Saturday, February 22, 2014

Martyrs of our children: Racism in the United States

“To be Black and conscious in America is to be in a constant state of rage”
-James Baldwin

Above right to left first row Jordan Davis, Jonathan Ferrell
Second row left to right Renisha McBride, Oscar Grant
Third row left to right Trayvon Martin, Sean Bell 
All photos Bing, image search 

Renisha McBride, Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Ricardo Sans, Jonathan Ferrell, Oscar Grant, Sean Bell, and the list goes on and on and on. So much so until I’ve become sick reading Twitter feeds, watching the news, and checking Facebook. It feels like in the past decade America has regressed in any racial progress made and to be aware of such has started this slow blood boiling anger within my people.
I’m angry every time I have to explain why I’m angry. Angry every time some breaking news comes across the screen and I so happen to be out at a sports bar or something of that nature in mixed company and I’m looked at when my anger is evident on my face. Am I not supposed to be angry? Is this something that I’m supposed to come to accept in this day in age? Hell no, and the thought that anyone would think I should accept, or move on from this makes me even more enraged. If the names above don’t jar memory perhaps the names below will.
Alfred Wright murdered in 2013, Portland Oregon, January 2010, Aaron Campbell. Steven Washington, Autistic 27 year old shot and killed by L.A.P.D. officers, no weapons found on him. This occurred March 2010. James Craig Anderson, Jackson Mississippi, beaten and run over June 26, 2011. Anyone remember James Byrd Jr.? 1998, murdered and drug three miles tied up on the back of a pickup truck. His remains were scattered over 81 different places. “Ray” Golden found 32 years old in 2003 hanging in his grandmother’s back yard. Belle Glade, FL. Aiyana Jones, Detroit.  When will it end? How many martyrs must be made before we talk about racism today? Not in a past tense reflection but in a modern day observation.
What makes us as a people so threatening to others? Our melanin perhaps or the fact that our ancestors survived the cruel oppression known as slavery? Are we so threatening because we came together as a people for the Civil Rights Movement? Are we so threatening because we refused to be considered second-class citizens or because we breathe?  I remember being “Trained” so to speak as a child as to how to deal with a Nation, a world even of people who considered my melanin to be a threat. My mother would say when we were in the store “Don’t touch anything!” My aunts would tell  my sisters and I when we had our little allowance “Don’t go in your purse in the store” When sent to schools in my area in which were lily white with little diversity I was told “Hold your head up high Danielle”. As I got older I found my voice and began protesting such injustice. I’d heard tell of my aunts living through desegregation in the South. I’d heard when my mother and father dealt with the klan in Georgia. I recall the look on my aunt’s face as she told me of having someone spit in her face and call her a “nigger”. Then I recall my own life and experiences. Marches and protests because children are being killed and open season has been declared on those of the African Diaspora. I can’t even begin to mention Marissa Alexander and Michel Giles. Don’t get me started on Darrin Manning. And the countless other names and faces WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT!

I recall being followed in stores upon entering. Security guards feeling it necessary to lurk around any aisles I’d go on. I recall going on lunch break in Martin County when the Martin County police department pulled two coworkers and myself over and pulled her gun out of her holster while approaching the car. We were all told to put our hands up and I knew in my mind that any sudden movements would get me shot. I remember my heart racing. I remember my anger. Why was I pulled over? When I called the Department I was told that a group of teenagers was driving around in a white S.U.V. with paint ball guns. When I asked how the teenagers looked I was given a vague explanation and told that the officer handled the situation correctly. The funny and cruel irony part about it was that I was driving a blue Chrysler Pacifica, which in no way looks white. The funny part about it was that the windows were down. The cruelness of it was that nothing was done and I was expected to return to work cool, calm and collected. I remember standing outside the library during election time with my chosen candidate on my poster encouraging individuals to vote in my predominately white town. I remember my sisters and I being called niggers and the bird being given to us. And more recently I recall my sister telling me she was called a nigger in the parking lot of Walgreens because a guy was turning too wide in his vehicle and almost hit her.
I was not raised to tolerate racial injustice and quite honestly at this point I have no desire to. I figure during times when revolutions need to occur, when our children shall be made martyrs no more that we have two options. We can demand justice and equality or we can demand such by any means necessary. The road and the path that we take now is quite reliant upon the actions that are taken for injustice.

