Thursday, April 28, 2011

Pondering the audacity of birtherism…

Shall we?
Lately I’ve been pondering one of the biggest oppression myths – that oppressed folks need to make the case to their oppressor that they should not be oppressed.  This myth is rarely stated outright – rather, it is a privileged expectation contained in almost every bigoted campaign.
To the person of color attending college – prove that you are smart enough to be here because the assumption is that you are not.
To the new mother returning to work – prove that you can still do the job, because the assumption is that you can’t.
To the LGBT person in the military – prove that your “gayness” isn’t going to be an issue, because the assumption is that it will be.
To the Latina driving while brown in Arizona – prove that you are in the country legally, because the assumption is that you are not.
To the disabled person applying for a job – prove thyself over and over again and the once more, because the assumption is that you only got the job through unfair legal protections.
And so forth and so on and so it is and so it has been.
Which brings us to the accusation made by so-called birthers that President Obama wasn’t born in the United States and thus should not be president.
For damn near two years birthers have responded to criticism by saying that they aren’t racist, they are just concerned citizens who demand proof and if the President had proof he’d provide it and then they’d be satisfied and let it go.
Folks provided them with a copy of the birth certificate – they responded that it wasn’t official enough.
Folks provided them with birth announcements printed in the local newspaper – they responded that it those were manufactured or not official looking or part of a vast left wing conspiracy dating back decades to elect a black socialist Muslim communist tyrant to the highest office in the land.
Now the President has provided these fools with the official as hell long form version of his birth certificate.
And…wait for it…birthers are still not convinced!
Why?
Because this isn’t about proving a damn thing to anyone.
This is about bigotry and oppression, fear and false tolerance…and those things resist facts like a drug resistant yeast infection resists penicillin.
We are within a teachable moment.
Blaming oppressed people for their oppression is intellectually lazy and flawed.
The myth that we just need to calm fears, sooth the beast, and make the case for why we deserve rights is just that – a myth.
The truth is that the President could broadcast video of him exiting the womb and birthers would say it doesn’t look like him.
Pause…sip coffee…continue.
‘Tis laughable and oh so very American.
Will these journalists demand to see the long form birth certificates of every candidate that dips their power hungry toes in the political pool?
Will they hound and dig in and circle and question and attack and scoff and air interview after interview and then start over again to hound and question and blah, bah, bah followed by blah?
***cue crickets***
What am I thinking?
That’s not the way we play the game, y’all!
We don’t question whether the straight white man waltzing across the campus of Yale got accepted because his family made a donation or his mother is an alumna.
We question the other.
That’s what we do.
The truth be damned.
Shit.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Equal time granted!


Many thanks to the editorial staff of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for publishing two fantabulous letters to the editor in response to Missouri Right to Life’s disturbing LTE attempt to defend their race-baiting fundraising campaign last week!

The representative from Missouri Right to Life said the organization wants a dialogue with black women. As I said in my letter to the editor, the ends do not justify the means – unless the end goal isn’t really a dialogue but rather to pander to the prejudices of their base and thus raise money by attacking the humanity of black women.

FYI – perpetuating the racist stereotypes that black women are simple minded violent dangerous “loose women” who need to be educated about our simple minded violent dangerous “loose” ways is no way to spark a dialogue.

It has, however, succeeded in sparking my outrage…

…which is always followed by relentless action.

And so I say again – Missouri Right to Life needs to abandon this campaign and cease fundraising by attacking black women.

Monday, April 25, 2011

After the storm...


I would like to thank everyone who reached out with expressions of concern in the wake of the tornado that hit my hometown of St. Louis last Friday.

I’m still trying to take it all in and clean up has already begun.   

We find comfort that there was no loss of life – things can be replaced.

St. Louis will get through this...but it’s going to take time, patience and a lot of money.

My family was spared and for that I am beyond grateful.

Thanks again for the well wishes!

I know the one thing I did right was the day I started to fight...


It’s Monday, y’all…and I’m still waiting for justice.

Shall we?

Last week the St. Louis Post-Dispatch published a Letter to the Editor from a representative of Missouri Right to Life defending that organization's race-baiting fundraising billboard campaign that indicts the humanity of black women allegedly to trigger a dialogue.

I searched the St. Louis Post’s website for an article about Missouri Right to Life’s racist billboards and came up empty…which had me scratching my Afro, because one would think that there would be an article before there is a Letter to the Editor.   

How confused stltoday.com readers must be as they read a defense of something they haven’t first been informed of. 

Blink.

But hey, maybe I’m just missing the article that sparked the MRL LTE – do send a link if you find one.

