The Truth. The Whole Truth. Nothing But the Truth.


I had a white male mentor once early in my career.  For reasons unknown to me then, but which are much clearer to me 20 plus years later, he took a liking to me and voluntarily took me “under his wings”.  He helped me a lot and I appreciated it.  But I also helped him a lot, although I didn’t realize it at the time.  I guess his mentoring was his way of showing me that he appreciated it too.

He even felt comfortable enough to “come out” to me.  No, he wasn’t gay.  But, by his own admission, he confessed to me that he was a “recovering racist”.  At that time, I was completely unprepared for how to handle that admission from a white man 20 years and about four corporate job titles ahead of me.  So, I just listened and was his sounding board for crazy questions like “why do all the blacks sit together in the cafeteria?”  He posed that question before the book of nearly the same title was ever written.

Anyway, among the many nuggets of wisdom he passed onto me, only one has truly stuck with me verbatim:

“Truth is Elegant”. 

His point was that no matter the circumstances, “truth” will always beat out manipulating and outright lying.  Truth is always more sophisticated and more graceful and more highly exalted.

I haven’t seen or heard from this mentor in over 20 years, but his quote has always stuck with me.

So, with this thought in mind, let’s examine the elegance of this truth:

Contrary to what journalist Rebecca Griffin thinks, white women feminists are not responsible for giving black women rights.

How’s that for elegance?

Griffin’s arrogance is so profound, it almost took my breath away.  But not only is she arrogant, she’s wrong.  The truth is that most of the women’s suffrage movement excluded women who looked like me.  Sometimes intentionally, sometimes not.  But the result was the same.

When women finally scored the right to vote, that victory was largely for white women.  Black women were fighting for the right to breathe.  White women fight for equal rights vis a vis white men.  Black women, then as now, have never had the luxury of that focus.  Black women have always had to fight for our right to just be recognized as a human being rather than white people’s property.  Our humanity, our sexuality, our individuality, have always been a struggle.

Black women primarily identify with the civil rights struggle.  We’ve never gotten an opportunity to connect to the women’s rights movement.  Nor have white women been particularly inclusive in their efforts, since we’re talking about truth.  The feminist movement was all about equality for white woman, who have never faced racism and systemic oppression of not only their bodies, but their entire family structure as well.  White women did not include black women’s right to be equal in the eyes of the law and society.  White women did not go one step further to ensure that their right to vote included my right to vote either.  It was only 50 years ago that my right to vote was secured.  And that is to no credit of white women.  In fact, white women benefited from the marginalization of black women.  Have you seen the movie or read the book The Help?  I rest my case.

Black women carried the torch in the struggle for black women’s rights.  Ida B. Wells, Sojourner Truth, bell hooks, and so many other dynamic black women who have battle scars to prove their fight for black women’s equality are who black women pay homage to.  That’s truth.

And the truth is, if anyone owes anyone recognition and thanks for a movement, it is white women who owe black women a debt of gratitude for our role in the civil rights movement since white women have been the largest beneficiaries of affirmative action and EEOC laws, on top of benefiting from their fathers’ and husbands’ supreme status on the food chain.  Just as black women are “double minorities”, white women are “double majorities”, with all of the rights, privileges and benefits accorded thereto.

White women were largely silent about issues that mattered to black women then, and they are largely silent about those matters now.  Where are all the white women fighting with black women to demand that the police stop killing black men and women?  Where are white women fighting with black women to denounce the prison industrial complex that imprisons more black men now than were slaves in 1860?  Where are all of the white women demanding the dismantling of white supremacy and institutional racism?

Anecdotally, these white women show up at #blacklivesmatter rallies and protests.  But as a feminist movement?  G.H.O.S.T.

White women: I’m calling for you.  There is room for you in the movement for the recognition and valuing of black women and those we love.  Join your voices with ours calling on your husbands and fathers and sons to stop their madness.  Recognize and use your white privilege to someone’s benefit other than yours.  If black women win, then everybody wins.

And that’s the truth.  And it’s elegant.