References
Bing Images - Search the web for pictures, photos & images. (n.d.). Bing Images - Search the web for pictures, photos & images. Retrieved February 22, 2014, from http://www.bing.com/images



Sunday, January 12, 2014

The cheater



Integrity is not a conditional word. It doesn't blow in the wind or change with the weather. It is your inner image of yourself, and if you look in there and see a man who won't cheat, then you know he never will
-John D. MacDonald
After seeing scores and scores of friends get married, find love and have children I was beginning to feel a bit old. Every announcement was a baby shower or a wedding and I say kudos to those who have found a partner who is willing to hopefully spend the rest of their natural lives with that individual, and kudos to those who strongly believe in such monogamy and happy endings. Kudos to those married in the past years, last year and those who will be married this year. Kudos to the engagements, kudos to the kiddies. Congrats!
However, I’ve seen a trend of a completely different kind as well. Considering we all now have social networks in place of human interaction (A different post all together trust me on this one.) you now see life played out via social network. When love is new and beautiful people connect with new relationship statuses, saying they are with such and such and pictures pop up of love and scenery and newness. And me being me , I’m happy to see all of this out in the open romanticness. But there’s a downside to such as well. Dirty laundry is often times aired out on social networks as well and surely aired out in inboxes. Which brings me to the topic of cheating.
For a while I wondered what constitutes such? When is flirting going too far and when you’re in a relationship or even a marriage what is acceptable and what is unacceptable? Do we need validation so badly that we can’t get it from one person and is true monogamy a thing of the past? These past several weeks I’ve been a shoulder to lean on for about three friends who have gone through some seriousness when it comes to cheating and monogamy. For the sake of them and our friendships I won’t name their names but their situations (Two of them with their permission.) are ones that aren’t unique to them. These situations have become common place.
THE FACEBOOK CHEATER
A dear friend of mine and her partner had been having some issues. She’d noticed that her partner had become withdrawn, and had begun a lovely affair with her phone and computer. Rarely did she look up from it. (Oh and by the way, for those of you who are on your computers and stuck in your phone while another human being is around so much so until you can’t have human social interaction get that checked out by someone qualified, please!) My friend began to notice the change in her partner and many conversations and many nights were spent attempting to examine such and my friend going against her instincts which said something is wrong. When we love someone sometimes we can be blind and downright stupid. Ignoring signs and red flags for love, gets us all hurt in the end. And love in my opinions isn’t supposed to hurt like that. Anywho her partner left her computer up. Had her facebook up. Now my friend being inquisitive and given all the right ammo to check (Though I wouldn’t suggest this, “You seek and you shall find”) looks at it. Her partner’s inbox confirmed suspicions. Her partner not only had been flirting but sending nude pictures of herself to another woman. (CHEATING! CHEATER! CHEATING! FLAG FLAG FLAG!) Being hurt my friend continued to look through her partner’s facebook. Her partner had a friend as well and while her and her partner lived together she worked long hours. The “friend” of her partner was sent a message that was laced in flirtation and my dear friend found out her partner and this friend had been laying in the same bed together, just laying together.(Their bed) Flirtation on top of laying together in their bed was enough to set my friend on edge and for good reason. She wanted my advice and I can’t tell her what to do so I told her weigh her options. Her years of a relationship with this individual clearly meant nothing if her partner could betray her trust so easily. Her choice though was to work things out with her partner… I wish them both the best. But there’s no excuse for her partner’s betrayal and well once the trust is gone. It’s gone for a while. Moral of the story being… If you’re hiding things from your partner you’ve already begun the process of cheating. Don’t be sorry about things later either don’t do it or be single.
THE “YOU’RE INSECURE CHEATER”
In the world there’s always that manipulative person and there’s always going to be. There’ll always be an opportunist and sometimes kind people get blind sighted by that as my friend did.(Actually friends with them both only having met her through him) Her fiancé used her insecurity as justification for his frabernackle. Every time he’d be caught doing something he’d tell her she needed to get over her insecurities and he needed to get over being a douche. Some individuals come with insecurities and they aren’t made any better when such insecurity is fed. Situation at hand is my friend’s fiancé is great friends with his ex. (Some can tolerate this, others can’t) His ex fighting for her life against cancer. (Granted that is horrible and a hard fight) Their bond negates he visits her, stays with her sometimes and sends her messages like “I wish I could hold you right now” when my friend brings it up he says “You’re insecure, you’re not dealing with cancer, get over it”. First and foremost if your partner is uncomfortable with ties with an ex, things need to be reasonably moderated. If an ex plays a significant role in your life, fine, but such must be understood that your future is with whom you’re with. If that’s not understood chaos will ensue and so it did. He furnished a trip to see his ex with my dear friend’s credit card. He was supposed to be staying alone and was honest about his trip to go see her. My friend finds a hotel receipt that said two stayed in that room. (Guests, 2) He brushes it off saying this is the default for hotels to do such… NO, NO IT’S NOT. He sends the ex-messages continually, wihsing he was there for her and she was with him all the while his fiancé is. Not only is he emotionally cheating with the possibility of physically cheating. He’s a douche. I’ve told him this to his face. But she chooses to stay with him. She’ll choose to marry him as well.. Against many red flags and warnings.
At the end of the day both stories are more than stories to me they are friends. And at the end of the day the quote at the beginning of this article stands true “Integrity is not a conditional word”. When you’re dealing with a cheater they lack that, as well as empathy and respect for their partner. While some of us are willing to tolerate it, others of us become shoulders to cry on for those who do but won’t leave their situations. In any case it’s draining and my notion is a cheater is a cheater and will always be.
-Midnightrose

