For those of you used to me taking a moment to speak out on some of the things happening in the world, you may think that the silence around here is deafening. I don't blame you. There are so many things happening right now that I'm trying to make sense of that I don't even know where to begin. I'm questioning EVERYTHING & assessing not only the effects, but my responsibility. My 1st responsibility, as I've always seen it, has been to speak UP. I'm honestly too confused by the things occurring in my own world & the world around me to feel that I can adequately identify my responsibility anymore.
As the next presidential election looms, what passes as politics is scarier than ever. The conversation about female sexuality and reproductive rights resurfaced for me when the HPV vaccine was being pushed in schools with parents having to sign forms concerning having their 9 year old daughters vaccinated against Human Papillomavirus. See, as I understand the word "human" it relates to the male AND female of our species. Yet again, women, and now young girls, are carrying the responsibility for all things related to sex. My mind questioned where were the regulations on the clothing market, dressing young girls up like miniature grown women, who are being dressed as stripper understudies... I wondered if/when the hormones pumped into food that causes our girls to have hormonal imbalances, bringing puberty on earlier & earlier, making them prey to boys & men who are always on the outside of all of the initiatives to make sex safer, will be regulated. As abortion laws change, access to prenatal care decreases depending on who you are & what you have, I grow more & more confused on this concept of freedom. I just recently watched Desert Flower, an autobiographical film about a Somalian woman circumcised at the age of THREE & sold into marriage at 13, & can barely see a difference between what passes here & what we consider to be barbarism there. In the April edition of ESSENCE magazine I read an article called Sterilized by the State. It talked about a eugenics program in North Carolina that sanctioned the sterilization of more than 7600 women. Sterilized. Cancelled their right to have children based on socioeconomic status, disabilities & supposed mental delays. Notice I said supposed. It took me back to when Ms. September was born & the doctor asked her mother more than once if she wanted to go on ahead & have a voluntary hysterectomy. It was easy enough to tie up all those loose ends while they were down there delivering the baby. Why'd they ask her? Because she was a single black woman with more than 1 child. I had never been so incensed. Free. Yeah, right....
& while I'll skip rehashing all of the various conversations, the issue of the role women play in being raped has also blown back through. The idiocy of the argument that women are in ANY WAY responsible to society to prevent rape is imbecilic, insensitive, nonsensical, & completely preposterous. As a victim of sexual assault myself, I can't even begin to address this topic without meandering through the minefield of emotional perspectives I have surrounding this topic. I do, however, wish some of you would just wake the uckf up already.
While grappling with those issues, I have to find ways to avoid listening to the Trayvon Martin 911 calls & reading the plethora of articles, tweets, & Facebook status updates about this young boy gunned down much the same way many of our young men are. Constantly hyper aware of the struggle of living while Black for The Beau, my brothers, my male friends & my male Brownins, I can't find enough ways to compensate for it. This is Emmett Till, the remix. It always is. It's the reason why there are such stark differences in the parenting styles of African Americans and everyone else. We raise our children in fear of the way the world will treat them. We can't trust the world to love our babies in the ways we love them. We've been browbeaten into submission ourselves & have to instill this in our children so that they're constantly aware of their place. We may have won the right to shit in the same toilets, but the powers that be still have the right to actually squat over us & take a shit; who cares if we can use the same toilets. I can't imagine what it must feel like to be attempting to raise Brownin boys...ever. How do you encourage & stifle at the same time? How do you teach them they have a right to walk this planet the same as everyone else, but make sure to step down off the proverbial sidewalk & into the street?
That's just the news.
Turn on the TV & there are any number of bad examples of Black Life forced down our throats. We beg for it at this point. Braxton Family Values? TrashTelevision.net. If this is how this family truly rocks, then please, let them have at it. I find it hard to believe, despite the ridiculous examples of families I see on a daily basis. But are they to blame? A certain lifestyle was afforded them. In order to maintain that, they've had to prostitute themselves & their family name to extend their long since expired 15 minutes of fame. Singing women who spend very little time actually making use of their talents but giving repeatable soundbites to those wo have nothing better to do than to live out water cooler conversations all day. I have admittedly watched in awe & disbelief. But the concept of responsibility has crept in. If I continue to watch this, I am a co-conspirator in the dismantling of any positive images of Black people & families on TV. Love & Hip Hop? These chicks give hood rich a whole new face. Women who walk their daily grind (no matter how serious you take it) in stilettos & oversized weaves, on the ready to catch wreck at any club, party, restaurant or video shoot. These are women who promote knowing your role as the rapper wifey. They school us all on how to turn the other cheek so that men with groupies can do their thing, just so long as none of "that thing" interferes with home. Wait...what?!? Per the Twitterverse, I was encouraged to catch T.I. & Tiny, to see some examples of good parenting on television. What I've found are oft misguided people raising their children to also hustle hard for the almighty dollar. They have a 3 year old who is 'bout that buck, a 7 yr old who feels entitled to his father's stacks, & a 10 yr old who is being allowed to rap about & shoot a video all about that guap. Family values? Must not exist anymore. Actually, not true. The problem is in what the family values. I know too many who think this is cute. What I see are unspeakable & heinous examples of womanhood for my Brownins to aspire to, being raised by people who don't see the harm in all of this, & having as potential partners boys who will become men (loosely used) who don't value them, only the dollar & whatever the latest terminology for sex will be by then.
I am sick!! & fearful. I don't know what to do. I don't know who to trust. As a realist, I've never had total faith in this machine, but now I can't even pretend to stay for this ride anymore; I'm afraid the driver is out to kill us all--overtly & covertly. My heart is heavy with personal battles & watching what is happening in my own backyard weighs me down further; & that's before I even touch what's happening globally. I shed a tear for us all.
Watch me move.