Getting real….talking black lives, Trump and parenting

As an outsider looking into to the mess that is the United States, more often than not I am left speechless.  Beyond that though, as a mother, as someone with family in the US, there is a deep sense of solidarity with black folk and the struggles that they face, because although to a lesser extent, these are the same struggles of black people in nearly all western countries.

Whether it is a President whose disdain for black people and black lives is evident in his daily comments, attitudes, policies, silences, or the Flint water crisis, or the consistent use of deadly force against black men, women and children by police, or the crisis in inner city schools, or the fact that this lists could go on and one, the fact remains that despite the multitude of black millionaires gracing our screen daily, black people in America are not living a life based on equality.

As a mother, I can’t imagine the stress that all of this places on your existence and that of your children.

Black bodies are continually exploited in America, even by those who claim to do good.  In episode 4 of the Woke Mommy Chatter podcast, the Clinton Foundation is referenced as trying to steal breast milk from black women.  This sounds like a conspiracy theory right…but it’s not, there is truth here.   With breast feeding rates already very low in the black community, the Clinton Foundation’s apparent misguided approach to increasing rates was to encourage black women to sell their breast milk. It makes no sense. Based on the fact that:

  1. black women are having a hard time breast feeding already
  2. there’s already a history of exploitation and forced wet nursing in the African American community
  3. who has the money to buy breast milk anyway, likely not the black women who aren’t breast feeding, more than likely white women.  So what is really going on here?

I think I’ve said a couple of times. Anyone with an interest in African American history, contemporary history…read the book Medical Apartheid by Harriet A. Washington.

It details the medical experimentation that has taken place on black bodies throughout American history- right up until present day, nearly always without consent. If you read anything in the next few months. Read this.

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In this episode of the Woke Mommy Chatter Podcast, we get real and talk Black Lives Matter, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin.  We talk about what it’s like to tell your child they will not be allowed to walk to the store alone and how you protect your kids, and your mental health in a world where you are under siege.

Listen to the Woke Mommy Chatter podcast….Episode 4 – The one where we get real, talking Trump, black lives and parenting.  

Subscribe to the Woke Mommy Chatter podcast anywhere you get your podcasts to get automatic downloads of new episodes every Tuesday.

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/…/po…/wokemommychatter/id1293971353

 

NEW PODCAST- The one where we talk about chocolate milk….

  • Wet nurseOn episode 3 of the Woke Mommy Chatter podcast we are talking breastfeeding and exploring some of the reasons why black women aren’t breastfeeding at the same rate as women of other races.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 79 percent of all newborn infants in the US started out breastfeeding in 2011. Only 58.9 percent of Black women initiate breastfeeding, while 75.2 percent of white women and 80 percent of Latina women initiate breastfeeding.

What’s stopping black women from breastfeeding is something that many organizations are trying to figure out and on this episode of Woke Mommy Chatter, I talk to two fellow black mom bloggers who are advocates of ‘chocolate’ breastfeeding.

Hadassah is a mom living in Atlanta, originally from Haiti and creator of the Brown Mom Rising, Inspiring and motivating moms of color   and Afrykyan Moon owner of the Chocolate Milk Gear   store and Infinite Possibilities of a black woman blog.

We talk about the history of wet nursing and the real stigma that comes with black women using their breasts to feed babies that originated in slavery.  ‘That  “slavery sh*t” as one woman referred to it, in the linked article above.

We also talk about the origins of formula and our own stories from the trenches of breastfeeding.

Listen to the Woke Mommy Chatter podcast….Episode 3- The one where we talk about chocolate milk. 

Subscribe to the Woke Mommy Chatter podcast anywhere you get your podcasts to get automatic downloads of new episodes every Tuesday.

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/…/po…/wokemommychatter/id1293971353

 

Don’t let John Kelly re-write History

I’m pretty sure it’s blatantly obvious that I’m no conservative. So typically, when I see the asinine, ignorant and tone deaf comments made by some conservative politicians, across the western world,I generally roll my eyes. Needless to say, I’ve been in a perpetual state of eye-rolling since Trump has been elected. But some things just defy eye-rolling and lead to a general mouth drop. John Kelly saying that a ‘lack of compromise’ led to the American Civil War is one those mouth dropping occasions.
I like to think i’m a bit of history buff, it was my minor in University, American History in particular. But you don’t need to be a history buff to know that the American Civil War was fought over slavery. Slavery…as in the ownership and enslavement of an entire race of people for hundreds of years. Slavery…as in the routine practice of separating families, working people to death, ripping babies from their mothers to be sold, whipping people bloody, raping women, essentially doing whatever you please to an entire race of people. Slavery. The civil war was fought over that. Over slavery. So where exactly in the narrow republican world was the compromise supposed to be?

