On the expectation of free labor to diversify your spaces

[Copy/Pasted from an early AM twitter vent this morning 12/21/16]

I’m in a mood, and I’m irritated. I want to talk about value of work, specifically diversity work & people’s expectation of free labor. So I’m lucky, and in a good position where sometimes people come out the gate with what are your rates & fees? This does not always happen though, don’t get excited. Like I said I’m in a good position.

However…there’s the pervasive idea that we should provide our expertise, our skills and knowledge for little or no pay. How about no? A lot of places want to be seen as progressive, diverse and doing the right thing but they don’t want to invest time & resources. Or they think it’s as simple as invite a few brown folks and a queer person, give them top billing one year & we’ve done it! Uh no.

web-analytics-my-1-if-you-built-it-they-will-come

See, we can see right through that bullshit. Especially when your convention committee doesn’t change, your policies don’t change. You can’t put the current hyper visible POC in your field up as your diversity! And expect us to flock to your event. Again, we see you.

Here’s my main gripe though. Reaching out to people to get help but not offering compensation at the same time.

It’s always “Let’s have a coffee, let me buy you lunch and pick your brain…”

This isn’t about greed either. This is about valuing someone enough to “pick their brain” but not enough to pay them.This is doubly true when you expect someone to help with event they may attend but won’t offer some kind of comps or payment.  Helping the community is great, but it doesn’t negate the value of that persons time.

Even asking someone to take the time to chat with you, have an email exchange or Skype call should be considered work.I think it comes down to people not seeing it as “real” work. Also, acting as if someone asking for compensation is wrong? Or insinuating they don’t actually care because they wanna eat?

Nah, we all got bills and if you want my time & expertise? FU Pay Me. Nobody expects teachers to work for free, or other laborers so why us? Because a lot of the work is emotional labor. To unfuck the ways that events and orgs have failed on representation is a lot hard work y’all. So stop asking for free labor under the guise of doing better. Improvement takes effort, time and money. Investment not hollow promises.

When you ask someone on how to do better, ask what their preferred compensation method is. Fucking pay people for their time.

fuckyoupaymeartprintfromgeekcalligraphycom

 Fuck You Pay Me available from Geek Calligraphy, purchase one for your workspace!

Last thing, think real hard on how you react to black Womens, lgbtqia & other folks asking to be paid vs whites.Look at all the extra shit people want from us to prove we’re worth the time, effort & money to support. Look at how angry people get when we dare to say our time & knowledge is valuable. Y’all have seen it, people bring accused of running scams, that we should help for $0.

However, white folks come up with the weirdest shit for a kickstarter or crowd funding that overfunds but we can’t make the minimum.So if I’m bitter? It’s with damn good reason. Tired of being told the work is valuable, needed but when we ask for help? Support is nil. TL;DR, stop asking people for free work. Value our skills enough to offer payment when asking for said work. Exposure kills, it’s not money, not valid currency anywhere.

It’s not the first time I’ve talked about this. It probably won’t be the last either. As long as people continue to undervalue, or assume no value for the hard work that is required to achieve better representation, more diversity and make it stick; we’ll keep having this damn go round and around until people get it.

Other writings I’ve done on this topic & related issues: 

You Wanna Diversify huh? That’s Nice, Pay Us

On paying black women for the work we do and the ways people accuse us of cashing in

Thoughts on diversity, conventions & cost

Emotional Labor, OT edition for POC, LGBTIQIA & others — Fandom edition

On the value of black women’s work

So yesterday I couldn’t sleep and twitterpated all over about the Safetypin box and the reactions to it. Notably that some dude bro who didn’t know anything about the creators (Leslie Mac and Marissa Johnson)

I collated those over on Medium for anyone who wants to peep  that first. On paying black women for the work we do and the ways people accuse us of cashing in

Today, I had more twitterations on the idea that Safetypinbox HAD to be a 501 c 3 charity or people felt uncomfortable with where the money was going. IE These two black women can’t be trusted. Those thoughts and some more to follow because I am fed the entire fuck up with how people want the benefits without realizing the human cost behind it. What follows are my tweets c/p from 12/6/2016.

I keep seeing people throw out that *should* be a 501(c)(3) charity. Because that gives *them* comfort somehow. Let’s talk.

One, if this was charity work then fine. It’s a service however. Says so right on the website.

spb-not-a-charity

Go read it over, then come back.

Two, do any of these people talking about how easy it is to become a 501(c)(3) know anything about the process? At all? Guessing that’s a no. If you have to file the 1023 form, (30 pages long btw)have the $400 or $850 filing fee & get it done quickly? 180 day window for decision.If you qualify for 1023 EZ filing? Still $275 & 180 day decision window. So it’s not easy to start a charity. But that’s not the issue here.

The real issue is two black women have done the same thing white activists are lauded for & y’all mad.

They are putting a dollar value on the free emotional labor that people expect of black women all day, every day. I should just start posting the requests to pick my brain, get a cup of coffee to get a read on something I get re: games diversity. Y’all expect black women especially to do this heavy lifting for the good of the community, for free cause it’s better for all.

