Education Shaming

Is there such a thing as “education shaming?” I think so. Many poor people will laugh at and shame rich people for being uneducated. Usually these people share the same background “At least I can read and punctuate and have command of English grammar” has been said a time or two…about and to very, rich and successful people. And it’s funny. Not ha ha funny, but sad funny Especially since there is only one reason to be traditionally educated and that’s for work and success.

Language is used to communicate. If a person can effectively communicate, there is no problem. If someone writes “theirs” and they meant “there’s” and you can tell by the sentence what they meant because you’re busy correcting grammar, you’re an 🐴. Because if they were speaking, you wouldn’t know that they made a grammatical error. And people rarely correct others to help them. They correct to make others feel small.

So here we are, in 2018, judging people for misspelled words, missing punctuation and dropped consonants while they are dancing to the bank. But we’re proud to know the English language because somehow that makes us better? Somehow bring bamboozled into thinking that this “education” leads to a good life when it’s clear that all it definitely leads to is a false sense of superiority. “Rich people have no morals, they won’t get into heaven, and they are miserable.” Newsflash: poor people sin, but they are miserable because they don’t have job, home or food security. I could do without the latter. I can work on a better me if I’m not worried about life’s necessities. However, these are the things society teaches us so that we don’t really mind being poor. “It’s not so great being rich.” Really? Let me try it.

I don’t want to be rich. I want to be stable. But how does having command of the English language make one feel better about going hungry or not being able to pay bills? How could we have gotten it so backwards? Bastardization of the colonizer’s language has always been an act of rebellion. It’s also a form of class rebellion. Do we buy massa’s word that the slaves couldn’t speak proper English because they couldn’t read?

Language is first and foremost auditory. Children speak what’s spoken to them. We’re so caught up in a world of status and class that we’ve let the few dictate the path of the many. Only in such a world can a poor and hungry person look down on a rich and well fed person and shame them for being uneducated.

The next time you fix your face to correct someone’s grammar (who is not a troll) understand that unless you’re doing it in private, it’s shaming and ask yourself why you’re doing it. Because I’ve seen people regurgitate nonsense with perfect grammar while someone, with broken English, expresses original, logical thoughts. If you are correcting someone, 9 times out of 10, it’s because you understood them.

Quality of Life Issues?

According to Fox News, there are issues to be addressed on San Francisco’s BART system. In my Google News feed this morning was the headline “Video appears to show homeless man using drugs on BART train in San Francisco.”

It’s obvious and unfortunate that the talk of “quality of life” doesn’t apply to the quality of life of this homeless addict who is not alone. Commuters have been filming these conscious and unconscious addicts in an apparent attempt to highlight “a dangerous trend.” For whom exactly? Because it’s not the drug use that’s the issue here; it’s the drug use on the train.

We often get so caught up in our own lives that we don’t realize that our temporary inconvenience is someone’s living nightmare.

Who are these do gooder filmers worried about? I’m really confused. Well, I’m not really confused. The coverage is bland to say the least. The story is simply filed under “drugs.”

I may be assuming a lot. Maybe the writer is speaking about the perils if drug addiction and is concerned about the addicts. But it appears that relieving the inconvenience of these working commuters, is a bigger priority than helping homeless addicts. Maybe…. Here’s a thought…. What if…. How’s about, we actually help the addicts so they won’t be homeless or a danger to themselves? I think that would solve both issues.

We often get so caught up in our own lives that we don’t realize that our temporary inconvenience is someone’s living nightmare. We must do better. We must be able to empathize with those who are less fortunate.

Black African Immigrant Woman, Therese Patricia Okoumou, Climbs the Statue of Liberty and Black Americans Ask Why She Would Protest For Mexicans

The year is 2018 and Black Americans, Descendants of the Black Africans who were shipped to North America, and became victims of the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade, still don’t understand that Black people are bigger than African Americans. Black people are global. But even here in The United States of America, these African Americans don’t understand that other Black people, who emigrated from other countries, after the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade, have a different experience from “African Americans.”

