If you want something done right.... #SayHerName

Image courtesy of BlackOUT Collective
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The BlackOUT Collective Facebook page

Lately, a lot of us have been upset about the *crickets* we hear whenever a black woman is assaulted/murdered, whether by cops or civilians.  We're not even named when we're the first victim in a string of victims.  I've been reading Transgriot's blog for five years now and she can barely keep up with all the transwomen of color who are attacked in this country (and around the world), receiving little attention and even less justice.  And Transgriot blogs daily, ladies and gentlemen.  You practically hear the exhaustion and frustration in her written voice as she tries give voice to those who've been silenced.

You know, on the one hand, it is exhausting to be a black woman because despite all the *hearts*, the hastags, and the hollow claims of solidarity, when it comes down to it, we're really on our own.  But on the other hand, I never lose faith that we as group will rise to the occasion.
Protesters in cities across the country staged various actions over the course of two days this week in order to bring attention to state violence inflicted upon black women, stories often ignored by the media and even by other #BlackLivesMatter protests.

The first day of action was on May 20 in New York City. On that day, hundreds of protesters gathered in Union Square at around 5:30 p.m. bearing signs with the names of women killed by police for a vigil. The family members of Tanisha Anderson, Rekia Boyd, Miriam Carey, Michelle Cusseux, Shelly Frey, Kayla Moore and Alberta Spruill — all black women killed by police — also attended the vigil and shared stories of how their loved ones were killed by state violence.


Open Mic Night: #POC adopting white children

...It made me think do white people view blacks as incapable of adopting a white child? We always hear about white people adopting people of all races but when it's a POC adopting a white child its a novelty. It's been at the back of my mind ever since. My boyfriend and I want to adopt and to be honest I never cared about the race of the child before but now I think would I get weird looks for adopting a black child or a white child. Would people look at us and say oh she/he must of had kids with someone else. Then it would be a jerk move to say OH NO THEY ARE ADOPTED! Because the child would feel inadequate oh I'm just adopted! I spoke about my concerns with [my boyfriend] he told me "Bump what people think or say there will always be people finding faults in others anyways. I love you and want to have a family with you under God to love, protect and cherish".

Well honestly what is your thoughts on POC adopting white children. I'd love to see you or others write an article about it.

- a reader
This is pretty much an open thread on this topic, but before we dive in, I've got words.


White Civilian Culpability in Black Assaults and Deaths (#BlackLivesMatter)

Click to enlarge

Funny...in the growing outcries against law enforcement, white people are the first to chant #NotAllCops and all that jazz, yet when these "good cops" finally decide to speak out, one of the first things they have to say is STFU to white civilians.

Addicting Info has this awesome article quoting cops speaking up in a forum about the bullshit calls they get from white people calling on random black people who are, you know, simply existing.

#OnceWereWarriors Celebrated its 20th Anniversary

...and like a total idiot, I missed it.

I myself have been wondering what everyone's been up to and it was wonderful to spend the morning watching this documentary (and later the movie itself) and finally learning what became of everyone.  Mamaengaroa in particular was looking utterly fabulous!!!

By the way, you can rent The Dead Lands (2014) right now on Google Play and see Rena Owen and George Henare.

See Also

Underappreciated Actress of Color #15: Mamaengaroa


#Pornification of Women via Clothing Options

Pop quiz, ladies: how many of have trouble find casual and business clothing which 1) is affordable, 2) fits you, 3) actually looks good on you, and 3) covers you up?

Earlier this week, I tried to do some online shopping.  Instead, I ended up having to unsubscribe from a horde of mailing subscriptions because I finally had to admit that finding a friggin' blouse which fit all of the above requirements wasn't happening with my usual websites anymore.  If it didn't have spaghetti straps, it was a crop top.  Even if it was in the "Long-Sleeved" or "Buttoned-Up" or even the "Dressy" sections, it all ended up looking like clubwear.

I actually had to stop searching individual sites and do a general Google search with basic descriptions.  When that only got me so far, I went into my closet and starting looking up designers of stuff I already owned to try to track down more of their work.  After literally spending hours surfing and combing and budgeting, I decided on a mere four blouses.  To my dismay, after placing my order, I got an email two days later that the most conservative of my choices was sold out.