Oh you can whip your slaves but don’t kill them? You can own these groups of people, but let’s free these ones? Where was the compromise? What exactly were the North and South supposed to compromise about? I’ve heard many people over the last year or so say that slavery could return to the US and honestly, I roll my eyes at that too. But the fact that the Chief of Staff to the President of the United States gets on national TV and justifies and defends the slave owning south and states that slavery was something to compromise over is scary as heck. You don’t need to ask him twice what he thinks of black people. Unbelievable.

On Black Mom Groups

Yes, I belong to black only moms group. They have been a sanctuary for me. Before I found these groups I was struggling. My son was struggling with identity issues. He didn’t want to be ‘brown’ he hated his hair and waited ‘straight yellow hair.’

I knew what was missing….his village. We have a huge family, but they all live in far flung places of the globe, so aside from my immediate family, my kids really don’t have many other black people around. We live in a PW (predominately white) town, they go to PW school. Everything in their world is PW and that is a struggle because for them, there is never representation, they are always different. And if you think kids don’t notice differences then you are not a parent, because they do.

So, I did what moms of the digital age all over the world do. I turned to the internet and I started a group called the Afrocentric Kids Club, I was hoping it could become a place where black kids could get together and socialize with other kids that look like them. Once i had made the group, I needed members so I turned to local moms groups to advertise. I explained why I had created the group and needless to say the response was not well received. The pair filled up with comments about reverse racism, and kids not seeing colour and all sorts of other misnomers. In fact I was kicked out of the group that I had posted in. I sat at my kitchen table crushed, upset, crying, feeling alone. Somehow between all that I stumbled across the Black Moms Connection group. This group has been my lifeline and I am grateful everyday that I’ve found a moms group where I can discuss the specific issues that come with raising black children in a safe place. The founder of this group (which is 9000 strong) wrote an article for Today’s Parent recently, and the comments reacting to the article are just so ignorant.

The bottom line is that mainstream Facebook groups are not safe places for women of colour. All moms need a space where they can ask questions, raise concerns and discuss their issues with a group that understands them without feet of prejudice or racism. I’m now a member of a number of black moms groups and I love them. I don’t care if it’s self segregation, these groups have been a life saver for me and my mental health and the tips, advice and support I receive in these groups is helping me raise confident, loving, proud and resilient black children and I’m grateful for that.

Dear Apple- no 12 white men in a room does not reflect diversity.

No. No no no no no no. Apple’s new VP of diversity and inclusion is All Lives Mattering her new role. She was on a panel discussing diversity and basically said that her focus will be on everyone and that you can have 12 white guys in a room and they will be diverse as well. Ok lady. Let’s take a breath.

No, 12 white guys in a room does not equal diversity. Of course you don’t need to be Einstein to understand that the human experience is a diverse one because we are all unique all come with different experiences, but when people complain about the lack of diversity in Silicon Valley, when you type in ‘black women’ in a google search and come up with pictures of poodle dogs, or sexually explicit images, that’s not because the 12 white men in the room are bringing their wealth of diverse experience to the job. That’s because there are 12 white men in a room and no other voices to counter act their biased BS.

I hate when people in roles like hers are to cowardly to say it like it is. If Apple felt that their current employee was in fact diverse, would they hire a VP of inclusion and diversity? Focus on the issue. There IS a diversity problem in Silicon Valley. It’s dominated by white, Indian and Asian men. What about everyone else? That should be the focus for Apple…not placating white men for their valued diverse experience. Please.

https://qz.com/1097425/apples-first-ever-vp-of-diversity-and-inclusion-says-she-focuses-on-everyone-not-just-minorities/

Blame it on the blacks

Remember that Sopranos episode where Tony and his guys basically blame every misfortune, murder or general mess on non existent black men? Well, that’s what one Ontario Provincial Police officer did after he shot himself in the leg and was too embarrassed to ‘cop’ to it. He just decided to blame it on two imaginary black males.

