Anything You Can Do, I Already Did Worse: What Bugs Me The Most About The Boomers

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know that I don’t come for Boomers. My general stance on Boomers is that they did what we were taught to do: pay your taxes, vote for whomever you feel made the best case, and try to make the best out of this shitfest called “life.” I don’t necessarily hold them blameless but I’m not one of those people hell-bent on tying every inconvenience or perceived injustice to people who were born decades before I was even thought of and probably have their own grievances against the generation before them as well.

But, there’s this one thing that I keep hearing or witnessing over and over again that I find troubling. The Boomer need for one-upmanship of the worst things in life is unlike I’ve ever known. Granted, we all know that at least a base level narcissism seems to be a recurring feature of the Boomer generation. But the constant game of “How Low Can You Go?” is concerning.

Recently, I was reading the Facebook post of a friend who had experienced a few of her own health challenges. She was recounting how after going through debilitating health issues and other issues beyond her control, her mother, a Boomer, sent her an e-mail in which, instead of empathizing with her child’s pain, she went on to talk about the tough time she had being a single mother and raising my friend. My friend is near 40.

When I read the post, the first thing I thought was:

confusion

We’ll look over the fact that being a parent is a choice while debilitating illness is not. Where was the care and concern for the well-being of your child who couldn’t even get out of bed many days?

The problem though is that this behavior is not uncommon amongst Boomers. They seem to have the uncanny knack for either being completely dismissive, purposely obtuse, or morbidly competitive with the generation (and-a-half since the media can’t decide if Gen X/Xennials existed or not) under them. In the best case scenario, they are just flippantly aloof. In the worst case scenario, they’re prepared to argue you down about how they had it worse than you for 20 minutes.

I’m not certain how the generation that came from the generation that endured The Great Depression (aka The Greatest Generation) has turned out so callous about the suffering of other people, even their children. What’s funnier is that this was probably the last generation that, en masse, were taught things like manners in school. This is the last generation that was expected to have a grasp of the basic social contract. This is the last generation that is expected to understand and commit to, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all,” and bring soup and casseroles to people they hardly even know.

ned flanders

Further, I wonder if they realize their lack of empathy is being passed down to the very people who will be responsible for figuring out their ultimate trajectory once they lose mobility, cognition, or their systems start to shut down. Tables have a way of turning, even if it’s because someone picks them up and turns them. Imagine the furor over putting Marge in the Sunny Days Senior Residence with the D- rating and roaches estimating that because her children’s super smartphones died, they had it waaaaay worse than her losing the ability to control her bowels and swallow.

hocus pocus

While I don’t think the beef between the generations will ever be completely cleared up, I can’t imagine the Boomer need to play tit for tat is helpful. There’s a reason the words “trauma,” “therapy,” and “depression” have been unofficially trending on social media the last 5 years.

miss j

Why I’m Tired of Hearing About “Wokeness”

It’s 2018. We are seeing notable socio-cultural changes every day. A 99% Black movie is probably on pace to make half a billion dollars by the end of its first week out. There are white people who are willing to admit their privilege, and gay teens are unabashedly giving the object of their affection Valentine’s Day gifts on camera at school. Arguably, all this “wokeness” is great. People feel more affirmed, more comfortable in their own skin, and free to be who they are a la Marlo Thomas.

Unfortunately, that also means that people are free to be as openly daft as they can be as well.

when-you-clean-out-a-vacuum-cleaner-you-become-the-16022989

Being labeled “woke” is the new “smart.” It’s equivalent to the senior superlatives in high school and there are multiple trophies for that particular award. And, just like the senior superlatives, I find that being “woke” usually doesn’t amount to much and doesn’t necessarily have any basis in fact. Don’t get me wrong; I think it’s great that people are starting to examine the systemic issues that have long plagued our society. Reflection and introspection is always a productive venture.

I just wish these “woke” people would get “woke” about the rudiments of life.

broadway bitchin'

Who wants to bet that if Broadway did that, the next Tumblr post would be about how it costs too much to buy so they still had to bootleg it because “poor people deserve” to experience Broadway too? -TWD

I can’t tell you how I cackled upon learning that there are books and classes for the generation who can explain why capitalism is evil to learn how to balance a checkbook or call and make a doctor’s appointment. The fact that these adults, in all their ire at the death of free checking, need help adulting between trying to argue you down on Facebook about why economically prudent procreation is a form of eugenics is one of the richest desserts that have landed on my plate.

 

 

When I was in the band in high school, there was a girl in our section (clarinet) who didn’t know her scales. We were all practicing and found out then, that despite decent performances in stage and field shows, she knew not one scale. She wasn’t kicked out of the marching band but she was placed in beginning band class so that she could at least learn her scales. We were all a little shocked. Even the band director would never have thought she didn’t know the basic nuts and bolts of the instrument she had been playing since elementary school. She was offended that she had to go and take a band class with 9th graders but alas, life isn’t fair.

