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Category Archives: Grinds My Gears

Speak Up! – An Open Letter

Speak Up! – An Open Letter

Update 07/18/17

Since I posted this blog back in March all hell has broken loose

  • Russian interference in our elections, the collusion with Russia by both 45 and 45 Jr. and quite frankly the whole damn lot of 'em
  • Two (2) ACA replacement failures
  • 45 pushing past other world leaders to be in the front for a photograph
  • 45 commenting on President Macron's wife's physical appearance at Bastille Day celebration
  • 45 commenting on an Irish reporter's appearance while on the phone with the Irish Prime Minister
  • 45's hypocritical "Made in America" week when NONE of his products or those of his daughter/personal assistant are made in America
  • covfefe
  • Dozens of other Twitter gaffes

And more today than in March, I and millions of other Americans are resisting and refusing to concede out basic rights.

Come for my birth control and best believe I will leave my kids with you while I work and do everything else I need to do.

Come for my healthcare (I have many pre-existing conditions and chronic illnesses that require constant care and expensive medications) and you will bear the burden of my catastrophic hospital bills (I'm talking hundreds of thousands of dollars) when I'm in ICU because I can't breathe.

If you come for my LGBTQ brothers and sisters I will fight for their right to be whomever they choose to be. I don't care what bathroom someone uses just as long as they clean up after themselves and wash their damn hands. 🏳️‍🌈

Y'all are on notice… don't come for me or mine or attempt to infringe on anyone's rights. I will fight you EVERY 👏🏾 STEP 👏🏾OF 👏🏾THE 👏🏾 WAY👏🏾

Run and tweet that!

An open letter to those who voted for and supported 45:
It's unconscionable that everyone who had a whole hell of a lot to say pre and post election about "Making America Great Again" and that Bernie and Hillary supporters needed to stop whining and get over it are as quiet as sleeping church mice right now. The only sound I hear from that camp are the crickets and blinking peaking out from under blankets, hoping I won't pull back the wool and expose you for who and what you really are. 
There was dissent all over my FB feed. I had to block some people and unfriend others because they, for one reason or another, supported 45. They took what they wanted from what he said (Border security and "bad hombres", repealing the ACA, "putting America first" and all the other slime that poured from his ill-tempered, malicious, hate speech spewing mouth) and ignored EVERYTHING ELSE and had the audacity to say that the other stuff didn't phase them. ("You can just grab them by the pussy", "Nasty woman", "Lock her up"… the list goes on and on and on). The only thing that was important was what mattered to them personally, never giving credence to the millions of others that he offended and harangued. You told us that we should "give him a chance" and our outcries of unfairness and fear where unfounded and that we should stop being butt hurt, get over it and support him. You heckled us as we rallied and protested, called us un-American, unpatriotic and at times said our actions were treasonous. 
Now that you have come to realize what the rest of us knew from the very beginning, you have the unmitigated gall to be silent while the rest of us resist and protest? GTFOH! How dare you! How dare you stay silent and act like none of this was your fault? How dare you creep around and post that you are tired of politics on FB or social media? How dare you do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING and expect those of us who dissented to begin with to fix this? No…no… hell no! 

You lost your right to silence the minute you put up your first post supporting this inept, deluded, mentally unstable demagogue. (Did you cringe or roll your eyes when I used a second word in this post that you might have had to look up? Yeah, you did. That knowledge came from attending PUBLIC school in Houston,TX… something that with Backwards Betty as head of the Department of Education our children will be missing).  

You need to take responsibility for what you have wrought. You need to step up to the mic, clear your throats and say to the rest of us, "My name is <insert your name here> and due to my own <insert adjective here, such as: selfishness/bigotry/racism/misogyny/xenophobia/homophobia/transphobia/general intolerance for anyone who isn't me> I voted for 45. I am woefully sorry and I see the damage he and his minions have done, both to those who live with the borders of this great nation, and to our allies and our reputation on the international stage. I apologize and I stand with you to fix this!"