Anyway, several women of color...myself included...sent letters to the editor in response that have yet to be published.

We shall see if the St. Louis Post-Dispatch offers black women equal time to defend ourselves against Missouri Right to Life's attack on our humanity.

Tick tock goes the clock…

Thursday, April 21, 2011

On a much lighter note – hockey!


Hi y’all!

Longtime readers know that a bitch adores NHL hockey.  My beloved Blues didn’t make the playoffs this year (sob!) but I’m still following and watching and loving the hell out of the game.

So far the quest for Lord Stanley’s Cup has been a wild ride.

The defending champ Chicago Blackhawks face elimination down 3 games to 1 against the Vancouver Canucks – they play tonight and yes, I will be watching!

I’m also following the Caps v. Rangers – last night’s game was amazing with an overtime win by the Caps off of a freakish breakdown in communication by the Rangers.

Mercy.

And I caught a bit of the Flyers v Sabres.  Seems to me that Mr. Miller has decided to stand on his head…much to the frustration of the Flyers. 

The Penguins march on, taking a 3-1 lead over the Lighting.

The Wings finished off the Yotes last night to advance.  I was hoping Phoenix would give them a series, but it wasn’t in the cards.

And it is all happiness and joy in the House of Bitchitude!

History will be made…and this bitch will be watching!

Fantabulous.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Pondering that email with those images accompanied by that caption…


Shall we?

I wasn’t surprised when news broke that a certain Marilyn Davenport of Orange County California, a local Republican Party official who sent an email depicting President Obama and his parents as chimpanzees, responded to calls for her removal with public declarations of unracism and that she will not be leaving her post.

And I’m not surprised that the so-called liberal media has once again declined to call a racist email racist.

What is surprising is how many folks seem to think that sending out an email depicting the President and his parents as chimps with the caption "Now you know -- why no birth certificate." isn’t a racist action…and how some folks also seem to struggle with connecting racist actions with the person doing that shit and calling that person racist.

True, it used to be easier to identify racists.  Eyes on the Prize features example after example of folks, some famous but most not, publicly declaring their adoration of racism and questioning why others don’t feel the same way. 

That was then.

This is now.

And we still can’t treat a disease we still refuse to diagnose.

Sending out that email with those images accompanied by that caption is racist…unless one sent it out with a note of disgust to show folks an example of racism.

If Marilyn Davenport of Orange County California doesn’t want to be called a racist then she should have avoided a public display of racism.

If she doesn’t want to be racist then she needs to do more than avoid sending such emails in the future – she needs to do a hell of a lot of inner work to arrive at the point where some of the folks on her email list already are.

That point where such emails containing those kinds of images with that caption are offensive…the point where the thought of sending such an email is abhorrent and the fact that someone sent them to you is offensive…the point where you respond as a normal human being responds and not as a damaged old school bigot does by assuming that others are also damaged old school bigots and would get a laugh out of seeing an email containing those images with that caption.

Davenport ain’t there yet.

Marilyn Davenport responded with anger toward whoever made her email public…callous disregard toward those who found her email offensive…and defiance toward those who think she ought to step down lest the GOP be branded as racist as she is.

And then, after several days, Davenport offered this up by way of apology.

"To my fellow Americans and to everyone else who has seen this email I forwarded and was offended by my action, I humbly apologize and ask for your forgiveness of my unwise behavior. I say unwise because at the time I received and forwarded the email, I didn't stop to think about the historic implications and other examples of how this could be offensive."

Davenport thought nothing of forwarding that email with those images accompanied by that caption.  Well, that’s not entirely true – she thought it would be welcome in the inboxes of her friends and colleagues…so, she must have liked that email with those images accompanied by that caption.

I honestly wouldn’t give a shit if Davenport was just a woman in Orange County sending an email.

But Davenport isn’t just a woman in Orange County who sent an email.  She represents the 72nd Assembly District in Orange County on a GOP committee made up of volunteer officials elected to two-year terms – a group that is responsible for fundraising, campaigning and debating policy for the Republican Party.

Makes one wonder what kind of fundraising campaign she’d propose…how she’d like to see GOP candidates campaign…and what policy initiatives she supports.

Pause…sip coffee…continue.

The good thing is that someone or more than one somebody on her email list responded appropriately.


Sigh.

The 2012 election cycle has just begun and something tells me this isn’t going to be the last email containing those kinds of images with that kind of caption we’re gonna see between now and November 2012.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Heading to Jefferson City!


Happy Tuesday, y’all!

I’m heading to Jefferson City to get my lobby on.

All kinds of severe weather is breaking out, but hopefully it’ll pass before we hit the road.