To me, that illustrates the modern-day “woke” crew almost perfectly. They’ve learned just enough to deal with what’s in front of them and can even hear just well enough to blend in but when it’s time to deal with the things that require a foundation that allows them to actually maneuver themselves, they’re pretty much imposters.

abortion

Imagine being so “woke” that you don’t even want to call women, women. I’m pretty sure calling people something other than what they are is in the “woke” list of sins.-TWD

I have a working theory that the “woke” ones tend to sound and/or be ridiculous because they jumped from knowing a little bit of nothing to being “woke” and knowing everything in the “woke” handbook, but not much else (hence, the adulting books). They lack a knowledge base from which to build substantive or at least well-thought ideas. Add that to the fact that I believe many of these people are trying to use “wokeness” to try to heal unresolved personal issues and it makes for a pot of mishmash stew that’s only slightly edible.

lesbian trans

IDK if it’s true that she’s the only lesbian in porn but I’m still trying to figure out how being committed to “vagene” is transphobic…since, you know, “transwomen are women.” Oh wait….! – TWD

In that vein, I’m trying to figure out how the “woke” are any better than those who are asleep. I mean granted, the sleep people may not be able to offer such treasures as suggesting that lesbians are transphobic for shunning penis but as far as I’m concerned, both the sleep and the “woke” are using (or not) the same part of their brain to arrive at their respective life ideologies.

Can’t they all just get along?!

stop the madness

When are people going to get “woke” about the fact that you have to ring up the actual items you’ve selected in self-checkout or it’s theft; not a “poverty hack?” When are people going to get “woke” about the fact that their theft poverty hack is part of what makes the high prices they rail against high prices? Better yet, when will they be “woke” enough to not admit to theft in a public forum? When do they get “woke” about the fact that no business, especially not a bank, started on the premise of being nice to people irrespective of economic status? Can we get “woke” to the fact that if sexual orientation is innate, that will usually include genitalia? How about getting “woke” about how scamming the gas station with your debit card is not a feasible long-term plan?

Nothing big.

Just the simple shit.

I’m sure any “woke” person that reads this will call me sleep. I’m really more of a pragmatist who is socially conscious, yet plugged into reality at the same time. Most of my circle is the same way. And the beauty of it is that we didn’t have to consult Tumblr to get there.

jane

Can I Live? Why Watching TV in the Social Justice Age Can Suck

I am a part of a group on FB that follows the OWN television show, “Greenleaf.” Greenleaf is about a family of pastors and other churchy characters dealing with real life situations like secretly gay husbands and unruly children. The part that makes any of it salacious is that all this bad behavior is being done by Christians; plus they’re Black so that adds the extra spice.

I also watch a show called “Queen Sugar.” I was reluctant at first but after reading people up and down my timeline rave about it, I finally gave in and got hooked. The show is about three siblings trying to deal with their personal demons while keeping alive the dream their deceased father had for the family farm.

They are both, what I consider, pretty good Wednesday night entertainment. That is, until I see a status the next day about how some scene was either –ist, -phobic, or made all (fill in the blank) look bad. For example, on one episode of Queen Sugar, Ralph Angel admits that his father had a separate will that left everything to him. Of course, his two older sisters were not at all pleased to find this out and it turned into the Sunday dinner from hell. The next day, on a popular social justice blog, I noted that I felt like one of the sisters in particular were over the top in their reaction.

Why did I do that? Why did I dare have an opinion about these fictional characters on television?

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My opinion was met with multiple responses trying to “school” me on everything from misogynoir to emotional trauma. All I could say was that as a BW, I’m really clear on misogynoir and having been a head case for as long as I can remember, nobody needs to prime me on emotional distress.

It may seem shallow or anti-intellectual, but sometimes, I just want to watch television for the hell of it. Despite what the high and mighty philosophers of nothing and the moralists say, human beings are attracted to spectacle. All of us. Each and every one. I’m secure enough to watch the Housewives of Atlanta and not take it as a statement of Black womanhood; especially not my Black womanhood. If white women can watch the Housewives of New York City, Orange County, New Jersey and Dallas and not feel like they need to hide their face in shame, why shouldn’t I?

Aviva

I’ll admit that I notice certain social justicey things too. For example, it doesn’t escape me that on both Queen Sugar and Greenleaf, you have a light-skinned (biracial, tbh) sibling who is well-intentioned and gets hostility from her dark-skinned siblings, seemingly for no real reason, and the script is written so that, at least in the beginning, everybody pities the sibling who doesn’t look like everybody else. But, everybody needs some let-up; even from social justice warrioring. I’d proffer that 24/7 fixation on everything that’s wrong with society is only going to wear us down in the end.

