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...]

I Hate Thanksgiving

The day after Thanksgiving, I sat & cried with my husband about how much I hate Thanksgiving. This year, I find myself emotionally gutted over Drumpf's politics of course. Who isn't?  Even bigger than that my heart remained heavy at the treatment of the Standing Rock protesters. On Thanksgiving. With frigid water. In frigid temperatures. Why can't the United States keep it's treaties with Native Americans?  Why are we incapable of treating Native Americans fairly? Why God why? My heart hurts for them. They fight to protect sacred land & get nearly killed for doing so.So. There's that. Sigh.Without fail, every year I tend to dread Thanksgiving & Christmas. Has anyone else noticed this incredible expectation attached to these days? YOU AND YOUR BIG, BEAUTIFUL FAMILY MUST ALL BE HAPPY! THANKFUL! FULL! *Insert eye-roll emoji* This expectation was something I read loud & clear long before social media gave us clues about not only what we should feel on these holidays … [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...]

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...]

What Fighting Racism is Like as a Black Woman

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...]

If King Wrote Us a Letter Today

My friend, Micha asked me to guest post on what King's response may be how his dream is (or isn't) playing out as a part of a larger Patheos project to address the American Church in lieu of Black History Month.  For whatever reason, I don't love addressing the Church directly -I feel too fallen myself- however if there's one issue I've ever felt uniquely suited to address it's racial equality amongst white & black Americans.  This post is my humble .2 cents.  I definitely don't have all the answers, but what I wrote here is based off my experiences...It's a sobering task to pontificate on what Dr. King might stew on when given the prompt, 'If King wrote a letter to American Churches today would his dream have turned into a nightmare?'  He's THEE Martin Luther King, Jr. for crying out loud. How could any of us possibly delve into the depths of his potential joy or pain at the State of The (American, Christian) Union in 2014?Yes, he may be elated, overjoyed like so many Afr … [Read more...]

What Are You Supposed To Tell Your Sons About the Black Woman Chair?

When an international magazine editor sits down on a chair called "the black woman chair," for an editorial magazine......heads are scratched. Pearls are actually clutched.  Swear words are articulated.  Anger is not just in the head or heart, it is felt in the body.  From anger to sadness to despair.Then you remember this IS our reality.  You forgot...since yesterday.You post it on Facebook and every one feels ALL THE RAGE.  And you feel confirmed that it IS -in fact- jarring, awful, perhaps even evil.  A piece of  "art" gone rogue.  A misstep by an editor, a photographer, a magazine editor, a publisher.They apologize, say "everyone is equal" but you know in your heart this was no unintentional misstep.  This chair was made to be intentionally "provocative," they can call it "not racism," and a "piece of art," and you can call bullshit all day but mostly you stuff it down because if you didn't each new instance of your objectification would suffocate you.You wonder … [Read more...]

#StoryChicago NOT a Sense of Place for Blacks

I went to the Story Chicago Conference this past week.  The theme was A Sense of Place but I felt anything but.The 1st evening of the conference, conference creator Ben Arment gave us a brief welcome and an introduction to the 2013 Sundance-award-winning documentary, Blood Brother.  The film follows a white American, Rocky Braat who gives his life serving AIDS orphans at a hostel in India.  The film was amazing, touching & inspiring.  The next morning, we began with a very lively all-white, all-male band, Paper Route.  That was followed by a very good mini talk by Ben and a white Australian dude, Tom Thum a professional beat-boxer. And something Tom the beat-boxer said hit me.Tom mentioned Doug E. Fresh and when he did I yelled out "Doug E!!"  Y'all.  I had a very large Doug E. Fresh poster on my childhood bedroom wall.  Tom's off the cuff Dougie comment spoke to my Sense of Place for the first time since the conference started.  During Tom's 2nd act he laid down some dope b … [Read more...]

Letting the Stupid Little Ni**er Go

Today I started my new job as a Program Director for a local nonprofit.  It was fabulous.  There are many aspects of this position I know I'm going to love including getting to train several non-profit Boards in volunteer management & volunteer recruitment.  It's amazingly up my alley.  Thank. You. God.So.  I guess Ima' gone 'head & do my business woman thang, y'all.  (And keep using my beloved slang in about the only place it's appropriate).Most of you know my departure from my 12 yr. career in full-time professional ministry was a sad one for me in 2012.  I'm sorry for how I've droned on and on about it, maybe one day (maybe even today) it will be the last time I ever talk about how painful it was to realize I wasn't going to be with InterVarsity career-wise so-long-as-we-both-shall-live.  Additionally, I feel a tremendous amount of relief to know I'm not gunning to be a full-time writer-author-blogger though there was pain in that decision too.But now I'm here.  I … [Read more...]

For You, Netizen

netizen |ˈnetəzən|nouna user of the Internet, esp. a habitual or avid one.~ ~ Some helpful things to consider as as you pursue your God sized dream. ~ Father of Three, One Living~ What happens when when a white women's daughter buys a black American Girl doll.~ We have so far to go: The Good, Racist People~ For all my fellow Evernote lovers + bloggers: How to Use Evernote as a Blogger~ How shop ethically when your unsure of where things are coming from.  With all the child slave labor world wide, it's worth consideration.~ Do you have love for the Dove? 10 ways to see the Holy Spirit differently.~ Gorgeous post on Christians living in the wilderness~Something clicked in me this past week.  I felt like I just had. to. know where all the black, Christian bloggers are.  So.  Like any good Netizen I began making a Twitter list.  I also consulted Deidra Riggs' post Where IS e'rybody?  (You can find my Twitter list of Black, Christian Bloggers here). … [Read more...]