“Black children have no value in the eyes of White America.”

That was a phrase I wrote about six months ago that garnered a lot of controversy. People rushed to tell me how wrong I was. Countless amounts of people told me I was exaggerating, I was making things up, and that I was the racist one for pointing this out. However, that statement is one that I still stand behind to this day because it still holds true.

Just this morning there was a story about a white Dallas man who shot an 8 year old black child in the face while he was playing tag outside his apartment complex. This story isn’t an outlier unfortunately. There are so many stories of white people deeming Black children a threat or nuisance and either assaulting or killing them.

However, every time something like this happens, it get dismissed as an “isolated incident.” We get told over and over that it was just one person doing something horrible and there’s no pattern involved. When we try to point out that things like this have happened before, and the continued dehumanization of Black children in the media contributes to it, we’re told that we are “imagining things.” Meanwhile, the media tries to understand and humanize the killer while demonizing the victim. The most famous example of this to date is the Trayvon Martin case.

Anyone who paid even the slightest bit of attention couldn’t help but notice the character assassination carried out by the media and society at large on Trayvon, and later Rachel Jeantel. People were quick to brand him a thug, gang member, and threat to George Zimmerman. Lies were spread about how stole from the convenience store he went to and how he was armed when he confronted Zimmerman. Pictures were spread on the internet of “Trayvon” wearing a grill and with tattoos, but it was soon proven those pictures weren’t even of him.

Rachel Jeantel, a woman who speaks three languages better than I can speak one, was called ghetto, combative, and uneducated. People, both Black and white, made fun of her weight, her hair, the way she spoke, and her skin tone. Society was ready to assume so many things about Trayvon and Rachael simply because they were Black teenagers. Even though all those assumptions were proven false they still persist to this day.

Things like this happen on a daily basis, both on the national scale and in our day to day lives. So six months after I first said it, that statement still rings true. In some ways, I feel the need to expand it. Black children, Black teenagers, and even Black adults have no value in the eyes of White America. We are, at best, an inconvenience and at worst an outright threat to their way of life.


My problem with the #femfuture retreat

My issue with the #femfuture retreat is the partly the fact they made it barely accessible to people and partly the messed up history of #femfuture itself.

Yes, they are offering a travel scholarship, but it’s only up to $500. If you live a significant distance away from New York, $500 isn’t going to cover a one way plane ticket, let alone a round trip one.

Yes, they are offering childcare for potty trained kids between the ages of 4 and 12, but what about the parents who have kids not in those categories. They say they’ll help you find local childcare, but will it be free? If not, who will have to pay for it? What if the parent finds childcare but can’t afford it? Are they then stuck in Rhinebeck, NY with their child and not able to attend the retreat?

Then there’s the whole selection committee. You can submit your application, but there’s no guarantee that you’ll be selected to attend. They say they’re doing this to create a “safe space,” but we know from past experience that the “safe spaces” #femfuture and their handlers create excludes Women of Color. Not only have they known to exclude Women of Color, they have also actively denigrated us. So my question is, will any Women of Color be selected to attend? If they are, how will they be treated? We have seen in the past that WoC who have dared to criticize #femfuture and it’s handlers have been treated with dismissal and disrespect. Will the same happen at that retreat? If they do pick two or three WoC to attend out of the 20, will they even feel comfortable speaking up?

The whole thing just feels like the same old gatekeeping of feminism just packaged in a different container.

Twitter Rant of the Day: Unpaid Internships and Underpaying Jobs

Unpaid internships (and any type of unpaid work) really do need to be destroyed. You expect people to work for you, do the things you don’t want to do, spend their energy and time, completely for free?

You tell these people it’s for “exposure,” “experience,” or “for a good cause” like that’s gonna pay their rent. Y’all do realize folks have bills to pay, right? You do realize folks have to eat, right? It’s not like the ppl you want to take these unpaid internships can just get a second paying job. Not with the hours you want them to put in. You expect someone to work for you from dawn to dusk, and sometimes later, but you don’t want to pay them. How is that fair? And the people/companies asking for unpaid interns know good and fucking well they have enough money to pay them! You up here making hundreds of millions of dollars a year but don’t want to pay your interns? That’s bullshit!

If you want people to work for you, to spend their time and energy, compensate them appropriately! The apartment complex won’t take “experience” as a rent payment. The government won’t take “exposure” as student loan payment.

This goes for more than just unpaid internships too. This goes for folks who run websites  and blogs looking for writers too. You expect people to write about the most painful and personal things and do it for free. Then, when they (rightly) turn you down, you simply troll their tumblr, twitter, and wordpress accounts for what you want and use it without their consent. Or you ask for interviews saying their words will be used one way and then do something completely different, betraying their trust. Or, if you just don’t feel like asking at all, you steal their words and try to pass it off as your own on your blog/website. Then, after you’ve been called out for doing the fucked up shit you did, you try (and sometimes succeed) to paint yourself as the victim. That shit is not right and we definitely see you.