Lynn Whitfield

This world gets crazier by the minute. We have a sitting president that e-beefs with everybody, including a world leader that likes to “test” missiles and possibly nuclear weapons. I am glad to watch two middle-aged rich white women argue about a 2 year-old rumor. I need to spend an hour each week watching a pretend bishop throw shade at his pretend wife for a pretend affair she had before any of us were born. These days, the more I can escape, the more of my sanity I can retain; and frankly, if I have to risk my health and well-being to fight the power 365 days/year, scratch my name off the list and call me again in 5 years.

Lydia

Now, I have to go. Lydia is in Shannon’s face on the Housewives of Orange County and I’m not gonna’ miss this!

 

The Black Girls’ Plight: Stressed Is Better Than Sensitive

This blog is going to be a little different. It’s not going to be one of my rousing witty critiques. Yet, I think it’s necessary.

With that said, this blog is dedicated to every Black girl, 8 to 80, who has ever been stifled, ignored, abused, shouted down, wrongly accused, unprotected, and antagonized; and didn’t have the love, support, voice or power to stop it.

Recently, a fellow blogger friend, LaFemme Aequitas, and I were talking about platonic relationships. We discussed friendships, upbringings, familial relationships, etc…In particular, we talked about how biology is often used as an excuse (more like bargaining chip) to tether us to people who are not good for us.

Many people are raised to put family over everything. It doesn’t matter that Uncle Henry nearly blinded you with a low ball glass while in a drunken rage when you were 8…and 12…and 14…and 18, he’s still Uncle Henry. It’s not a big deal that your parents either engaged in or shrugged off verbal, mental, physical, or emotional abuse or neglect. They’re still your parents and although you had no choice in that whatsoever, you still owe them reverence ‘cause 8 hours of labor and food on the table.

The Baby Boomer generation has been far more willing to overlook familial mismanagement in the name of honoring their elders. That’s their choice. But, the unintended consequence was that by repressing their parents’ bullshit, they visited that same bullshit upon their children, also known as GenX/Xennials/Millennials. Not only that, but they expect us to respond in the same docile way they did. They want us to make nice…bygones…fughettaboutit! At worst, they’ll just act like there were no problems. They wish to uphold the belief that parent-child respect is a one-way proposition that always leaves children empty-handed.

Welcome to the Terrordome. Because these days it’s easier to access people for support or collect information to help make sense of things, the cat has been let out of the bag. The youngins don’t feel like they have to force a fake grin anymore. We know what gaslighting and manipulation is. We can easily determine the narcissists among us. We recognize the hypocrites regardless of the masks they wear. We’re not afraid to say that if Aunt Marie is coming to Thanksgiving dinner, we aren’t coming. We know that there’s a fly in the milk and that simply pouring out the milk won’t be enough. The whole glass has to be thrown away. We have definitive criteria about who needs to be #cancelled, blood ties or not.

gaslighting

I posted this yesterday on my personal Facebook page:

Trust

LaFemme Aequitas calls it “dark wisdom.” I call it discernment; the ability to pick up the energy that people emit and whether or not they are safe to be around. When I say safe, I don’t mean a general safety but whether or not they should be allowed to freely occupy your own space based on what it takes to keep you at peace.

As a Black woman who used to be a Black girl, I have found that operating in that discernment or any type of sensitivity can be a hard journey; especially when dealing with family. Black girls are always either “angry,” “crazy,” or “bitter.” You have a “bad attitude” and are “disrespectful.” Even the people who know for a fact that the things you perceive are true, will quickly label you as the negative one. You cannot be hurt, offended, or upset by anything. Any suggestion that you may be right about something being wrong will be used to try to lambaste you instead. Believing that you are entitled to the same respect that the living thorn in your ass (and their defenders) think they’re entitled to will get you swiftly ostracized or reprimanded. What happens if the person or situation you’re discerning is related to you? You should expect a double dose. What happens if the person or situation you’re discerning involves a male? Expect a triple dose. You’ll get proof of the existence of unicorns before anybody defends you without conditions.

walkaway

 

So, what to do?

Preserve yourself. To some, you are overly-sensitive. Some will say you are carrying a bone or grudge. But, I have found that in many instances, carrying that bone will save you. You don’t have to forget a damn thing. You don’t have to “get over” shit. It’s not your obligation to make people feel comfortable while they trespass your boundaries and then, have the gall to try to indict you. You are allowed to give it with the same intensity with which you get/got it. You’re allowed to ignore them. You are allowed to completely divest. You can disallow them entry into your physical or emotional space. You are not an emotional workhorse. Anyone….ANYONE who suggests that you should be is your adversary and is deserving of your scrutiny.

Inner peace is one of the most precious things that anybody can have. Do whatever you have to do to regain or protect yours.