Shout out to Syncrenicity for the truth graphic.

Don’t Make Me Curse


People who know me know that I go out of my way to avoid cursing.  It’s my own personal thing with God.  Not that I’m always great about not cursing.  I just try harder.

That’s why I love “text talk”.   That way I can get my point across without actually cursing.  Like this:

WTF is going on with this sudden surge in black women “committing suicide” in police custody?  I call bull#%@$^ on that.  FIVE black women have died in the past month while in police custody.  And all of these women were in jail accused of minor offenses (failure to signal a lane change; shoplifting; stealing a cell phone; domestic dispute, etc).  In other words, none of these women were facing any serious consequences.

But somehow, regardless of the offense, or no offense, black folks seem to always face serious consequences when interacting with the police.

Which is why I want to announce my public support for this proposal by The Field Negro.  I heartily endorse this new organization and will gladly pay the membership fees.


‘Cause sjgr.*

(My text talk for “shit just got real”)


Shout Out to for the graphic reminder for me not to curse.


It is the height of arrogance to deny someone’s lived experiences.  Specifically, to deny black folks’ lived experiences.  More specifically to my point today, to deny black folks lived experiences with police brutality.

The fact is that the police don’t follow the rules when it comes to “protecting and serving” black folks.  We know it and they know it too.

Black people are frequently dismissed when we complain about heavy-handed or intentionally brutal, tortuous, even murderous policing of black bodies.  We are dismissed when we complain that more white people use drugs than blacks, yet black folks are sent to prison for drug use at TEN TIMES the rate of whites.

We are consistently dismissed when we complain that racial profiling by the police is real and that young black men are TWENTY ONE TIMES more likely to be shot by the police than their white counterparts.

We are dismissed.

Not today.  Sam Dubose’s face was blown off last week by a University of Cincinnati police officer after a TRAFFIC STOP and the body cam footage is so bad, that officials won’t even release it. And the mayor and police chief are bracing for riots when it is released.


How does a routine traffic stop (for no front plate and suspended license) end up with this man’s face blown off?  By a campus cop who was not even on campus?  Those offenses only become capital offenses for black people.

“It’s time for an uprising: an act of resistance or rebellion; a revolt.

I’m not proposing a physically violent revolt or rebellion.  I’m proposing a psychologically violent revolt.  By that I mean that our patience has ended.  We have to demand the end to the daily police brutality against black men.  We have to demand that racial profiling end.  We have to insist that the police stop beating, maiming and killing us.

Every time we are killed by the police, our souls are traumatized.  Our mental state is thrown out of equilibrium.  Our blood pressure rises, our hearts race, our temples pulse.  That is extremely stressful and distressing and takes a toll on our psyche, not to mention the toll on our physical health.  It’s time to give it right back.  We have to return the same level of distress to the collective psyche of police departments and communities around this country.”

I wrote those words last year.  I meant it then, and I mean it ever more so now.  If Cincinnati needs to “riot”, then so be it.  As Dr. King said, “rioting is the voice of the unheard”.  Let the uprising begin.

Black folks cannot keep waiting for our humanity to be recognized.

If you aren’t in this battle with us…if you don’t agree that almost 300 years of chattel slavery, plus another 150 years of black codes, Jim Crow laws, and now Jim Crow Jr. systemic oppression is enough dismissal for any one group of people to take…


YOU are dismissed.

Photo Credit: Thanks to MicNews for the photo.

Sandra Bland

SandyBlandIt is taken me awhile to write about Sandra Bland.  In fact, it’s taken me exactly two weeks since her death to be able to get the words out of my head and into a coherent post.  But not for lack of trying.

I’ve tried to calm my anxiety.  I’ve tried to erase my own fear that Sandy Bland and I are a just a bit too similar in that her reaction to that officer felt “right” and “natural” and so…likely mine.  I’ve tried to ignore that even though I am close to twice her age, she was, at 28, who I wished I had been at that age.  A courageous, confident, assertive speaker-of-truth-to-power as opposed to the confidently-quite-positive-that-the-system-works-if-you-do-what-good-white-people-tell-you-to-do-to-be-successful person that I was at that age.