Fuck that

It’s unsurprising to see who has some shit to say in the face of black women going fuck you, pay me for my time & knowledge. Like people who go follow black women, expect to be educated & have their ignorance lifted but won’t drop a tip or support their Patreons. Out here treating us like Hazel, like we’re supposed to hold your fucking hand & let you sip from the Chalice of Wokeness for free!

Nah, we all gotta live. Stop devaluing our labor, our knowledge & expecting a handout to rise beyond your ignorance. Google is free y’all. So stop acting like we’re asking for too much when we say pay up for that time you asked us for. We value our work, our expertise. Since you asked for our help? You must value it too. So put your money where your mouth is or be quiet.

I salute you y’all for getting that money

That said, I had the usual rando’s and well, actually’s roll through my TL. Once I was properly up and about, I had a few thoughts on the people who follow me on various sites, say they learn from me etc. Yet, people don’t value work all the same. Even had someone who inferred I was saying pay me to tweet.

I got nothing to say about that except that added 2+2 and got yarn. If anyone following me thinks that’s where I was going, then leave now. Ain’t nobody said pay me to tweet. For those curious I said the following:

So I’m up and I been thinking. Remember when I asked people why they follow me? Realize what the majority of answers were? To recap: Because they learn something, because they get a POV unlike their own. I.E they get value from my tweets.

Or the articles I write and share here, or the collated, nicely bundled and edited twitterpations I put out on Medium. Still with me? I have over 6700 followers (for now, watch I drop some after this tweet). Some are bots that will drop off & don’t count. Let’s be generous and say 1500 are not real accounts that haven’t dropped off. That leaves over 5500 people reading what I have to say daily.

If half those folks dropped a donation or even supported my Patreon at $1 each? I’d be A-OK. But I guess there’s a line for some. Ok. Same for other black women on here & other platforms. People listen but they ghost out when we pass the hat or ask to be compensated. [this is where some people got stuck and probably thought I was saying pay me to tweet. Which I wasn’t but whatever]

I’m mad but I’m also tired, tired of the expectation of free labor from some. Not everyone does this but it happens too often.

Here’s the thing, no one is obligated to do a damn thing. Ain’t nobody gotta follow me, or donate or support me on Patreon. Point was it would be great if the same people who say they learn from what I say, who say they enjoy my work and consider the other things I do off twitter to be important would throw some coins my way.

It’s been almost a year since I lost my day job, just 9 days away from that anniversary so I’m probably noticing this more keenly than usual. But I’m real tired of black women’s work not being valued. For POC/LGBTQIA/Disabled/Neurodivergent folks to have the burden of free emotional labor dropped on them but when they ask for compensation? Then they’re greedy, not helpful, scamming… it goes on and on.

Just tired and full of thoughts that needed to get out. Consider what you are asking when you ask us for that coffee chat, a quick lunch or a few minutes of our time. The cost is usually higher than what you think.

 

 

Support the work of POC, bi, trans, non-binary, other LGBTQIA folks signal boosting edition

Cross Posted from my Patreon, where it originally appeared on 9 May 2016.

Another signal boost post, this time to focus on the works of POC, Bi, non-binary, trans and other marginalized creators. Re-using my caveat from my women’s work post because it is what it is. I lost some of my own Patreon support after that post, so oh well.

Caveat , because well people. I took in names and suggests from all over my social networks. I’m sure that means there will be someone listed below that you may not particularly like or feel deserves support. Well too bad, this isn’t high school and I’m not here for infighting, If you see someone you don’t care for, there’s a simple solution… don’t support their work. 

I do not, under any circumstances want messages, DM’s, etc with OH MY GOD HOW CAN YOU SUPPORT HER/THEM/HIM! This is a post to boost others work and help others get their work seen via the little bit of social capital I have.  

Not Patreon:

Mel Fox: makes a zine about identity and grief after a divorce –

Bi’s of Colour:  

http://bisofcolour.tumblr.com/ 

Tauriq Moosa: Tip Jar

http://freethoughtblogs.com/indelible/2015/10/06/tip-jar/

IsaJennie

Radically inclusive Disabled activist w/ against all oppression.

Creator of 

  

Riley

https://www.youcaring.com/my-own-and-other-similar-projects-527012

Fund Better Tech/Fundclub

http://joinfundclub.com/

Patreon: 

Rex Magnus

https://www.patreon.com/rexmagnus?ty=h

Nino Cipri

https://www.patreon.com/ninocipri?ty=c

MakoFury

https://www.patreon.com/Makofury?ty=h

Sydney/BeautifulDad10

https://www.patreon.com/user?u=2302765&u=2302765&ty=h 

Arkady Rose

https://www.patreon.com/arkady?ty=c

Davy Shirley –

Keffy

https://www.patreon.com/keffy?ty=c

Tab Kimpton –

Dina/Petite Mistress

https://www.patreon.com/dinadraws?ty=h

Lynne Triplett –

Harry Bentley –

Asheville Blade

https://www.patreon.com/AvlBlade?ty=h

Silvyen –

Nia King

https://www.patreon.com/artactivistnia?ty=h

Amy Letts –

Christian Beranek –

Alex Herberling –

Erika Moen –

Sfe –

Christine Smith –

Kat Tanaka Okopnik

https://www.patreon.com/ktokopnik?ty=h

Rose Lemberg

https://www.patreon.com/roselemberg?ty=h

Black is… black ain’t…

Black is beautiful, just so we are motherfucking CLEAR. Black ain’t “less desirable than other races”,

