Stereotyping, or just speaking your truth?

... That is the question.

News flash. I'm a black woman. I'm a natural sistah, I speak very loudly and I'm all about empowering other people of color - even if that means being a little radical; All of which are stereotypes of one particular kind of black woman, and all of which are true when it comes to me. I'm not ashamed - I fit that mold.

Stereotyping is wrong; not all black people love fried chicken and watermelon (I do, though), not all Asians are good at math (debunked), and not all Muslims are terrorists (ignorant). But what if some stereotypes happen to be true? Is that even a possibility?

Let me explain...

I witnessed a very uncomfortable conversation earlier this week - well, not quite a conversation, more like a comment gone south. Without giving too much detail - a group of folks were talking about moving to a new space. When one of the folks asked if they had to pack their own boxes, another individual responded sarcastically, "no. I'm sure if you drive past a Home Depot, you could find someone to do it for you". I'm totally paraphrasing, but you get the point. To be blunt, the comment bombed, but only because everyone in the room envisioned the same type of person hanging outside of the Home Depot; and I'm sure after reading this paragraph you did as well. That's our truth.

Was that necessarily distasteful to say? Maybe... But it's someone's truth.

Saying that all black people can dance is a stereotype, and I've found it be false on numerous occasions. But what if the person making that comment has yet to come across a single black person who couldn't swag it out? Are they stereotyping, or speaking their truth?

Let's just take it there - I haven't met a single Mexican / Mexican American who isn't a hustler. As far as I'm concerned, no job is ever too degrading or too hard for them to not do what they have to do to take care of their families. Would it be wrong for me say that Mexicans are some of the hardest workers I've ever come across? Is that stereotyping, or is it my truth? I've never met a lazy / haughty Mexican. Sue me.

Sorry, not sorry for my political incorrectness.

Not here to preach - I just think stereotyping becomes negative when someone's truth offends someone else. If you're ballsy enough to speak of your truth, you should also acknowledge that your truth isn't necessarily someone else's.

I think that's where the disconnect happens.

Saying that “when white people get wet they smell like wet-dog” can certainly be someone's truth. But, to place that stereotype on the entire race is ignorant. Have you smelled every single, wet white person in the world?

Every time you or friends have been robbed may have been by a black person; but to say that all blacks are criminals would be absurd. Have you encountered very black person in the world? And if so, have all of them committed a crime?

Generalizations happen. Your truth is your truth - but to try and force others to adopt your truth is detrimental. That's how wars happen.

I don't know... Just my thoughts... 

The Wiz Live – Not your average review

I watched The Wiz Live last night, just as every other black family in America did, I'm sure. It was amazing. So much melanin. So much soul. So much life. I love my people.

This morning, I woke up just as every other living human did. Not sure how your day started off, but mine wasn't so pleasant. Against my better judgment I checked my social media accounts - leading with Instagram and wrapping everything up with Twitter. I was anxious to see if Black Twitter was as thrilled about The Wiz Live as I was, and most were. What I didn't expect to see as I searched "The Wiz" terms was an unsettling amount of white folks complaining about last night's NBC special - sporting their white privilege per usual.

It's funny how white folks feel entitled to point out when they're feeling left out of the conversation.

"If The Wiz had an all white cast black people wouldn't be too happy."

"I'm tired of black people always screaming about 'discrimination'. This is discrimination against whites!"

Really?

I'm sure if The Wiz Live premiered on BET, there wouldn't be any complaints. You see, as long as people of color stick to their lanes and don't infiltrate prime time media they're not offending anyone. Having an all black cast in ANYTHING on public television channels just isn't 'American'.

I was tired.

I was done.

I was just about to wash my hands of all things "racist" until a college friend made a Facebook post about her 9-year-old nephew. He saw a news headline calling the Planned Parenthood bomber a 'Terrorist'. Confused, he asked my college friend, his aunt, how the Planned Parenthood bomber could be a terrorist if he wasn't Muslim. The 9-year-old's family is Muslim and of Middle Eastern decent. This little boy associates his skin color with that of a terrorist because prime time media has conditioned him to believe so.

And just as I was about to wash my hands of all things 'racist' I was reminded by a 9 year old child to keep fighting – To keep writing these blogs with hopes of changing the perspectives of bigots, and to empower people of color.

Prime time media wasn't created to show 'us' in a human light. We can’t continue to let them condition our children to believe something that just isn't true. History has taught us whom the real 'thugs' and 'terrorists' are - and history doesn't lie.

Yes. Trump really is that bad.

Remember this?

Is Donald Trump really that bad?

Yeah... I pretty much answered my own question.

Donald Trump REALLY is THAT bad.

Let me start from the beginning...