Coming to a country on a student visa or travel visa and staying is cheaper than going through proper channels.

Many Black people weren’t born here. Some came legally and others came illegally. The immigration laws worked against people of color, especially Black people, and they still do. Getting here legally takes money. Across the globe, Black people are impoverished. Coming to a country on a student visa or travel visa and staying is cheaper than going through proper channels.

#Therese Patricia Okoumou is an immigrant from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. She is an activist. She works hard. It would be easy for her to just live her life and not worry about what happens to others. Why did Patricia Okoumou decide to fight for others? Because she’s a fighter and that’s what fighters do. If we continue to only worry about ourselves, or our immediate families, what kind of world would this be?

Why should anyone be concerned with any issue that doesn’t affect them? Because that’s how change happens.

So when Black people ask why would a Black person worry about the rights or fates Mexicans, it’s quite baffling. And it displays a new level of ignorance. Are there not Black Mexicans? That’s one, and two, no struggle is won without solidarity. Why are we looking at Mexicans as our enemies anyway. Technically, they were here first. And if Black people buy into these immigration policies that wreak of nationalism and racism, why should anyone look at any policies that affect Black people in the majority, if they aren’t Black? Why should anyone be concerned with any issue that doesn’t affect them? Because that’s how change happens.

It pains me to see traditionally educated Black Americans that are ignorant of these facts. It pains me even more to see them speak on these facts with such conviction. Add to this, a huge social media following and it’s a recipe for disaster. It’s can also serve as ground zero for spreading commonly held misconceptions to the young and impressionable who rely on these opinion pieces written by these educated folks to bring them understanding and fresh insight. They aren’t looking for regurgitated garbage but many times, that’s what they find.

We must engage in actions that affect us directly, indirectly and actions that don’t affect us at all.

If we plan to see a different world for our children, we have to make a different world for our children. We must engage in actions that affect us directly, indirectly and actions that don’t affect us at all. Oppression Olympics is useless, Black solidarity shouldn’t stop at borders, and lastly, we, as Black Americans, cannot continue to support oppressive policies because we’re not the drawing the short straw.

There’s a Right Way To Protest…..

I’m so tired of this rhetoric “there’s a right way to peacefully protest.” Yes, there is: Disrupt as much as you can without hurting anyone. Protests are meant to be inconvenient. They are meant to bring awareness the unaware. We can’t do this on the corner in the ghetto. We can’t do this with no cameras. The cameras don’t come to the ghetto unless it’s to report on “Black on Black Crime” and neither do middle class blissfully unaware folks.

No one understands anything until it happens to them…. It’s a saying. But sometimes, they may understand if they can’t avoid the topic. If we screamed from the mountaintops, no one would hear us. So see us at your malls, on your rush hour commute, at your favorite tourism local…. disrupting as much as possible, as often as possible, until things change. Protests that disrupt nothing, serve no purpose.

Big Sigh: Dear Black People, Respectability Politics Must Go

Two Black women have skyrocketed to fame and fortune: Cardi B and Tiffany Haddish. They are both beautiful women. One of Caribbean descent and the other Eritrean and African American descent. What’s great about them both is that their rise to fame was after some really tough times. Cardi likens her success to Cinderella in her song “Best Life” featuring Chance the Rapper. We’re rooting for them right?! Well, not all of us.

Binderella – Cardi B
Tiffany Haddish –

Both Tiffany and Cardi are known for being “loud,” “ratchet” and “ghetto.” They are loved for being honest and true and all of the above. But some Black folks, can’t get past the loud. Black people continue to hold on to respectability politics like wearing nice clothes, speaking proper English and working a respectable job is going to save us from the reality that is this racist society.