“inherently less attractive than other races”

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So… we are in the throes of yet ANOTHER online storm about black folks. Black women’s looks, black women’s bodies, black fathers and the old ass trope of omfg black folks are on the internet too!?! How about that has been dragged out and beaten again for what its worth. (A hint – Not much). I tried to be eloquent and wordsmithy, but you know what? Fuck it, I’m sick of being polite about people telling me how I should feel about how I look.

So many people have waxed eloquently on this topic that I’ll give you links and such… but for what my 0.02 is worth; I’m so fucking sick of being told that I’m not beautiful or attractive or worthy of love and affection because I’m “strong” or career focused or “the strength of the family.”. I’m really fucking sick of the idea that everyone gets a say in how I feel about myself as a black woman. I’m tired of everyone getting to hold up the brown paper bag to check my blackness, and worthiness of having a say in racial debates because I’m fair skinned and obviously “not really black.”

I’m tired of pseudo scientists speculating on the attractiveness of myself and the bounty of black women everywhere. Who the fuck decided that this guys opinion was worth anything to begin with? I don’t even know what an evolutionary psychologist is, do you? Someone explain what that means and then you’d better have a really, really good reason as to why some “evolutionary psychologist” gets a say on black bodies and beauty. I’ll be here, so when you get a clue, come holler at me. Until then, all these faux pop psychologists and arm chair thinkers can shut the fuck up about our bodies, our beauty and everything else in-between.

I leave you with some great articles and a repost of a lovely image snagged from the Angry Black Tumblr.

You Keep Saying Black Women are Ugly Worthless Whores and We Refuse to Believe you by Karnythia

Racialicious: Repeat Offender: Satoshi Kanazawa’s Other Greatest Misses

Angry Black Tumblr: The Article is now gone, but more thoughts

Angry Black Woman: Initial post on this article; noting original title was “Why are Black Women Ugly?”

ABW: Screencap of the article in question, after the title was changed.

Repost of: Navigating Through this Post Racial Society; via Neo_Prodigy on LJ

Reposting from Neo_Prodigy on LJ.

Navigating Through This Post-Racial Society

Neo_Prodigy once again nails something on the head so hard it howled for mercy that has been milling around in my head regarding the reaction to Lebron’s leaving Cleveland and how Lebron’s non-decision overshadowed the news of the cop that was convicted of the lowest possible charge in the murder of Oscar Grant.

Long post is long but worth every damn word and graphic within.

Where Oscar Grant Meets Lebron James

This post shares some cold hard fundamental truths about this society.

Two black brothers with two very different stories, yet the underlying message of “white people own, operate, execute, and enforce this shit” could not be clearer. In the same country where video evidence of a white police officer murdering a black civilian can result in an involuntary manslaughter conviction, is it really any surprise that a white (basketball) owner feels so entitled to a player’s black body that he would resort to name calling and tantrums?

The days of literally owning our bodies are over, but the remnants of our time under white supremacy linger. Dan Gilbert’s bitchfit over losing his most prized possession, while excellent fodder for late night talk show hosts and bloggers, is nothing compared to the pain Grant’s family and our community experiences as we add another name to the ever-growing list of brothers and sisters slaughtered by those ordered to protect and serve. Malcolm X’s words are still new: “You don’t stick a knife in a man’s back nine inches and then pull it out six inches and say you’re making progress.”

It also reiterates a point “afro_dyte” made in the past: that the unquestioned assumption that a Black person’s body, a Black person’s space, a Black person’s time (or other POCs for that matter), has no innate value (save the value White people give it), which makes it impossible to violate.

This also puts in perspective some wank I endured online a few years back. A few years back I spoke out on offensive tropes concerning gay men and demanding better on a writing forum and a condescending white woman rolled on to my blog and made with the trolling. After asking her to leave and then being forced to ban her, I found out later that she made some friends-locked post and all of her buddies came over and began flaming my blog. After tearing each and everyone of them a new asshole, they pulled some Rosewood shit in crying that the Negro Savage was being meeeeeeeeeeean to the poor innocent white woman. And what was interesting was when I called them out on how wrong they were for flaming my blog, my personal space in the first gawd damn place, they acted nonplussed because I was getting all “uppity.”

