The Wayward Daughter On Religion- Pt. 2: Meeting The Aunt We Never Knew

To my Aunt Jacqueline: thank you and may we redeem the time.

Earlier this week on Facebook, I shared a status of a mother delivering stillborn twins. Based on the caption, I got the impression that the parents knew their children would be stillborn but still wanted to have birthing photographs done because, in their words, “stillbirth is still birth.” When I shared it, I accompanied it with the customary trigger warnings and a brief family history. My mother is the only living girl of my grandmother’s 8 pregnancies. The reason for that is because my grandmother was carrying another girl that died in utero. My grandparents knew that she would be born deceased. My grandmother, due to convention at the time, carried her until her body naturally went into the labor process.

I shared the status and moved on with my day. If you read my original blog on religion, you’ll recall that part of my journey has been acknowledging and honoring my ancestors. It is an African tradition and if you think about it, it makes natural sense to stay connected to the people who are responsible for where you are today; though they no longer inhabit a fleshly vessel.

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As I was going through my normal practice of communing with them, I started to think back on the post I shared earlier that morning. Never having heard a more obvious voice, “She is an ancestor, too” boomed. The “she” is the stillborn baby girl that my grandmother carried. All at once, I started bawling. You see, I’m the only girl grandchild of 6 grandchildren. I always wanted a sister; an older one. I don’t have one. I always wanted a blood aunt. I don’t have one…or I should say that I lived my life without one. I immediately texted the woman who is like my sister, NegraWithTumbao, with my “revelation.”

We talked about it and she gave me the idea to give my aunt a name. And after that, my spiritual imagination awakened. I feel I know how she would have looked, which foods she would have liked, how she would have lived. I imagine that she would have had the gift of sight and that’s what would have bonded us. I know she would have loved me and I know I would have been able to tell her anything in the strictest of confidence and she’d always honor that.

The most perfect part of this is that she used a FB post that highlighted her own experience to remind me that she’s here. If I know nothing else, it’s that when your eggun or the universe or the deity you serve wants to get a message to you, anything is up for use.

Spiritual awakenings are interesting in that they usually come after great loss. Mine did. But, the magnificence of loss is that when you pay attention, you realize that everything you lost is being replaced with something greater right before your eyes. Most times, we’re too consumed with worry to notice it right away but in the stillness, even if it’s a baby who leaves before they come, your eyes are opened and you become cognizant that you’ve gained so much more than you lost. I lost a husband and in return, I gained a sister. I lost a job and in return, I gained the opportunity to make money using my gift and doing what I love to do. I also gained the aunt that I always lamented not having.

It doesn’t matter if your eggun lived 80 minutes or 80 years, they each have something to offer you, and their love, the thing that never dies, will still do its perfect work.

 

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Advocacy: One of the Many Things That’s Nobody Else’s Business

We’ve probably all seen it. A post or meme telling us that we’re not really pro-(fill in the blank) if we don’t advocate for any number of groups that we likely aren’t a part of. The authors of these posts and memes wag their fingers at us and tell us, “If you only support _________, but don’t support _____, _____, _____, ____, ______, and _____, then you’re not really supportive at all!!!”

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Well, I call bullshit.

Who a person decides to lend their support or advocacy to is their business. Further, it doesn’t take away from their character or level of compassion or charity.

As a Black woman, I do enough emotional labor. I won’t be guilted, shamed, or forced to add every groups’ problems to my plate.

Black people are good about (rightfully) being upset when other minority groups expect us to do labor on their behalf in the fight for justice. We think about how we fought before, during and after the Civil Rights era while other groups reaped the real benefits of our hard work (hello, white women), and we are dismayed that anyone would dare part their lips (or open their laptop) to demand we do even more.

Well, that’s how I feel about being a Black woman and Black womanhood. For centuries we have stood alone delivering everyone else out of their muck and mire. We have written, orated, fought, protested, and everything else for everybody else; no matter how dreadfully they may have treated us (hello…well, everybody).

We advocate, argue with, blizzock friends over them not supporting other oppressed groups that never sever ties with their friends who don’t support us. We put ourselves in harm’s way to champion people who do not reciprocate on the same level (hello, black men). We even rationalize the bad behavior of other groups just to justify continuing to advocate for them.

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To this day, nobody can explain how a movement largely predicated on men being violent (in bathrooms, no less) has anything to do with women’s failure. Are we supposed to be bodyguards and jump in front of flying fists meant for someone else? If men are causing your problem, deal with THEM. Meanwhile, people with dicks have ALWAYS been a problem for women.

Then, we get the blame when those groups don’t quite advance like they think they should have (though they manage to get more consideration that we do); even when it actually has nothing to do with us.

So when someone dares to declare that I have to throw myself into the embers again for every whimsical cause or neglected demographic that pops up or I’m not “real” or “pro-Black” or “pro” anything else, my first inclination is to tell them to shut the fuck up.

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I mean…G-d is a Black woman so I don’t feel a need to stand in Her way by marching and arguing with people online in the name of “social justice” over someone who expressed views like this about Her image.

This is normally the place where I’d go into all of these stats and post hyperlinks to report upon report proving the trials that Black women and girls face. But, I’m not going to do that. I’ve done it in other posts and frankly, my desire to justify my perspective on this particular matter is spectacularly low. Needless to say, the information is out there for anybody who cares to look for it.

These people already know that though. They already know that nobody advocates against Black women’s own interest more than Black women. But, guilting Black women into doing more labor than their fair share is and has always been the “in thing” to do.

