Nevertheless She Persisted

[Credit] One of my former students from when I served on staff with InterVarsity, is a proud multi-racial Native American who has recently taken up the mantle of resistance at her children's elementary school who uses R-dsk*ins as their school mascot. She frequently posts screenshots of the hateful & personal attacks other parents at the school launch at her as they inexplicably fight to keep this word as their mascot name.The ensuing battle has been so intense the local news recently aired a few minutes of the community gathering in which the Board of Education disappointingly ruled to keep the mascot name.  During the video an older white gentleman stood at the microphone with anger & disgust & forcefully told my friend that anyone who didn't like discrimination in this country can leave with his packing assistance. She replied, "we were here first, I'll help you pack." The irony of a descendant of an immigrant so foolish to utter those words to the descendant of an … [Read more...]

Why Don’t You Believe Us?

I am a queer woman. I fear for the dissolution of the legal marriage with my wife.I am an American-born, Arab-American. I fear Islamophobic harassment which almost every member of my American-born family has experienced. I fear the impact of registration on my friends & family.I am a refugee hoping to be united with family. I fear I'll never see them again.I am a Black American. I fear the implications of a white nationalist recently named as Trump's chief of staff.I am a Mexican American. I fear the impact of The Great Wall of Mexico will have on immigrant families & the poor.I am a woman. I fear the implications of living in a country where it's okay for our President to explain away sexually predatory behavior even as he's headed to trial on child rape charges. //// Many of us are legitimately scared. Lots of us are terrified. Some can't stop crying. Others have overwhelm. There is an unrest that has very little to do with losing the candidate of … [Read more...]

Black Lives Matter Conditionally

By the words of the media, the condition of our communities (the number of murders in Chiraq over the July 4th weekend, 82+ for example) & the narratives woven post a police brutality murder is that black lives matter conditionally. The cold hard reality is this: sometimes black lives matter, a lot of times they don't. Black & brown bodies are being lost in a myriad of ways. When we discuss "black-on-black crime," the numbers of folks being gunned down & then mass produced for Fox news consumption, the truth is very few people care about those numbers because they are perceived to be thugs, drug dealers & gang banger deaths. The truth is "white-on-white crime" (if such a thing were to be named) is only infinitesimally higher percentage-wise. (Within 4 percentage points). We are not "killing each other" any faster than whites are killing themselves. Not to mention the fact that most violent crimes are intra-racial. The fact that lone gunmen who have been white men kill … [Read more...]

Her Life Matters

This morning I dropped my youngest son off at Kindergarten for his first day.  Like me, a lot of parents were huddled around doting on their little munchkins off to face this new transition.As we waited in line, I knelt down to rest and he burrowed up on my back, playing with dangly earrings.From this low vantage point, I noticed a little African-American girl in another line, alone, crying.I peeled my son off me & went over to her.  Her teacher looked at me suspiciously.  I told her I'd noticed her crying and had come to check on her.She said, "don't worry about her, she'll be fine."I'm not okay with that. It wouldn't be okay to ignore a crying child who is alone under any circumstances, but I definitely wasn't okay with a white woman telling someone not to worry about a small black child alone and crying.  Given every single hardship a typical black child has to face before the age of 13, it is without mercy to meet a simple need.I don't presuppose to know … [Read more...]

My People Motivate Me

As a very little girl I knew my people were beautiful, special...mistreated & hated. I knew I actively wanted to be a part of our restoration, no matter what form that took on. (And dare I say, I knew at 16 yrs old it was my calling).What my youth could never tell me was just how much I myself needed to survive to even begin to have a meaningful impact. Early in my career, I was able to make a small but noticeable difference in the lives of several Black-American college students... I spent 12 years pouring into those lives and it's still my greatest honor & life-contribution to date....though I am ALWAYS humbly grateful for those who my writing has touched.And now, after wading through a divorce & a Time of Trauma NOTHING motivates me more to get my sh*t together than my people and what we currently face. Nothing motivates me more than the thought of joining God in what He's all ready doing to continue to bring hope and justice to my people.I'm learning to … [Read more...]

For DaJerria Becton.

