Trump Bullies and Disrespects Black Women

In a country where Donald Trump is the commander-in-chief, many black women are plagued with a problem they had no hand in creating. About 94% of black women chose Hillary Clinton on Election Day last year, rejecting her opponent’s “grab ‘em by the pussy” comments and frequent misogyny as evidence enough that he was ill-prepared for the highest office in the land. Still, he won.

Regularly, now, his role in the White House has been used as a platform of personal attacks, where he’s proven that his disrespect of women isn’t colorblind. It takes on a special form when his targets are also black. Continue reading “Trump Bullies and Disrespects Black Women”

The Story Behind the East St. Louis “Race Riots”

One hundred years ago, black American residents of a small industrial city in Illinois endured three days of violence and horror that have scarcely shown up in the pages of our history books.

The East St. Louis “Race Riots” of 1917 saw the indiscriminate massacre of men, women, and children in a one-sided spate of brutal burnings of people and buildings, lynchings, shootings, and beatings that left an official death toll of 39 black and nine white Americans dead, though historians estimate that more than 100 black people were actually killed.

The conflict started on July 1, 1917, when two white male plain-clothed officers were shot deadby armed black residents in East St. Louis, Illinois, the sister-city to St. Louis, Missouri, which falls just over the state line. The officers were driving in a Ford Model T, which many black residents mistakenly believed carried “white drive-by shooters” who had been terrorizing black people of the neighborhood. Continue reading “The Story Behind the East St. Louis “Race Riots””

Lynching in the United States, Explained

In many respects, Americans have begun to face the gruesome threads of history that are sewn into the country’s fabric. The mass genocide of indigenous peoples is generally understood to have been cruel, ruthless, murderous, and without humanity. The enslavement of African people and their descendants has been widely accepted as a despicable and vile institution that was leveraged to build the economic and physical infrastructure of the country. As of late, virtually all monuments to the Confederacy have been identified as inherently racist and rooted in the preservation of anti-black sentiment.

But in the United States, there are still horrors that we’ve yet to fully grapple with as we work to confront our racial past and its effects. At the top of that list is lynching, a form of often-racialized terror where an individual or group is put to death — especially by hanging — for a perceived offense, with or without a trial. The act is usually carried out by a mob, and it happened with great frequency throughout U.S. history. Continue reading “Lynching in the United States, Explained”

Women Have Always Been a Part of White Supremacy

When you look back at the images from the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend, you might get the impression that women were largely absent. But that doesn’t mean they haven’t always been present in white supremacist ideas and actions in very important, albeit less memorable, ways.

Let’s get a little background first. Last Friday, hundreds of white nationalists descended on the college town of Charlottesville, Virginia, to protest plans for the removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee. Over the course of two days, the ensuing violence plastered on social media depicted the beating of 20-year-old Deandre Harris with metal bars and the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer after a driver plowed into a crowd of counterprotesters, injuring at least 19 others in the process. Continue reading “Women Have Always Been a Part of White Supremacy”

Sorry Mika and Joe, not much has changed about President Trump

Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski are not pleased with President Trump.

In an op-ed published in the Washington Post early Friday morning called “Donald Trump is not well,” the engaged “Morning Joe” co-hosts delivered a bevvy of critiques of President Trump’s Twitter assault on Brzezinski on Thursday. Continue reading “Sorry Mika and Joe, not much has changed about President Trump”

To be a Black, Queer, Unrespectable Christian in an Era of Unrest

I got a “Monroe” piercing yesterday. I got it for my 31st birthday. Several times – after geeking out about how cute it is – I reflected on the words of my very staunch Christian Pastor and maternal Grandma growing up. When I was 11-years-old, I told her I was interested in ministry. In reply, she said “If you want to sit in a pulpit, you’re going to have to stop getting all those holes in your ears.” This was the first time I realized how much of my Christianity was wrapped up in performance. It was also the moment I started dismantling and unlearning the man-made systems of control meant to delimit my personhood while masquerading as “proper” Christian faith.

My mom and I chuckled about Grandma’s warning about earrings on several later occasions. First, we laughed as we drove to get my first nose piercing just about a year later. Then, we chuckled again when we drove to my favorite piercing and tattoo shop in Berkeley, California to get my first eyebrow piercing for my fourteenth birthday. We laughed again around my 28th birthday when we got matching eyebrow piercings just because we could. Frankly, we’ve been laughing ever since at the idea that piercing my body makes me less of a Christian.

