NO- I will never just ‘move on’ from Slavery.

Who the hell does David Cameron think he is? If I hear one more person say that black people should move on from slavery I’m going to loose my mind.

Would he dare say to a Jewish audience that they should get over the holocaust? Which occurred for a shorter period of time than slavery?

Black people were enslaved for centuries. And it wasn’t just a loss of liberty, we lost our languages, our culture, our religions, our traditions, our connection to family, our very sense of identity. All of these things were stripped from us and it’s these connections that new immigrants to the west are able to maintain, that allows them to thrive. That allows them to join forces with people like Cameron in saying, we made it- move on from Slavery.

The transatlantic slave trade took place over 300 years. 300 years. I’ll repeat 300 years. In the Caribbean countries like Jamaica and Barbados only got their independence from the UK in 1962 and 1966 respectively.

The Civil Rights Movement in the states took place in the 60s. In the Caribbean colonialism is entrenched in every aspect of life, in every system TO THIS DAY. In the UK, where I was born, they still refered to black babies as golliwogs until 25 years ago. (As an aside- A Golliwog is a black minstrel type doll- and you’ll never guess what I saw in the corner of my local ‘British shop’ in CaNADA a few years ago- u tim I asked them to remove it). And even though people like David Cameron would say there’s no proof, the UK is also the place where signs saying No Blacks, No Irish, No Dogs hung. The proof is in the stories of people like my parents and many others. These things don’t exist in isolation. They are the product of a lifetime of colonialism and anti- black sentiment perpetuated from centuries of slavery.

We are living with the legacy of slavery and colonialism held up by the ancestors of people like Cameron. Today, Black children in the US, U.K. and Canada are being ripped from their homes, put in foster care or group homes or being made wards of the state and given to white families. THAT’s the legacy of slavery and colonialism. Black kids are struggling in schools, they are being suspended at higher rates, they are being over medicated and over diagnosed with ADHD and a host of other behavioural issues. THATs a legacy of slavery and colonialism. Black kids today are being locked up for minor infractions like marijhuana possession at the same time as white people build businesses and invest in marijuaa dispenseries. THAT is a legacy of slavery and colonialism.

Many people of all colours do not want to face or understand the history and sheer trauma that has been inflicted on black people across the world. This isn’t about victim hood- because black people have proven time and time again how resilient and strong we are. And that’s the problem. That resilience and the fact that some of us have ‘made it’ despite these insurmountable barriers allows people like Cameron to say ‘get over slavery.’

I will never get over Slavery and I will make damn sure my children never forget it either. Do some bloody research and actually read the accounts of slaves, read the horror stories, not the American fairy tale we see in movies. Read the accounts and then come back and say get over it. That trauma is in our DNA. It’s not going anywhere.

Cameron would do better to shut his mouth and open his eyes to the Libyan Slave trade or should they just get over it too?

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/30/jamaica-should-move-on-from-painful-legacy-of-slavery-says-cameron?CMP=share_btn_fb

Holding the Line Against Hate

How do you talk to your kids about racial tension?

In an alternate universe down south in Charlottesville, Virginia, Bellamy Shoffner is writer and photographer struggling with the same issue.  She wanted to start a discourse on social justice issues issues facing many marginalized people and so she did what writers do, when they are impassioned.  She picked up the pen.  Bellamy started Hold The Line magazine (due to launch in December) to ‘support people of color and LGBTQ+ communities,  people defying gender norms, working to combat  mental health stigma, and the abhorrent d uprising of white supremacy.’

In Episode 6 of the Woke Mommy Chatter Podcast. I am talking to Bellamy about her magazine, advice on how to talk to your kids about racial tension, the power of words and why you should never touch a black child’s hair.

Listen now and Subscribe to the Woke Mommy Chatter podcast anywhere you get your podcasts.

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

 

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When your village gets in formation…

‘It takes a village to raise a child’

Today I spent the day with my extended village at the Alliance of Educators for Black Students​ Family Conference.

It was an amazing. There’s something really inspiring and uplifting about being surrounded by fellow black parents all trying to learn how to support and advocate for their kids…and black teachers trying to guide and do what they do best….’teach.’

There where parent workshops on how to navigate the hidden curriculum, family health and round table discussions on how to be involved and more importantly ENGAGED in your child’s education.

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Part of what I love about this conference is the priority and care they take in involving the children. This day is as much for them as it is for the parents. And for my little madam and for the boy child it’s one day where they are NOT different. It’s one day where they sit in a classroom with a teacher and students who look exactly like they do.