The funny part (cause there’s ALWAYS a funny part) is that these same people will boldly tell you that it’s not your business what they spend their money on when they post their multiple GFM links on your timeline. They’ll tell you who they choose to sleep with is their business while simultaneously telling you that if you are just as choosy about who you date/sleep with, you’re -phobic or -ist.

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The upshot is this: I wish people no harm regardless of their stripe. I hope people find their way. I hope people find the support, love, and total health that they need. I’m just not going to be the one helping aaaaallllll those people do it. I advocate for Black women and girls; straight or lesbian. Dassit!

Not only is that my right, it’s my business.

 

 

Have Mercy: The Wayward Daughter On Religion

The last almost two years have involved monumental change for me. What I thought would kill me, made me stronger. I got the opportunity to practice self-care by walking away from things and people that were no longer good for me. A door opened to allow me the chance to get paid doing what I love. I gained the older sister I always wanted but never had. Best of all, I experienced a spiritual awakening that I needed but never knew I did.

I’m like many people. I grew up being taken to worship services every week. I went through the rituals and practices by rote. I didn’t choose it. It was chosen for me from the cradle. Many of the other people knew me before I knew myself. They also knew my parents before my parents knew that I was on the way. It was tradition. It was formulaic. It was choreographed almost perfectly. I knew exactly when to stand, sit, and bow my head. I knew what to do if I messed up. Even the prayers, what was supposed to be intimate communication with the Creator of the universe, were mechanical.

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But, this new season required a new perspective on how I tended to my spirit. I told you that my previous spiritual practice was like many people. Now, I’m going to do what many of that many do not do – tell the truth. After decades, I found that I really got nothing out of it. There were lots of platitudes and control by fear. But there was never the connection that I needed. On top of that, as someone with anxiety, telling me that “God” could say “yes, no, or wait” was never a sufficient explanation for unanswered prayer.

I was blessed, however, in that my soul sister really did open me up to that which has fed my soul. She is a santera in the Lukumi tradition. It is the practice of honoring and communing with one’s ancestors as well as reverencing the Orishas, African deities. It’s been less than 6 months but in those 6 months, I’ve learned a lot. Even more important, I’ve encountered what I was told I was supposed to experience for decades in the belief system I was “born into.” Here are the first five experiences so far in my journey.

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1. New found confidence. One of the hallmarks of my day is communing with my ancestors; called eggun. These aren’t just the ancestors that I know, but those going all the way back to the beginning of the bloodline from which I came. I’ve experienced a different level of confidence knowing that even though they no longer live in this realm, they yet live and are acting as guides and protectors. They have my back, which is something you can hardly get from the people you see every day. Further, having recently lost very close relatives (2015 and 2017, respectively), knowing that the love they had for me did not die with their physical bodies but is still being showered upon me every day is a comfort like none other.

2. Freedom from guilt. Instead of what many call “being convicted,” I receive guidance. I no longer walk around thinking about if what I did or said was wrong. I don’t have to wonder if something happened as divine retribution for something I did, said, or thought three days, months, or years prior. I don’t feel guilty when I experience real and valid feelings about people or situations. There is no scolding; just redirection.

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3. Validation of my intuition. To piggyback off of #2, I’ve received much validation of my gift of intuition. My intuition took a beating during my rough patches. I stopped being able to trust the dreams and intuition that I had been experiencing since I was a young child. As it has recovered, one of the things that is happening in the natural world is that I’m constantly receiving signs that I was not crazy. I was not wrong. Those people that I haven’t particularly liked and people said it was wrong to feel that way? I’ve received proof that I was right to distance myself from those persons. Those opportunities that I turned down or walked away from that people said I shouldn’t have? My eggun is allowing me to see where I was indeed right to leave. Those people who were malicious, or who I suspected were jealous, or envious or had some other bad intention for me? Their ability to hide is now impossible. The best part of this is that there is no finger wagging about how I’m supposed to love everybody because God does. There is no inner pressure to forgive those who are not worthy of it lest God not forgive me. There is no admonition to put on a phony smile. There is complete validation of who I am and who and what is best for me and my spirit.

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4. Answers. I don’t just mean answered prayer. I mean real-time answers to real questions. I’m no longer sitting around wondering if what’s in my head is the real answer or if, in fact, I’m going to play the “Yes, No, Wait” game again. This has saved me literally hours of futile searching, kvetching, and worrying in reference to the most pressings things in my life. My eggun haven’t been wrong yet and something tells me they never will be. There has not yet been a need for me to convince myself that my confusion or curiosity is a part of the “mysterious ways” of the Creator.

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5. Kinship. This is arguably the most important part. Anyone who has studied the Bible will know the anecdote of when a pregnant Mary met up with the pregnant Elisheba (Elizabeth), mother of John The Baptist; the man who would grow to baptize Jesus. In this story, when the two pregnant women met up, Elisheba’s womb leapt. The meaning of the anecdote, or so it has been taught, is to note that even before birth, Jesus and John The Baptist knew that they would have a special relationship. I can relate. When I am communing with my eggun, my spirit bears witness. When I am petitioning Oshun, I feel it. The other night when it stormed and I was awakened and immediately began to petition Oya, I knew it wasn’t in vain. I said to my sister today that I feel that your spiritual beliefs should be as habituated to your spirit as your ear is to your mother’s voice. You don’t have to see your mother to know it’s her speaking. You know your mother.

AsheI’m not preaching and I don’t need anybody to preach to me. I can only relay what I’ve experienced and I can say that I feel freer now than I ever have before.