The problem is, those words may have rolled off his tongue as a plausible way (in his head) to get himself out of trouble but it could have easily been my uncle or my cousins walking down the street and targeted by police on suspicion of shooting a police officer. And chances are, they may not have made it out alive from that incident. What a callous, indifferent idiot.

https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/a3k9kk/cop-allegedly-shot-himself-made-up-story-about-attempted-carjacking?utm_campaign=Global&utm_source=vicefbca

There’s nothing wrong with being proud to be black

So apparently black pride is a threat the FBI feels the need to name and deal with. I know some people hate the term Woke. It’s overused. It’s also used in the wrong context and yes it’s become commercialized. I’m sure you’ve seen the t-shirts. But despite that I still like it. And for me at least, it truly describes my experience. I’ve always been proud to be black. I was raised to know and appreciate my history, but even so I feel like I’ve spent most of my life apologizing for my blackness. And I don’t mean feeling bad about being black, I mean apologizing in the sense of toning down who I am so that other people (white people) feel comfortable around me.

That has meant code switching, speaking differently, talking about race, black issues and ‘keeping it real’ only with my black family and friends- for everyone else it was surface discussions, smile, don’t talk about politics, don’t talk about race, don’t get angry (you don’t want to be the angry black women), don’t conform to any black stereotype they may have. Don’t call out blatant or subtle racism. Ignore it, second guess it, maybe it’s not what you think. Smile and engage when they ask about your hair.

But having children has changed this for me. I don’t want my kids to live like that. I don’t want them to divorce their race from who they are in order to live in a mainstream world. I want them to be unapologetic in their blackness.

My Woke moment came last year, in the midst of all the black lives being taken by police force, my son was grappling with his own identity and I realized that we had to do things differently. We had to talk about race, because there was no getting away from it. There’s no transcending it- and that is OK. The point is you don’t need to transcend it.

I’m going to talk about being black, I’m going to surround myself with black people. Yes, on occasion I self- segregate and I do that for my own mental health, because dealing with consistent micro-aggressions can be draining. I want to build a career that will help improve the lives of black people.

I want my kids to have black friends, I want my daughter to go to a black dance school, because I want her to feel comfortable in her body, in her skin and I would like for there to be one place, where she isn’t different, where she doesn’t have to worry that her hair won’t be ‘flat enough.’ I want to find a black scouts group for my son, because I want him to feel confident in who he is and be around others that look like him. If I could, I would send my children to an all black school that can cater to their specific needs and build them into the resilient people that they will need to be to survive this world. Because in our society, there are so few spaces where they can truly be accepted as they are. That doesn’t mean I don’t like white people. It doesn’t mean I don’t like my white friends anymore. It doesn’t mean I don’t value the friendships my children have made with kids of other races. It doesn’t mean any of that.

What it means is that I no longer care to make other people comfortable at my expense. What it means is that my comfort, my well being and that of people like me is now a priority. And that doesn’t make me an extremists. But my pride in being black is what makes me and others like me, whose eyes are open, who are unapologetic in their blackness…a threat. Because we are no longer playing the game. Because we no longer have the patience for understanding. Because we no longer care whether others feel comfortable with who we are. Because we are putting black first. Because we are betting on black and shopping black and rooting for black and living black proudly and loudly. And that’s a threat.

http://www.theroot.com/fbi-launches-cointelpro-2-0-targeting-black-identity-ex-1819222532?rev=1507315003716&utm_source=theroot_facebook&utm_medium=socialflow

Heil Trump, Heil Victory- The Entire World Should Be Scared

It’s done.  As absurd as it sounds, Trump is the president-elect. Right wing radicals joined forces with otherwise descent people, who closed their eyes, held their nose and put a tick beside the name of a man backed by the Ku Klux Klan, an organization responsible for the deaths and lynchings of tens of thousands of black american men, women and children.

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Trump isn’t the first leader head of state in North America, I believe Canada’s Prime Minister, Stephen Harper took the title on that one. But he at least had the descent to keep it quiet and to make vague statements backing away from his Northern Foundation past.  Trump’s hate connections are loud, proud and unapologetic.  Is this   better? Is it better to know exactly who your enemy is? Probably.

But it doesn’t make it any less scary.

From, bro- nazi groups holding a parade to honour Trump, to the shouting of Heil Trump, Heil Victory,  to Trump gathering all the media to chastise them for their coverage of him.  Or his insistence that anyone who utters a whiff of descent in his direction apologize for it.   Do you know what that sounds like? Do you get where I am going?

The threat to create a Muslim registry is real.   The deportation of millions of people is real.  The ‘solution’ to ensure ‘law and order’ in black communities is real.  Don’t look away, don’t bury your head in the sand and don’t think this doesn’t affect you.  This will affect the entire world in one way or another. This is it just an American issue, this is a world crisis.  What is the world going to do?

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FTEDEducation%2Fvideos%2F1240972065915997%2F&show_text=0&width=560“>Ted Talk Video- How Hitler Rose to Power