Bitchitude shall return when I return to St. Louis!

Be safe out there.

Monday, April 18, 2011

A bitchfirmation for Monday…


I woke up ready to take on the world.

Today is going to be a good day!

Despite everything that is wrong in the world…despite all those who organize against us and seek to oppress us…despite all the odds that seem to endlessly stack up…today is going to be a good day because we are in this to win this.

Go forth and keep it real, people.

You can bet your Monday morning coffee that I will (wink)!

Toodles until this evening…

Friday, April 15, 2011

And now these fools want to chat...


The placement of a race-baiting billboard in St. Louis city has triggered outrage, disgust, and the sad but typical defense from those who oppose reproductive rights that this appalling ad is somehow necessary to properly “educate” black people about…well, black people.

Sigh.

Shall we?

The billboard in question, located at 25th and Cass, was recently vandalized. Clearly the message on the billboard is appalling. That is why people are calling for the owner to remove the ad.  That demand, and the condemnation of Missouri Right to Life for this race-baiting fundraising campaign, is the correct course of action. I do not condone nor have I called for the billboard to be defaced.

I’ll have an update on the formal request to the owner to remove the ad soon (promise).

Now, let’s dive into some realness.

There is little that illustrates privilege more accurately than people asking for a discussion in response to disrespectful intolerant racist behavior. 

That’s what some commenters to my posts about the billboard are selling and I ain’t buying.

These folks have a flawed view of social justice – that it is a movement populated by people seeking a dialogue over whether or not they are worthy of rights, respect, and decent treatment.

That’s the lie I’ve encountered my entire life.  That if only I could make the case…prove my worthiness…put folks are ease with my blackness…calm their fears, which we’re all supposed to accept are legitimate…win some insane debate…it’s galling to even type this mess. 

Ugh.

If only I could win the case for respect…yeah, then those who assume they have the power and authority to grant or withhold justice and equality would see fit to dispense some to me and mine.

Here’s the truth.

I’m not going to “discuss” whether black women are violent and dangerous…so easily confused that we’ve been hoodwinked and bamboozled into thinking making we’re capable of making health care decisions without the assistance and guidance of Missouri Right to Life.

I’m not going to engage in a dialogue over whether black women deserve trust…have earned the right to determine our reproductive destiny through blood, sweat and yes tears…and are capable of making health care decisions despite the deplorable health care disparities facing our community.

I’m not going to make the case…plead for respect and dignity…explain and beg and show examples of why we’re worthy of access to the full range of reproductive health care.

I am a black woman.

The price of my dignity is not being forced to engage in a never-ending festival of justification for whether or not I possess the intellectual capacity to manage my life.

Just think about that for a minute. 

Ponder how outrageous that expectation is.

To be expected to explain my actions because they are automatically assumed to be wrong, flighty and not well thought out.

To not just suspect, but to have glaring proof in the form of a billboard standing in my home city, that some people think we are violent and dangerous and cruel and selfish and fickle and lazy and over sexed and too uppity to maintain relationships and just plain evil sans the intervention of…wait for it…an organized campaign to educate us on just how horrific we are.

Pause…allow to marinate…continue.

How dare people make this public charge against black women and then attempt to chastise me for responding with disgust, anger and outrage?

How dare they engage in this public display of bigotry and attempt to frame this campaign as anything other than Missouri Right to Life’s attempt to hustle funds off the backs of black women’s integrity and dignity and through an overt race-baiting attack on black women’s humanity?

The only way this campaign works is if people accept that black women are the most wretched of creatures.

Deny that lie and you must then trust black women.

Trust black women and you must then respect our rights.

Respect our rights and you must then honor our ability to make the decision whether to have children, how to parent the children we have, and to raise our families in communities free of violence and want.

The lack of shame from those who support this billboard campaign is demonstrative of just how not post-racial we are.

That isn’t new or revolutionary, welcomed or warranted.  

So, let's skip the chat and move straight to the owner of the billboard at 25th and Cass taking this rancid ad down.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Update and THANK YOU…


I would like to thank everyone who stepped up to express outrage over the racist billboard placed by Missouri Right to Life in St. Louis city!

Y’all have flooded my email inbox with calls for action and to share your outrage – my heart is filled with pride that so many people share my disgust over this outrageous slander against black women.