Anyone who has read the Bible knows that ceremonial laws and rituals were abolished when Jesus Christ died on Calvary (find this in Romans – throughout especially 3 and 7, Galatians 3:20-25, Ephesians 2:15, and Hebrews 7 and 10: 1-9). This includes dietary rules, bodily restrictions (i.e. tattooing and piercing), and other performances of worship. Instead, God gave us moral law in the form of the Ten Commandments to guide our Christian walk. And, given that the Commandments mention nothing about sexual orientation, gender, nor bodily accessorizing, any messages from anyone which suggest otherwise are simply unfounded. This also extends to sexuality.

Read the full article at WCC.

Where Does the Black Woman’s Body Belong?

Few things personify white privilege more than the erasure of Black women’s bodies from the public sphere. Evidence of this fact can be found in the reactions to Serena Williams’ recent Wimbledon title and the faux outrage at Amandla Stenberg’s commentary on Kylie Jenner’s culturally appropriated cornrows. In the face of these obstacles, an important question we must ask ourselves is: Where does the Black woman’s body belong?

Serena Williams – arguably the best tennis player of all time – has been insulted, diminished, erased, and disrespected since she started playing the sport professionally nearly two decades ago. A recent New York Times article describing her body as “muscular” and questioning her womanhood is just a glimpse into the insults she has had to endure over the years. From racism and sexism to transmisogyny and flat out hatred, she has had to experience a myriad of criticisms just for existing in professional tennis while Black and female. The road to loving herself wasn’t easy.

But, Williams learned to do it despite the hate she continually faced from white critics, coaches, commentators, and fans.For Williams, her body belongs precisely where she has been all along: on the tennis court. While efforts to erase and exclude her from that predominantly white space prevail, she has been crystal clear that she both deserves and has earned the privilege to be there no matter how threatening it is to systems of white superiority.

Read more at For Harriet.

In Defense of Nene Leakes’ Femininity

Let me start by saying: Nene Leakes is incredibly problematic. She has said terrible things about LGBTQIA folks, she called a biracial woman a “half-breed”, and she may have distributed t-shirt designs that weren’t her own work. She isn’t perfect. But, this piece isn’t in defense of her actions. Some of those are indefensible. Instead, it’s in defense of her right – as a tall, dark-skinned, outspoken cisgendered, heterosexual woman – to be feminine. That’s something, to me, that shouldn’t be up for questioning. Ever.

I was parousing the internet last night and was reminded of how often Leakes’ gender takes center stage both on RHOA (which I still watch) and in general. Last year, when Leakes got into an argument with Marlo Hampton, someone who was once her dear friend, Hampton pulled the “you look like a man” line with ease. It wasn’t the first time Leakes’ gender and femininity were questioned.

Kim Zolciak and Sheree Whitfield – ex-cast mates on the show – also questioned Leakes’ gender and physical appearance with reference to her femininity. A simple google search yields hit after hit of questions on the web about Nene Leakes’ gender. Like Wendy Williams, another tall, Black, outspoken woman, there seems to be this perception that taller than average Black women with large personalities are “manly” or less feminine than other women. Unfortunately, this is an issue I can relate to.

I have been tall for as long as I can remember. I have been over six feet tall since middle school. In elementary school, I frequently saw the tops of the heads of my peers and teachers. I towered over all the girls and the boys. And, coupled with my outspoken nature, billowing voice, and forward demeanor, I was often called a “tomboy.”

I never really knew what that meant. I wasn’t a boy. I didn’t feel like a boy. But, then again, I didn’t know what being a boy felt like. I just felt like me.

For one reason or another, other children and society in general separated me. I had to play basketball with the boys while the girls played Four Square. I played tether ball (and whooped everyone) while the other girls jumped rope. By fourth grade, there was a clear distinction between me and the “cool girls.” Whenever one of them felt threatened by me, they’d say, “Jennifer, why don’t you just go do ‘boy’ stuff?” To which I’d answer, “Why don’t you shut up?” A reply that almost immediately landed me in the principal’s office at my very parochial Catholic school.

Read more at WCC.