We were just talking about women wearing layers as an almost instinctive defense against street harassment, and now here I was struggling to find clothes to cover me up.  I think I've been in denial for months now, but this last week was a huge eye-opener.  While having lunch with my friend C, I decided to test the water and ask if she was experiencing the same problem when shopping.  Born and raised in Atlanta, C is a Punjabi Sikh, and like me, she prefers to cover up.  As soon as I asked her, she gasped, "Oh, my God!  Yes!"

My whole body sighed in relief.


The #DixonWhiteChallenge Continues

...And apparently, so does Dixon.

I've compiled some of his new videos and some of videos of challenge takers.  Some folks didn't make the cut because I don't think they grasped the point of Dixon's challenge.  I don't think he wanted white people to pick up a smartphone and talk about their black friends and how much they love black people.  He wanted them to discuss the racism they've witnessed, been taught, even been complicit in, and thus take the opportunity to own up to it - no if's, and's, or but's.


Funny thing about #riots

...No one pays attention to peaceful protests.

If all black people did was show up at a precinct or courthouse, pray, make speeches, and go home, men like Freddie Gray would be forgotten overnight.  *snort*  Good luck forgetting him now.

Think about it...MLK & Co. may have protested peacefully, white folks did not react peacefully to them.  They responded with violence, recorded for posterity and thereby immortalizing the movement.  Life is ironic like that.

When this country here was first being founded, there were thirteen colonies. The whites were colonized. They were fed up with this taxation without representation. So some of them stood up and said, "Liberty or death!" I went to a white school over here in Mason, Michigan. The white man made the mistake of letting me read his history books. He made the mistake of teaching me that Patrick Henry was a patriot, and George Washington – wasn't nothing non-violent about ol' Pat, or George Washington. "Liberty or death" is was what brought about the freedom of whites in this country from the English.

They didn't care about the odds. Why, they faced the wrath of the entire British Empire. And in those days, they used to say that the British Empire was so vast and so powerful that the sun would never set on it. This is how big it was, yet these thirteen little scrawny states, tired of taxation without representation, tired of being exploited and oppressed and degraded, told that big British Empire, "Liberty or death." And here you have 22 million Afro-Americans, black people today, catching more hell than Patrick Henry ever saw.


Ben Affleck and the Art of Doublespeak

H/T Ranier M. for the image
"We deserve neither credit nor blame for our ancestors and the degree of interest in this story suggests that we are, as a nation, still grappling with the terrible legacy of slavery," he wrote. "It is an examination well worth continuing. I am glad that my story, however indirectly, will contribute to that discussion. While I don't like that the guy is an ancestor, I am happy that aspect of our country's history is being talked about." ~ Ben Affleck
Really, Ben? You sure about that? Pop quiz: if Sony hadn't been hacked and we didn't have access to the emails, are you saying you would've stepped forward and revealed this info yourself?

Dude...no one blames you for being descended from a slave-owner. That's not how it works. Ancestors are blamed for their descendents, not the other way around. You don't smack a mouthy 10-year-old because his parents are such great saints, Ben; you blame his parents for making the wrong decisions, for being incompetent, for being negligent, for being selfish wastes of skin. So it's not like we believe you were sitting in some cosmic waiting room before your birth, watching Earth's history unfold, clapping your hands and squealing, "That one right there? That's the one for me!"

In a nation where horrific history is constantly being revised, where racism is constantly being downplayed and denied, and the trendy white drone-speak is - quite literally - "My ancestors never owned slaves", you deliberately embraced that unholy trifecta with a single word: edit.  See, that's where you fucked up.  Benjamin Cole fucked up by practicing slavery. You fucked up by trying to pretend that it didn't happen.


Delusions of the Force (#Parma #DOJ)

About a month before the election, a white part-time Parma police officer used a Taser on a 17-year-old black youth.

Shatekia Thatch — also a cousin of the new mayor* — said her son, Christopher Ward, was walking down the street when the officer approached him about prank phone calls that had been made to the police department that evening.

