Black Women Do Not Exist To Save You

In a narrow win, Doug Jones has won the Senate race in Alabama. And by narrow, I mean less than 50,000 votes.  So, before any of us break our arm off to pat ourselves on the back, remind yourself that this was a race between a man that prosecuted the KKK for the murder of 4 Black girls in a bombing at 16th Street Baptist Church and a man that is accused of being a pedophile. And it was still a narrow win.  Let that sink in. We are that far gone in America that people considered alleged pedophile Roy Moore a viable candidate for Senate.  Continue reading “Black Women Do Not Exist To Save You”

Dear Colin Kaepernick: All You Had To Do Was Play The Game, Boy.

All you had to do was throw the ball, boy. We concealed this auction block well, didn’t we, boy? You didn’t know you were on sale, boy? Didn’t we tell you to just run, boy? Entertain us, boy. Win championships for us, boy. Stay in your place, boy. Don’t you dare get these other slaves, Black men riled up, boy. Didn’t we pay you enough, boy? Why can’t you just be satisfied, boy? Stand up and salute this flag, boy. Honor your allegiance to the system, boy. Didn’t we give you enough money to entice you, boy? How dare you reject your master, boy. Didn’t you like your name in lights, boy? Didn’t we stroke your ego, boy? All you needed to do was play the game, boy. Keep dancing for us on Monday Night, boy. Make us rich, boy. We don’t care if you get hurt, boy. Our job is to break bucks like you, boy. Didn’t you know boys like you come a dime a dozen, boy? We can replace you with no thought, boy. Make sure our new boy is a controlled boy. Thought you knew we don’t trust Negroes to be the quarterback anyways, boy. We did you a favor, boy. How dare you turn your back on us, boy. If you are kneeling, it will be before us, boy. Ain’t this game your God, boy? Don’t you see how everyone else bows down before us, boy? Don’t you know what we do to Negroes like you, boy? Back in the day, we let Negroes like you sway from the trees, boy. Make an example outta you, so other Negroes will stay in their place, boy. Don’t you smell that strange fruit in the air, boy? All you had to do was just shut up, boy. We don’t have to kill you, boy. All we have to do is silence you, boy.

Continue reading “Dear Colin Kaepernick: All You Had To Do Was Play The Game, Boy.”

Black Women Have Warned You Time and Time Again…

Black Women have warned you time and time again! Do you want to know the trajectory of this nation? Listen to Black women! Do you want to know the health of this nation? Check the health of Black women. Black women are the foundation. Black women are the backbone to what would be a spineless nation that doesn’t dare to stand up and speak truth to power! Warning comes before destruction! Continue reading “Black Women Have Warned You Time and Time Again…”

I Asked When Are We Going To Vet White Men? Breaking News-White Men Called Me Racist.

Today I awoke to the news that once again, another town has been impacted by a mass shooting. It seems we can hardly process one mass shooting before dealing with the devastating effects of another one. In Nashville, Tennessee, 29-year-old White male, Travis Reinking, drove to a busy Waffle House, killing four people with an AR-15 rifle and injuring several others with an AR-15 rifle.

How many times is this going to happen? Once I read the information I tweeted, “When will we starting[sic] vetting White men?” (I meant, when will we start vetting White men, but Twitter doesn’t let you edit.)

Continue reading “I Asked When Are We Going To Vet White Men? Breaking News-White Men Called Me Racist.”

“You Gon’ Learn Today” – My Racial Bias Training

In light of the recent typical racist bullshit incident involving Becky, Holly Hylton, calling the police on two Black men, Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson in just 2 minutes of their arrival at Starbucks, the company has announced that it will be closing 8000 company owned stores on the afternoon of May 29, to provide racial bias training to 175,000 employees. This is to address the apparent racial profiling that happened while Nelson and Robinson were in the Starbucks waiting for a friend to discuss a business deal. Presumably, both men were waiting for their friend’s arrival before ordering, you know, like most people in the world. But because Black people seem to turn into the Incredible Hulk when doing everyday things like driving, walking, exercising, talking, jogging, eating, breathing, Holly took it upon herself to immediately call the police and put in a Code Red for Two Black Men Breathing.

Continue reading ““You Gon’ Learn Today” – My Racial Bias Training”

#DrinkingCoffeeWhileBlack

In another episode of Some White People Being Surprised When White People Are Racist…

Scrolling through my Twitter feed I saw a video posted by Melissa DePino that showed two Black men being arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks for merely waiting on a friend to arrive before placing their order. Or as Black people call it, Thursday.