More than the usual sense of entitlement, ignorance, arrogance, and just grade-A bitchassness, there was something about that whole troll situation that got under my skin and for the life of me I couldn’t figure out what it was. While I dealt with trolls before this was unsettling. A bunch of white folks acted under the assumption that a POC’s space and time had no value save what they gave it and therefore they felt completely justified. IE, in spite of the fact they were wrong about the whole argument and situation, in all their white privilege, they felt entitled to roll into my home unannounced, unwelcomed, take a steaming shit in the middle of my living room and get outraged because I refused to wipe their asses.

And then they wonder why the Negro savage gets all Negro and savage.

Mel Gibson’s Racist Rant

And clearly someone’s Nazi ass didn’t learn his lesson from last time.

White Peepul: The Following Video Is A Surefire Way To Wind Up On The Back Of A Milk Carton”

A couple of points:

1. There IS a difference between being accused of being a racist and committing a racist act.

2. Being called on racist activity IS NOT more offensive than the act itself.

3. Just because you aren’t intentionally doing something racist or bigoted out of malice or hate DOES NOT mean that your actions aren’t racist, hurtful and destructive. Intent does matter but only so far as whether or not I’ll forgive you and try to educate you or whether I just throw up my arms and walk away shaking my head, less I risk catching another assault charge.

4. Just because you say something bigoted in a polite or diplomatic manner does not negate the fact that you are saying something bigoted. Too many times I’ve seen folks pull this shit. Whether you’re screaming “Fuck you nigger!”, “Faggot!” or justifying institutional oppression with “The police are well within their rights to racially profile blacks and Latinos because numbers show they’re the only ones committing crimes” or “Publishers/Media Execs are totally justified in whitewashing or making with the gay erasure because they don’t generate sales and it’s all about numbers,” you’re still saying something bigoted (and for that matter inaccurate) and others are well within their rights to get outraged and call you out on it. And speaking of calling out, that’s right Scans Daily, I’m looking at you, yet again.

5. When you do say bigoted shit, you don’t get to get mad or dictate the terms of the discussion or police people’s reactions because someone is outraged over something bigoted you said.

As a friend of mine once stated, “When it comes to race, a lot of people (including people of color) assume – if not outright state – that White is a lack of race, an empty ethnicity, the default, normal, invisible. As a result, when it comes to matters of race, Whiteness becomes impartial, objective, unbiased, rational, common sense. I’m sure you can imagine how this plays out in racial discourse. Whiteness is positioned as true and therefore right. Of course, no one thinks that consciously (duh!), but it often comes out in how, in a weird sort of way, White people seem to act like they’re only White when the topic of discussion is racism and not every waking moment of their lives. And this confuses the shit out of me because that’s like a straight person acting like they’re only heterosexual when the issue of gay marriage crops up. Or a man acting like the only time he notices gender is when people bring up sexism. To which the only prudent response is to disengage before the intensity of delusion makes your head explode.”

Lost In Translation

H/T to heavenscalyx for the following:

Addendum: In the second panel in the top right, the other more prominent translation is- All my friends are white. All the men I fuck are Black. But the only men I even remotely consider for a serious meaningful relationship are white.

heavenscalyx also recently made some excellent points on Racefail that I think eloquently sums up a lot of what we’re witnessing:

What none of my fellow People of Pallor seem willing to suggest out loud (so, of course, I’m going to do it) is that it’s probably no coincidence that RaceFail has happened so vividly in the post-Obama-election world.

Because, really, isn’t it the same fundamental fear that motivates the Tea Baggers and the Birthers and even the various extreme white supremacist groups that causes all these white folks to drop their pants on the Internet?

Fear takes the filters down. Fear makes even reasonable people unreasonable. Add extra fear — the fear that they really haven’t come so very far after all — in the hearts of white people who consider themselves broad minded liberals, or at the very least, educated and “color blind”, and the filters really come a-tumblin’ down to let out all the defensiveness to cover the shame and embarrassment.

Because I have no doubt that on some level, people are ashamed to realize that there’s a corner of their minds that doesn’t believe that “all men are created equal.” They push that knowledge down, cover it up with stuff, and hope no one notices this pile of ugly baggage in the corner.

This artificial Fear of the Other is programmed into us by our society and culture — that’s what institutionalized racism (and sexism and homophobia) IS, after all: the fear that the oppressed people will do to the privileged folk just what the privileged folk have done to them. It is, I daresay, practically impossible to excise. Further, I believe that there isn’t a person in this country who is without it, no matter what they may claim.

The only way to beat the Fear of the Other and all its horrible, devastating consequences is to be aware of it, to pay attention to it, and fight it by not letting it win, by consciously trying to keep it from getting its sticky little tentacles into less formed minds, and by keeping a constant monitor on our interactions with others.

Originally posted on tanyad @Dreamwidth. Feel free to comment here, or there

Which of these two things are alike?

I read the Huffington Post. Most of the time its on point, humorous and gives me a chuckle. That was not the case when this article: Two Black Role Models done in by Hubris went up.

The author is not a woman of color, nor does she seem to understand that her article is patently offensive and racist. A summary for those that don’t click. She posits that these two black men were brought low by their hubris. Woods for his extramarital dalliances and Obama for failing to deliver on his campaign promises in his 8 months in office so far. Um, what? I didn’t appoint her my savior and decider of who gets to speak for me as a black person to the world at large.

