Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Black women are (not) doing it up...

sigh. SIGH. Read this article....

You know when I say I'm a feminist in mixed company (especially on a date...when I want it to end early...) I usually get the negative or ignorant reaction. I'm used to it by now but inside I'm am complacently weary about the implications of the ignorance of the state of the black women.

The bubble gum colored wrapping of 'girl power'  has hidden the very real fact that, on a whole, black women are not making it.

I devour the blogging world and so many of the black blogs are dedicated to what is wrong with black men and why black women aren't getting them and lately I started to get pissed at how superficially people were treating the subject of the broken black family. It's harder for us, my cohort, to really understand (although many of our mothers were single mothers - we are not) because we are all a part of the 6% of the black community that has been educated within an inch our lives in some of the best schools in the country --  we have either been surrounded by stable families or we create them for ourselves so we don't fully live into this article....we don't have a full understanding of what the face of a lack of options, a lack of choice truly looks like. So we spend our days focused on the the tiny things, who is cooking, who let's a man be a man, does he order for you, when do you give 'it' up, etc. etc. Without a full understanding of the ways that our superficial discussions miss the true essence of the problem ravishing our communities.

Would you like some choice bits from the article?
Women of all races bring home less income and own fewer assets...than men...for single black women even in their prime working years their median wealth amounts to 5$.

[Wealth = cash in bank, stocks, bonds, etc - mortgage, cs's, student loans, etc]

Soooooooo despite the cute TV shows with us bopping around in our jimmy choos we're actually trying to raise children alone on a huge scale. 70% of black households are run by single women and it is killing our community. Its so far beyond black women and their mouths, black women and their unrealistic expectations for black men -- it's 4 out of 10 black families live in single parent households in Pittsburgh -- 1 in 3 live in poverty in my home of Philadelphia.

Black women have to bear the financial burden of raising children alone and most often while being employed in service occupations that don't provide adequate health care and no sick days etc.

So no partner to help build wealth + a inability to build a stable and secure financial future + poor health care + single parenthood = Gotta be a death wish.

As adiva mentioned in her post...the problem is that this type of lifestyle has become the norm in our communities, it feels normal, ordinary, common....but it's a death kneel to the coherency of our community and our ability to contribute to the the country as a whole. There is a line in  in the movie "Desert Flower" that says the last camel walks as quickly as the first. It is a Somali proverb that means to imply that the familiar sentiment that whatever happens to the people on the bottom will be felt by all those in the community, or we will be judged by the least of these, or injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere-- I could go on but you get my

I want to see a larger more active conversation about the affect that the prison industrial complex is having on our community, the way that the eurocentric sense of the lifting the individual hits our community in severely negative ways, the way that commercialism and gain for the self interacts with the prioritization of the individual; I want to talk about the way that sexism and classism combine to separate us from each other --  I want to see a conversation exploring the idea that the ghetto has never fully recovered from the crack epidemic in the 80's.....

This is beyond fault and just what is...why are we caught up on the superficialities?

I don't understand.

So I suppose that my long winded but heart felt plea is that folks finally see that this fight for the health and wealth of our community is a feminist fight. It's not about a bra burning, ball kicking attack on masculinity (well for some white feminist it may be - but I don't know any of them) -- it is about a profound understanding, a lived understanding, that the least of these (which somehow continues to be black women regardless of our ability to graduate at higher levels than males) will determine the quality of all of these. We, feminist, are fighting for the welfare of the community by lifting as we climb...get on board...or.... perish?

Folks who read the study and not the article...(embarrassed face....)

Monday, June 28, 2010

This gnat has a death wish....

(who knew gnat has a 'g' in it????)

seriously. the lights are on in the basement. there's a heavy water logged blackness outside and every bit and piece of bug is eyeing my comfy couch thinking they're rather be in here with me. this one gogetther managed to squeeze itself through one of the holes in the screen put there by a fluffy orange cat (angered by his captivity) intent on attacking the mangy cat gang outside -- only to find an invisible screen preventing his attempt to be the head pussy in charge of the back alley way of of the bergen street houses (what what!). i assumed that this bitch of a bug was going for the smooth brownness but as it glided through the slow lazy circles i was offended to realize that the dam bug is passing up on all this chocolately goodness and headed for the inside of the 'sterling silver rose' colored nail polish...


all that work and planning. to commit suicide? thoughtful. a well planned death. can't hate on 'em.

but  wait a minute.

when i realized what was happening i was morally bound to prevent this knat from takings its life...never mind that it would be in a manner that would also be inconvenient to muah -- seriously i can't contemplate using polish with gnat bits in it. so i gently blew him (giggle) gently on his way.

well (as my mom says) I'll be dammed...if that wasn't a clever fricking way to get past me without getting squashed -- i don't know what is...lovingly blown on ur way as opposed to squished against the wall...

genious frickin knat - genious....

