the privilege of not having to worry whether I will be able to marry a black woman.
71. In college, I will experience a level of status and prestige that is not offered to black women even though black women may outnumber me and out perform me academically.
72. If I go to an HBCU, I will have incredible opportunities to exploit black women

Communication/Language
73. What is defined as “News” in Black America is defined by men.
74. I can choose to be emotionally withdrawn and not communicate in a relationships and it be considered unfortunate but normal.
75. I can dismissively refer to another persons grievances as ^*ing.
76. I have the privilege of not knowing what words and concepts like patriarchy, phallocentric, complicity, colluding, and obfuscation mean.

Relationships
77. I have the privilege of marrying outside of the race at a much higher rate than black women marry.
78. My “strength” as a man is never connected with the failure of the black family, whereas the strength of black women is routinely associated with the failure of the black family.
79. If I am considering a divorce, I know that I have substantially more marriage, and cohabitation options than my spouse.
80. Chances are I will be defined as a “good man” by things I do not do as much as what I do. If I don’t beat, cheat, or lie, then I am a considered a “good man”. In comparison, women are rarely defined as “good women” based on what they do not do.
81. I have the privilege of not having to assume most of the household or child-care responsibilities.
82. I have the privilege of having not been raised with domestic responsibilities of cooking, cleaning, and washing that takes up disproportionately more time as adults.

Church & Religious Traditions
83. In the Black Church, the majority of the pastoral leadership is male.
84. In the Black Church Tradition, most of the theology has a male point of view. For example, most will assume that the man is the head of household.

Physical Safety
85. I do not have to worry about being considered a traitor to my race if I call the police on a member of the opposite sex.
86. I have the privilege of knowing men who are physically or sexually abusive to women and yet I still call them friends.
87. I can video tape women in public- often without their consent – with male complicity.
88. I can be courteous to a person of the opposite sex that I do not know and say “Hello” or “Hi” and not fear that it will be taken as a come-on or fear being stalked because of it.
89. I can use physical violence or the threat of physical violence to get what I want when other tactics fail in a relationship.
90. If I get into a physical altercation with a person of the opposite sex, I will most likely be able to impose my will physically on that person
91. I can go to parades or other public events and not worry about being physically and sexually molested by persons of the opposite sex.
92. I can touch and physically grope women’s bodies in public- often without their consent- with male complicity.
93. In general, I have the freedom to travel in the night without fear.
94. I am able to be out in public without fear of being sexually harassed by individuals or groups of the opposite sex.

Background:

The Black Male Privileges Checklist was born out of years of organizing men’s groups and the numerous — often heated — conversations I have had with men while utilizing Barry Deutsch’s The Male Privilege Checklist. In my experiences, most men would object to at least some items on the Male Privilege Checklist. However, “men of color”, and especially African American men, often had the sharpest criticisms of the Male Privilege Checklist and the most problems relating to the idea of male privilege.

There are many reasons why black men would be reluctant to identify with the concept of male privilege. One of the most important reasons is that our experience with privilege is based on a history of political, economic, and military power that whites have historically exercised over black life. This conceptualization of privilege has not allowed us to see ourselves with privilege because the focus has been placed largely on whites. Privilege is not restricted to economic, political, or military areas of life. Privilege is also social, cultural, sexual, institutional, and interpersonal in nature. Our inability to have a more expansive understanding of privilege and power has foreclosed important insights into virtually every aspect of black men’s lives and other “men of color”.

As black men, we have also been skeptical of pro-feminist males, most of whom were white and middle class. Black men who fought for freedom during the Civil Rights Movement and the Black Power Movements were suspicious- to say the least- of the motives of white men who were requesting that black men give up the privilege they never felt they had. Given the timing of the pro-feminist male movement and the demographics of these men, it has not been easy to separate the message from the messenger. Black men had a similar reaction to the voices of black feminists, who we saw as being influenced by white middle class feminists. Alongside this, there has long been a belief among many black men that racism provides privileges to black women that are denied to black men.