When readers call her on the idiocy of linking these two men based on skin color alone, she gets quite defensive in the comments to her own piece. I notice that she trips over herself basically calling herself out and back pedaling on what she did and didn’t actually say in the piece. Critical thinking fail here people.

Here’s my comment in case anyone is interested:


photo

“That you even think their race had anything to do with their failure means you can’t read.” If that’s the case, what was the point of your article in tenuously linking two famous black men? What hubris can you point to on the part of the president? You really need to step back, untangle the straps of your invisible back pack and realize the issue people are taking with your “article”. Let me clarify for you.

You, as a white woman are attempting to tell us people of color that we ought to be ashamed of these two fallen role models of our “people”. No one assigns my role models. No one famous person of color should be held up as the monolithic example of what POC should aspire to, and none of us should be told by journalists of any race, creed or color that the “failures” of famouse POC are doubly problematic and just such a disappointment for the race.

This is condescending, patronizing and yes, it is a racist action. You can commit racist actions and not even realize it. Reading your commentary back to posters here, it seems as if you are treating people’s responses to this poorly written attempt at connecting two famous black men as personal attacks.

Your closing line is very telling on yourself, you should read it and let it sink in because its exactly what you are doing by jumping up and down screaming but I’m not racist! online.

What was that about Post Racial Society?

Analysis: Gates Arrest a Signpost on Racial Road
By JESSE WASHINGTON, AP National Writer
Jul 23, 2009, 08:35

Summary:

It took less than a day for the arrest of Henry Louis Gates to become racial lore. When one of America’s most prominent Black intellectuals winds up in handcuffs, it’s not just another episode of profiling; it’s a signpost on the nation’s bumpy road to equality.

Story:

It took less than a day for the arrest of Henry Louis Gates to become racial lore. When one of America’s most prominent Black intellectuals winds up in handcuffs, it’s not just another episode of profiling; it’s a signpost on the nation’s bumpy road to equality.

The news was parsed and tweeted, rued and debated. This was, after all, Dr. Henry Louis “Skip” Gates: summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Yale, MacArthur “genius grant” recipient, acclaimed historian, Harvard professor, and PBS documentarian. He was named one of Time magazine’s “25 Most Influential Americans” in 1997 and holds 50 honorary degrees.

If this man can be taken away by police officers from the porch of his own home, what does it say about the treatment that average Blacks can expect in 2009?

Earl Graves Jr., CEO of the company that publishes Black Enterprise magazine, was once stopped by police during his train commute to work, dressed in a suit and tie.

“My case took place back in 1995, and here we are 14 years later dealing with the same madness,” he said Tuesday. “Barack Obama being the president has meant absolutely nothing to White law enforcement officers. Zero. So I have zero confidence that (Gates’ case) will lead to any change whatsoever.”

The 58-year-old professor had returned from a trip to China last Thursday afternoon and found the front door of his Cambridge, Mass., home stuck shut. Gates entered the back door, forced open the front door with help from a car service driver, and was on the phone with the Harvard leasing company when a White police sergeant arrived.

Gates and the sergeant gave differing accounts of what happened next. But, for many people, that doesn’t matter.

They don’t care that Gates was charged not with breaking and entering but with disorderly conduct after repeatedly demanding the sergeant’s name and badge number. It doesn’t matter whether Gates was yelling, or accused Sgt. James Crowley of being racist, or that all charges were dropped Tuesday.

All they see is pure, naked racial profiling.

“Under any account … all of it is totally uncalled for,” Graves said. “It never would have happened; imagine a White professor, a distinguished White professor at Harvard, walking around with a cane, going into his own house, being harassed or stopped by the police. It would never happen.”

Racial profiling became a national issue in the 1990s, when highway police on major drug delivery routes were accused of stopping drivers simply for being Black. Lawsuits were filed, studies were commissioned, data was analyzed. “It is wrong, and we will end it in America,” President George W. Bush said in 2001.

Yet for every study that concluded police disproportionately stop, search and arrest minorities, another expert came to a different conclusion. “That’s always going to be the case,” Dr. Greg Ridgeway, who has a Ph.D. in statistics and studies racial profiling for the RAND research group, said Monday. “You’re never going to be able to (statistically) prove racial profiling. … There’s always a plausible explanation.”

Federal legislation to ban racial profiling has languished since being introduced in 2007 by a dozen Democratic senators, including then-senator Barack Obama.

U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, D-Ill., said that was partly because, “when you look at statistics, and you’re trying to prove the extent, the information comes back that there’s not nearly as much (profiling) as we continue to experience.”

But Davis has no doubt that profiling is real. He says he was stopped while driving in Chicago in 2007 for no reason other than the fact he is Black. Police gave him a ticket for swerving over the center line; a judge said the ticket did not make sense and dismissed it.