Starbucks has branded itself as a company that is concerned about diversity and inclusion stating on its website, “Embracing diversity only enhances our work culture, it also drives our business success. It is the inclusion of these diverse experiences and perspectives that create a culture of empowerment, one that fosters innovation, economic growth and new ideas.” Starbucks CEO, Kevin Johnson, stated in an article written by Ronald Holden in Business Insider that, “We are in the business of human connection.”

Really? If this is what you consider human connection this is a serious fail.

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While this incident took place on April 12, 2018, Starbucks is taking a page out of Papa John’s former CEO, John Schnatter’s public relations playbook-say nothing to address the issue swiftly but remain silent while a PR person crafts a carefully worded statement that give or take a few words will read like this:

“We in no way condone this type of behavior that was exhibited in one of our gentrified locations.  Our company strives to treat all people with respect no matter of their race, class or gender; in fact, we don’t even see color.  We have Black people on staff, and we are working to make our Starbucks community one that is well rounded, diverse and one that stands on inclusivity and intersectionality. We work with farmers directly because we believe in social justice. You can rest in your cognitive dissonance knowing that we believe in equity for all human beings as you sip our overpriced coffee. (Did we use all the buzzwords?) As a consumer, you should be aware that more than half of our staff voted for Obama…twice. We sincerely apologize to those two Black men that we have reached out to only because we know we look bad and we are confident a lawsuit is coming. Our entire staff will go through diversity training immediately which probably won’t entail instruction and guidance by any Black people. Also, we will design a cup that reflects how devoted we are to change and our baristas will write this hashtags on ALL orders #BlackPeopleDrinkCoffeeToo as a daily reminder that it is not a crime to be #DrinkingCoffeeWhileBlack. Thank you.

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Of course, my obligatory apology speech was written in jest. However, the overall theme and sentiment will be along these lines. Guaranteed.

This is a failure on the part of Starbucks and Starbucks will do what many of these companies do and find a way to gloss over this issue. Before I continue let me point out, some White people at the Starbucks did stand up and speak out, and that is wonderful. That is what you should do when you see injustice taking place right in front of you. However we know, outrage only seems to last but for a season.Protesting is in style now; resistance is all the rage. But after the fad fades, then what?

It is because of this common short-lived outrage that I do not want to simply address Starbucks. Listen, if Starbucks wants to really do anything about diversity and inclusion they have the resources to contact people around the world that can help them. Call me. Instead what I would like to address is the shock and surprise many White people felt watching the video, asking, “How does this happen in America?”

It happens in America because for too long “good White people” have sat by and have said and done nothing. Good White people have remained silent when they should have shouted. Have looked the other way or pretended not to see. Good White people have ignored what Black people have said since time was time. Good White people have attempted to find excuses for obvious wrongs and injustice. Even with this incident, people are questioning what the Black men could have done or why they just wouldn’t leave the Starbucks?

Many White people were shocked, and Black people, on the other hand, called it just another day of being Black in America.

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This is the reality of being Black in this world. Black people know we are over-policed.  We understand that we are wrongly targeted, falsely accused, shot and killed for no reason, however many in White America seem to believe this is all a figment of our imaginations. White America believes that Black people are making up this phrase called “White privilege.” If you ever doubted that White privilege exists, there it is on full display in the video.White privilege is being able to enter a Starbucks as a White person, connect to the Wi-Fi, sit and surf the web for hours or sit and wait patiently for your friend to arrive with no thought or threat of being removed from Starbucks in handcuffs.

What I ask is that White people do not just focus on Starbucks. Also focus on the more significant structural system that is in play. Look at how Black skin is criminalized even when Black people are doing the most mundane things like sitting, walking, driving, jogging, talking, running, swimming, shopping, eating…breathing. Just existing for a Black person is problematic in this world. Think about all those times you have asked yourself, “What did the Black person do to cause this injustice?” Remember this incident when you are attempting to find an excuse to rationalize injustice.

The only mistake those Black men made in the eyes of the person that called the police were being Black and breathing in Starbucks. Their only mistake was #DrinkingCoffeeWhileBlack.  And STILL, some people are asking, “Were they asked to leave?” What does that have to do with anything? We have fought to have the right to sit and dine wherever we desire. This is reminiscent of restaurant sit-ins. Are Black people not allowed to sit and wait to order a cup of overhyped, overpriced coffee?