I’m aware that Sandy Bland and I are different generations.  I’m quite old enough to be her mother, and in fact, my oldest child is but a mere three years younger than her.  Their generation has grown up with the internet and is used to seeing in full color on a daily basis just how badly the system does not work for black folks.  At her age for me, these facts were not widely circulated and known by those of us who had “made it”.  Get your education. Speak proper English. Act respectable.  Get a job.  Be successful.  Duh.  That’s what I once bought into.

But through a series of events and circumstances, my eyes were opened to the myth of respectability politics and I began to see….I mean not just see…but really SEE…with my own eyes just how rigged the system is and how white supremacy and the institutional racism actually define America.  I was much later to this truth than Sandra.

Sandy knew.

And fortunately, I know too.  It took me longer than you, but I know and will continue to speak truth to power, if it costs me my life.  It costs you yours but your death will not be in vain.

You are still speaking Sandy.  And I hear you loud and clear.

#SandySpeaks #SayHerName  #JusticeForSandy #SandraBland


The Misappropriation of…Me

RachelDolezalI’ve watched the Rachael Dolezal story unfold with fascination.  In effect, a white woman has been passing for a decade as…me…a professional black woman.  But it’s all fake.  Apparently though, her activism on behalf of our struggle has been exemplary.

I have lots of thoughts on this, but one thing is for sure.  Race may be a social construct, but being black is not is not something you can just wake up, put on, and Voila!  No.  Being black is a complex, shared mixture of culture, consciousness, history, experiences, struggle, and last and least of all, color.  Black people come on a spectrum of all of these, but at the end of the day, being black is fixed and immutable.

Therefore, if you spray on your “Black” every morning, no matter how much you “identify” with black folks, our culture, our stuggle and in general, the “black experience”, you’re not black.

This is not the Bruce Jenner of racial transformation.  There is no such thing as transracial.

If you want to be an ally, be an ally.  I welcome an authetic ally.  But whatever you do, don’t use your white privilege to fake being me.  The struggle is real and to fake it is very unseemly.

In a narcissistic, white supremacy-sort of way.

However, I am really digging your natural hair look.  PLEASE tell me your secret.  I’m trying to get there.

A Dangerous Idiot

BenCarsonThat Ben Carson has been basically headlined as the black (albeit neurosurgeon) version of Sarah Palin speaks volumes.  Essentially, he’s an idiot.  When you’re white and an idiot running for President (think: Sarah Palin and oh so many others), it’s kind of funny and you can be the running butt of many jokes.

But when you’re black and you’re an idiot running for President, it’s not so funny.  And when you’re black, brilliant AND an idiot running for President, well, that’s over the top dangerous to the cause of black folks and every other marginalized group in America.

Ben Carson is the Tea Party darling.  Given that I believe the TP is just the 21st century version of the Ku Klux Klan, it is even more astonishing that a black man from Detroit who grew up poor, raised by a single mom, could believe the politics of such a wing-nut, racist, extremist, vile, hateful (am I making myself clear?) group.

Ben must have been mentored for his new political career by Clarence “Uncle Tom” Thomas.

Harriet Tubman once said “I freed a thousand slaves.  I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.”

If only Ben knew.

Black Rage Rising…Part III

Freddie Gray is dead.  Walter Scott is dead.  Eric Harris is dead.

Baltimore is dealing with black rage now.  I’m reposting my first “Black Rage Rising” post in full, written just last August.  Black rage is misunderstood, but as Dr. Martin Luther King prophetically proclaimed, “rioting is the voice of the unheard”.

From last year:

Despite all the media hype about the rioting and looting in Ferguson, MO over the killing of young Mike Brown…the UNARMED Mike Brown by a Ferguson police officer…the bigger news story to me is that it took this long for a violent protest to break out.