“Trying to reach this balance of equity, equal treatment, equal protection under the law, equal understanding, equal opportunity, is something that we will always be confronted with. We may as well be prepared for it,” Davis said.

Amid the indignation over Gates’ case, a few people pointed out that he may have violated the cardinal rule of avoiding arrest: Do not antagonize the cops.

The police report said that Gates yelled at the officer, refused to calm down and behaved in a “tumultuous” manner. Gates said he simply asked for the officer’s identification, followed him into his porch when the information was not forthcoming, and was arrested for no reason. But something about being asked to prove that you live in your own home clearly struck a nerve both for Gates and his defenders.

“You feel violated, embarrassed, not sure what is taking place, especially when you haven’t done anything,” said Graves of his own experience when police made him face the wall and frisked him in Grand Central Station in New York City. “You feel shocked, then you realize what’s happening, and then you feel it’s a violation of everything you stand for.”

And that this should happen to “Skip” Gates, the unblemished embodiment of President Obama’s recent admonition to Black America not to search for handouts or favors but to “seize our own future, each and every day,” shook many people to the core.

Wrote Dr. Lawrence Bobo, Gates’ Harvard colleague, who picked his friend up from jail: “Ain’t nothing post-racial about the United States of America.”

Jesse Washington covers race and ethnicity for The Associated Press.

© Copyright 2005 by DiverseEducation.com

A message from the Average Black Person by Elon James White (reposted w/Author Permission)

“A Message from the Average Black Person”
Via the Huffington Post (Would love to hear what you guys think – Sorry about the cut IT WONT WORK. And if you enjoy this please DIGG it – http://is.gd/1ev4T – and feel free to pass the link along!)

To Whom It May Concern:

Greetings. My name is Elon James White. I’mBlack.

I write this letter on behalf of a lot of people that fall into the category of Average Black People. (Yes, I capitalize it, as if it were a title.) I do not claim to represent them because that would be absurd. I really, truly don’t. I don’t even represent my circle of friends. At any point in time one of my Black buddies will, in fact, tell me to go to hell when speaking on concepts of race, politics, or religion.

I do, however, qualify as an Average Black Person. I am neither a part of the Black intelligentsia, nor do I fall into the category of your garden-variety street Negro. A lot of folks see Black people in one of these two categories. Normally, let’s be honest, it’s the latter.

I don’t qualify.

I do come from “the Hood.” That’s right. I am a born and bred Brooklynite raised in the middle of Bed-Stuy. If you aren’t familiar with Bed-Stuy, perhaps you have never listened to gangster rap. You’re probably also unfamiliar with Jay-Z, Biggie Smalls, or the thousands of songs that yell out “Brooklyn!” and then give a shout-out to Bed-Stuy. It’s fine. Just understand that Bed-Stuy has a primarily negative connotation and for many years was used in boasts to gain respect or fear because it’s an incredibly violent environment.

In other words, you could get shot, son.

Speaking of which, I am the son of a single mother. My father is in prison. My grandfather was a pastor and I grew up in the church. I, without shame, also enjoy fried chicken, watermelon, ribs, and orange soda. I can have an incredibly in-depth debate on the best five MCs ever. My credit isn’t great and I’ve been shot.

With facts like this I qualify as a stereotypical Black person right?

But I am also a computer programmer. I’ve been known to quote Nietzsche. I, on occasion, host dinner parties where I serve five-course meals, including a specialty of mine, White Truffle Tilapia (it’s delightful). I have the entire John Williams discography and wear a backpack that is emblazoned with the Thundercats insignia.

Those with one half of that story shake their head at the sheer mass of stereotypes I carry. Then those with the other half question if I even understand the Black experience at all. Some refer to me as someone who “made it out.” I currently live in Crown Heights. Some say “You’re not like the others.” Most people I interact with are very similar to me.

I am an Average Black Person.

So, as an ABP, I have a few requests:

Media.
Please stop referring to blacks as a monolith. I can’t possibly express to you the different types of Black people that exist. We neither move as an entity, nor do we move as three or four entities. For every Sharpton, there’s a Steele. And for every Sharpton and Steele there are a hundred folks in the middle. What we share is a past, which on occasion helps shape our view on things. Also? Obama is not a unicorn. Please stop acting like Obama and his family are magical in the Black community. Just because some of you may not have seen a Negro like this doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Lots of smart black folk living with their smart mates and their cute smart kids. So please remember. Obama? Not a unicorn. Black people? Not one voice: I don’t care what the supposed Black leaders try to claim.

Supposed Black Leaders.
Please stop speaking for us as if we were a monolith. This is not the 1960s. We don’t need a Martin Luther King, Jr. or a Malcom X. You speak for yourselves and your view on what’s happening. You also can’t police black people. There isn’t an us. Are there issues within the Black community? Absolutely, but it’s not everybody as much as it is certain groups, most time classes that are in need of help and focus. Hence you can’t speak for “Blacks.” There are people who need your help and don’t want you speaking for them. Oh, and for the love of all that is holy, could you please stop critiquing Obama simply to show you aren’t drinking the kool-aid? I get it. You’re sugar-free. Got it.