I would like to specifically commend Gateway Outdoor Advertising for swiftly responding to calls for the billboard advertisement to be removed. Although Gateway Outdoor Advertising is listed on the side of the billboard, they confirmed yesterday that they are no longer the owner. The following comment was also made to my post about the billboard
cheard@gatewayoutdoor.com said...
I am the President of Gateway Outdoor Advertising and we do NOT own this billboard. The City of St Louis confirmed this yesterday. The billboard was taken over by John Drochelman (Catalyst Investments) of St Louis in 2008.
This poster is a disgrace and the owner should remove it immediately and remove our logo still on one side of the billboard.
And no, Gateway Outdoor Advertising has not contacted me on this matter again or asked me to clarify.  

I just want to acknowledge Gateway for their quick response and for calling this ad what it is – a disgrace. Hopefully their name will be removed soon so that folks don’t continue to associate them with this outrageous campaign.

We are in the midst of organizing to fight this campaign here in Missouri.

I will let y’all know as soon as things are in place.

But trust that people are not fooled.

It walks like it and talks like it and people see it for what it is – a disgraceful indefensible racist ad.

Stay tuned…

Monday, April 11, 2011

The most dangerous place for black women’s agency is in the hands of Missouri Right to Life’s spin machine…


UPDATE - Thank you Gateway Advertising for your swift response and condemnation of this racist campaign! 

I am pleased to know that Gateway Advertising is no longer the owner of this billboard and appreciate you supplying the information on the current owner of the billboard - John Drochelman of Catalyst Investments!

Thanks!

A billboard claiming that the most dangerous place for a black child is in the womb…that black women are dangerous genocidal threats to black children…has been placed in North St. Louis city.

Specifically, the billboard is at the intersection of Cass and N. Jefferson.

I know this neighborhood well.

I volunteered for years at a shelter for teen mothers just a few blocks from where this racist billboard now stands.

At a shelter where the residents are predominately black women who balance school, parenting and work.

At a shelter where women work to rebuild lives shattered by violence and oppression.

At a shelter that saw state funding slashed over and over, year after year, by a state legislature that has yet to consider legislation that prevents unplanned pregnancy, would reinstate comprehensive sex education in our schools, and expand access to programs that prevent sexually transmitted infections.

I’ve spent a lot of time in Ward 5…driven the streets, got to know families and residents…and one thing is clear – this is a neighborhood full of people, not genocidal maniacs…full of children, not creatures representing a separate species.

Full of black women, capable of self-determination and deserved of respect.

On Friday I drove up to inspect the billboard…to see for myself how Missouri Right to Life sees black women, how Missouri Right to Life invests in black communities by fundraising through campaigns attacking the humanity of black women, how Missouri Right to Life would like to define black motherhood.

And I saw a contrast that will probably skip right over MRL and their minions…if they dare to drive to the corner of Cass and N. Jefferson, park their cars, unlock the door (gasp), get the hell out and meet people.

The contrast is between the definition of blackness on the billboard – that black women are dangerous, violent, hateful, fickle beasts who are threats to our children and community – and the real community where this billboard has been placed – full of families, homes, the church around the corner, the fire department up the street, the young women who walked up to me and shared their disgust over this racist campaign when I stood staring at the billboard.

I am a proud St. Louis city resident.

I call on the owner of the billboard and/or property to pull this racist advertising immediately.

I denounce this billboard campaign as an insult to all St. Louisans and Missourians.

I am a black woman.

The most dangerous place for black women’s agency is in the hands of Missouri Right to Life’s spin machine…

…and the most dangerous place for my rights is in the hands of my oppressor.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Behold, Senator Lembke The Great Emancipator…


Let’s jump right on in!

Missouri State Senator Jim Lembke has been heading up a filibuster of a legislation that would allow Missouri to accept federal funds to extend unemployment benefits and school aid because 1. he thinks unemployed people are getting over on the rest of us and 2. he wants to send a message to the federal government about spending money it doesn’t have.

That’s the gist of the fiasco unfolding in Jefferson City.

When Lembke says this is not about hurting the unemployed he contradicts his own public statements made during his vicious filibuster on the Senate floor. 

I was listening as Senator Lembke and his minions made the argument that the unemployed are slave masters who have enslaved employed people…as they ranted about lazy Missourians who are enjoying their benefits so much that they can’t be bothered to go out and get one of the fabillion trillion good jobs these GOP Senators are certain are out there.

Any attempt to present this mess as anything other than an attack on the unemployed is the very definition of bullshit.

Lembke has a clear and freakishly harsh loathing for unemployed people and he’s sleeping well because in his mind he’s using the power of government to send out some tough love…and emancipate his constituents while doing it.


In a move that solidifies Lembke’s position as the King of Rancidity in Missouri, he called a press conference where he said he’d end his filibuster against accepting federal unemployment benefits if Governor Nixon agreed to reject federal stimulus money for other important as hell shit.