 Ashe

 

 

Don’t Give Broke People Rides: Wisdom That Has Not Failed Me Yet

***Disclaimer: when the Wayward Daughter was 20, she was a lot more tender-hearted. The events in this blog with today’s Wayward Daughter would have never happened because…I don’t give broke people rides.

When I was about 20, I had a friend. I had a car. She didn’t. One day, she asked me to take her to the grocery store. “Sure!” I was an enthusiastic 20yo who hadn’t figured out that most people are annoying and should be avoided at all costs. I didn’t mind taking her to the store because being 20, away at college, and having my own car was the bomb dot com. Plus, at 20, I was too stupid to know that driving sucks and the quicker you can get home and stay there, the better.

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We set off to the store. Once she got what she needed, she got back in the car and asked if I minded a “quick stop” to her cousin’s house to pick up “something.” The cousin just lived about “5 minutes away.” No prob, Bob! Off we went to the cousin’s house. My friend was the GPS. Next thing I know, we were getting on the highway. Um…that ain’t 5 minutes away.

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Finally, we arrive at her cousin’s house where she goes inside while I sit outside the house waiting for her to retrieve her “something” and come back out. Well, 20 minutes later, she re-emerged…with the cousin in tow. Apparently, he needed to “run up to 7-11 real quick” for some soda or something and wanted to know if I minded taking him. “Um, yeah,” I said through my teeth. The cousin was a little…street…so I decided it was best to play it cool. Take him to run his quick errand, drop him back off, and get the fuck out of there.

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We get to the 7-11 where, apparently, the cousin knows every single person who works there, hangs out outside of there, used to work there, and thinks it his duty to greet and chat with them all. A quick “run up” turned into a good 45 minutes because, “no, you can’t smoke in my car” and if that’s the case, “Imma’ smoke one out here real quick before we leave.”

Finally, we make it back to the cousin’s house where his two friends are waiting on him. He gets out, I start up the engine (remember, I was 20 and knew not the wiles of hood living; otherwise, I’d never have shut off the engine and given myself whiplash booking the fuck out of there as soon as his 2nd shoe hit the ground; I could count on physics to shut the door) as he was walking up the walkway. I put the car in gear just as my friend yells, “Hold on! He’s asking me something.” Yeah…he was asking her for another favor. He was asking the person who did not own and was not driving the car for another favor.

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This time, it was a trip to WalMart to get something for his mama. His friends start walking towards the car because apparently, their mamas needed shit too. They all hop in my backseat. I have to repeat my “no smoking” warning and one of the little pissants decides that just rolling down the window and propping his cigarette-holding arm on the door is the same as “no smoking.”

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By this time, I was fuming on the inside. Maybe an hour later, we get back to the cousin’s house where I stopped him mid-sentence while trying to ask me to cart him and his friends to a party further across town. Absolutely not! It was dark. I didn’t go to college in my hometown; not even my home state. This nonsense had begun at around 3pm that day and we were bordering on 7pm. I was pissed, tired, and HANGRY!!!

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I sped back to the campus, dropped my friend off, went to my dorm and never spoke to her again.

By the way, I received no gas money for any of these “errands” I helped people complete.

All that because I was being nice and taking my friend to the store.

From that day on, I decided that I would never again give broke people rides. You see, we know a few things to be true:

  1. Broke people are broke. If you aren’t broke or less broke, you probably have more than they do; or at the least, you likely have something they need.
  2. Broke people know how to survive.
  3. Survivors survive by using (operative word) anything at their disposal to get what they need and they don’t really give a damn if they have to go rogue, or in this case, rabidly impolite and shameless to get it.

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See, my friend had needed to go get “something” from her cousin’s house probably all week. I’m sure her cousin and his friends could have been gone to WalMart for their mamas if there was a true need. But, nobody had a car. By virtue of me being a car owner, I was a target from jump. Could the cousin have walked to the 7-11? Of course. I’m sure he had many times before. I’m sure that they’d all taken the bus to WalMart and wherever else they had to go hundreds of times. But when the opportunity arose to more easily get their needs met, they took advantage (operative phrase) of it.

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They didn’t care that I may have had other shit to do (I didn’t). They didn’t care that I may think them classless individuals who needed to take a course in etiquette (I did…and still do). They didn’t care if the gas they used up was the last gas I had for another week (it wasn’t). All they cared about was themselves. I wasn’t a person. I was a device for them to use for as long as they could.

And there it is. My rule against giving broke people rides has nothing to do with elitism or classism. It has nothing to do with thinking I’m better or above anyone. It’s about the fact that we all need to practice rogue self-preservation like the 5 individuals I was unfortunate to encounter that day.

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Since that day, I have been very selective of to whom I give a ride – in the name of self-preservation, of course.

 

 

 

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Elizabeth Warren: White People Are Never White When It’s Time To Address Racism

This week, Elizabeth Warren issued an apology to a Native American tribe when it was found out that on her bar registration in the 80s, she listed her race as “American Indian.” If you’ll recall, a couple of years ago, Warren declared herself Native American and Tronald Dump (intentional) made fun of her about it, much to the chagrin of many a Liberal.

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Maybe four months ago, after DNA testing, it was revealed that Warren is anywhere between 0.1 and 2% Native American at most (6-10 generations ago according to this report). I don’t recall what her reaction was at the time (and I’m not finna’ look because this is a blog, not a scientific journal) but I know I laughed like a humyena© (human + hyena…get it?!) and so did many people of beautiful brown hue because we knew what white people didn’t and that was that the results would turn out exactly as they did.