But you won't do that, will you? No, you won't because you think admitting you were wrong is a show of weakness. You won't because you can't openly admit your prejudices. You'll swear up and down to any god that you are the most tolerant person ever created. When in reality you prefer separate but equal. Minorities and non-Christians are fine as long as they are not in your neighborhood, attending your children's schools or commingling with you and yours. Your silence far from insulates you from what is going on right now. Your silence breeds further contempt from those of us who refuse to be silenced and shows us your yellow badge of cowardice. 

Step up…speak up…
Step up…speak up…

Step up…speak up…

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Don’t Put Your Labels On Me

Don’t Put Your Labels On Me

This is an open letter to those well-intended progressive folks who just don’t seem to get it. 

I’ve been called a lot of things in my nearly 35 years of life on this planet. Some of which have been positive and quite flattering. I’ve been praised on my poise and work ethic, my ability to rise above corporate politics and pettiness. Yet, I don’t take these as compliments so to speak. I see them for what they are, micro aggressions. “You carry yourself so well.. you are so well-spoken.” What? Am I supposed to walk around staring at my 4 inch pumps, afraid to make direct eye contact with those around me and speak in unintelligible and muted tones? 

I’m sick and tired of speaking up for myself, or others when that need arises, when I’m mistreated, disrespected or denigrating only to be told to “assume positive intent”.  I’m sick of, “Oh, s/he didn’t mean it that way.”; You’re being too sensitive.”; I’m sure you just took it wrong.”  Then I’m labeled the “Angry Black Woman” because I push back and refuse to be treated any kind of way. Don’t put your labels on me!  And no, I will not assume positive intent. Truthfully your intent is what is really the issue. I am positive that you intended to offend me. I am positive that you intended to “put me in my place”. I am positive that I am intelligent enough to recognize micro aggressions when I encounter them. I am positive that I am cognizant enough to realize when you are trying to fit me into the niche that makes you most comfortable and keeps me in a non-threatening position. 

Just in case you think I am speaking in generalities take these examples into account:

As a HR Consultant I facilitate training seminars and trainings. After my first of two sessions one day, I had a WASP attendee come up to me and say, “I enjoyed your training. You were so well-spoken, I was pleasantly surprised.” I waited a full two heartbeats and asked, “Pleasantly surprised at the training materials?” To which she chuckled and replied, “Oh no, I expected the training materials to be top-notch!” Pleasantly surprised? You were pleasantly surprised that as a Black woman with an Afrocentric name that I have a firm command of the English language? Why should that surprise you? I received the same, if not better, education that you did in this country. Don’t give me a backhanded compliment and then have the audacity to be shocked that I don’t thank you and smile. 

I was working and having lunch in a conference room with group of co-workers who were engaged in separate conversations. Next to me two of them were speaking Spanish and I gathered up the trash and asked in Spanish, “Do you have trash?” I proffered up an open trash bag and waited a few seconds. Suddenly everything stopped and silence reigned. They both  sat there looking dumbfounded and said, “You speak Spanish? I didn’t think you would speak Spanish.” Why are you so shocked that I could possibly speak any language other than English? Am I not capable of learning any language other than my native tongue? Stop making suppositions about my intelligence based on your own limited worldview. By the by, I took 8 years of Spanish beginning in middle school and went through college as well. I also learned Brazilian Portuguese. 

A colleague was upset that I pushed back regarding me wanting to stick to a particular policy and procedure. While I know that there are gray areas and that exceptions will need to be made from time to time, circumventing this particular process would, and did eventually, prove to be detrimental in the end. When approached outside by this colleague I was told what I was and wasn’t going to do. When I professionally, calmly and tactfully pushed back, this person charged up to me, got into my personal space and said “respect my wishes.” When I reported this bullying behavior I got the party line… “s/he was just trying to get you to understand her/his point of view. Assume positive intent.”  I understand and am positive that I was told to “do as I say and don’t question me!”  My status as a POC and a woman does not give you the right to get into my personal space nor to assert your will upon me. I will not back down and say “Yes sir massa/ yes’m missus! I’s gon get right on dat!”  No, absolutely not! If you want respect you need to give it. 