I initially wrote a post about recognizing Trump for his candor and honest racism / prejudices. I thought it was refreshing, and in a way it still is. No other candidate has been so expressive and unapologetic with their positioning on race relations in America, immigration or foreign affairs. What was once tacky, yet appealing, to me is now (still tacky) disturbing.

Trump tweeted the most upsetting "facts" this past weekend about the murder rates of blacks. You can imagine my frustration - and of course, I sent him a very furious tweet in response.

"Black on black crime does not exist!"

And it doesn't, but one very lone / trolling (Trump supporter?) didn't get what I was trying to convey.

"So, are you saying that blacks killing other blacks isn't a crime?"

I immediately saw which part of my tweet didn't resonate with him. My frustrations of what Trump was trying to embed in his followers got the best of me, and I didn't eloquently make my point.

My Twitter opponent was just in questioning my position. To be frank, I'd expect most older white Americans to believe the hype of blacks being abrasive, animalistic killers out for blood - they're brain washed to believe so. For years white politicians have tried to make a case of devaluing black lives - after all, how can they respect black lives if we don't respect ourselves? Right?

Wrong.

Trump's facts are not factual. His numbers were completely fabricated. Studies show that neighbors are more likely to commit crimes against each other because they're neighbors. So if a black criminal lives in a predominantly black neighborhood, they're more likely to commit a crime against their black neighbor - as will a white criminal living amongst other whites, Latinos amongst other Latinos, and Asians amongst other Asians.

To make the case that Black on Black crime is, indeed, a thing, you'd also have to acknowledge that White on White crime exists as well, right?

Right!

But no one wants to talk about finding it hard to respect a white life when a white brethren kills another.

But I don’t know what I’m talking about though…

#NightlyRant: The forgotten people

Ya’ll know I’m all about black power, and will fight to the death for the respect and fair treatment of my people. I’m so enveloped with black culture and black issues that I, sometimes, neglect to even recognize the mistreatment and blatant disregard of other minorities on this land.

Truth moment.

While #blacklivesmatter, and will always be a priority of mine to stand up for, I feel it’s also my just due to bring awareness to the historic genocide of our Natives. Yes. The true owners of this land.

It’s sad.

I don’t remember ever learning about Native history in grade school. As far as I was concerned, Natives were the savages who made Columbus’ job a little tougher. Boy oh boy, the ignorance you unveil when you take someone else’s word for it. At the end of the day, we know nothing about an entire race of people whom we continue to subconsciously disrespect.

Cowboys and Indians.

Washington Redskins. Kansas City Chiefs. Chicago Blackhawks.

Thanksgiving.

What we cherish and recognize as parts of American heritage deliberately disrespects an entire race of people. The same people driven into concentration camps Indian reservations, which are plagued with alcoholism, depression and erroneous suicidal rates – all of which are completely ignored by the majority.

America has stripped the humanity away from the Natives – Turning their culture into costumes, mascots and tall tales. We know nothing about the trailblazers of the land in which we call “home”, and ignorantly celebrate holidays that serve as nothing more than constant reminders of rape and extermination.

I can’t imagine waking up and seeing blackface spewed across sports jerseys.

As I get older, America’s stripes get brighter, and I find myself becoming less blinded by their bullsh!t.

Slavery Indentured servitude, rape, extermination, racism and theft – What else do you have up your sleeves, AmeriKKKa?

Dear white ladies,

Dear white ladies,

There's been a ton of talk surrounding cultural appropriation lately. Between Amandla Stenberg's eloquent rant on Kylie Jenner's Instagram pic, and Azalea Banks going ham-sammy on Igloo Australia, I can see how a ton of you are still confused on the issue. Why can't you just live life, wearing what you want, listening to the music you'd like, and continue dipping your toe into the pool of chocolate, black American men? Why are you scrutinized for simply being "yourself"? Why are black women "jealous" of you? Well, I'm here to be your go-to girl, answering any and all questions you have honestly.

 

Dear white ladies,

No one cares about you rocking cornrows and dashikis. But when Elle Magazine considers both to be a hot new "trend", we have a problem. You see, little black girls have been wearing both since birth. Big butts and plumped lips were birthrights to most of us. It's ghetto when we embrace our God given curves, but fashion forward as soon as someone of your persuasion doctor's up. And that's the issue.

 

Dear white ladies,

Listening to rap music and using "black" slang does not make you an expert on my struggle as an actual black woman. Just because you may have grown up next to the only black family in town, and went to school with black kids doesn't make you an insider. You can be a supporter without inserting yourself into the mix, and making everything directly relevant to you (e.g. white feminism). Respect your position, and you will be respected.

 

And lastly... Dear white ladies,

Black women are not jealous of white women because they're white. Women are jealous of other women because we're women. With that said, date all of the black men you want. 9 times out of 10, we didn't want him anyway. And if you find that any of us has an issue with your case of jungle fever, please note that our issue more than likely lies with the black man in said scenario, and not you.

