Milwaukee is my home. I was born and raised there. My family home is in the Sherman Park neighborhood, literally half a block from the location of the unrest this past weekend. My parents still live there.
Until recent history, Sherman Park was a bastion of black success, the heavily sought after neighborhood of Milwaukee’s black middle class. Black families bought their pieces of the American Dream and planted picket fences along the pristine lawns of the community.
The fall of 1983 saw a new young family buy into the Sherman Park dream. With a 7 year old son and 5 month old daughter, my parents planted firm roots in a neighborhood that was predominantly black and middle class, a community that would foster a sense of pride and upward mobility.
“The continued existence of our species is predicated on the fact that women are designed to withstand pain.”
I’m not usually vain enough to quote myself, but I said that one night while otherwise inebriated and reeling from heartache, both personal and societal. But let me take a step back from that and paint a broader picture.
Knowing full well that our bodies will be ripped apart, women give birth. Neither stretch marks, speculums, or stitches keep us from the continued pursuit of life. Some of us are crazy enough to do it more than once! Contrary to what they tell you, you never forget that pain. Yes, we may be washed in the effects of brain-washing, baby-loving hormones, but we don’t forget the pain of pushing a human being out of our bodies.
What happens when your husband is just like your father?
In June of 2003, Beyonce broke the internet/television/radio/album sales/etc with the release of her first solo album, Dangerously In Love. I just turned 20 years old when the album dropped, and as the saying goes, it gave me life. Here was this unabashedly beautiful, classy, and talented woman, serenading the world with songs of love, (youthful) female empowerment, and a ballad to her father, Matthew Knowles.
We all know the troubled history within the Knowles family as it pertains to fidelity. Matthew cheated on Tina. Beyonce has now spoken on the matter quite poetically in “Daddy Lessons”on her new album.
But here’s my question again - what happens when your husband is just like your father?
My little black girl is 3 years old, and I’m probably hyper concerned (link to https://www.facebook.com/bethanycriss/posts/10206050695288918) about images of black womaness and their impact on her emotional and physical growth. For as long as I possibly can, I want some say over the representations of beauty and black womaness that flood her yet developing psyche. That being said, my husband and I surround our little family with Blackness - images, music, paintings, books, toys, and film that speak to the beauty, history, and overall flyness of the Black experience.
Lately, one photo series has been a source of pride for both me and my daughter. By now, I’m sure lots of you have seen the photos of three Red Birds in the Debbie Allen Dance Academy (https://www....
"Transracial" isn't a thing, and race is not a social construct. Let me explain...
By now, we've all heard of Rachel Dolezal. Yes, she is president of her local NAACP branch. Yes, she was recently outted by her white parents. Yes, she has been deceptive about her racial heritage.
But transraciality doesn't exist. So people need to stop it.
Let me get transracial out of the way first. The notion of transraciality is immensely reductive and insulting to our trans sisters and brothers. To insinuate that Dolezal's deception is in some way equal to the pain of being trapped in the wrong body is just plain wrong. Trans people are not lying about the conundrum of their physical identity; Rachel Dolezal did.
Rachel Dolezal's decision to occupy blackness was based on her appropriation...
I don't know about you, but I'm still seeing posts along the lines of "while you were preoccupied with #CaitlynJenner, this this this and this happened" with some ultimate reference to priorities. Yes, other news happened. Other news happens every day. Yes, ISIS was created by the West. Yes, Akon is bringing electricity to millions in Africa (hurray!!). And Caitlyn Jenner's story does not take away from the other news stories.
I take issue with these people and these statements for 2 reasons. In making the statements about our national priorities, these people are discounting the HUGE cultural impact of Caitlyn's very public transition. Caitlyn Jenner is a decathalon champion. She has lived a very public life for decades, and is just now finding peace with her life. Now, everyone is tal...
It was recently announced that Josh Duggar, one of the stars of 19 Kids and Counting, and the (former) Executive Director of the Family Research Council's lobbying arm, molested a number of underaged girls 12 years ago. Including his sisters.
His family rallied behind him, as well as leading conservatives, among them, the devout Mike Huckabee. They want us to pray for Josh. To support him. To not judge him.
But here's the epitome of rape culture: Your son admits to molesting your daughters... and you ask the public to pray for the creep. The victims have been forced to interact with him for years. Forced to maintain the charade of "family values", while their brother continued to abuse them. But the father of the victims ask that you pray for the perp. That's rape culture...
I absolutely love Amy Schumer. I think her comedy is brilliant. And her ability to convey the logic and strength of a mainstream feminist standpoint through comedy is hard to rival. "12 Angry Men Inside Amy Schumer" brilliantly dealt with the ire of misogynists, and the "right" they feel to critique a (famous) woman's face/age/body. In fact, this season of Inside Amy Schumer has been so pumped full of feminism, that I've been amazed that certain things have passed the censors. (Hello pink pocket dildos...)
This season started on a high note. Before the episode even aired, critics were praising her "Milk Milk Lemonade" parody music video. I'm sure that lots of white women have been shocked and confused with the surge in gluteal adoration. They must be think...
This Mother's Day, I'm reflecting on the Progressive history of the holiday - mothers banding together to fight for humanity. This tradition of Mother Activists has continued throughout history. Today, I stand with mothers who have lost daughters and sons to gun violence and police brutality. The collective cries of mourning mothers have had the power to bring about change and reformation in the past. I cling to the belief that the cries of mothers will continue to move the American conscience today.
I have the most beautiful, preciously precocious child you have ever seen. She's almost three years old, and she's a boundless energy bomb. She has the distinct honor of having me as her mother. I surround my child with blackness. Pictures of her family. Paintings of black women. Children's books featuring black protagonists. Cartoons and movies with black characters. I am immersing my baby in blackness and, hopefully, love of self.
Like almost every other black mother of my generation, I'm raising my daughter to love and embrace her natural beauty. For her, this means no pierced ears until she's old enough to ask for them. And of course, no chemical alterations to her beautiful head of hair.
She loves climbing in my lap at night to have her hair braided. She kn...