There really is comfort and power that comes from having a ‘village’. It’s not easy being a parent, particularly a black parent- when the odds are so stacked against your kids. You are ALWAYS questioning if you are doing the right thing, are you being too pushy, are you not being pushy enough. It’s wonderful to feel like you have people who understand and can carry you when you stumble, when you are unsure and when you need a little guidance.

#AEBSfamily2017

On Homeschooling…

The face of homeschooling is changing across North America as more and more black parents choose to educate their children in order to give them the best possible schooling possible.

On episode 5 of the Woke Mommy Chatter Podcast, I am talking to Eva Greene Wilson author of  the blog  socamom.com and Yolanda Newton, Director of EducationRevolt.org.

We talk about the reasons why homeschooling works for their family, why black families in particular can benefit from homeschooling and what some of the limitations of the public education system are.

Last week, I wrote my own  piece for Today’s Parent magazine on how and why black parents to advocate for their children in order to help them succeed.  We’ve had great teachers so far and the education system seems to be working for my kids, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think about homeschooling, especially after talking to these amazing homeschooling mothers.

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Listen to the Woke Mommy Chatter podcast….Episode 5 – The one where we talk about homeschooling.

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

 

There’s more…..Want to know more about Charter Schools?  Listen to 

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.

Woke Mommy Chatter- The Podcast: Episode 2

The one where we talk about interracial dating and identity.

Don’t forget to subscribe and download the latest episode of the Woke Mommy Chatter Podcast. This week I continue my conversation with fellow Woke Moms Rochelle and Carla. We talk mixed race kids and identity, perception and micro-aggressions. Be sure to tune in, like and share.

You can subscribe from apple podcast using the link below or download anywhere yu you get your podcast.

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/woke-mommy-chatter-the-podcast/id1293971353?mt=2

The Opioid crisis is just another double standard

There’s an Opioid crisis across North America. There’s also a severe double standard in response to that crisis. It’s like a sick joke. The double standard is so palpable.

For months now outlets across Canada and the United States have been printing articles, doing tv and radio interviews and generally making efforts to humanize and discuss the Opioid crisis. I’ll admit that I’m having a bit of trouble trying to conjure up my usual sympathy. Part of me is grateful that we’ve come far enough as a society to be compassionate when dealing with addicts, but the other part of me, the Woke, part cannot get over the incredible double standard at play here.

For decades, black people have been incarcerated for drug related offences for at rates so high in the US that it has destroyed entire communities and raised alarm bells internationally as a human rights issue. (And let’s not even mention how the drugs got into the communities in the first place). Canada is no different, there are black children in Canada sitting in youth detention centres for possession of marijuana, which white kids purchase at store fronts in downtown Toronto.

And now without irony, the New York Daily news has posted an article titled ‘How Rikers Island, Justice System killed a young Opioid addict’, accompanied with a picture of an innocent looking young man a baby. Yes, it’s a sad story…but does no one see the irony here? How can they publish this with a straight face when there are ENTIRE communities of black men, and women sitting in prison for crimes exactly like what is being discussed in the article?

In the 80s and 90s, when it was a crack epidemic, the kids were known as crack babies, they were taken away from their parents, there was story after story about these babies born addicted to drugs me how it affects their behaviour. The problems we as a society would have on our hands in the future. Black addicts were fiends (which literally means a devil). Grandparents were raising kids and given no support or acknowledgement- unlike the article I saw a few days ago about white grandparents, praising them for being heroes of the epidemic.

When it was black communities ravaged by drugs and not rural white communities, there was no discussion about safe injection sites as there is in Canada now. It’s unbelievable to me, they want to create safe spaces for junkies to be junkies simply because now that a drug crisis has hit white communities, there’s an emotional connection and realization that criminalization doesn’t work. It wasn’t as if there weren’t black people with great jobs falling pray to drugs before either, like the story I read about a former lawyer who died in a New York alley recently from an overdose.

The undercurrent in all these stories is that these are VALUABLE lives being wasted and as such, understanding must be had, because this could be our kids, our sisters or brothers. But that was always the case. The only difference was colour.

This is also the reason that my kids will never have the opportunity to ‘experiment’ with drugs and why ill have to explain to them on Friday and Saturdays when they are in high school that it’s unlikely they’ll be going to those parties and hang outs, because for them consequences of using drugs- even just dabbling are very different. For them, there will be no understanding, no second chances no sympathy and no articles written about how the system has wronged them.

http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/rikers-island-justice-system-killed-young-opioid-addict-article-1.3579406

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/

Real talk…

And black women and their men everywhere are nodding their heads at this. You know when you get home and that straight wig comes off, and your hairs braided and your wrapping it up in all its black glory. Sad but true.

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