WCC: On R.Kelly, Black Folks (and White Folks), and Plausible Deniability

Just putting a picture of this child-raping ingrate on my site makes me want to vomit. But, I am going to soldier through this because some things need to be said. R. Kelly is a rapist. He is a pedophile. He has preyed (and may still prey) on the demographic least acknowledged in this country: black girls. Not only that, for over a decade, he has still enjoyed success in the music industry despite the countless numbers of young ladies who have made allegations against him. Frankly, I am sick of it.

A few days ago I made this proclamation on my Facebook page.

“If anyone on my timeline says a word about copping that new #RKelly album you will be unfriended, unfollowed, and otherwise banned. #notplaying#tryme

And, while I gave no reasons for that declaration in the body of the post, I have now come to the conclusion that the best defense against a serial rapist like R. Kelly is a barrage of negative press outing him for the vile less-than-human that he is. This is not going to be an easy read so just mentally prepare yourself now. And, you should probably read this while sitting. Grab a glass of water or something too. Okay. Now proceed.

On R. Kelly

An interview posted this morning on The Village Voice by Jessica Hopper details the tireless work from Jim DeRogatis’ Chicago Sun-Times while reporting on R. Kelly. In the very detailed interview, the two reporters discuss a host of things. They cover R. Kelly’s marriage to, then fifteen-years-old, Aaliyah. They discuss the rape video which went viral wherein R. Kelly instructed a pubescent teenager on what positions he wanted her to assume while he ejaculated and urinated in/on her. The interview exposes the truth about the “dozens” of young women and girls who were paid hush money to keep R. Kelly out of court on rape charges. And, how some of them even attempted suicide after their victimization by the singer.

Read the full post on WCC.

WCC: The Case for Keeping Cursive in Schools

I learned how to write in cursive in the third grade. I hated it. Making all the curly letters frustrated me immensely. I felt like – at eight years old – I was wasting my time learning something I would never need. It just seemed pointless. I remember feeling much the same way in my ninth grade Chemistry class. And, again in my tenth grade Trigonometry class. Truthfully, I could have gone straight from Algebra to Geometry to Calculus without the boring detour to matrix sleuthing land. But, I digress.

In my childish ways,  I had no clue what learning those subjects did or would do for me in the long-term. Enduring them was probably part of the learning I needed. Today, I have no doubt that each of them developed me in some unique and imperative way. Sadly though, the one that I can likely credit with my enhanced hand-eye coordination and aptitude for written literature may be disappearing from schools at present. And, with that fate we will witness yet another self-inflicted disability for today’s children and tomorrow’s adults.

Recently, according to the Associated Press, the Common Core educational standards were adjusted to exclude the cursive handwriting training I endured so many years ago. Because the times are a changin’, “State leaders who developed the Common Core – a set of preferred K-12 course offerings for public schools – omitted cursive for a host of reasons, including an increasing need for children in a digital-heavy age to master computer keyboarding.” In other words, people don’t really write anymore so no need to teach children how to.

Read the full article on WCC.

WCC: I Want to Give Gabrielle Union Some Big Girl Panties and a Hug

Black women of the world, when are we going to stop sharing responsibility for our men’s philandering? Being Mary Jane actress, Gabrielle Union, is the most recent case of “I’m Partly to Blame Syndrome” after news broke that her long time beau and fiancé, Miami Heat player Dwyane Wade, impregnated his ex-girlfriend, Aja Metoyer, while they were “on break” in early 2013. Truth is, the only person on this earth responsible for Dwyane Wade’s sperm is Dwyane Wade. Union needs to put on some big girl drawls and hold him accountable.

In her recent interview with Glamour, called “My Dos and Don’ts by Gabrielle Union”, Union made it seem like having a busy schedule and spending too much time apart drove Wade into Metoyer’s arms.

DON’T write off an ex (or get back together) without really thinking it through. When you’re debating whether to go backward or forward, you have to look at the original issue. [When Dwyane and I broke up briefly in 2013], it was because of distance and scheduling. I finished filming the show, then I flew to Vegas right away to start shooting Think Like a Man Too. I couldn’t take time off, and I missed some quality togetherness we desperately needed. “

Union went on to elaborate on her personal relationship choices and the need for “compromise.”

“Over the summer, I reassessed priorities. I’d always wanted an awesome career with back-to-back projects, but I realized I wasn’t willing to sacrifice my relationship for it. Moving forward, I decided my work schedule has to make sense for our family. Bottom line: If an issue’s a deal breaker, it’s a deal breaker. If your relationship isn’t something you’re willing to give up and you can compromise, do so.”

I have a strong feeling she never gave that bit of advice to Wade.

It takes true talent to impregnate someone else while on a brief relationship hold only to convince your long term love interest that her working too much was somehow the cause. Some have said that Union is not blaming herself and that this is just another interview to yawn at. They explain that these may simply be her musings on love and relationships. That would be perfectly normal, expected, and innocuous had she not recently announced an engagement in the same month her surprise future stepson was born.

Read the full article at WCC.

EBONY.com: Black Women Slammed by Unemployment Cuts

On December 30th, 1.3 million Americans saw an end to “long-term” unemployment benefits. The 113th Congress allowed these emergency benefits to expire before taking a holiday recess. And while all Americans collecting long-term – longer than 26 weeks worth – benefits have been impacted by this lack of movement in Washington DC, Black women stand to face distinctly difficult circumstances if those benefits remain suspended.

