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.

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

Diversity in the workplace matters

I’m so disappointed in Dove. I really am. I buy their products, I’ve been using #Dove for years. I loved the real women campaign. But this….this is unbelievable. Actually it isn’t. This is what happens when you don’t have a diverse marketing team and by diverse I mean black people.

I’m sick of people using diverse as a catch phrase to mean, hey look we employ women, or hey look, we have one Asian person on our team or we’ve got two people of East Indian descent they can speak for all people of colour.

A diverse workplace should be a reflection of your city. Employing more women than men does not equal diversity, that’s just a reflection of statistics.

A diverse workplace is a place where people of colour feel empowered to speak up. A diverse workplace isn’t one where you check the credibility of your images by comparing them to your black cleaner. Yes- that happened.

Dove missed the mark. But their acknowledgment shouldn’t just end there. What are they going to DO about it? The fact that this ad left their office and NO ONE saw a problem with it, no one at all, tells me all I need to know about who is sitting around the table making decisions at that company. I’m moving on. Someone message me with a list of minority owned soap companies please!

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