To the people who may feel indicted by this piece, that means you’re either guilty of this behavior or have stood by and watched another adult do it and didn’t intervene, making you complicit.

hurt

Quick story: The other day, while on an errand at Target, someone stole my front license plate. So all weekend, I’ve had to worry about driving and not getting a ticket since the registration office was closed. I’ve had to figure out what time to get to the registration office to beat the crowds. I had to wait for the police to call me back to take a report. I had to call the tollway authority and be placed on hold. I worried about whether or not the tollway authority would accept just a report number or if I’d have to go downtown, get a paper report and fax it in. I’ve wondered what kind of mischief the thief planned to do under my plate (and therefore, my name) all weekend before I could get it changed. The person who stole my license plate? They didn’t have to worry about shit all weekend. They probably slapped my plate on their car and hit the streets all weekend. They probably kicked back with a beer and a sandwich and watched the fight with glee. They may have even sold it and made a little cash. I have vowed to never visit that particular Target again.

I’m sure you get my point. The emotional, mental and physical toll it takes for children of all ages to fabricate problems that don’t/didn’t exist or exaggerate how those issues affect them isn’t worth it just to bring someone down or garner attention. The victims always pay the highest price. They don’t get to relax. They don’t get to forget. They don’t get to pretend. Do what you should have been doing all along: listen and listen from an honest place. If you feel offended, deal. How do you think they’ve been feeling?  Had you been paying attention, you’d know. Willful denial will not help the situation either (“I don’t know why she/he _____”).

narcissist 1

 

But, alas, nobody can make you care. Just know that childhood is when we learn who to trust and how to trust. Don’t disqualify yourself in the name of pride.

I end this blog the way I began it: to all the Black girls, 8 to 80, who had to put up with more than they should have, who never received validation, and whose souls have never gotten a chance to fully heal, I believe you and I’m sorry.

zora neale quote

 

Are You or Aren’t You? My Questions About Open Letters

Open letters.

You see them often. A random customer berates another random customer for being fat and ordering a milkshake. A parent’s child wasn’t invited to the birthday party because they wear glasses. A staunch Conservative makes fun of a patron for using food stamps at WalMart. You name it, you can find it. Even celebrities choose to air each other out in public prose. Open letters are the tools by which people on the receiving end of anything they consider abuse become Paul the Apostle within 24 hours and compose the most erudite and heart-wrenching letters you’ve ever read to someone 99.9997% of us will never know (and the writer usually doesn’t know either).

Open letters, for me, have always been a little like a soap opera treatment. They are constructed for the voyeur in all of us. And while I respect people’s right to chastise strangers in writing on the World Wide Web, I also find open letters a little confusing.

For example, most open letters come on the heels of someone being “shamed;” fat-shamed, poverty-shamed, height-shamed, French fry-shamed. It doesn’t matter. Pick one. Person A is “shamed” by person B for some reason and instead of Person A just putting Person B in their place in the moment, Person A decides to recap the event for all of us on their Facebook page and then put Person B in their place.

element-of-confusion-tee

 

The confusing part for me is this: if Person B “shamed” you in public, why would you write a letter and tell all of us what happened? Wouldn’t that only further the shame? I mean, when Person B shamed you your only audience was the 20 other patrons in the immediate area. Now, 99373999873 of us know that you busted the last pair of jeans in the largest size at Target while you were in the dressing room. The former, you can live down in 20 minutes. The latter, especially if it goes viral, will cause you to re-live that moment over and over again for at least two weeks. Are you ashamed or not?

The next question I have is what people who write open letters hope to accomplish. Do you want the random person who “shamed” you for using real cream instead of soy milk at Starbucks to see your open letter, remember they’re the rude prick you’re talking about and then release their own open letter apologizing to you? Do you hope that your letter will thrust the person into deep introspection? I can guarantee you that 1) you were probably one of 5 people they did that to that week, 2) they had the same two minutes you had to tell them off in person to forget that they were rude to you, and 3) 99% of the time, they don’t actually care and would probably do it again.

Is your goal to let the rest of us know that there are people out there who are rude, judgmental, inappropriate, or just standard issue assholes? Well, most of us who have passed the age of 14 already know that. In fact, many of us are related to those people and what you experienced once at Forever 21 happens to others on a regular basis.

attention

Perhaps, it’s the attention that lures people to bring 988277492 screen names into their beef. I happen to feel that it’s hard to shame someone for something that they own as a part of who they are. With that said, people who write open letters clearly haven’t made it to that stage. I may be wrong, but my theory is that though they are still struggling, the prospect of finally having even 20% of the 98727582746 people who will read their open letter come to their defense against a nameless bully makes them feel a tad better about their Achilles heel.  Plus, these days, people will do anything for 15 minutes of internet fame (even if they claim to be embarrassed by it).