Saturday, June 29, 2013

An open letter to an eleven year old bisexual

"I've never denied any aspect of myself, why should you?” -My late mentor Dr. Cheryl Hardison- Dayton

This quote came back to me a little after my mentor passed away and I’m reminded in past positions that I've held, and in any organization that I've been a part of not to deny any aspect of myself. Given the landmark decisions (Repeal of DOMA and Proposition 8) and the landmark setbacks (The Voting Rights Act) that occurred this week, along with a little fatigue given that I've been running myself ragged with numerous tasks and trying to get the Black Women’s Education Initiative Program that I started off the ground completely, there are sometimes I forget just how much of an impact we as individual’s can have on one another, or sometimes the inspiration we can provide to another human being without trying.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Post graduate realities

This article is well overdue to be written. I along with scores of my friends graduated from the undergraduate cul-de sac a while ago. I remembered how proud friends of mine were, and to be honest how proud I was. When I first entered undergraduate school I came with the notion that I was going to change the world. I was fired up, my heart had only been dented and not completely broken, my viewpoints stemmed from that. I was idealistic. I remembered the first day I walked onto the campus of my HBCU (Historically Black College & University). I had clothes that had been sewn, a few new outfits, and a slew of used items. But I was happy because the steps on that campus signified a new life, and a change of some sort. Little did I know the change that was going to occur.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

F-A-T-P-H-O-B-I-A

Fat Phobia: Norms, values, and practices of a culture that devalue fat people and value thin people as the norm.

I’ve had it. I’ve honestly had it. my patience has worn thin. My kind and enlightened words are a little harder to say to individuals who are fat phobic and my mind can’t comprehend their ignorance. Ignorance, after all, in any form is ignorance. With all the phobias and the -isms (Homophobia, racism, sexism, classism, colorism, and all those words/realities), this one surprised me. I‘d known of it, experienced it, but never knew there was a name for it. F-A-T-P-H-O-B-I-A.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Identifying My Self-Identification



It is already February folks. So you know what that means? Black History Month! (Womp-womp). Twenty-eight days of looking back at a history (with a male perspective might I add) that is superficial at best. I have yet to witness a Black History Month that delves beyond Civil Rights and segregation, beyond slavery, beyond colonization. I find myself disassociating with Black History Month altogether because, quite frankly, I do not feel Black or African-American for that matter.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Getting Their Acts Together

SOFONI MICHEL AND MIDNIGHTROSE ARE GETTING THEIR SH!T TOGETHER. NEW BLOG POSTS ARE COMING SOON. VERY SOON...LIKE IN-THE-NEXT-COUPLE-OF-DAYS SOON.