 

Did I forget anything?

Are Negro Girls Getting Prettier?

…. Graced the front page of a 1966 Ebony Magazine article. “Are negro girls getting prettier?”, meaning negro girls aren’t usually?

As the knot in the pit of my stomach began to quadruple in size I flashed back to a 8th grade bus ride I had while attending Snelson Golden Middle School in Hinesville, GA. My hair was still in a red and black weaved up-do that I sported at the past weekend’s homecoming dance. Not exactly sure how I was feeling that morning, but I don’t, for the life of me, remember feeling bad or anything. Not exactly sure if I was expecting something out of the ordinary – I just remember it being a typical Monday morning. What I am certain of is that I didn’t expect to be greeted with a backhanded compliment from one of my white, male classmates. “I like your hair. You’re really cute for a black girl.”

“Uh, thank you”, I responded dry and confused.

“I’m really cute for a black girl? As if, black girls aren’t usually the cream of the crop?”, I asked myself.

A usual bubbly and upbeat Ashley was the quietest passenger on the way to school that morning. I was silenced. Appalled. But could I really be upset? I mean, he did say that I was cute, right?

Even then as a 13-year-old prepubescent teen I didn’t know how to feel about the young man’s comment. My whole life I’ve been reminded of how pretty I was, and besides being teased by the black kids in my Lawnside, NJ summer-neighborhood for having bucked teeth and dark hair on my upper lip, I never really doubted my prettiness or worthiness until then. You see, my Lawnside crew never dissed me for the color of my skin – everything they teased me about I knew could be fixed one day – but being written off because I was black? I never felt that kind of worthlessness before.

 

Fast-forward 13 years and survival of countless insecurities later, I come across the former Ebony Mag headline. All of the women on the cover are light-skinned with (horrid) straight wigs. I tried to imagine how a headline like that would make other little brown girls feel. To grow up during a time where no one on the cover of magazines or leading ladies looked like you. To internalize that you’re somehow “bad” or “unworthy” because of the skin color you were born into. To recognize that your hair, which grows from your head, is deemed as unsanitary or unprofessional?

You want to hear something even more heartbreaking? A magazine that was created to serve as platform for women of color delivered a backhanded compliment to their viewers. Granted, I wasn't successful in pulling the 1966 print from the worldwide web, I can't imagine that it lead to negro women basking in their deeply-pigmented glory. 

But, not only are negro girls ugly, they're not human. 

Although our headlines aren’t as blatantly disrespectful as this, we (black people) have been conditioned to believe all of this to be true, and are still working to train our brains, and the rest of society, to believe the opposite. 

Still working, and still fighting.

Fighting to be visible and not written off as Angry Black Women when we have the audacity to share our opinions. Fighting to be respected and to not have our bodies deemed as sexual fetishes. 

Recognizing that society will only consider your birthed, physical features "beautiful" when they're surgically implanted on someone of the whiter-persuasion is one of the frequent torments of the black woman. 

Today, with the help of social media and cultural / ethnical appropriation, white women with negro features are the cream of the crop – black women with negro features are disregarded. 

Seems to me that society will consider everything about the negro girl "pretty", except for, said, negro girl.

 

Is Donald Trump really that bad?

Wake up! Election season is upon us!

You read the title of this blog and said to yourself “Ash is trippin’.” – I know, I know, but hear me out.

I’m in no way endorsing the ignorance of Donald Trump, in fact, unless you follow me on twitter you’ll probably never know my candidate of choice. It’s my job to give you the facts and to help stimulate your mind, and I plan to do just that.

Now back to Mr. Trump. You may disagree with his stances and prejudice ways, but you can’t deny that his candor is refreshing – at least I can’t. Trump is the furthest thing from being politically correct and I’m here for every bit of it. Not only is it entertaining to see him spill the tea on all things discriminatory, it’s even more entertaining to watch his party and fellow running-mates squirm in their britches. He’s honest and an unapologetic racist, and is a threat to every closeted racist in office. I wish more candidates would be as authentic as Trump has been. He gives it to you straight with no chaser. You know exactly where he stands and exactly whom he doesn’t see it for.

Let’s just put it like this – would you rather find out hundreds of years down the line that your elected official is a member of the Klan and has a heavy hand in the astronomical incarceration rate of young men of color, or would you rather have known what you were getting yourself into upfront?

I’ve got Trump all figured out: He thinks all Muslims are terrorists, Black Lives Matter is a gang that needs policing, and even though he pays plenty of Mexicans under the table for the constructions of his billion dollar buildings, he won’t hesitate to toss them back over the border if they so much as breathe too loudly.

Donald Trump is a racist and proud of it. At least he has enough decency to say it to our faces, instead of pissing on us and insisting that it’s rain.