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Dion Diamond is harassed during a sit-in at the Cherrydale Drug Fair in Arlington

Then at least five police officers descend on Starbucks to arrest these men and perp walk them out of the Starbucks as if they are criminals. The police are doing the job of the system. They know the men have done nothing wrong, but that does not matter. What matters is that they are using the power given to them by a racist system that masquerades as justice. These men were arrested, booked, placed in jail and were not released until 2 am in the morning. That is how the system works. This is bigger than a Starbucks issue. This is how America works because it is built on racist systems.

This is why Nikolus Cruz can have the police called to his home numerous times; the FBI is informed about his violent and suspect behavior and do nothing until he kills 17 innocent people in Parkland, Florida. This is why two White women can adopt multiple Black children, parade them around for quaint photo ops with police officers all while abusing, starving, and then driving them over a cliff and the system that should have protected them does nothing until it is dragging their lifeless bodies from the water. This is why in Kentucky a White boy can walk into a school and kill two students, injure 14 others and our legislators are attempting to pass a law to make it more convenient for them to harass Black and Brown people. This is why Black activists are labeled by the FBI as Black Identity Extremists for demanding justice yet the FBI looks in the other direction when they are given information about White people plotting disaster. Perhaps law enforcement should stop focusing on Black activists and redirect its attention to some of the people that have committed some of that worst crimes known to humanity.

I am all for boycotting Starbucks but do not get caught up in the hype of just being angry at Starbucks. 

This is bigger than Starbucks. Fuck Starbucks! Let’s just be honest-Starbucks ain’t going anywhere any time soon and judging by the line I always see wrapped around the Starbucks in my neighborhood, the majority of people are not going to stop drinking Starbucks, at least not for an extended amount of time. 

So what can you do?

  • Stop acting surprised!
  • Listen to Black people when we speak! 
  • Trust that Black people are speaking the truth when we speak about injustice. 
  • If you still choose to patronize Starbucks after seeing the video above, ask yourself why? Ask yourself would you still buy Starbucks if they had arrested you or your son just for sitting waiting for a friend? If the answer is no, why still buy their coffee?
  • If you choose to boycott Starbucks, where are you spending your money to purchase coffee? Is there a local coffee shop that you can support?
  • Be willing to face the truth and deal with some ugly realities of race in America. 

Be aware that what happened to those Black men happens all around this country every single day. Think about all the incidents that are never caught on camera?  Think about Brennan Walker, a Black boy that was almost murdered simply for knocking on a door and asking for directions.  Think about Sandra Bland who was arrested and died on a jailhouse floor all for failing to signal. 

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It is time out for being surprised. At this point, NOTHING should catch you off guard when it comes to race relations in America. Whatever dream you have sold yourself about a post-racial America so that you can sleep better at night, wake up! Open your eyes. This is America. Slavery was the economic engine that catapulted America into becoming one of the richest nations in the world. Racism is embedded into the fabric of this nation. Do not work just to dismantle Starbucks. Work diligently to dismantle a racist system.

Update: On Saturday, April 14, 2018 at 12:59 pm Starbucks released their official statement. Reads very similar to mine written above.

Dear Police…I Don’t Care That You Milly Rock On Any Block

On March 18, Stephon Clark, a 22-year-old Black man was murdered in his grandmother’s backyard by Sacramento Police after the police claim his cell phone was a gun. While many Black people were dealing with the devastation of yet another murder by the police, just days later, Saheed Vassell, a 35-year-old Black man, diagnosed with bipolar disorder was murdered by the police, who claim the showerhead he was holding, looked like a gun. The news of Vassell’s death came on my Twitter feed just as I was about to teach a workshop to Black youth on the 50th Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination. How could I stand in front of them and tell them that their lives mattered when everything in the world is telling them that was not the case? Even Faith Linthicum, a nurse that was fired for saying that Stephon Clark deserved to die, raised over 20,000 dollars on GoFundMe. Being racist has always been lucrative in America.

