Blog Archives

The Bold and Beautiful Possibilities of a Transgender Storyline on Daytime

Soap operas have been an on-again-off-again part of my every (week) day life since I was a little blackgirl trying to keep up with conversations in my mama’s living room.  All the grown women in my family watched “the stories,” whether it meant having them on while they cooked and got ready for a second shift job, recorded them on recycled VHS tapes to watch every night or on the weekends, or taking their lunch hour right around 1 o’clock so they could watch, uninterrupted, at work.  We watched the scandalous and fantastical lifestyles of oblivious whitefolks and invited them …Read more »

A Scandal and A Lawn Chair: Why Olivia Pope Can’t Save Us From Racism

  Like many other folk, I was in my feelings after watching “The Lawn Chair,” episode of Scandal a few weeks ago.  So much so that I spent the weekend offline pre-gaming season 2 episodes of House of Cards in preparation for a marathon binge of season 3 over spring break.  It was because of my internet hiatus that I was not aware of the University of Oklahoma chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s racist video that surfaced that Sunday until Monday afternoon in my class when students brought it up during a roundtable panel on race.  I was overwhelmed, trying to …Read more »

What Marshawn Lynch and Richard Sherman Teach Us About Respectability & Black Masculinity

Like 114.5 million other folk, I was watching the Super Bowl on Sunday night, the most watched show in U.S. TV history (shouts out to Missy Elliott’s halftime performance, yes gawd!).  As a Carolina Panther fan I was not terribly invested in the outcome, but I was low key rooting for the Seahawks 1) because I regularly root for the underdog and 2) I live for the badassery of Richard Sherman and Marshawn Lynch.  The badassery I speak of is not limited to their on the field athletic prowess (Sherman is a cornerback who attended Stanford, and Lynch is a …Read more »

Color(ism) Complex(es)

When I heard a documentary called Dark Girls had been produced in 2011 to share the often silenced stories and experiences of dark-skinned women and girls, I felt a wave of emotions and had a range of reactions fluctuating from curiosity and anxiety, to excitement and anticipation.  I wrote an ode to dark (skinned) girls and kept re-watching the promotional video connecting each time to a story of trauma by remembering my own color(ism) complex issues, and feelings of insecurity, rejection, and pain because of my skin color.  I imagined that the documentary would open up old wounds but heal …Read more »

Waiting to Exhale

(For Eric Garner, John Crawford, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice and numerous others) Wait. Over the past few days, weeks, and months there have been eloquent words spoken, passionate poems and prose written, and thoughtful commentaries and reflections offered about the righteous rage, indignant indifference, fear, sadness and ambivalence that black folk and allies have felt as we have literally fought for the dignity and recognition that black lives have significance.  Every time I hear, see or read #blacklivesmatter, I am simultaneously affirmed and disgusted.  Affirmed at the reckoning and recognition of my life as important in the midst of a system …Read more »

Working While Black: 10 Racial Microaggressions Experienced in the Workplace

I have worked, on and off, since I was fifteen years old.  My summer office job financed the name brand school clothes my mother couldn’t afford and grounded me in the work ethic I learned from watching the women in my family go to work from sun up to sun down cleaning houses, dismembering chickens, doing customer service or janitorial work, bookkeeping, caregiving, answering phones.  I watched them get up early and come home late, carpool with other working women, and barter with each other to make sure every day needs were met.  They smiled when they were tired and …Read more »

On the Glorification of the Side Chick

So, the question has been asked, is 2014 the year of the side chick?  When thinking about this there are a few things to consider.  Is this a declaration, a compliment, or a fear?  According to popular media, side chicks, or women (usually women of color) who are knowingly in a relationship with a man who is already in a relationship are on the rise.  However, side chicks existed long before reality TV, BET and tabloids.  When I was growing up it was not uncommon for a man to have a woman at home (usually the mother of his children) and …Read more »

Say What?: On Speechlessness, Racism and Respectability in #Ferguson

“I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood. That the speaking profits me, beyond any other effect. My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you.” (excerpt from The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action, by Audre Lorde)   As I prepare the syllabi and lesson plans for my fall classes I am dealing with uncertainty about how to teach about Ferguson and the merciless assault on black bodies and minds …Read more »

The Blame Game: Black Women, Shame, and Victim Blaming

(Trigger Warning) I will never forget listening to the raging voice of a man I didn’t know on the other end of a phone line alongside my homegirl in Florida.  We sat in a room with the door closed while she told me what had happened the night before to preface the voice mail I was about to hear.  The man behind the voice was someone her sister had recently started dating.  He left the message on her voicemail several hours after beating and berating her in front of her child and leaving her bloody and unconscious on the concrete …Read more »

Unbreakable or The Problem with Praising Blackgirl Strength

It has been almost three years since we learned the name Amber Cole, a fourteen year old blackgirl who was secretly recorded while performing fellatio on a former boyfriend.  Images and taunts spread quickly as the video went viral and commentary about Amber’s agency, privacy and sexuality sparked controversy across the interwebs.  There was slut-shaming, blaming, and judgment of Amber and her family (especially her mother) with little mention of the three boys involved (the boy receiving oral sex, the boy recording it on his phone, and a third who watched in the background).  In my gender class we discussed …Read more »

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