Shatekia Thatch, 34, gets emotional as she talks about the incident several weeks ago where a Parma police officer tased her son, Christopher Ward, 17, on April 20, 2015, in Parma, Mo., after Ward reportedly made a crank call on the public phone seen across the street on the corner at right. Photo by J.B. Forbes, jforbes@post-dispatch.com

Thatch said that when her son refused to speak to the officer, the cop used his Taser on Ward, arrested him and booked him at the police station.

Rich Medley, a former assistant police chief, said the officer acted within his bounds and used his Taser only when Ward tried to flee.

“He acted within procedure,” Medley said.

The incident prompted a small crowd of African-American residents to show up at the police station that night to find out what had happened.

In the April 7 election, 122 people voted for Byrd. Ramsey received 84 votes. It was about double the typical turnout.

Byrd said she walked into City Hall a week later to pay her water bill and tried to say hello to the mayor and other city employees but was met with silence.

Then just before her swearing-in ceremony at City Hall last week, a local television reporter pulled her aside. Did she know that a number of employees had just quit? The reporter told her the employees had cited “safety reasons.”

Byrd didn’t know what to make of it.

“Am I the safety issue?” she asked.

Medley, the former assistant chief, said that officers had run-ins with many of Byrd’s relatives. After her election**, Medley saw several Facebook postings by people with whom officers had issues, celebrating her victory, he said. The most concerning of those mentioned Medley by name and the city where he lives, he said.

He added that he resigned out of fear that he would not be able to do his job.

“Rather than put my life in danger more than I do now on a daily basis, I decided to walk away,” he said.

Medley acknowledged that Byrd had never threatened to fire officers, nor publicly indicated that she would interfere with police.

In addition to Medley, two reserve officers resigned, along with Police Chief Trish Cohen, the city’s only other full-time officer. Cohen declined to comment.
*hits the pause button* Could we stop with the bullshit?


Stop Claiming You're Just Saying "Hello" (#StopPunishingWomen)

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Cin recently posted this awesome For Harriet article inspired by Anti-Street Harassment Week (which started yesterday), and the gist of the article is thus:
In revisiting the topic of street harassment, I worry how much longer I have to ask this: When will men finally realize they are NOT entitled to women's space, attention, and bodies? Women have shared endless stories about being followed, catcalled, stalked, and given (often sexist) “compliments,” but men keep dismissing us, claiming we should be flattered for being noticed.

...I’m not particularly bothered when men say a friendly hello or respectfully compliment an outfit. I’m bothered by the men who chase me down asking for my number, the men who follow me, the men who can’t take no for an answer, and the ones who yell vulgar comments as I pass by. It makes me uncomfortable and I deserve to exercise my right to exist in public.

...Black women usually defend black men's rights to walk down the street in any clothing choice (hoodie, saggy pants, snapbacks, etc.) because doing so doesn’t mean they are thugs nor does it give policemen the right to profile and harass them. We listen compassionately to their stories of police harassment and brutality, the ways in which they are made to feel uncomfortable in public spaces simply for existing as black men. We rally and protest for their right to exist as human beings.

But when the tables turn and black women share their stories of feeling objectified and threatened, black men are quick to throw us under the bus and blame us for the violence committed against us:
We must've had our booty hanging out. We’re fast-tailed "hoes". We shouldn’t dress in ways that bring attention to our bodies. We should stop mean-muggin’ and say thank you when men hurl “compliments” at us.

...I’ve politely rejected advances from some men, only to have them get upset and call me derogatory names and insults. As invasive as some men may be, women are often taught to suppress their feelings of annoyance or discomfort with kindness, so we don’t “provoke” a violent situation. I’ve had several cases where I hid how irritated I was, for fear that a man with a fragile ego would attack me if I was too aggressive with my rejection. But being polite doesn’t always stop a man from harming you: Mary Spears was a mother of three who was killed for rejecting a man’s advances. This is a reality that that black women fear.
The comments are unforgivable, of course; but then again, a lot of miserable wastes of life troll For Harriet.  Even so, I've heard their main argument in real life: "Why is simply saying 'hello'/"You look lovely' considered harassment?"

Um, that's not what we said.  "Hello" is fine.  "You look lovely" is fine.  It's the bullshit which comes afterward and you know this.