Black people.  If nothing else, we are a patient people; to wit:

Sean Bell – unarmed, and hours from his wedding – gunned down and shot FIFTY TIMES in a hail of bullets by NYPD (I guess just killing him wasn’t enough.  The police needed to make sure his body was mutilated.).  The black community remained calm.

Oscar Grant – unarmed, murdered while lying face down, handcuffed on the ground of the BART by Oakland, CA police.  If you haven’t seen Fruitvale Station about his life and murder, you have missed a good one.  And the black community?  Calm.

Oscar Grant’s murderer found guilty of involuntary manslaughter, sentenced to 2 years, but served only about 11 months and was released.  Small riots broke out after this verdict.  But the black community was overwhelmingly calm.

Trayvon Martin– unarmed, except for a bag of Skittles and a can of tea – murdered with several months’ delay before his murderer was arrested and charged.  The black community patiently waited, taking to social media to call for justice, but remained calm..

Trayvon’s killer found not guilty.  The black community turned to social media to express anger.  Calm prevailed.

Jordan Davis – unarmed – murdered.  And again, the black community remained calm.

Jordan’s killer?  Hung jury as to his murder.  Still, the black community remained calm.

Remarley Graham – unarmed – murdered by police officers who burst into his home with no warrant and gunned him down.  More calmness.

Remarley’s killer? Walked free.  Calmness prevailed.

Jonathan Ferrell – unarmed – murdered by police officers after a homeowner called them because Mr. Ferrell was banging on her door seeking help after having been in a car accident.

Eric Garner – unarmed – murdered by a chokehold administered by the NYPD, while pleading with officers that he couldn’t breathe.  Calm! Are you starting to see a pattern here?.

John Crawford – unarmed – except with a gun off a Walmart shelf where he was shopping – gunned down in Walmart by Ohio police.  This case is still fresh.  And the black community is…(say it with me now)…calm.

And now…Mike Brown.  But this time, we are in a rage.

The looting and rioting and violence?  Manifestation of that rage.  It’s #BlackRageRising.

And while I don’t condone it, I also won’t try to condemn it. Because if we’re not enraged now, then when would we be?  Do 2 more or 10 more black men have to be unjustifiably murdered, mostly by those sworn to protect us, before we’re entitled to feel rage?

It’s unproductive; yet apparently cathartic.  In a very messy, unseemly, distasteful and painful kind of way.

But that’s the funny thing about rage.  It’s messy, it’s traumatic, it’s uncivilized, it’s painful, it’s irrational and it leaves innocent victims in its wake.

Just like the relentless, terrorist murdering of unarmed black men.



If I feed the poor, I’m called a Saint. But if I question why they are poor, I’m called a Communist. ~ Archbishop Helder Camara



I’m trying to understand the argument against paying adults a living wage for their work, while at the same time, objecting to welfare, Link cards and other public assistance programs.  If I work 40 hours and still don’t make enough to pay rent and feed my family, why would I keep working?  Isn’t that the REAL disincentive to working, rather than welfare?

However, I do agree with the welfare naysayers to a point, but for different reasons.  Why SHOULD taxpayers pay for welfare for gainfully employed people, simply because their employers are paying poverty wages?  That means taxpayers are effectively subsidizing the Walmarts and McDonalds of the world.  I object to that. STRENUOUSLY.  The 6 Walmart heirs have more wealth than the bottom 40% of America.  WHY is Walmart paying barely above minimum wage, forcing their employees onto the public assistance rolls?

People should earn a living wage.  And they’re going to get it one way or the other.  Either the employer, who is getting the benefit of their labor will pay them, or taxpayers will pay them in the form of public assistance programs.  Who do you think should pay for working folks labor?  THE EMPLOYERS OF COURSE.

The fight for a living wage in the fast food industry is a noble fight and deserves our support.  I haven’t made minimum wage since I was a teenager, but I feel their pain and I support their struggle for the dignity of earning a living.  #PovertySucks

The Danger of White Moderates

Sadly, this is STILL relevant.

“I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.” ~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Letter from a Birmingham Jail)