Lembke and his sidekicks demanded that Governor Nixon reduce the reappropriations by $300 million before he releases his hostage.

Pause…sip coffee…continue.

Now it is important to understand that these GOP State Senators think unemployment benefits are a form of economic slavery, because that’s a point that keeps getting lost in the coverage of this shit.

So the mess that’s happening in Jefferson City is this – a gaggle of GOP State Senators, who are trying to save face after their own colleagues turned against them for this ridiculous and damaging filibuster, are holding unemployment benefits in bondage so they can emancipate working Missourians from the tyranny of federal stimulus money and the oppression of the unemployed being able to put food on the table.

And they’re proud of this shit.

They’re gloating over it.

Odds are they’re so thrilled with this latest move that they hurried back to their offices to Google themselves looking for articles of praise and adoration.

As for those fabillion jobs Lembke and his homeboys keep claiming are out there waiting to be filled…


This is what a state government held captive by Tea Party champions looks like…

….as it’s ugly as hell self treads all over Missourians in a quest to pander.


Watching him in action is a painful as hell way to demonstrate just how much elections matter.

Blink.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

On using cosmetic surgery to stop bullying…


FYI – today is Election Day in Missouri. Go forth and vote, people!

And now for our regularly scheduled bitchitude...I just read this article over at ABCNews.com and…well, it made my Afro hurt.

The headline should offer a clue on why – When Is Cosmetic Surgery the Answer to Bullying?

Pause…sip coffee…continue.

Shall we?

When I was a wee bitch I was bullied mercilessly for all things related to my blackness.  When they made fun of my hair, I cut it off in an attempt to make it look more like the bob that was the trend at the time.  When they made fun of my ashy knees, I meticulously rubbed lotion into my skin before school.  When they made fun of my lips I tried to fold them inward…that didn’t last long.   

Ultimately my bullies focused on my blackness as a whole – I was different and I could not change, so I thought that the best I could hope for was to conform as much as possible and get rewarded for not being as black as some of the other students who came to school through the desegregation program. 

County black trumped city black, but black was still worthy of bulling.

By the time I hit Junior High I realized that I had accepted the unacceptable – that these assholes set the agenda and had the rest of us scrambling to meet their standards so we could make the constant taunts, physical abuse, and harassment stop.  I decided that was bullshit and stopped trying, but I lost a lot to those years of bullying.

Here’s the thing – the same young people who are having surgery to make their ears stick out less will likely be the same young people who will find out that their hair isn’t just so, their clothes aren’t up to par, or their [insert anything here] offends the same horrible little shit who used to make fun of their ears.

Here’s another thing – bullying hurts more than just the person being bullied.  Bullying distracts from class work…it creates a climate of fear and intimidation…and, if left unchecked, it creates grown ass people who bully because they were young people who bullied.

I understand the attraction of cosmetic surgery as a solution to your child getting teased about their ears.  It’s gotta be hard to see your child miserable because of something like how their ears are positioned on their head. 

But cosmetic surgery isn’t the solution to bullying.

Cosmetic surgery is a solution for some people who have ears that stick out and want to change that.

We need to shift our thinking on this shit.  We need to focus on the bully and ask ourselves why they aren’t being asked to change.  And we need to deal with the fact that bullies will bully until bullies are taught not to bully.

Eventually the bully will move on to something that isn’t changeable…to something that isn’t fixable through an expensive surgery and painful recovery.

Because bullies bully until bullies are taught not to bully.

When we start down the road of changing ourselves to appease bullies we being a journey that will never end and that puts the responsibility for being harassed on the survivor rather than on the person who desperately needs some home training and likely needs therapy.

This is the "solution" that has people blaming the gay kid for acting too gay…the black kid for not acting too black…the fat kid for not losing weight…the woman for dressing in a provocative manner…the deaf kid for not dedicating her life to making hearing people more comfortable…and so forth and so on until finally the bullies of the world are satisfied.

But the bullies of the world will never be satisfied.

Bullies bully until whatever the fuck kind of insecurity and/or self-hate they are avoiding dealing with is dealt with.

Pause…sip coffee…continue.

Surgery will be a solution for bullying when doctors discover the Bully Tumor and create a surgery to remove that rancid shit.

Until then...well, now that those ears have been “fixed” I’ve noticed how large the nose is and you could lose some weight and your hair is too short and you “act gay” and why are your feet so big and…

And…

And.

Blink.

2nd Annual Sex Trivia Night – April 30, 2011!

Monday, April 04, 2011

I’m running late this Monday morning…


…so bitchitude will be delayed until this evening.

Toodles ‘til then!