They complain that these women are getting attention when more educated women are not. Are you so called educated women entertaining? Why would people want to tune in for two hours to watch you on stage reading cards “properly” with no flavor? I stopped watching the award shows long ago, mostly because of their racist history. But also, they were boring and I can read about the winners in real time via social media and I can see performance clips online the next day. We tune in to award shows to be entertained. The hosts must draw us in thanks to the internet age….ooops

Sassy Tiffany Haddish
Sassy Cardi B

Some of y’all Black people can’t even enjoy the show because you’re so busy tearing these Black women down for not meeting your standards. Preoccupied with being disgusted by their essence which is really truth when you think about it. They are true to themselves. They enjoy themselves and people enjoy them.

So my big sigh is for all of the Black people who don’t understand that MOST… THE VAST MAJORITY of Black people work hard everyday. Many work with white people daily. And these same white people go home and read the news and hear that a Black person killed someone or they see a Tiffany or Cardi and they automatically think most Black people are loud, or violent ask yourself why your respectable presence in the workplace doesn’t represent Black people to them. Ask yourself why the decades of Oprahs, Denzels, Poitiers, Freemans or Bellefontes of the world aren’t enough to cement our goodness and respectability in their minds. Also ask who set the standards of respectability. And when you are done, write an open letter to every Black person begging for forgiveness. Forgiveness for expecting them to carry the burden of proving our humanity and worth as Black people. We can’t ever be seen as either to people who aren’t interested.

And on that note…

The “This Is America” Dancers Look African

In recent years I have been very vocal about Black Nationalism as a social stance. I believe that all Black people have a connection and should embrace it globally. I do not believe in Black capitalism nor do I believe in Capitalism in general. What I believe is that if Black people unite, we can see that we suffer from the same issues wherever we are. And we can build on that.

I watched the live performance of Childish Gambino’s This Is America on SNL. I identified these dancing children as African. Meaning hailing directly from Africa. Making no stops to the islands or the West during the Transatlantic Slave Trade. I don’t know if I’m right. But what I did feel is that they FELT African to me. The music and the dancing made me feel that way. There was a vibe.

People are talking about a South African dance that I never knew existed. They are speaking like the Africaness of the music and dancing really was an afterthought or a non-thought. That it’s African inspired. But it always stops there. But I FELT the motherland when I listened. I’ve never been to the continent but I felt it. How can we explain this?

I think Gambino purposely put African elements in this video. The effects of America does not stop at the borders. What America does affects the world. Did no one else think of Sarafina when they saw the video? Maybe I’m reaching. But I couldn’t help thinking about it while watching live and watching the video. I even noted it in my last piece.

“The young dancers hit each beat with fervor. The backup singers sang harmoniously and I felt Africa upon me.”

Americans tend not to look past America and this applies to African Americans. We tend to think that we, African Americans, define Blackness for the entire Black world and then wonder why other Black people, who don’t deny their African descent, will say they aren’t Black. Black is both a race and an ethnicity. Black, for many others, specifically means African American. African Americans say things like “they aren’t Black like us” but expect solidarity and unity while putting our Blackness and our struggle above all others. We absolutely blame the others for their choice to be different; to be other than Black as defined by African Americans. How dare they embrace their Latin heritage? Why do Jamaicans speak broken English? Why can’t Africans lose their accents? How dare they speak Spanish? How dare they NOT speak English? This Is America.

I am really waiting for Glover to tell us what his vision was. I’m reading so many takes from all over. They are really good and insightful but I can’t imagine that these seemingly African children, these African beats, these African sounds aren’t connected to Africa even though This Is America.

How Should I Feel About Childish Gambino’s “This is America”??

I watched the Apollo this past Saturday. My aunt and I hurriedly turned to SNL when the final act was over. We didn’t even wait to see who won. It wasn’t the finals. We could Google it. The skit “Friendos” was on. I immediately started laughing. And then I saw him… “That’s Danny Glover…. What is his name? He’s the writer and director of that show Atlanta… He’s a rapper” I said. Halfway speaking to my aunt and halfway asking myself. My aunt looked at me “the only Danny Glover I know is old.” I immediately knew I misspoke but I couldn’t remember his name. Either of them. Way before I had a chance to Google the Apollo results, I had to Google him.