In the future, I’d like to see the assholes strike first. I look forward to the day when I can read a viral open letter from the person who did the “shaming.” That would be a pre-emptive strike I wouldn’t mind seeing. It sure as hell promises to be a lot more interesting.

 

 

 

“You are responsible for your life:” The Best Sentence Oprah Ever Uttered

 

About a week before Donald Trump was inaugurated as the 45th POTUS, the trend of Black people criticizing former President Obama for not “doing enough” for Black people while he was the sitting POTUS re-emerged. When probed, the things that President Obama should have done for the Black people range from reparations to solitarily ending violence in Chicago to increasing funding for inner city schools to turning crack houses into 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom middle-class bungalows.

I won’t mention the fact that these very people will acknowledge that the government has been screwing Black people over since we arrived here so it makes no sense to think that we’d all walk away with back pay plus interest just because the person in our highest office shared a phenotype. I won’t mention the fact that it’s not the president’s job to make sure that people know that it’s unacceptable to kill random people by the time they are old enough to independently navigate society. I won’t even mention the fact that local government has a lot more to do with city policing and that citizens would be much better off taking their concerns to their mayor and councilmembers.  Though I do not agree with every move President Obama did or did not make, you’ll never hear me say that any critique I have of him is due to the fact that he didn’t “do enough” for Black people.

This post isn’t about President Obama or any other political leader, though. This post is about responsibility. Contrary to 2017 logic, personal responsibility is not about denying the social maladies that we all loathe. It is not about blaming people for the problems they face. This is not the “bootstraps” theory. This post is about taking inventory and dealing with life in consideration of reality. I am talking about a serious examination of where we are, how we got there, and how we can excel in spite of the obstacles we may face individually and as a people. I am talking about not allowing issues, be they social or otherwise, keep us in a perpetual state of misery.

quotation-les-brown-if-you-take-responsibility-for-yourself-you-will-develop-a-3-83-29

Let me back up a minute. One of the definitions of responsibility is independence in decision-making. In other words, responsibility is a kind of freedom. I’ll go further and say that I believe responsibility is a form of intelligence that must be cultivated so that we are able to exercise it in a variety of situations throughout life. With that in mind, it doesn’t matter who helps you or what assistance any governmental entity offers you; if you don’t understand that your life is your responsibility, it won’t matter.

You will eventually spend all the money and be back in poverty.

You’ll neglect the bungalow and within 5 years, it will become the distressed property it once was.

You won’t take your schooling seriously and end up just as under-educated as you were before the shiny new schools’ doors were opened.

You could be given everything you ask for or everything you think you need and still find yourself in a situation that requires a magic wand if you don’t wisely take advantage of the freedom that is implicit in responsibility.

There are things that only you can do to enrich your life and set you on the trajectory that you desire, and doing those things takes the will to do so. Waiting on the government is a waste of time. By the time the government steps in, you could have saved yourself, your family and a few others. Sometimes, we are our own worst enemy because we don’t think or act responsibly, and then we abuse ourselves further by pretending that our mistake is someone else’s to handle.

I said on my personal Facebook page Wednesday that 2017 is the year of being put on notice. I could actually say that we were all put on notice the night of November 8th of last year. We are now sitting under an administration that could be described in a number of ways; harried, unprepared, ignoble, and erratic. If there were ever a time for us to thrust ourselves headlong into the practice of personal responsibility, now would be it. We may not have a crystal ball or political prescience, but I posit that we don’t need either of those things if we are willing to be the chieftain of our own journey.

 

Grow The F*ck Up: It Doesn’t Get Any Easier

The last few weeks have been a doozy. First, someone in Kim Burrell’s congregation taped a snippet of a sermon of hers where she talked about homosexuality being a sin and repercussions for homosexuals. She had appearances on television, ceremonies and a radio show canceled after the outrage machine kicked into high gear.

Not much longer after that, Vivica Fox gave an interview in which she noted that her new show that revolves around male strippers (haven’t seen it) was not created with the gay community in mind and that her dancers don’t dance for gay men (or something like that). As a result, her business partner disavowed her. Similar to the Kim Burrell situation, the outrage machine, in its last mile of the outrage marathon, caught its 2nd wind and churned full speed ahead once more.

Betwixt and between those two events, my timeline (and inbox) was graced with posts that were a blast from the past for me. They took me on a journey from 1st grade through 7th grade and back again.

You may think I’m going to spend this blog talking about homosexuality/homophobia, the church or both. I’m not. You may think that I’m going to spend this blog analyzing the merit (or lack thereof) of each screenshot. Not really.