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Fast-forward to earlier this week. Warren issued a perfectly-timed apology for calling herself “American Indian” and I’m pretty sure it’s due to the speculation that she will throw her hat in the 1st-grade prize grab bag that is the Democratic race for the 2020 presidential election. Warren made a point to say that she was apologizing because tribes decide tribal citizenship. Those of you who can read between the lines know to chuckle and shake your damn head at that line.

The reason this is concerning is that whenever the topic of racism comes up, it’s white people’s natural default maneuver to claim some other heritage or religion to deflect their receipt of white privilege and deny that they have racist philosophies or have engaged in racist practices. The reason that Black people were not surprised when that DNA test blew up Warren’s spot was because 99% of us have been in conversations with white people about racism, prejudice, or inequality and heard them claim that they are actually “part” Native American (Cherokee…it’s ALWAYS Cherokee) (or Jewish) and therefore cannot be a party to racism because their pale, straight-haired, blue-eyed, aquiline-nosed selves aren’t even really white.

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I went to college in Oklahoma. By the end of my first year, I had gotten my fill of white people claiming Native American heritage to explain (without anybody asking them) why they were part of the minority scholarship class or were receiving some type of stipend to make their lives easier while in college. I would usually look at them and then walk away because I knew that it was all bullshit. Plus, I’m Black. I’m still owed reparations with interest in the names of the estates of my ancestors for building this place and making white people comfortable enough to pretend to be another race so they can continue to knock POC, particularly Black people, down several more pegs.

I also had a Black friend while I was in college. Her great-grandfather was at one time honored for his work as a Native American elder. I saw the pictures. He was a real Native American. She and her family had been trying to get their official standing within the tribe. They couldn’t…because they are Black.

See, here’s the thing: white people don’t realize how pervasive and insidious their anti-Blackness is. Their brand of anti-Blackness, where they don’t believe the treacherousness of their ancestors is still alive in them today, where they don’t want to hear how their past actions have negatively affected African-Americans generationally, where they even think they can be Black better than actual Black people, has seeped into the psyche of other races as well. That’s why my Black college friend couldn’t get her tribal membership approved (though she was the spitting image of her Native American ancestor), but Rebecca with the blue eyes and honey blonde curly perm could proudly state that she was Native American while knowing 0 actual Native American people, participating in none of the customs, celebrating none of the hallmarks, and speaking none of the languages. Even true non-white people are anti-Black and complicit (to varying degrees) in systemic racism against Black people.

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Back to Warren, not only was what she did dishonest, but it’s harmful. If I had to bet, Black people are some of the most “mixed” people on the planet (due to centuries of rape) but we don’t get to opt out of being Black when the circumstances don’t suit us. We don’t get to get the job at the 99% white tech startup by declaring we’re actually the 15% Anglo or 6% Chinese part of us. We don’t get to become 11% Greek before we walk into that job interview, or courtroom, or hospital so that we can have a better chance of a successful experience.

Further, if suddenly the visual standard of a race is the whitest with all the conveniences and privileges that come with that skin, where does that leave the authentic members of a race when it’s time to get real about systemic bias and change in virtually every industry in this world? What happens to Jacy Runningwolf when “Native American” now applies to Jessica Richardson, the random white woman who “pulled herself up by her bootstraps”? What happens to Tamika Jenkins when “Black” now applies to Susan Q. Whitewoman who has been able to step in front of more educated and experienced Black women all her life?

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White people need to get real about race in this country and that includes giving up the game of Psychological Brown/Blackface they like to play to avoid being held accountable.

 

 

 

The Wayward Daughter’s Official #LeaveItIn2018 List

It’s that time of year again! The time when we reflect on the previous 11.99 months and vow to change our behavior for the better so that the coming 12 months won’t be the same shitfest© we perceived the previous 12 to be. With that in mind, I’d like to offer my own commentary on the things we’ve been doing that need to go on glory when the clock strikes midnight.

  1. Wraps, waist trainers, and tea that makes you shit uncontrollably. It’s 2018. No wrap or girdle…er…”waist trainer” is going to make your size 16 body look like you’re a size 10. Believe it or not, you cannot shit your way to a 27” waist unless your waist was 27.05” when you sat your ass down on the toilet. We’ve come too far in human history to still believe that any of these tactics are a feasible solution to the extra pounds and inches that so easily beset us. I absolve you now from feeling like you need to buy (or sell) overpriced Saran wrap, organ-stifling girdles, and liquid laxatives to live your best life *taps you on the forehead with Pope Wayward’s sword.* Go in peace and breathe, my child.

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4. Celebrity beef. I don’t know about you but I’m sick of (usually undeservedly) rich people arguing on social media over whose song is the worst best or whose g-string is less flammable. If you can’t tell, I dislike many, many, many people. There are even several I can’t fucking stand. There are a handful that make me wish I was a Marvel character that could make them disappear for the 5-10 minutes I must be around them. Yet, you’ll likely never hear about me engaging in full-scale verbal or physical warfare with any of these people because I know how to dislike someone without holding up my life to Tweet and FB about it 3 hours/day. In fact, most of us regular degular people who don’t get paid 7-figures to pop our pelvis while singing about anything from ill-advised sexual encounters to shopping sprees we may not have taken manage to hate others silently. I doubt an actual celebrity will read this but in case they do, let me, Pope Wayward, settle it for you. You both suck.