“DON____ALD Glover” I said to my aunt relieved that Google had solved my most pressing issue immediately. We watched the skit laughing. You didn’t have to know Migos’ music to know that it was funny. It was laid out for all of us to understand the dynamics of the group, as perceived by the writers.

Then Childish Gambino performed his first song of the night. I stared at the screen blinking. “Why is his shirt open?” I’m asking myself as my aunt asks out loud. We tossed each other a look and laughed. I was disappointed. Maybe I was distracted. But the Redbone singer is who I wanted her to see and frankly, that’s who I wanted to see as well.

“Who is he trying to be? Marvin? Maxwell?” my aunt asks. I was thinking “Terrence Trent D’Arby.” There was something off about his dancing. It was offbeat. It was distracting. I would have to listen again. I was annoyed. My aunt is a lover of music and she could not love him with that performance. I wanted her to love him.

The skits between the first performance and the last raised some eyebrows and some made us howl. “Scoopity poop.” 😂😂😂😭😭😭😢😢😢 I didn’t listen to Kanye’s new anything. My blood is still boiling from that TMZ interview. #IfSlaveryWasAChoice …sigh…

I was impatient. I was anticipating a great performance. The end of SNL couldn’t come fast enough. I wanted him to succeed. I wanted my aunt to love him. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because my aunt introduces me to great music all the time and I wanted to return the favor. She plays entire CD’s and instructs me to listen to this and to hear that. I was amazed that she hadn’t heard “Donald” Glover’s music and I wanted her to say she loved him. I wanted her to ask me to YouTube him so she could hear his music and decide if she wanted to buy his albums.

Childish Gambino comes back on stage with his shirt off. “Why?” I ask aloud. But we listen. And I like it more than the first song. Mainly because I know it’s some social commentary on America and it’s horridness. The young dancers hit each beat with fervor. The backup singers sang harmoniously and I felt Africa upon me. The motherland. “I have to listen again. But I like it.” I told my aunt. She, however, is unconvinced of it’s greatness.

When I woke up the next morning, Google put a card in my view notifying me that Childish Gambino released a new video for “This Is America.” Google is always minding my business. One day I’m going to open my screen and it’s gonna say “That pesky gutt that looks like a little butt that you can’t get rid of.” And someone will be looking over my shoulder. So embarrassing. I’m tired of them watching me. But I didn’t dismiss the card. I clicked and watched the video. This time, I was less focused on his dancing lack of clothing and more focused on what was going on in the background. I wanted to know what was going on. I wanted to understand. And “CHEEZITS! WTF did he shoot that dude in the chair? He was just minding his business!!!! Oh… This is America…” “The choir is about to go in…DAMN WTF?!!! How you just gonna spray….oh this is America.” It happened just like that. I was watching this with my headphones on. Alone. And I felt alone. My aunt was 30 feet away in the next room sleeping peacefully. And I was up at 8am being reminded of what America is. So unfair. Who can I scream to?

It was unsettling to say the least. I know WTF America is. I speak about it often. This isn’t new to me. But the visuals were awful and horrific. When I googled Danny/Donald Glover the night before, I did look to see if he was Black. It’s important to me that artists aren’t culture vultures. Yes. I’m that person.

Throughout the day, I kept seeing this announcement about this new video. But no takes? No one had anything to say? No one? It’s odd. So, while looking for a new clothing line by Eve, the rapper, for my aunt, I stumbled into the forbidden land for me that is known as Twitter. I largely ignored that Childish Gambino was trending. I went to Eve’s page, but not before I saw a tweet by @Blakedontcrack …. It was not at all praising the video. To say the least, Brother B didn’t appreciate the visual of Black people being shot in the church. I was saddened by my own lack of physiological reaction to the harsh visual. Was I jaded? Had I been numbed? I peeked onto Eve’s Twitter page. The same way I had just checked her Facebook page. “Eve has nothing about a new clothing line, Auntie. Are you sure she wasn’t referencing an old line?” My aunt assured me that she wasn’t. And that the clothing line is new. So if anyone knows of a new clothing line by Eve, please inbox me.