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I watched the funeral of Stephon Clark, and my heart shattered. I was once again in this awkward space, mourning children that I never birthed, mentally preparing to bury children that were never biologically mine. But somehow, they all were mine. Trayvon, Aiyana, Sandra, Mike, Rekia, and now Stephon. They were my brothers, my sisters, my cousins, my sons, my daughters…

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Stephon Clark’s brother, Stevante Clark Photo:Josh Edelson

This photo of Stephon’s brother, Stevante captured everyhing that I was feeling. On one hand, fighting for justice, screaming Black Lives Matter with a megaphone yet agonizing and in despair at the same time. How strong are we required to be?  I wanted to keep fighting but I needed a moment to grieve. I needed to take my mind off the state of Black people in this nation. Just one moment to breathe. I scrolled through my Facebook feed looking for images of cute cats and puppies and as if on cue, CNN posted a video of an officer in Chattanooga, Tennessee dancing with Black people.

The Facebook thread of this video had thousands of positive comments. And I sat looking at this officer dancing just shaking my head. Don’t get me wrong. I do not think that ALL police are bad. I believe some people join the police force to be a positive influence in their community. I believe some police officers really want to make this world a better place. I believe some police officers genuinely believe and live out the mantra of protecting and serving the people. However, I will always believe no matter how good a police officer may be; they are part of a corrupt system. It is fruit from a poisonous tree.

This has been pointed out numerous times online and my friend posted it on his Twitter feed.

Hello! It seems EVERY TIME there is a police shooting up pops a video of an officer, in full uniform, breakdancing, pop locking, voguing, duckwalking, twerking, moonwalking, or doing the Single’s Ladies dance. These videos, of course, go viral and is a convenient way for people to say, “See not ALL police are bad. They know traditionally Black dances.”

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REALLY?  Being able to have a little blue-eyed soul? Being able to clap on the beat? Being able to move with rhythm? Is that the measuring stick? One stanky leg and ya’ll ready to invite EVERYONE to the cookout! 

I DO NOT CARE that an officer can break dance.

I DO NOT CARE that an officer can do the electric slide.

I DO NOT CARE that an officer knows every step to Single Ladies and Formation.

I DO NOT CARE that an officer can Milly Rock on any block.

Dancing with Black people means NOTHING TO ME!

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Because I know you can dance with a Black person one minute and pull out your gun and kill an unarmed Black person in the next moment.

You can electric slide with Black people one minute and refuse to stand up against your fellow officers that have murdered Black people in the next minute.

You can pop lock with a Black male one minute and have your knee on his back the next minute.

You can hit dem folks with a Black woman one minute and be raping her in the back of your squad car the next minute.

I will be impressed when you Michael Jackson moonwalk your way into your sergeant’s office and tell them an officer used unnecessary force.

I will dance alongside you when you Cabbage Patch your way to the witness stand and say, “I was corrupt, and so were members of my unit.”

I will pop lock when you say, “I am not supporting this officer with my money on their GoFund Me page because when they murdered an innocent person they were wrong.”

I will start stomping my feet to the beat when you admit that you used deadly force when it was not necessary.

I will clap my hands to the rhythm when you stand up and say Black men and women have been unjustly targeted by the police.

I will dance at your wedding when you admit THE TRUTH, that you NEVER feared for your life, that you NEVER thought a cellphone or wallet was a gun, that your so called FEAR was driven by racism.

You, Dear Officer, are blinded if you believe our dances are for you to co-opt to show solidarity.

When we sang songs, it was not for your entertainment. We sang songs that were melodies for freedom.

When we danced, our feet moved in tune to our liberation!

When we sway to NWA or Kendrick Lamar it is a war cry!

With every beat of the drum and movement of our bodies, we were dancing towards freedom and that, Dear Officer, can NEVER be replicated.

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Tale of Mike Brown’s

Once upon a time
There were two Black boys
Both Named Michael Brown
One, they called a thug
The other, a scholar
One was considered a disgrace to society
The other was respectable in all areas of society
One died in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri
One is headed to a prestigious college
One they labeled as troubled, and an outcast
The other they labeled obnoxious for his excellence
 
A Black boy can never win in a racist society. 

 

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Dear White Allies, There Will Be No Cookies

Years ago, I was part of a college summer program, and we hiked Pikes Peak. I will never forget how grueling this task was and I spent most of the hike thinking, “Hannah, what in the hell were you thinking?” I was not equipped to hike Pikes Peak. I had not trained to hike Pikes Peak. But there I was, putting one foot in front of the other, hiking up a mountain. Once I got to the top of Pikes Peak, I was elated. It seemed that I had forgotten my lungs were on fire and the soreness in my legs seemed to disappear. Continue reading “Dear White Allies, There Will Be No Cookies”