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3. Stunting for social media. I have been both blessed and cursed to know the tea. I have friends whose tea I know that they don’t know I know. I have friends whose tea I know that don’t even know their own tea. That’s one of the benefits of extreme introversion; nobody thinks you’re paying attention or care so they get careless in front of you and you become the proprietor of your own Teavana. With that said, I’ve decided that the new rule for 2019 is to tell the truth or shut the fuck up. No need to lie about how “carefree” you are while posting pics of the first decent meal you’ve had in months because you swiped right on that gruesomely ugly man’s Tinder profile due to hunger. We really don’t need you to tell us about how you get ‘dat money with a fan of one 100 dollar bill and twenty 1 dollar bills. Talking about imaginary boyfriends/girlfriends or bragging about your spouse who can’t keep the utilities on may get you some attention but at the end of the day, what’s it all worth? We all lie sometimes but why add to your lifetime lie tally when nobody asked you and you could just be quiet? To the most severe offenders, Pope Wayward commands you to confess and give $0.75 to Saint Zip The Lip and you shall then be forgiven.

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2. Not reading the fine print. It happened a few times in 2018 but has increasingly happened ever since FB and Twitter made people think they are the 2nd coming of Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, or Ghandi. John/Jane Doe finds themselves in a situation. They take to social media to get the outrage rollercoaster spinning. It spins. We’re bombarded with articles about John/Jane Doe’s plight. A week later, we find out that John/Jane Doe exaggerated the whole thing or it was John/Jane Doe’s own actions that got them in trouble in the first place (see Meek Mill). I’m not a Freedom Fighter but if I were going to be a Freedom Fighter, I’d only fight for the people who actually deserve to be free. Rage makes you die more quickly so why be outraged on behalf of someone whose actions merit being exactly where the fuck they are? Pope Wayward requests that in lieu of “Free My Nigga….” t-shirts and posts, alms and letters of encouragement be sent to women like Cyntoia Brown and Bresha Meadows.

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  1. Perpetual victimhood. We all have them. That FB friend who seems to always, and I do mean always, find themselves in a crisis. In January, half (just half) of their apartment spontaneously combusted. In March, their pinky finger suddenly fell off. In April, a unicorn actually got spooked and put his horn through the window that’s on the side of their apartment that didn’t spontaneously combust. In August, they had a stroke but then they found out 3 days later it wasn’t really a stroke but a reaction to the 5 Taco Bell MexiMelts they ate. They didn’t post an update status about the findings though, until a week later when they found out there was a group PM asking how they ran a marathon 4 days after a stroke. In October, their right leg actually ghosted them because it felt unappreciated. It didn’t bleed though, so the hospital let them go home. By November, their pinky transplant was complete but then it developed an infection and started to sprout another pinky kind of like mushrooms in the forest. At the end of December, right after getting back from the Bahamas, they discovered they have the Bubonic Plague and are going to have to stay off work for 3 weeks. Of course, all of these come with their own separate fundraising requests.lies

    I get it. Shit happens. But most of us are at the age where it’s time to start guarding against what we can and trying to prepare for the worst that life may throw at us. If that means taking a break from your job as a street corner breakdancer to get a job with benefits that will support your streak of bad luck, that’s what it is. You can spin on your head on the weekends.

    Pope Wayward commands you to open a LinkedIn account (it can be the free one cause not even Pope Wayward is paying for Premium).

 

Happy New Year! Prospero Año!

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Rot In Pieces: On XXXTentacion, Black Hypocrisy, & Delusion

Last week, a rapper called XXXTentacion was killed in a drive-by. News of his death was reported on pretty much every major news outlet. I had heard of him only because a few weeks before his death, he was a part of Spotify’s short-lived campaign to no longer endorse the music of artists who had histories of abuse.

I wasn’t surprised to hear that XXX (from now on, that’s all I’m typing because I don’t feel like typing all that shit) was killed. I mean, you live by the sword, you die by the sword. When you build your life around glorifying or making light of violence, it’s no surprise when violence stops by unannounced and eats everything in your house, including you.

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What was troubling was how Black people reacted to XXX’s death with weeping and gnashing of teeth knowing that this was a person who, based on his history, would sooner kill them than appreciate their blind devotion. But, before I get into the meat of this piece, let’s briefly travel down memory lane, also known as XXX’s rap sheet. According to this article, he was into bad behavior as early as middle school (I’m excusing the stabbing incident at age 6). He had done time for a number of other crimes like gun possession, robbery, and assault. At least one of his earlier assaults was against a cellmate he referred to in an interview as a “faggot.”

The coup d’ grace was domestic violence, which happened more than once and included beating, strangling, punching, etc…his then girlfriend after threats to do things like cut her tongue out and stick a BBQ fork up her vagina.

Since XXX’s death has been announced, we’ve been beleaguered by people, famous and not, sending e-condolences to XXX and his family. We’ve also been beleaguered by memes and tweets scolding those of us who either generally don’t give a damn or feel like XXX got his just desserts considering all the mayhem he visited upon others during his short life.

Those e-admonitions about our lack of sympathy made me think about the delusion and hypocrisy in the Black community where Black male pathology is concerned.

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I got this meme from Facebook. A “friend” shared it yesterday and when I looked at the source she got it from, it was a committed hotep. I’m sure whoever made this meme thought he (because I’m willing to put money on the creator being a male), was on to something brilliant. Well, he’s not. The truth is that the way society in general, and the Black community specifically is set up, if Maya Angelou had died a young sex worker, nobody would have cared and in fact would have tried to blame her death on her own actions.

I can hear it now, “Well, if she hadn’t been turning tricks, the pimp/John wouldn’t have killed her. She should have gotten a normal job as a maid.” There would have been no empathy. No declarations of how she could have eventually grown and reached a spiritual and emotional maturity that would have surely caused her to become someone great.