Your necessary air is restricted.  You take short breaths.  You wait for relief.  One day, it hurt so bad you took a viability assessment.  Will you live?Verdict’s out.There’s a gatdamn boot on your neck.  One day, it will come off, you reason.  You wait.  One day, you’ll take a long, deep breath.   Until then, short, quick breaths are gold.  Just survive.It’s been so long, this boot made its home.  You’ve readjusted.  You will live, boot-in-neck.  You will live.  Boot-in-neck living is your new normal, rather, your only normal.  You take the quick, fear-laced breaths because you have to.You grab the boot.  You dig your finger nails in, you dig elbows into the ground, aided by leverage, you push.  You push hard. There’s one glorious second.  A single moment exists frozen in time and you breathe.  You BREATHE! The air flows in with a gush, your lungs expand, the relief mighty. The boot responds accordingly.  It turns right then left, grinding down harder in angry fear: SH … [Read more...]

I Need To Say Something Entirely Different To White People

I took the Megabus, Chicago to Nashville a little while ago.  I joked on Facebook about how all the Black-Americans on board collectively complained about how freezing cold it was after we had a rousing discussion of Ferguson, the protest then still in its infancy.On the way back to Chicago, a black man in a short sleeved tee got on the bus and yelled loudly, “it’s cold as f*ck on this bus!” And we all chuckled, the rest of us wearing sweatshirts with blankets and head wraps and such. The man leaves for a few minutes and comes back with an extra t-shirt.  Someone jokes about how he should have brought a coat.  “I’m finna knit me a sweater up in this muthaf*cka is what I’m finna do!” We all die laughing, but even harder after the woman next to him says, “and it aint finna be NO snugglin’, Ninja.”Later that night, I’m tell a friend about the jokes and the freezing cold bus and she says, “wait a minute.  Are those the same black folks you rode down to Nashville with?”  I tell her n … [Read more...]

The Realization

We put on the costumestryin' to fitsuburban hipster shityo, look at me I can code switch!Is that well enough for you, Massa?"You don't fit hereYou don't fit no where but into that caricatureNigger, sitin that damn box,feels good to me    IFI think about it."Groom these little boys to tone that shit downhair, voice, hands in pockets, smile.Hands on the wheel.  'Don't be back talkin' to that poooolice officer now ya hear?'might wind up dead in the grave.  Trayvon will tell youwhen you get there.Learn it all.Take it in.Buck against.Fall asleepExhausted.Push through    Realize     it was true ALL along?Yo ass is expendable.All the n*ggers.Expendable namesExpendable memories.Expendable histories.Expendable life.Expendable death.Put on that phuckin' costumedo yo song and dancepretend they careWhen it hits you, get comfy in that damn box,cuz yo ass is never gettin' out.////#31Days  … [Read more...]

What Gives Me Hope for The Church

I’m sitting on a double-decker, red-eye Megabus, Nashville bound, nonstop from Chicago. My friend bought me a ticket so I can join her at a retreat she created for Christian women ministering in various capacities. She said the Lord told her I should be there. Good enough for me.The bus departs at midnight. At first there’s a lot of chatter, and then laughter over one woman’s giant church hat, which she’d carefully wrapped in a white garbage bag and placed on top of the hefty pile of carry-ons.After a little while, gospel music fills the lowest cabin while sleep descends. All night, the sounds of God’s truth and human longing pour into my weary brain. He is a shelter. He is a shelter.The bus patrons are made up entirely of African Americans. Eventually we talk about the atrocities in Ferguson, Mo. “Lord Jesus,” someone says. “Father God,” says another.Wanna read the rest here?  Join me...////For October: I’m joining with a herd of other bloggers who are writing for # … [Read more...]

Why Are Black Women So Argumentative?

Okay. So. I saw this video titled "Why Are Black Women So Argumentative?" being discussed in the context of a safe space for black women.  There are so many things we disagreed with her on.  There are so many things I wish she'd have made more clear or even more logical.  i.e. isn't there a degree to which women of every race, ethnicity & creed become argumentative when pushed?  Or, why not acknowledge the exceptions or highlight some of the socioeconomic realities at play?There are also things she said that I agree with.  And I SHO do hate having to admit that.  And I SHO do hate that she put us all on front street. On YouTube. In front of e'rybody. Yes, of course I hate the shame of being of called out.  Yes, of course I hate the shame of seeing myself or women I love in something someone has identified as shameful-behavior-for-a-black-woman-therefore-you-must-be-ratchet-and-bad-bad-bad.The LAST thing I ever want to perpetuate is the narrative that we are somehow bad or wo … [Read more...]