Most states originally offered no more than 26 weeks of unemployment “insurance” or aid. But after the Great Recession— which began in late 2007–benefits were extended across the country. In some states, benefits could be collected for two years or longer. President George W. Bush ushered in these changes to unemployment insurance as he exited the White House. This infusion of capital into the middle and lower classes was seen as a method to keep the country afloat and stimulate the economy via consumer spending,

Six years later, the very same workers who were so integral to America’s economic recovery have fallen victim to Congress’ “government by crisis” style of legislating. The Republican-led House of Representatives signaled in early December that they would be working to end long-term emergency unemployment aid. Amounting to nothing more than a bargaining chip for congressional Republicans, emergency unemployment insurance benefits contribute to a healthy and thriving economy.

Black women have been were hit hard during the economic recession and continue to struggle even during the country’s recovery. In 2011, the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) published a study which found that Black women only made up 12.5 percent of all female workers in June of 2009, yet accounted for over 42 percent of job losses for all women between June 2009 and June 2011. Similarly, Black women’s unemployment rate increased 2.1 percent in the same period— three times the increase of the next highest unemployment rate (Black men).

Read more at EBONY

WCC: I Was ‘Black While Mothering’ Today…

My husband and I have three gorgeous children. Our oldest will be six next month. Our youngest just arrived last month. We were married in 2006 after dating for three years. We are college sweethearts. Next spring, we will celebrate our eighth wedding anniversary. And, if you did the math, that means that all of our children were born in wedlock. They were planned. They were and are wanted. They are the best things God has ever blessed us with. Ever.

But, everyday, living in Orange County, California, I am reminded that my story, though beautiful and non-unique, will never be what is expected or assumed of me. Every side eye I get, every judgmental stare shames me. Yes, shame works that way. It can be evoked even from people who have nothing to be ashamed of. Why? Well, because I’m black. It’s just that simple. Being black while (insert most things) can result in shame, personal harm, or even death. For me, it’s usually shame. And, sadly, it has become another one of those ‘things’ I have normalized.

From the picture above, you may notice that I am taller than my husband. At six feet four inches tall, I am taller than most people. He and I started as best friends and never thought of dating until our love smacked us each in our respective craniums. Me being taller than him has never been an issue mainly because he is the foinest thing I have ever seen on two legs. I like to think he thinks the same thing about me. But, beyond that, my husband is a brilliant, understated man. He endures my insane ways and manages to do it with a genuine smile. And, he is the absolute best father I could have ever wanted for my children. Everyday he tries to improve himself and our household. We each take our responsibility as parents incredibly seriously. Sometimes too seriously. But, our kids are worth it to us.

Read the rest here.

WCC: Ain’t I a Woman? Black Women, Decency, and Public Spaces

Even with Beyoncé taking over the universe with over 1 million copies of her self-titled fifth solo album sold in one week, black women continue to struggle with recognition and respect in public spaces.

This isn’t a new thing. Women’s rights activist Sojourner Truth delivered her iconic “Ain’t I a Woman” speech in 1851 at the Women’s Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio dealing with this very issue. Her simple inquisition underscored the need for black women to become a part of mainstream gender conversations.

“That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain’t I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain’t I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man – when I could get it – and bear the lash as well! And ain’t I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain’t I a woman?”

One would assume we’d be past this basic question over a century and a half later. But, truth is, we aren’t. Black women continue to face struggles with being recognized as the loving mothers, daughters, sisters, and aunts that they are. In public spaces, we are often judged and, sometimes, punished because of one-dimensional images in the mainstream psyche which outshine our true personae. I talk about the feelings arising from this treatment in a piece about being a black mother in Orange County, CA.

What is often most interesting about this differentially unhelpful treatment is how others in public spaces seem to “code switch” in an adverse way. In the black community, code switching denotes the process wherein black people change their vernacular, conversational content or other social cues in order to adapt to diverse social situations with non-black people.

Read the full story here.

WCC: Social Activism Tastes Better When the Waiter is White

Ever heard the phrase, “When regarding a message, consider the source”? Well, it seems white people (and everyone else) have been doing that about pretty much everything. White supremacy means that everything good has to be white. Heroes, casts of hit movies, heck, even messengers need to be white. Social activism via social media is the newest “it” thing. And, even though racial minorities have been activism-ing for decades, it seems the only time the message is palatable for mainstream white society is when it is delivered by another white person.

I guess that means I need to get a white friend who can write then, hunh?

Remember when Macklemore made that song about gay marriage like he was saying something new? I remember sitting in the car with one other black girl and three white girls when I first heard it. The other black girl and I were like, “meh.” But, one particular white girl was just in awe of how courageous Macklemore was for singing about such a taboo subject. “This song is really powerful,” she swooned. Yeah, it’s a nice song. But, it can’t hold a candle to Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Goin’ On?” It seemed to me like that phenomena on The Simpsons when Marge says something like forty times then Homer says it and acts like he initiated the idea. It’s like social activism Groundhog Day every time a white person decides to take a logical stance against white privilege in favor of equality measures.

I first thought this was so when the whole #WhiteGirlsRock idiocy happened. Basically, a bunch of white (and black) people were offended and butt-hurt that they couldn’t have someone as awesome as Queen Latifah tell them they rock. So, they made fun of the annual Black Girls Rock! Award Show on Twitter…like grown ups.

Read the full story here.