How do I know? Well, my years of being Black and a woman, and therefore having to deal with everybody’s bullshit has taught me some things. Plus, I’m generally an astute, highly observant person in my own right.

This is the same community that blamed Sandra Bland’s death on her being “sassy” and not knowing when to shut up but wanted us to rend our garments and open our wallets for Alton Sterling, who had his own history of domestic abuse and was a sex offender. This is the same community that had  #fasttailgirls that brought awareness to the fact that Black girls are often blamed for the evil actions that men perpetrate against them. When you take internalized misogynoir into account (all the women who co-sign this bullshit), it’s like an avalanche.

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My second observation is our tendency to make up fairy tales even though all evidence suggests that what we’ve constructed will never be the truth. The only difference between romanticizing XXX’s potential to become a decent human being and my recurring daydream from ages 6-8 that I would marry Ralph Tresvant, followed by Jordan Knight, and then Shaquille O’Neal (in 7th grade) is that I at least knew that none of them would happen.  XXX is gone. He’s never coming back. He was not “the next Tupac.” He was not on track to become some law-abiding citizen who respects women and supports anti-domestic violence initiatives. Talking about a rehabilitation of which there were no signs is delusional. To be quite honest, even if XXX were planning to change once he got back home, it doesn’t matter because he didn’t make back home. XXX did exactly what he wanted to do while he was here. His book is concluded.

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Thirdly, these attempts at comparison make no logical sense. Being a sex worker, as Maya Angelou was, doesn’t inherently entail beating people to a bloody pulp. In fact, women who engage in sex work are far more likely to be victims of violence than to perpetuate it. Further, single motherhood isn’t a crime. Kweisi Mfume’s arrests for “suspicion of theft” didn’t leave a woman beaten almost to the point of being unrecognizable. If people like Jidenna and the hotep want dangerous criminals to have the chance to “grow” and develop into something less heinous, they need to move people like XXX in with them, take them to the altar, and wish upon a star; and in the meantime, pray that they don’t trigger these people to the extent of being threatened with sticking kitchen utensils up their genitalia.

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As a parting gift, I can’t help but point out the hypocrisy of celebrating the downfall, harm, or death of a politician who held an unfavorable political ideology but mourning someone who was a walking nightmare and frankly a danger to all women but that’s for another time.

Until then, I hope the people who XXX inflicted his brand of terror upon are able to sleep a little easier and that at least one weight is lifted.

Objections: Dawnta Harris’ Lawyers Should Stay Off Facebook

Believe it or not, I hardly ever write when I’m mad. Miffed? Yeah. Mildly annoyed? Maybe. But, real mad? Hardly. Well, that ends tuh-day.

This week, in Baltimore, a police officer was killed when she was run over by a 16-year-old in a car named Dawnta Harris. He was the alleged “mastermind” behind a series of burglaries with his friends. This particular incident happened after 4 arrests within a period of 6 months and multiple attempts in the days leading up to his coup de gras of killing the officer to contact him and his mother after violating the restrictions of a type of juvenile probation program Baltimore has. He was on an ankle monitor and his caseworker and others in the program tried intently to track him down once they saw that he was not following the edict to only go from home to school and back.

Now, why am I mad?

Well, before I knew anything about this incident, I was innocently strolling my Facebook timeline when I saw that someone shared a “statement” by Harris’ attorney. I read it. I was, for lack of better word, livid. I’ve posted the statement below.

Dawnta Lawyer

Reading this statement, I had more objections than Perry Mason.

First of all, I have said forever that I object to the notion that teens (the ones who don’t organize crime operations), must be reckless, deceitful, disrespectful and generally amoral. I object to this because I’ve seen so many teens show a consistent pattern of good behavior. I was one of those teens (and I’m not just saying that).

For Dawnta Harris’ attorney to chalk up his 4 arrests in the last half-year, failure to comply with the conditions of his program, and eventual murder of a police officer to him being a child who “is not perfect” is frankly offensive to so many teens out there who manage to go through the emotional, mental, and physical upheavals of adolescence WITHOUT a rap sheet.

Secondly, I object to the insinuation that this is more the system’s fuck up than Dawnta’s or his parent’s. Yeah, he should have never been out on the street in the first place. It was a complete misstep to allow someone who had his record to be integrated back into society. But, his attorney’s last statement, that implies that the environment in which he grew up caused him to make decisions that were not “advantageous” to his social welfare is laughable. Who the fuck cares what’s “advantageous” to someone who not only burglarized people’s property that they worked to acquire but killed someone’s daughter/sister/mother/ friend (even if she was a cop)?

That leads me to the third objection. Apparently, the general public is supposed to give a fuck about Dawnta being charged as an adult and being held in an adult detention center. Apparently, because he’s either Black or from Baltimore or both (first three lines of statement), “we” are supposed to embrace him even though he has proven, more than once, that he’s a danger to “us” and a bane of his own community. When the attorney asks if the public is comfortable “forsaking” him, I offer a resounding, “fuck yes!”

Let me pull over here and say that I can’t help but notice the irony of his lawyer invoking The Almighty when it clearly states in the “good book” that we all reap what we sow. Maybe his lawyer missed that part, or maybe he thinks it doesn’t apply to his client.

But I’m not done yet.

After I read that dreadful nonsense from Harris’ attorney, I broke the international rules of reading anything on the internet and perused the comments. I feel like several of them were worse. I just screenshot two.

Dawnta crazy comment

Ob-mutha-fuckin’-jection!