Friday, June 4, 2010

Hunger Heat Humidity and Stevie.

but i don't wanna bore you with my troubles..but there's something about your love....

I'm sitting in office singing to songs in the key of life...taking it back... singing at the top (okay middle) of my lungs -- torturing noone cuz my office is empty. Everyone else was smarter than I. Come in early, free from the metaphysical plantation (cuz the real one was nothing close to this) abit ahead of the crowds. So me and Stevie are stuck here until 6pm to contemplate and reflect on the week...

Two days ago Adiva and I did something important -- quality time, advanced. We attended Starved for Attention: The Crisis of Childhood Malnutrition at the Times center moderated by Ann Curry. It was multimedia campaign put together by Doctors without Borders to expose the (devastating) effect of childhood malnutrition. The panel was made up of people who were photo journalists, MD's in West Africa, India, etc.

As always seen from above (football stadium view), in total, the problem seems insurmountable -- except it isn't...yeah uhm we could end the world...for 12 billion bucks. I much did we give the bankers? How much did we spent in Iraq? I'm not even arguing that America should do it alone(food insecurity and malnutrition is horrible in the states as well) but we certainly could kick in a billion or so to keep a billion people from starving to death tonight. There was one woman, a wood gatherer, who mentioned -- oh by the way, yeah I can now go for a week without eating so my children can eat. Seriously?

So have you ever wondered why come countries with the most poverty (India has 40% of all malnourished the world, and areas of Africa) would let their own people exist in such dire poverty and not do anything about it? Well someone (some brave person -- I mean think of the implications of the question) asked. We're seeing pictures. But we don't live with these do you live with them and do nothing? Why aren't gov't around the world, including the U.S.A, doing enough-- I mean, despite the neurotic republiteabagger rants about the role of government -- this is a clear winner no?

Well the genius that is one Mr. Biraj Patnaik responds -- Poverty, malnutrition, food scarcity is the norm for the poor. We are used to seeing it. Thus there is no imperative to make a serious commitment to changing these structures. Well now. Can't you smell the Truth of that statement? So simple, so deceptively simple. We're used to seeing the poor little starving babies in 3rd world countries. Hey, I'm even used to carting my organic fresh veggies into the ghetto because I know I won't find it there. So is that where social injustice lives (oh so comfortably), behind our complacency and excuses????

Another (last)point: Dr. Ismael Thiam remarked that the quality of life of the family is dependent on the improvement of the status of the women. In Africa, the economic sociocultural barrier impedes the development of the entire culture because women are not involved in signifigants ways. Sigh. I could give you an outline...

It was wonderful. It was inspriring. and I got a whole other paragraph for my personal statement. yah for me ;)

Ann C. -- She was really nice, walking around, asking folks what was their interest in the event and what organizaton they represented. She is really beautiful and walked the stage in her 4 inch spikes, an intellectual after my own heart -- look for it 2020!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Summer nights, jokes and therapy...


I haven’t been around, no? I have been taking deep breaths of honey suckle scented summer days and walking around my town until my once smooth and lotioned feet looked like they’d been dragged through the Sahara

- ‘ashy’

(pocket lotion, look into it).

I spent some nights smacking at big bugs (and always missing… where is that old man from karate kid when you need him?) while looking out over a lake and suffering through the fluffy brain numbing sequel that was SATC2. But more importantly, I’ve been spending quality time with my girls and learning about myself…fun times (can you smell the sarcasm?)

Lately we’ve been spending time sharing and comparing dates stories…well bad date stories – those are the best – did I tell you about the one with the Jamaican guy with the [huge] mole who hates educated black women because he feels like they sell out the movement to bring down the Europeans? No? Bookmark that one…

We were trying to figure out when does everyone think it’s the best or appropriate time for the first kiss and dam it if I’m not some sort of prude (by accident of course). Girls answer: When you feel it! Second date! First date no tongue! Guy answer: As soon as she lets you (uhm yeah, that wasn’t a surprise) – I was thinking really? I thought it was like the third date or something – LOL – whoops. I guess Jamaican guy was right…I’m a spark killer, (no buddy, your mole with the pores and the hair growing out of them was the spark killer…). So now I’m the girl who waits until she meets you’re mom before she kisses – thanks for the joke Jas. Now what crazy thing will I have to do to get rid of that reputation!?!! (wink)