I could make several arguments, but I don’t think I need to. Anybody old enough to develop commentary on what a religious person said to their congregation already knows that before they withdrew support from Kim Burrell, she likely already believed exactly what she said. Those of us who managed to make it out of middle school alive knows that everybody isn’t invited to the party and every product or service sold has a target market and thus shouldn’t be surprised when a person says they created their business for a certain demographic (why you’ll likely never see a white person using Sta-Sof-Fro).

But, I’m not going to go there (maybe I just did). This blog is about our uncanny knack for being outraged first and thinking last. This blog is about the way we think our problems are a statement on everybody else but us so that we can maintain some kind of moral high ground that we don’t actually deserve.

grow-up

The first screenshot is the by-product of a previous discussion about bisexual men who are not honest about it, also known as “being on the DL” (down low). The person who posted this is not a FB friend of mine but is friends with several of my friends. As shown, this person asserts that being on the DL is a result of homophobia.

dl-fixed

When I read this, it didn’t make me think about homophobia or the fear that people who are on the DL might face in their everyday life. All I could think about was how immature of a stance it is. To think that an adult would excuse lying and (usually) wasting the time of someone they claim to have enough affection for to enter into a relationship with is unnerving. Being honest is the right thing to do. It doesn’t matter if the truth isn’t something you’re particularly thrilled to tell, you tell it because it’s right. If conditions have to be perfect for you to be honest with someone you claim to love (and in some cases, have married and made children with), you lack integrity. Point blank.

With that said, there are a couple of adult questions for people who find themselves in this dilemma. First, would you rather be known for being bisexual or being a liar who wastes people’s time and mentally, emotionally and/or physically puts them in harm’s way? Secondly, why would you expect anybody to embrace “you” when “you” won’t be forthcoming about who “you” are?

The next two screenshots are self-explanatory.

bi-men-1-fixed

bi-men-2-fixed

Apparently, if someone prefers not to date you because of your sexual past (or present), they are –phobic. I really don’t know where to begin here so I’ll just cut to the chase. Nobody has to like you. People are allowed to find you unattractive for any number of reasons. Calling them a “–phobe” or an “–ist” is not going to make them suddenly like you. Your options are 1) start lying about your life like in the first screenshot and thus become a shitty person by default or 2) accept that you aren’t their type for whatever reason and move the hell on with your life. For those who are unsure, the second choice would be the adult choice.

The fourth, fifth, and sixth screenshots highlight a common occurrence these days.

poor-people-fixed

 

poor-2-fixedpoor-3-fixed

 

I’m going to skip over the fact that the person never answered the question of who should pay for the “nice things” and then later says the “nice things” come from the dollar store. I’m not going to touch the fallacious thinking that just because someone works they should be able to afford what their heart desires. I’m not going to address the fact that there’s a clear misunderstanding of what capitalism is.

What I am going to address is this trend where someone posts a mini-monologue about something that pisses them off (that probably shouldn’t) and when someone deigns to respond, the poster decides to steer the conversation away from any fecund discourse in order to restart their mini-monologue. If you thought of yourself as enough of an authority to opine, you should think yourself big enough to either respond to feedback on your opinion – even if it’s that you have no idea or were not clear in your initial assessment. Dancing around like Floyd Mayweather when someone dares to pick up and inspect what you put down is jejune. If words suddenly fail you, just take a page out of NeNe Leakes’ book:

nene

The seventh screenshot is more hilarious than anything but had me SMDH anyhow. I sat and read it twice and said, “did this person just try to turn couponing into a social ill?”

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I think the funniest part of this diatribe is that this person first seems to temporarily absolve middle and upper-class people of classism by saying their energy is worth something and then tells them they are indeed poverty-shaming by participating in clipping coupons and “life hacks.”

The thing is, everything isn’t a ploy from the elite to start the class war that will annihilate us all. If you don’t have time to coupon, the answer is simple: don’t do it. I tried to coupon for about three weeks but since I don’t need bulk Depends or 3 tubs of cream cheese for the price of 2, I decided to stop wasting my time.

You catch that?

I DECIDED to stop doing something that I found did not serve me. There was no need to conjure up theories about how corporate America wants me to lose bladder control or eat lots of bagels. I guess I’m just grown like that.

Before I get to the last and best of the fuckery, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out how this person is against couponing for 20 cans of peaches but admits to having no problem with hacks for cheap cosmetics and couture. If you’re going to take down the system, your eyebrows must be on fleek while you do so, no? I’d luuuuurve to read a debate between this person and the dollar store poverty warrior from the previous section.

Now, for the grand finale…*drumroll*…the person who wants friends to report a closed group that is labeled as being for “cis” people only.

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The person who posted this appears to be mid-30s but this post took me directly back to 1st grade. This is like me being mad about not being invited to a party, thrown by people I don’t know.