First of all, I’m not a cop sympathizer by any stretch but you have to be one deranged person to read the account of what happened and come up with this as your response. Cops are paid by taxpayer money and I can say for certain that Lanear, who doesn’t know the difference between “hear” and “here”, would be one of the first ones to howl if the cops took her up on her suggestion to “mind their fucking business.”

Next, Lanear, in a stunning display of contradiction, sounds a little miffed about all the cops who don’t “actually” do their job. At least she has a weak grasp on sarcasm to make up for her misunderstanding of homophones.

For the finale, Lanear asserts that (apparently), Dawnta Harris shouldn’t be held accountable for his actions because cops in general kill so many “prince” [sic] and “kings” in the Black community.

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Now, I don’t know who these princes and kings in the Black community are but I cannot wrap my head around someone saying that a cop should not have been doing her job as a response to a thieving recidivist killing her.

The second crazy comment…*sigh* where do I start?

Dawnta crazy comparison

I’ve chosen to ignore the Go Fund Me part because I don’t know what to say but, “damn that!”

Let’s talk about how Candice shows up in the clutch with the sound financial advice to nix the Go Fund Me campaign and just but it on the boys’ books once they are sentenced to life. Great idea, Candice. I have another idea. Donate to a victim’s assistance organization. Help someone replace the things that were stolen by Dawnta and his friends.

Mdot Innc (which I’ve decided is just a YUGE typo), comes back with the fact that George Zimmerman, an adult who murdered a child who actually did NOTHING wrong (unlike Dawnta and his homeboys) had a Go Fund Me. I love how Mdot notes that George Zimmerman was “clearly wrong” when Dawnta Harris has confessed to running over the cop. Plus, you don’t get put on an ankle monitor and a probation program because there’s confusion about whether or not you did anything wrong. It’s as if Mdot isn’t clear whether or not burglary and running over someone on purpose is a “wrong” thing to do.

For her final stroke of genius, she notes that a white kid killed a family of four (I’m thinking he’s talking about Affluenza) and got probation. Here’s what, MDot, Dawnta Harris was in a probation-style program too after 4 arrests within 6 months sooo…..I guess the “if they can do it, we should be able to do it too” defense is out the window.

To that end, it’s terrifying how people like Lanear and MDot will choose the most horrid, base, wretched behavior to declare their desire to be equal to white people. All the hardships our ancestors fought through to get us here was not so that we could comport ourselves as badly as white people and get away with it.

Here’s the biggest reason why this pissed me off:

it’s another dazzling display of how in the Black community, we willingly overlook, downplay, and even excuse Black male pathology at all stages of the game. Dawnta Harris (and probably his friends too) should not have been free to exist among us-at all. Even Marilyn Mosby, Baltimore’s state’s attorney who stuck her neck out over the Freddie Grey case, seemed very dismayed that Dawnta Harris wasn’t locked up where he should have been.

Though I have divested from everybody but Black women and (law-abiding) children, this thing where the community makes up excuses for the criminal behavior of Black males still affects me and society at large, to be quite honest. Similarly, this problem spans across all of maleness, as even the Santa Fe shooter’s father has attempted to shift the blame for his son’s murder spree on being “bullied.”

This bullshit has got to stop.

To Dawnta’s attorneys:

No it wasn’t basically a “traffic stop.”

No, he was not in “survival mode.”

No, it wasn’t an “accident.”

No, it’s not a problem if the officer showed “aggression.”

I don’t need to see the video. I have common sense.

To the rest of you dunderheads who came out of your keyboard to type some bubbameister defense of Dawnta Harris:

what if the officer he killed was your family member? Would you be so quick to engage the mental gymnastics you’re performing now to excuse his actions or would you want him and his clique under the jail? Be honest.

As for me, I’m on #TeamUnderTheJail.

In my estimation, Dawnta Harris’ lawyers are a part of the same “system” that they are blaming. The county allowed him the opportunity to further victimize those in his community by not keeping him locked up and now, his lawyers are trying to minimize the fact that this child is a serious problem and needs to be treated as such.

I understand what lawyers do and I understand it’s their job to defend their client. I think they would have been better off leaving that baloney attempt at a soliloquy about how less guilty their client really is off of Facebook.

Crime is perpetual. We know this. But if our communities keep cradling these males this way, nothing positive will ever be accomplished long-term.

2520s: The Scourge

Scourge

[skurj]

noun

1.

a whip or lash, especially for the infliction of punishment or torture.

2.

a person or thing that applies or administers punishment or severe criticism.

3.

a cause of affliction or calamity:

Disease and famine are scourges of humanity.

 

I don’t have a clever entrée for this piece so I’m just going to go for it. White people are a scourge upon humanity. I know it. You know it. They know it. As addiction science teaches us, the first step is admitting the problem. I’m naming the problem: white people.

In the last two weeks or so, those of us who read have read several accounts of white people calling the police on Black people for doing innocuous things from napping in a college common area, to barbecuing, to not waving and smiling at them (if that’s not some early 19th century “yessa’ master” racist bullshit, I don’t know what is). These incidents are not only infuriating because they are clearly raced-based, but they demonstrate that the dark underbelly of white racism is alive, well, and going nowhere. Further, white people apparently relish in it.

 

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Sarah Braasch: the woman who called the police on fellow Black yale classmate for sleeping in a common area.

 

Most Black people can relay at least one experience of white people being hall monitors, getting into their business, and turning a benign situation into something way more serious than it needed to be. These white people didn’t do it because they really cared, but because, just as in the days of slavery, they felt the need to flex their muscle and show the power they have as white people (this is why any white person who says they don’t understand that racism = prejudice + power is lying).