Several hours later, I opened my browser and my Twitter window was still open. Hmmm… I was compelled by some outside force, which was my own curiosity, to look. So I looked and I looked… I read post after post of positive comments. But I wasn’t interested in those. I wanted someone who analyzed the video and didn’t think it was great. Or someone who thought it was great “but.” (I wasn’t looking for anyone to say it was a love letter 👀 FOH) And I found them. People had so many interesting takes. #BlackTwitter never disappoints. I listened. I read. I heard. It’s exploitative. Black people don’t want to relive our pain. Black people don’t want our pain commodified. Black people don’t want our pain used as entertainment.

That video was not entertaining. At all. It isn’t to be watched for enjoyment. It’s to be watched for understanding. Most Black people won’t watch it more than once if it’s only just to see it. They’ll watch it more if they want to dissect it. I watched it twice. Once alone and once with my aunt.

I scrolled through posts a few times on Twitter. Never engaging. Always lurking. Something that I loathe. Fed up, I asked why Black Google + wasn’t talking about it. We still aren’t. It’s frustrating and it’s the main reason why I miss Twitter. I want to hear what @anthoknees is thinking about anything and everything. I want to bounce ideas off people that I respect without having to be in the same physical space with them. I despise “likes” when there’s never any engagement. Social media requires engagement… Eventually. I digress. At any rate, I was unswayed by these great minds but I did learn a lot. (What’s up with Kodak Black?) I found an interesting take by Adrienne Gibbs on the web thanks to nosey Google keeping track of my search history.

My baby brother sent me the video this morning. I told him some people are saying that Danny/Donald just discovered his Blackness a few years ago. My brother assured me that he’s always been very Black. I don’t know anything about Mr. Glover. My daughter and baby brother love Childish Gambino and my daughter now loves Danny/Donald because of Atlanta which I can’t commit to. I’m working on it.

So how should I feel about the “This Is America” video???? Exactly the way I do. It’s a statement. It’s not enjoyable. It’s bold. It’s frightening. It’s the America I live in. It’s the America I know and hate. Was it necessary? No. But it’s here. So let’s talk about it. (I actually had to watch the video again because I didn’t remember seeing any white folk. Now I’ve seen them. Yup. I saw them. Yup. I saw them. And now I can’t remember exactly why I was looking for those white people. But I found them 😢)

A Woman’s Body Functions Outside Of Sexuality

Body shaming is about more than looks. It’s about perceived sexuality. What’s so horrible about an exposed stomach? Legs, arms, or thighs? This is a patriarchal society. That’s why many women sound like sexists when they speak about sexuality and other women’s bodies. Just like many POC think they form their own opinions about their communities when it’s clear that they are parroting their settler’s point of view.

Women’s bodies actually function outside of sexuality and men. Imagine that…

A woman’s body is functional. Men make it sexual. That’s their problem. Not ours. Women usually have one sex organ that can’t be seen in the most revealing of clothing. Our bodies are not for men’s sexual gratification and admiration. Women’s bodies actually function outside of sexuality and men. Imagine that…

If your body is a sex organ, as a woman, that’s your choice. Mine is not one big sex organ to be hidden behind huge swaths of cloth. My legs walk. My arms reach. My breasts fed my daughter. My butt sits. My knees bend. My skin protects …No shame.

Please don’t raise your children to think that women’s bodies are sexual.

A woman’s body is theirs to do what they want. That’s for every woman. And if that’s to keep eyes away, if that makes YOU feel comfortable, do that. But other women aren’t uncomfortable displaying their bodies. It’s not for you to judge what other women do because you don’t agree with it. Should we all be clones?

Please don’t raise your children to think that women’s bodies are sexual. No matter their gender. A woman’s body is beautiful. Sometimes it’s even a vessel of life. But it’s not a sex toy or magazine to be purchased and become property of men. We should celebrate our individual bodies, daily. They are our own and belong to only us. Every one is unique. That’s amazing.