Critics Of Obama.
Hey, um…guess what Black people are not? A monolith. We are not holding Obama on a pedestal. Some critique him harshly (and personally I feel unjustly) and others love him. This is the case with every president. Obama is not the spokesperson for Black people. He is a symbol of hope. He is a symbol of opportunity in a land where opportunity for us seemed nonexistent. He’s a symbol of a fight where people cried and died and sacrificed in order for the opportunity for him to exist. But his actions are his actions and have to be judged. Just not four months after he walked in the door with one of the worst clean up jobs in the countries history. You may critique him without critiquing Blacks’ ability to critique him.

The hypocrisy of saying we are not One, and yet speaking for the exact group for which I justemphatically denied exists, is not lost on me. Perhaps there are Black people who absolutely want to be spoken for and referred to as if we were one big team. I acknowledge the possibility, but if this was the majority people like Dyson and Smiley would be way more important, and let’s be honest: they aren’t. I hope that my message is clear. After reading this, the next time you talk to a Black person you can feel comfortable in now knowing with every fiber of your being that you have no clue what they think or feel based on their skin color.

But if they’re wearing a Soulja Boy shirt you may disregard this essay and judge them immediately

We did it, we did, we did. Thoughts on watching history unfold…

I’m so proud right now. So damn proud of our country, it’s people and of our new President. Yes, it was so good to hear “Do you, Barack HUSSEIN Obama …” and not have them skirt the issue of his middle name. It was good to hear him swear his oath to this country and it’s people. Hell, I’m not going to lie, I’m ecstatic that we are seeing the beginning of a new era today and ending 8 years of oppression based on lies, fear mongering and hate.

Now, the party will go on for a couple of days and we’ll all revel in a new era. However, the real work needs to be started. It needs to begin and continue with the people who mobilized to put President Obama in the Oval Office. This work does not rest solely on his shoulders or Vice President Bidens’ but on every single person in this country.

Whether you voted for him or not, President Obama is now our leader. I would hope that those of you that spent so much time hating, disbelieving and being obstinate in your views of this man, his ideals and the ideals of the party he is with can put aside that hatred to achieve the greater good. Which is restoring this country to the great nation it once was. I’m not saying the US is down for the count now, but we’re going to need some crutches for a while.

I ask those of you who are on the “other side of the aisle” to put down your animosity, your vitriol and join with your brothers and sisters in rejoicing today, and every day that we are starting with a new administration. One that says here, this is what I did today… that says I need you, the people to help me get to the mountain top.

If you cannot do that, it’s your loss and I honestly feel sorry for you. This nation was not built on the ideals that party loyalty means lack of patriotism or less love for this country because we don’t share the same ideals or values. We are all American’s and we all must work to redeem this country in the eyes of each and every person who has suffered, each person lost to war, hate, lack of money, education, poverty … the list goes on.

I do not come to admonish those who do not join me in cheering our new leadership, I come to offer the olive branch of our common humanity and ask you to join me in working together for a better day, month and years to come.

I’m off to celebrate more watch the parade and I hope you can do so with joy in your heart and hope for our future.

The closing inaugural benediction as given by Reverend Lowry

The closing benediction as given by Reverend Lowry on 20 January 2009 after the swearing in of Barack Hussein Obama as the 44th President of the United States.

God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, thou who has brought us thus far along the way, thou who has by thy might led us into the light, keep us forever in the path, we pray, lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met thee, lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget thee. Shadowed beneath thy hand may we forever stand — true to thee, O God, and true to our native land.

We truly give thanks for the glorious experience we’ve shared this day. We pray now, O Lord, for your blessing upon thy servant, Barack Obama, the 44th president of these United States, his family and his administration. He has come to this high office at a low moment in the national and, indeed, the global fiscal climate. But because we know you got the whole world in your hand, we pray for not only our nation, but for the community of nations. Our faith does not shrink, though pressed by the flood of mortal ills.

For we know that, Lord, you’re able and you’re willing to work through faithful leadership to restore stability, mend our brokenness, heal our wounds and deliver us from the exploitation of the poor or the least of these and from favoritism toward the rich, the elite of these.

We thank you for the empowering of thy servant, our 44th president, to inspire our nation to believe that, yes, we can work together to achieve a more perfect union. And while we have sown the seeds of greed — the wind of greed and corruption, and even as we reap the whirlwind of social and economic disruption, we seek forgiveness and we come in a spirit of unity and solidarity to commit our support to our president by our willingness to make sacrifices, to respect your creation, to turn to each other and not on each other.

And now, Lord, in the complex arena of human relations, help us to make choices on the side of love, not hate; on the side of inclusion, not exclusion; tolerance, not intolerance.

And as we leave this mountaintop, help us to hold on to the spirit of fellowship and the oneness of our family. Let us take that power back to our homes, our workplaces, our churches, our temples, our mosques, or wherever we seek your will.

Bless President Barack, First Lady Michelle. Look over our little, angelic Sasha and Malia.