 

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Jemma Beale: woman who lied about 15 rapes over the course of 3 years. k

 

These days it’s worse, as, in the last 6 years or so, there has been a barrage of unjust police killings of African-Americans and even white citizens exacting their racism on Black citizens; even children like Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis. With the acquittal of the murderer of Trayvon Martin and the judicial system’s failure to prosecute police officers who killed people (children included) for literally doing nothing wrong at all, white people have received a contract renewal to continue terrorizing Black people at whim.

 

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Ronald Ritchie: man who called the police on John Crawford and lied; leading to Crawford’s execution by police. 

 

I think we all knew that white people are crazy; and by crazy, I don’t mean mentally ill but more like a general malevolence that’s so pervasive that it’s almost undetectable. It’s a depravity so ancient that it has masks, and costumes, and is able to bend and shift better than any CGI sci-fi creature.

This wickedness walks amongst us every single day in the form of those whom we are taught to trust like teachers, firefighters, police officers, doctors and nurses, and even clergy.

But that’s not all.

This brand of atrociousness is so treacherous, scornful and arrogant that it will work its barbarity and then turn around cry that it has been harmed.

 

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The racist white woman who called the police on Black people barbecuing and then started crying that SHE was the one being harassed. 

 

Over the past few days, there have been think pieces written about why white people call the police on Black people for any damn reason. Some suggest that it’s white people’s fear of Black people that cause them to run to the police. Some suggest that as gentrification becomes more and more the order of the day, whites see calling the police on Blacks as a way to lower crime and protect their newly Columbused neighborhoods. There’s also been a suggestion that it’s merely a way to preserve the racial hierarchy.

First of all, why would whites fear Blacks unless whites had done something to Blacks that would merit Black people’s disdain of white people? According to white people, all their bullshit is “in the past” and we should “get over it.” So, why be afraid?

Gentrification? They could just go back to where they came from (advice they like to give Black people all the time) instead of threatening the people who were there before they even thought about coming or stay out in the first place. I mean, if the place is so crime-ridden, why’d they come? Seems like a simple enough solution to me.

As for preserving racial hierarchy…I thought racism was dead and a figment of Black people’s imagination because we don’t want to work hard and want to play the race card and blame white people for all of our problems, que no?

I have another theory. White people are just no good. En masse, collectively, in sum, no good. Their affinity for unabashedly causing problems wherever they go and then feigning ignorance, heroism, or good intention when called on it reeks of an arrogance that’s annoying at best and dangerous at worst. Their ability to lie so smoothly, without so much as a blink of their eyelash, is the stuff of any Black person’s worst nightmare.

 

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Carolyn Bryant: the woman who lied on 14-year-old Emmett Till and caused his death at the hands of a white male lynch mob.

 

What to do? They aren’t going anywhere and even though their reproductive numbers are declining, I don’t foresee them not existing any time soon.

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I support what I’ve seen a few tweets propose. Black people should start randomly calling the police on white people. Little Emily standing in the booth behind you at Chili’s and staring at you? Call the police. Who knows what she’s plotting? If 12-year-old Tamir Rice can be killed by the police for playing with a toy gun after one of them called the police on him, little Emily needs to be taken in for questioning at the least. Susan holding up the line at Bath & Body Works because she can’t combine coupons? Call the police. She’s being disruptive and trying to commit coupon fraud. Chad, Jr. having a tantrum at Kroger? Call the police. He’s disturbing the peace and his parents are accessories to his crime for not putting his ass in check. White waitress at Waffle House taking too long to serve your food? Call the police. It’s attempted murder because you’re starving and she doesn’t seem to care.

Call the police and then walk away as if what you’ve done has no consequence just like they do.

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People who treat other people as less than human must not be surprised when the bread they have cast on the waters comes floating back to them, poisoned.” – James Baldwin

 

2017: The Year From Hell For Which I’m Grateful

2017 was probably the hardest year of my life, thus far. It started out okay but when the leaves began to change and the temperature became colder, so did my life.

In 2017, I lost my husband (through separation) and one of my favorite people in the entire world, my grandmother, through death.

Yet, out of what seemed like the worst of times, the best of times also emerged. You see, I’ve always liked learning and 2017 was the teacher that I needed. Being somewhat of a Type A personality, I always thought that I stayed prepared for the worst, but 2017 taught me how to really gird my loins.

2017 taught me a new fighting stance. 2017 taught me how to jump higher, run faster, duck lower. 2017 was the steeplechase that I needed to train me and get me in shape for what is to come. 2017 went in and found all the cracks and leaks that were going to cause me worse problems in the future and went to work on them.

Most importantly, in 2017, I learned I’m much stronger than I thought. I learned that the things that I thought would be Mt. Everest experiences for me were really hills that I could easily surmount.

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Nobody can promise us anything. People wish us well and have good intentions when they do so but life, I find, isn’t subject to any of us. Life, for those of us claiming to want to be better and do better, will sometimes serve us dishes that are more bitter than we like with the purpose of training our taste buds, so to speak. It’s up to us to be open to the road that leads us to where we say we want to be or reject the pruning and stay trapped where we are.

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Though I shed many, many, many tears in 2017, I’m grateful that I made it. I’m thankful that I didn’t just make it, but that I came out of it with a new perspective on life and a fresh concept of who I am. I’m not trying to BS you with some new age/shout it to the universe and you’ll get it/think positively balderdash. If anything, I hope you take with you the fact that life can be difficult but, unlike people, when life gets hard, it’s not to harm us but to propel us. Our job is to be attentive students.

Best wishes for 2018.