While I’m well aware that people have all kinds of personal issues and insecurities, what takes this over the top is that this person didn’t just express their individual agita. This person rallied their own little group, most of whom probably didn’t know about the group’s existence either, to try to get this closed (because it can’t be reiterated enough) group shut down. This person probably doesn’t even know what is said or done in this closed group, yet they felt the need to create a new movement around their ire over this closed group.

I’m Black and a woman. If I needed the attention (EUREKA!), I could spend the better part of the day rallying people to get all types of groups and websites shut down. But, I’m also an adult. Why would I waste that much time on people who don’t even know I exist?

I know we live in times that are unusual to us. I know that we are in a time where we are having to re-face the things that don’t work for us as a society that Boomers may have thought they dealt with efficiently decades ago. I also know, without a doubt, that some of our personal and collective loads would lighten if we would simply grow the fuck up.

Tribalism: The Cream In Your Coffee

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A couple of weeks ago, I posted a link to an article alleging that Gabrielle Union excluded Dwayne Wade’ s “break baby” from the family Christmas card. I asked my friends’ opinions on the issue and boy did I get it. For two days, my friends debated back and forth about a wife’s duties to her husband’s “outside” children. Many thought that since she knew about the “break baby” before their nuptials, she should have fully embraced the child in their family undertakings. Some felt that she had no obligation to the “break baby” and that Dwayne Wade was the only adult in that household who had any obligation to the child. If the report about the Wade/Union clan is true, I surmise that in Gabrielle Union’s mind, the “break baby” is not a part of her tribe and she feels no obligation to invite him into it.

The discussion was interesting, as I’d been thinking in the weeks beforehand about tribalism. I believe that everybody, whether it’s PC these days to admit or not, is a tribalist at heart. Before I go on, tribalism is defined as “the behavior and attitudes that stem from strong loyalty to one’s own tribe or social group” (Google). I should note that definition was marked as the “derogatory” use of the word.

But why though?

In the Black community, tribalism is observed but only demonized when middle-class, educated Blacks practice it.  Often referred to as “skinfolk,” there’s an expectation that Black people should stick together, sometimes at unfeasible costs. We’re admonished not to judge that young man who has a rap sheet as long as my arm and even make excuses for his behavior; poverty, racism, capitalism, etc… You’re Assistant Satan if you dare suggest that that young lady with 3 children and a bun in the oven who is the cover for a nationwide story on the end of government benefits make different choices and stop self-burdening. I do not have enough fingers on which to count the times that I’ve sat in conversations that suggested that middle and upper-class Blacks are charged with the conditions in “the hood” or had a finger shaken at them for their lack of association with its residents.

These days, those people are diagnosed with a severe case of with “internalized racism.” I disagree and choose to believe that most of the time, it’s just plain old tribalism. That old saying, “birds of a feather flock together,” and your parents’ teachings that you should watch who you hang with have merit even in adulthood. I posit that the stakes are higher in adulthood, as you’re not just risking a demerit should you find yourself in the wrong company. On that note, I don’t think we can afford to shrug off that person who graduated college and moved out of the hood the next day with no intentions of returning as merely a self-hating coon.

I am and have always been a tribalist, and unabashedly so. To my knowledge, I have no friends who think everybody wants to hear what music they are playing in their car. 99% of my friends have attained an education equal to or greater than a bachelor’s degree. For most of my friends, trap music is an occasional guilty pleasure and not a part of their regular diet. Most of my friends live in safe neighborhoods and come from families similar to my own. My friends largely have the same value system as I.

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Did I do that on purpose? Yes and no. Any of us that has taken a base level psychology or sociology course learned that people are attracted, both romantically and socially, to people who are most like themselves. I’ve never purposely set out to exclude people whose lives are dissimilar to my own, but it always works out that way and I believe I’m the better for it. While society tends to swear off –isms of all kinds, I’ve seen myriad situations where tribalism swooped in and saved the day. Tribalism can help build and/or preserve formidable family legacies. Tribalism can help shape careers. Tribalism can help circumvent many an unfortunate situation or can help a person survive one.

With all of the obstacles that Black people face, you may wonder how I can take this stance. Easy. I don’t believe that the only way that we can unify is to occupy each other’s space. No matter the “level” of tribe one belongs to, they still have their own issues that they have to sort through; and even with common problems like racism, each tribe decides the method of combat that they deem the most advantageous. As we work through our problems on a micro level, it seems inevitable that things should eventually change on a macro level.

I have no animosity towards anybody that’s not a part of my tribe. I wish them no undeserved affliction. In fact, I hope that they can find their own tribe of people who are as beneficial to them as they are to the tribe. But, I believe it’s time to stop trying to get Black people to strap other Black people on each other’s back. It’s definitely time to stop demonizing Blacks who opt-out of the various facets of the Black experience.