Hell, even the jobs tha do “pay” don’t nearly pay enough. The last job I had payed $7.55/hr. I easily should have been making at least $10-12/hr (if not more) for the type of work they had me doing though. I was only a sales associate but they had me setting prices, doing inventory, resetting parts of the store, training new hires, setting up displays, unloading & setting out new merchandise, working the cash register, doing returns and layaways, and so much more. When the people from the corporate headquarters in Chicago came to visit, they made sure to schedule me in because I was one of the only people who knew what the fuck they were doing.

I had my hands on damn near everything in that store. There were times where I quite literally did my manager’s job. I did all that work but was only getting $7.55/hr and they made sure my Black ass did not get full time hours, let alone overtime. There were times I looked at my schedule and I’d have 38.9 or 39 hours. If it looked like I might go over, they made me go home.

Before this argument comes up, there’s no way in hell I could’ve gotten another job. They way they scheduled me made that impossible. Add to that, I didn’t have a car so I’d have to rely on a city bus to get me from one job to another & back home. That was just not feasible.

So I was stuck at a job, making $7.55/hr, part time (which meant during the holidays I’d get around 35hrs/week but any other time of the year I’d only get 15-20hrs/week), with little to no chance to advance and after a year there I was looking at a 5 cent raise. No, you did not read that wrong, the oh-so-generous yearly raise was FIVE CENTS. One whole nickel. Oh, and those times I only got 15-20hrs, they’d routinely call on my days off to have me come in. If you said no, you’d basically be telling them to fire you. To put the cherry on the cake, I was actually doing better than a lot of the people I knew. Minimum wage at that time was $6.50/hr. I was making $1.05 more than most folks. Let that sink in for a minute.

So tell me, how the fuck is anyone supposed to live like that??? How? I’m just really fucking fed up with the state of affairs in the US work environment right now. People expect folks to work their asses off FOR FREE in unpaid internships that may or may not get them a job in the field they spent tens of thousands of dollars they didn’t have to get a degree in, or they expect you to work your ass off for a few dollars and change per hour, while getting shit on constantly by customers and other folks who simultaneously think they own you and their better than you because they have the office job or they’re in school, while you take it with a smile. If you don’t you’ll lose this shit ass job that barely fucking covers your bills and leaves you enough for food.

How is that living? That’s not even surviving. It’s just existing and I’ve been there for years and I don’t want to fucking go back there but I have to because once again I’m left with no fucking choice. And please, do not get me started on the jobs/people who don’t take you seriously if you don’t have a very expensive piece of paper from the “right” college or university. I’d be here all night and my blood pressure would be through the roof.

Twitter Rant of the Day: On Miley Cyrus and Activism

So this is a thing. I really fucking hate people.

Why are people so fucking convinced that you can’t talk about or care about more than one thing at once? It’s entirely possible for someone to speak about the Miley Cyrus mess and Syria and Egypt at the same fucking time! SHOCKING I KNOW! Pulling that “holier than thou” bullshit & saying “STOP TALKING ABOUT MILEY & START TALKING ABOUT SYRIA” shows me that you don’t give a damn about either topic. You’re only interested in making yourself look good.

Let’s be completely real with each other for a moment. Let’s sit down and have a real conversation for a second. You don’t give a fuck about Miley. You don’t give a fuck about the massive amount of cultural appropriation that happened on the VMA stage.

What’s also true is that you don’t give a single fuck about what’s happening in Syria. You don’t give a damn about people dying in Egypt. Hell, if I showed you a damn map you probably couldn’t point to the general area that Syria is in. Be real with yourself for a second.

What you do care about is making yourself look like the ultimate activist and liberal. You do care about people listening to you and not me. You not mad cuz attention is being pulled away from Syria, Egypt, and the like. You’re mad cuz attention is being pulled away from you.

Here’s the thing, if you took the time to look at the news websites and news channels, you’d see that they’re still covering Syria & Egypt. They’re doing stories about Syria right along with Miley Cyrus and her arrhythmic twitching. They haven’t forgotten. Discussing they type of coverage they’re giving to Syria and Egypt is an important and valid conversation to have, but you don’t want that.

No, what you want is for folks to shut up and pay attention to you and only you in all of your activist/liberal glory. So you pull out the “OMG STOP TALKING ABOUT MILEY AND START TALKING ABOUT [insert tragedy here]” argument to silence people. As a matter of fact, I bet you pull out that argument the most when attempting to silence the people who call your ass out for being the fake ass activist that you are.