We go now to walk together, children, pledging that we won’t get weary in the difficult days ahead. We know you will not leave us alone, with your hands of power and your heart of love.

Help us then, now, Lord, to work for that day when nation shall not lift up sword against nation, when tanks will be beaten into tractors, when every man and every woman shall sit under his or her own vine and fig tree, and none shall be afraid; when justice will roll down like waters and righteousness as a mighty stream.

Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around — (laughter) — when yellow will be mellow — (laughter) — when the red man can get ahead, man — (laughter) — and when white will embrace what is right.

Let all those who do justice and love mercy say amen.

AUDIENCE: Amen!
REV. LOWERY: Say amen —
AUDIENCE: Amen!
REV. LOWERY: — and amen.
AUDIENCE: Amen! (Cheers, applause.)
END.

Webchat on Black Greek life… is it still relevant?

For anyone who may be a frat or soror at/alum of an HBCU. Any thoughts on this topic?

Diverse Web Chat

Please join us for an exciting Web chat discussion about the state of Black Greek Letter Organizations at 1 p.m. EST on Wednesday, Nov. 14. Continue reading “Webchat on Black Greek life… is it still relevant?”

I can’t believe this article…

Ok… I get “Diverse News in Higher Education” daily. Most of the articles are good and make sense for academia. But the article below made my brain itch. The gist of it is this: Dealing with and avoiding racism makes black folks crazy (sorry meant to say-creates “mental health issues”).

Continue reading “I can’t believe this article…”

In lieu of real content some linkage for you peeps

Lauredhel posts about some breast surgery that isn’t breast surgery according to the docs who invented it.

2049live posted about the Twin Towers Alliance Interview [he’s working on their site]

KittieKattie posted an excellent essay on that one black kid and Overt Racism being less than a generation away

Karnythia posted some interesting thoughts about other IBARW posts she’s seen around the net

Angelsscream’s IBARW posts are all here 

*All links will open in a new window

Recommended reading – Unbowed by Wangari Maathai

Unbowed_Wangarri Maathai hardcover

I’m almost done with this book, I highly recommend it to anyone who thinks that one person can’t make a difference. Doctor Maathai is an inspiration, and I’m glad I recieved this book. Makes a great gift too. Below is a review from Amazon that sums up what I’d like to say, but its much better written 😉

A well written review from Amazon’s site:
Perseverance and hope, April 5, 2007
By Friederike Knabe (Ottawa, Ontario Canada) – See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)
When Wangari Maathai was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004, questions were raised regarding her choice by the Nobel Committee. Why should an environmentalist receive a prize that was identified with peace and human rights, voiced the critics. Reading Maathai’s memoir sets the record straight, and justifying her selection for the award. In this fascinating and very personal account, she paints a vivid picture of her life, embedded in the realities of Kenya before and since independence. Her experiences during the Moi regime, in particular, demonstrate the challenges a young educated woman confronted in the face of traditional prejudice as well as political oppression.
Continue reading “Recommended reading – Unbowed by Wangari Maathai”

What a tragedy…

From Diverse Online
Current News
Best and Brightest’ Scholar’s Promising Future Ends Tragically
By Margaret Kamara
Jul 12, 2007, 01:24


Devin Gaines, who became one of the University of Connecticut’s most noteworthy 2007 alumni when he graduated with five degrees in five years, died early Tuesday morning.

Gaines was featured in a Diverse series on the “Best & Brightest” minority college students shortly after earning bachelor’s degrees in computer science, theater studies, cognitive science and linguistic psychology. His fifth degree was in an individualized major: cinema, culture and cognition.

The Harford Courant
reported that Gaines had gone for a swim with friends to Blakeslee Pond in Deep River, Conn., and drowned in the abandoned pit that forms the pond. The pond, which is 100 ft. deep in some places, has been closed following a swimming accident in the mid-1990s. Security frequently patrols the pond to prevent people from swimming there.

Though toxicology results are still pending, medical examiners classified the death as an accidental drowning.

“My brother is not a swimmer, he was not athletic, he was a book worm,” Gaines’ sister, Netosha Sumter, told the Courant.

Gaines, who graduated in May with a 3.2 GPA, had been working as an information technology associate for Pension Associates, a tax consulting firm.

A message posted on the firm’s Web site reads: “Our prayers go out to the family and friends of Devin Gaines, a recent Uconn grad and our employee for the last one and a half months. He will be sorely missed.”

Gaines’ extraordinary academic journey began 12 years ago, when his father introduced him to the world of computers.

“My father brought home a broken computer, and I was able to put it together. When he saw that I did that, he decided to take me to a community center. [There,] I met up with a woman who became my inspiration in life,” 22-year-old Gaines said in a May interview with Diverse.

The woman was Kathryn Murdock, the executive director of the Yerwood Center, located a few blocks from Gaines’ home.

For more information on Gaines’ life, see www.diverseeducation.com/artman/publish/article_7325.shtml, where his friends and family members have posted messages about the scholar.

– Margaret Kamara