OH, AND HAPPY BELATED NEW YEAR TO ALL THE QUEENS AND KINGS!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

An Open Thank You to the Women Who Passed Through the Shelter in Lake Andes South Dakota



Domestic abuse was not foreign to me. It was not something that was hearsay for me. I’d seen it. I’d heard it. I knew domestic abuse well. I knew that abuse came in numerous forms. Those forms could be physical, mental, emotional, and sometimes even spiritual. I’d seen that form of abuse as early as age six when one of my aunts had a husband who insisted on using her as a punching bag. I’d seen it thereafter with another aunt. I’d heard tales of it with cousins in the past and other family members. Thus, when I embarked on a journey, of sorts, to the middle of nowhere South Dakota I figured I knew what I was in for. I figured I understood domestic abuse enough to handle the internship on a Native American reservation in a rural area. I couldn't have been more wrong.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

My Cause Is Not Your Cause

My cause is not yours. I cannot lay it to the wayside and focus on other elements such as who is dating who in the celebrity world and gossip because I am bored. My cause is not yours! I am Black, I am a woman, I am a part of the LGBTQ community, I am the face of the working poor. You can only attempt to understand the complexities of that. But my cause is not one I could put down; it is the very fabric of who I am. I am the blend of my mother who picked cotton and my father who drove long distance trucks dream blended with my own. My cause is not yours.

- My own words after attending the National Black Justice Coalition’s OUT on the Hill


Upon the 22nd of September, I embarked on a road trip that I’ll never forget. A friend and I decided that we would go to National Black Justice Coalition’s (NBJC) OUT on the Hill 2012. She had registered and wanted to be there for the entire week of events. I, on the other hand, contemplated taking the trip since it was a bit out of my price range at the time. I had bills to take care (who knew?). But opportunity knocked when she decided that she wanted to drive instead and I could go along with her. Hello, Opportunity! I hadn’t embarked to D.C. since the Summer of 2011 during which I enjoyed two days of a hell of a lot of walking and sightseeing. Not to mention I’d spent some time enjoying the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, Transgendered, Queer) nightlife in the “Chocolate City”. This time, however, was not so enjoyable.

I had a hellish eight-hour train ride from West Palm Beach to Deland and had to wake up the next morning for a thirteen hour car ride to D.C. What transpired that weekend had me contemplating my place within the Black LGBTQ community and had me contemplating my place among my own people.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Bitch Bad. Queen Good. Goddess Better.



Yes. The title needs some work, but give me a break. The point was to put a bit of a twist to the chorus of Lupe Fiasco’s Bitch Bad single. I have been a staunch supporter of Lupe since I was an undergraduate student. At first, I did brush him off as a nerdy weirdo when I heard Kick, Push (he was a black rapper rapping about skating for goodness sakes!), but he reeled me in with Daydreamin’. When I heard Paris, Tokyo, from his second album, I was in love—I mean I became a fan of his music. I went out and bought both albums soon after and then began collecting his mixtapes. I became an official supporter of Mr. Fiasco.

When Lupe came out with his third studio album, Lasers, and everyone said he had dumbed down the music (even Lupe admitted as much) and had become a sell-out, I still bought the album to discern for myself. I thought it was pretty good. Sure, it was a different style of music than Food & Liquor and The Cool, but it was not as if he was talking about money and fucking a bunch of random women. It was actually a very political album. So I am very certain that people will be very critical of his fourth upcoming album, Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album. His former fan base will be waiting to see if he goes back to the so-called old Lupe (which is impossible) and his newly acquired fan base will be waiting for more of the same as from Lasers (which is more likely).