But no, that’s too much truth for you to handle in one sitting. So you’re just gonna put your fingers in your ears and go back to screaming about how no one should pay attention to *this* and should instead talk only about *that*.

So when I see blogs like MileyCyrusTwerkingOnReality, I know that person isn’t doing that shit to “raise awareness.” They’re not doing it because they’re really outraged or because they think Syria, Egypt, or any other place/tragedy deserves more attention. They’re doing it because they want attention. They want you to stfu so they can have the stage and be lauded as a hero.

On Hugo Schwyzer’s defenders

I’m not here to talk about Hugo himself. Other people have done that better than I ever could. I’m here to talk about his defenders and his enablers.

To the people who hired him to teach women’s studies and talk about feminism on their websites.

To the people who ignored the women of color who constantly criticized his behavior.

To the people who banned people who expressed concern that Hugo was allowed free reign on their website.

To the people who chose page views over integrity.

To the people who allowed Hugo into supposed “safe spaces” even after many people expressed how they were not comfortable having him around.

To the people who happily handed Hugo paycheck after paycheck while never crediting, hiring, or paying the women of color who said the same things he did, only better.

To the people trying to silence the women of color who were intensely critical of Hugo and his actions.

YOU are what’s wrong with Feminism. You are the reason why I and women like me will never feel comfortable or welcome in “feminist” spaces. You are the reason why so many women refuse to identify as feminist.

Feminism will never truly be an inclusive and intersectional movement with people like you in power. Until you apologize for your wrongdoings, hand paychecks to the many women of color you have plagiarized and silenced over the years, and step down from that platform you’ve built for yourselves, feminism will only be a movement for the very select few.

I’ve Had it with Hipsters!

This article pisses me off so bad it’s not even funny. Here’s a little backstory on what happened. A couple of artists got together and decided to start Signs For The Homeless. Basically, what they do is find a homeless person, listen to a story, and then (instead of doing something substantive like give clothing, money, food, or shelter) they make a brand new fancy sign for them.

Yes. You read that correctly. They make them a sign.

I’m just so pissed right now. Really? This is what you choose to do? Make a sign and then post it on tumblr? I feel almost personally insulted by this. I’ve been homeless before. I’ve lived in a homeless shelter. I know what it’s like to wonder where your next meal is coming from. I know what it’s like to cycle through the same two shirts, two pants, and three pairs of underwear. I cannot begin to tell you how insulted I would feel if someone had walked up to me, listened to my story, and then did nothing but make a sign like that was the real problem.

One of the recipients of a sign, Bobbi, says in the article that she chooses to sleep outside because “the shelters are nothing but stomping grounds for predators and thieves.” You know what? She’s right. I can’t tell you how many times me and my mom’s stuff was stolen and our mail was opened when we lived there. I can’t tell you how many time I saw people attacked both verbally and physically in the shelter. Luckily, we were able to get out and get into public housing relatively fast.

But hey! Everything’s peachy keen, right? I mean, at least Bobbi got a pretty new sign out of the deal! [insert eye-rolling .gif here]

Out of all the positive and actually helpful things these people could have done, they decided to make overly designed, super colorful, and really flipping big signs. Looking at the pictures, they pretty much made the person invisible. All you see now is that clean, colorful, professionally designed sign. You don’t see the person in need assistance. These two “artists” just found another way to make the homeless invisible. How much time before this tactic spreads to other cities?

Twitter Rant of the Day: The Problem with White Feminism

I’m at the point where I really think it’s time that people stop giving a platform to these racist, transphobic, ableist “feminists.” These feminists don’t give a fuck about trans women, WoC, disabled women, poor women, or anyone who falls outside of their comfort zone. They fuck up like it’s their day job and dismiss any criticism as people being “divisive” or “hating” on them. They only listen to the people who blow smoke up their asses and try to silence the people offering relevant criticisms. Instead of waiting for these people to change (because they never will) hit them where it hurts, their wallet.

Stop buying their books, visiting their websites, or going to speeches. Stop supporting the websites that support them. Start giving time, support, and attention to the trans women, WoC, disabled women, and poor women who have been ignored. Start paying these women for the hard work they do both online and offline. Give the women who have been shunned and ignored by mainstream feminism a platform. Stop looking at these women as “free labor.” Stop asking that they write “for exposure.” Stop trolling their blogs and twitter accounts for content that you can jack and pretend like you thought of it all by yourself. Start paying these women and paying attention to these women like you do the white feminists who fuck up on the regular.

If feminism is ever going to be truly intersectional and inclusive, it has to start giving attention to people other than the cis, white, able-bodied, upper middle class woman. Until that happens, feminism will always have a problem. As it stands, the mainstream feminist movement is not for everyone. It has a lot of work to do before it becomes a truly inclusive movement.