In addition, many of the items on The Male Privilege Checklist simply did not to apply to black men and other men of color. As a result, many black men argued that the list should have been called The White Male Privilege Checklist. In light of these considerations, the Black Male Privileges Checklist differs from the Male Privilege Checklist in several respects.

First, It departs from an “either/or” view of privilege that suggests that an individual or a group can only be placed into one category. Therefore, the focus is on privileges and not privilege. It also highlights belief systems that often serve as the basis for justifications and rationalizations of exploitation and discrimination. Second, The Black Male Privilege Checklist takes a Life Course perspective, acknowledging the fact that privilege takes on different forms at various points in men’s lives. Third, it takes a Global perspective to highlight the privilege that black males have as Americans, and the privileges black men share with other men of color. African American men rarely acknowledge the privilege we have in relationship to people in developing countries — especially women. Too often, our conception of privilege is limited to white men and does not lead us to reflect on the power that men of color in Africa, Asia, and Latin America exercise over women. Finally, it calls for action and not just awareness. We need “men of color” to be actively involved in social welfare and social justice movements.

Invariably, the Black Male Privileges Checklist will inspire some men to create their own list describing the list of privileges they believe black women benefit from. What men need to understand is that paying attention to male privilege does not mean that women are without faults. Rather, it means that black men cannot be blind to the facts that black men earn more than black women do, black men continue to dominate most of the political, religious, and cultural institutions within the black community, and that black men continue to dominate black women in areas of physical and sexual abuse.

As “men of color”, we have a responsibility to acknowledge that we participate in this system even though it offers us little rewards. Most African Americans, for example, take for granted the system of capitalism that we all participate in, even though we know that it does not offer us the same rewards that it does for whites. The sex-gender system, which privileges men over women, operates in similar way for all men. Black men and other “men of color” can participate in this system even though it does not offer similar rewards.

Finally, the Black Male Privileges Checklist is a tool that can be used by any individual, group, organization, family, or community that is interested in black males having greater insight into their individual lives and the collective lives of black women and girls. It is also a living tool that will grow and be amended as more discussion and dialogue occurs. This is the first edition of the Black Male Privileges Checklist and will be updated regularly. This checklist was created with black men in mind, and does not necessarily capture the experiences and cultural references of other ethnic males. I would welcome dialogue with others who are concerned about these constituencies as well.

Please visit our website at http://renaissancemaleproject.com/ to view our Teen & Male Youth Privileges Checklist. An historic tool for all young males, schools, community organizations, youth groups, sports teams, and families that can be used to assist our young males in becoming the type of adult men we want them to be.

Jewel Woods is a gender analyst specializing in men’s issues and executive director of the Renaissance Male Project . He is also the co-author of ‘Don’t Blame it on Rio: The Real Deal Behind Why Men Go to Brazil for Sex.’

dope girls.

in streetwise terms, the word dope only means one thing: the illegal, illicit shit. usually coke or heroin. it’s the norm to be a dope girl nowadays. you have a kid or two. job corps really didn’t do for you what you thought it would. that welfare-to-work medical assistant training is fine but the pay caps out at $32K per year depending on where you live — and if you’ve done welfare-to-work, you probably have babies to feed. so what’s a girl to do?
you start pushing weight, or boosting & selling the hot shit on the street. or, you get two jobs — maybe three — so you can handle your business.
i’m not saying that this is what happened to gina hunt & andrea yarrell & their children, but damn if it doesn’t seem that way. i’m not okay w/ this shit. it bothers me to no end that they were targeted for robbery and killed over some weed & money. i’m fucked up about the comments ppl have made as to the whys of these murders. i’m not okay with pointing my finger at any woman who seems to have chosen to push weight (or strip or prostitute or do any of those “bad” things) so she can maintain a fucking roof over her fucking head. i’m not gonna knock anybody because i know for a fact that in the past 2 years i’ve been so desperately broke that i wondered if selling weed was a better idea than dayjobbing it. no lie. & heaven only knows if i’ll find myself there again. who knows if any of us will be in that position? over and over again, ppl are saying it’s all about what the mothers did before that point. my god, is it really like that? you mean to tell me that before the killer shot that he couldn’t have decided to do something else? he couldn’t just walk out? what the fuck? but i guess if their house had been mistaken for a different house, it’d be okay. these girls weren’t euologized as ph.ds or neurosurgeons — cuz rich motherfuckers get into drug shit too — so i’m under the impression that just maybe it wasn’t about the fun or glamor of selling dope. i’m pretty sure that these women knew that it’s not cute out here — it weapons were found in the home, they probably knew what the norm is. there’s no honor among thieves, obviously. shooting babies? for what?
my heart’s broken by shit like this. i understand that murder is par for the course, and i know that folks are transitioning at what seems like an alarming rate. but the way this shit went down really breaks my heart. sometimes i understand why so many folks say “some days it doesn’t pay to wake up black.” apparently, it doesn’t pay to wake up female, mothering, black in this country.