“We Are Not Our Grandparents:” Yeah, That’s Pretty Clear

About the last month or so, there has been this theme floating around social media. It has shown up on t-shirts, sweatshirts, caps, mugs and probably underwear too. It has become even more popular in the wake of Donald Trump’s election.“We Are Not Our Grandparents” seems to have become the new rallying cry to tell whites of all ages that the overt racism that has begun to re-rear its ugly head will not be met with chants of “We Shall Overcome” a la 1962.

Before I go on, I want to jump into the “Way Back” machine. My grandparents came up in a harsh era. They came up before DNA evidence was used to exonerate a Black person of a crime they were falsely accused of at the whim of a disgruntled white person. There were no cell phone cameras to record racist encounters which could then be posted on worldwide platforms in the hopes that the racist of record would be shamed into obscurity; or at least a half-hearted apology. The only “safe space” they had might have been a Black church if they were lucky. There were no “trigger warnings” before reading a racist diatribe in the weekly gazette.

My grandparents were also hard workers. My mother’s father came from a line of land owners. Post-emancipation, they worked for nobody. My great-great grandfather built one of the first schools for other children of color in the county. They farmed their own land and sold their own yield. My great-grandfather was an acclaimed agriculturalist who somehow managed to transform the soil quality and teach others his techniques. They had 12 children and sent all of the living to college. My grandparents had 8 children and sent all of the living to college as well.

They knew that nothing was free and everything required either money, work, or both. When they or their children needed something that may have been a financial stretch, there was no Go Fund Me; there was Go Get An Extra Job. Sacrifice was not a problem for them because they knew that what they needed outweighed what they wanted and waxing tragic about people who had more than they did and how that wasn’t fair was a waste of time and literally does not pay. They always took care of business and always had more than enough.

I know that many people interpret, “We Are Not Our Grandparents”, to mean that the non-violence angle of the Civil Rights Movement of the 60s is no longer an option to which the current generation is willing to subscribe. The truth is that the non-violence stance took a level of maturity, wisdom, and discipline that this generation simply does not have.

This is a generation that shuns wise advice as “shaming.” This is also a generation that will become frustrated because the same people with the wise advice won’t help them. This is a generation that will write 3,000-word “think pieces” on the evils of capitalism in rapid succession and then, after spending their last $10 on a Marvel movie (and you bet’ not say nothing to them about it), will set up a Go Fund Me asking the public to use the money potential donors earned through participating in capitalism to help them pay for anything from rent to a vacation because work is traumatizing.

As an aside, the founders of GFM sold a majority stake in the company for several hundred million dollars. They’re chillin’ off a percentage of the money you had people donate to you for rent in the name of circumventing “the system.” Death to capitalism, right?

I have said and will continue to say that without the election of President Obama, these same people who have become Tumblr scholars would still have been walking around ignorant to how insidious racism is. Our grandparent’s generation had to learn that lesson early and down to their bones. Their life depended on it. Yet, they managed to survive and progress at the same time that their churches were being bombed and the KKK was at their front door. Many of them had to sit vigil with shotguns just to keep their family safe. There was no keyboard behind which they could hide.

Contrary to what Millennials say, previous generations did NOT have it easier. They realized that life is what it is and in the face of that reality continued to work, fight, and push on knowing that standing in one place with their proverbial bottom lip poked out and being mad about their parents and grandparents or even society at large, got them no closer to where they wanted to be in life. As “trigger warnings” go, our parents and grandparents should hardly be able to leave the house let alone have raised us.

Maybe some of the political moves the Boomers made caused economic trouble for Millennials. That happens throughout every generation. In 30 years, people will be pissed at Millennials for the fact that nobody knows the difference between “there”, “their”, and “they’re.”

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Oh, and that non-violence thing? On an almost daily basis, we see and read accounts of this generation coming in contact with overt and even violent racism (and other –isms/-antagonisms) and doing nothing more than posting about it on Facebook and getting their friends and followers, who ain’t gon’ do shit either, emotionally riled up for 20 minutes. This generation, that pats itself on the back for its ability to “drag” people for 90 minutes on Facebook and Twitter, doesn’t have the fortitude to offer the same wisecracks they furiously type out on Facebook when they’re face-to-face. Then, there’s the assertion that “silence is violence” and that someone calling you a name is violence. Yet, a huge part of the “dragging” people luuuuurve to do is…calling names.

With that said, George Zimmerman, the one that you who are not your grandparents guaranteed would be in hell by now, is still alive so I don’t think our generation really wants to have the non-violence discussion with our noses in the air.

Enjoy your caps, t-shirts, sweatshirts, and whatever else while they’re fresh out the box. Just remember that the major reason that you even have the luxury of walking down the street wearing a t-shirt alluding to an (idle) threat of retaliatory violence without having to let everyone know that despite your “dragging,” you ain’t about that life is because of the work of the grandparents whose work you derogate.

We are not our grandparents. We make that clear every single day.