fuck. what is wrong with people? these cowards won’t even admit to who shot whom. pointing fingers and laying blame at others’ feet, like that shit’s gonna help shit. so damaged. so damning.

may these lives be lost not in vain, but to teach valuable lessons to those who hear of the events. may there be rightful, righteous justice visited upon the heads of the killers. may the families of the lost/ loved ones be comforted & edified by the outpouring of sincere support from wherever it comes. it’s not often that a mother or father has to bury a child or even a grandchild — but i pray that those left behind are able to heal.

i don’t even know what else to say. peace to the mothers & children.

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.

the willie lynch speech was a hoax.

see manu ampim’s excellent paper regarding such here.

if you wanna email posts of mine, email this one. thanks.

i’m back to

where i was about three weeks ago. only my thought process is fueled by a conversation i had w/ some sistas the other night.
i know there are systems in place to stop us dead in our tracks. literally, even. i know that it’s sometimes so impossible to even see the top of that mountain made of disappointment, disaster, dreams, & desperation that climbing that motherfucker seems like a really sick joke. baby, i know what it’s like to have someone smile in my face & wish to hell that they could call me a nigger but instead just say “sweetie,” “honey,” or “girlfriend.” & i used to ache to know what it must have felt like to be acquainted w/ folks like my self, not just folks who looked like me. that ache grew.
the resentment, the annoyance, & the overall feeling of being fucked up in the game . . . those things were winning. i wouldn’t let them, though. & i won’t now.
because if i look myself in the mirror & decide that every fucking moment of my life is a war — a war that i don’t even think can be won — then i may as well pack it up . . . particularly if i come out the front door swingin on everyone i can w/ my machete or cutlass.
by virtue of biology, i am a woman. by virtue of biology, i am black. & by virtue of biology, we have become targets. we remain targeted now. everyone with a lick of sense & deductive reasoning skills knows about the prison industrial complex, COINTELPRO, the big tobacco plots, & everything else on this entire planet which has been put together to snuff the poor, non-white, &/ or female.
yes, baby, i know.
but for me, that venom cannot be turned in on myself
it will not be the weapon i use to slash every hand that reaches out to give to or help me
i will not blindly love what looks like me exclusively because of that fact
it is not okay to hate
ever

cuz if they do it to us, & we do it to them, exactly what the blue fuck is that gonna get anyone?

it’s not gonna give us any of the shit that’s been taken from, beaten out of, drained from, or confused about us. we will not get back yoruba, igbo, twi, akan, hausa, fongbe, kiswahili, xhosa, or any other tongue. our wombs will not take back in the children of rape, nor will they serve as a place to hide the children that we don’t want to be a part of this shit here. hate will not extract what makes you lighter skinned, her hair wavier than it is anything else, that baby’s eyes bright green, what made malcolm’s hair red . . . we can’t undo it. mahatma was NOT playin one bit when he said that an eye for an eye would leave the world blind. cuz if we hate on them, & they hate us some more, & we all go back & forth when will we have time to love ourselves? how do we build ourselves up if we’re wasting energy tearing someone else’s shit down? believe it or not, there has to be room for everyone . . . if you believe in a creator, then how could you not think so?

i must ask this, because i like where i live
i love my people
& i’ve been in that position before where when i say i’m DAMN good friends w/ white women, i get that sideways look. & i have to brace myself for the cries of ‘traitor,’ or worse yet being shunned or pitied because i’m ‘confused’ about who’s really got my back & who doesn’t.
cuz the same sista i want to help with her parenting skills already thinks something’s the fuck wrong with me since i don’t dress like she does. the sista who has the same nappy hair i do, the same ntozake shange books i do, respects the gangsta of kathleen cleaver the same way i do . . . she’s still poppin shit because she don’t think hers stinks. because she’s taking in superficial things about me & deciding FOR me what i should/ shouldn’t be a part of. what part of the game is that?
& the biology isn’t enough for any of us anymore. we don’t respect each other by virtue of blackness, because we are not all in the same neighborhoods by virtue of such. we are all over the place because legally, we could be . . . & the status shit is SERIOUS in these streets right now. fuck the white folks gentrifying all over the nation, niggas is fightin niggas over what some niggas appear to have, be, do, want, or feel. & that, my dears, is fucked up. screw standing up for anyone who’s willing to cut your ass down — black, white, yellow, peach, beige, blue-black, brown, red, or other. i will not, under any circumstances, support destruction of others by virtue of my own dislike for how they carry themselves. not unless it’s fully crucial to my survival.

i know what you’re talking about, but maybe you’ve never experienced what i have.

i was born fighting,
i will die fighting
but in between, i will choose my battles.

i wasn’t gonna write

about the whole n-word funeral thing that the NAACP had last week. but then i read in the little brother blog how phonte feels about it. i’m in agreement w/ mr. c oleman for the most part. that is, black folk will not magically be better on the whole if/ when everyone stops using this word. most importantly, it seems like treating the symptom instead of curing the disease. the subversion of language is pretty much the norm nowadays. case in point: “she’s a bitch” by missy elliott, “o.g. bitch” by esthero, “the baddest bitch” by the ever-relevant trina. . . like, what about THAT word? everyone’s all super emo after the don imus thing, as if his racism should be the sole catalyst for change around here. he blamed hip hop for the “nappy headed hoes” thing because he knew he could cop out to that. that motherfucker knows full well, just like any other thinking being, that the idea that black women are automatically whores &/ or have bad (read: nappy, kinky, etc.) hair came from white folks. some of us are reclaiming that terminology as well. so what, are we choosing which words we wanna flip for our own empowerment? has there been an international black folk conference about that?

cuz, yeah, there’s been the store called niggas
& if i go to ghana some folks may mistake me for one who likes being called “bitch” or whatever,
but yo . . .

burying any of these words doesn’t mean shit to me when the babies are dying the way they are. don’t blame that on the word nigga. unemployment & desperation will not magically cease when we stop calling ourselves and others niggas, bitches, hoes, or anything else.
because even if i don’t use the word, i know what i mean when i say “that motherfucker ain’t shit,” because i mean to insult or harm someone with my words. that’s not contingent on the verbs, nouns, pronouns or adjectives. it’s on me & the power that the person hearing them gives the words.
i don’t know . . . let’s not put a band aid on a severed limb, okay?
if we don’t respect or love each other, the words don’t mean shit
the acts mean everything
& who’s to say there won’t be another word to offend?

(i might come back to clean this up later)

*quick addendum: if i had written here about don imus as a cracka ass cracka, then what? ofay? honky? oyimbo? like . . . are we gonna bury those words too? cuz if we are then maybe i can clap my hands to the burial of nigga. otherwise, get out of my face w/ that bullshit & go DO something in the streets instead of being mad at what the streets are doing.

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