I shouldn’t have to write pieces like this. I shouldn’t have to explain macro and micro aggressions to anyone. What is so disheartening is when I am told, “How dare you question me or say I have White privilege! Prove it to me!” That statement alone is evidence of your privilege. 

Stay woke! 

 

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Somebody Go Get Donny!

Somebody Go Get Donny!

Typically I start my day early, whether I want to or not, with personal devotion time, prayer and flexing my arthritic toes for half an hour so that I am able to get up and walk. Typically I leave the ignorance, bigotry and just general jackassery that is happening in the world for later in the morning. But I deviated from my routine and looked at the news earlier than usual and was greeted by 45, President Agent Orange, and yet ANOTHER idiotic tweet. 

Why doesn’t an adult take this man’s phone and/or twitter account away from him? He obviously has no one that is willing and ballsy enough to say, “Give me that! WTH dude! You have no chill and no couth! Go eat your Cheerios and watch Ren & Stimpy!”

This is what happens when you let someone with what seems to be a severe, undiagnosed Narcissistic Personality Disorder and who is literally disassociated with reality, attempt to run what used to be the most powerful nation in the world. Before you make an attempt to blast me saying that 45 is just confident and “making America great again”, I offer you to look up the diagnosis criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder in the DSM-V, Psychology Today or any other reputable scientific journal. Read it for yourself and compare what you have seen with your own eyes and heard with your own ears. Not what I’ve interpreted it to be. But you have to be open and willing to accept what comes next. You will have to ready to recognize, accept and act. Narcissists are TOXIC. They take and give nothing back leaving people, places and things in utter ruin as they pass by.

Look at it and let me know what you see… don’t worry, I’ll wait…

 

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My Seat On The Bus

My Seat On The Bus

In the last 72 hours I have learned so much. I opened up to the general public and let the discourse come in. I welcomed the opportunity to have a respectful, open dialogue with others and to share with them the “why” behind the fear and anger that millions of us feel. However, I have seen the paper thin veneer of decency in this country ripped away to expose the seething and venomous hatred that lies just below the surface.  It isn’t that I didn’t know how oblivious and hateful some people are. It’s about the people who, for whatever reason, still think and contend that the hurt, anger, grief and protest (which is protected by the Constitution whether people agree with what we’re protesting about or not) is simply and ONLY about Hillary not being elected. Frankly that is woefully inaccurate, ignorant and delusional. 

 I wrote in my previous blog post that it is so much deeper than that and I meant it. I put it in the plainest of terms; I shared the terrible, painfully racist, xenophobic and violent encounters that were and continue to be reported and was dismissed as spreading propaganda. Are you serious right now?! I don’t know what kind of fairytale world you have created for yourselves but I live in reality. Not some diseased figment of my imagination where racism, sexism, Islamaphobia, xenophobia and hate don’t exist and where all that give voice to discrimination are silenced and told “that isn’t an issue” or “put it back in the deck”. 

From my seat on the bus it isn’t the millions of upset people in this country who are wrong, it is those who perpetrated this atrocity who are. Here’s the kicker as I ride the bus of discontent and heartache and look out the window at the scenes as I pass by: many of you see absolutely NOTHING wrong with all that Donald Trump has said and done. You dismiss and trivialize the POV of millions and you refuse to believe or repudiate any of the hate speech and violence that is being perpetrated by Trump supporters. Hate speech and violence that he spurred on and approved of during these last 18 months. But now wants us to tow the line and unite and heal the racial divide. It’s so much bigger than a divide, it is a chasm that is deeper and wider than the Grand Canyon. 

 

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America’s Fall From Grace

America’s Fall From Grace

I, like every disenfranchised person of color, LGBT+, woman, handicapped, <insert marginalized group here> in America; like every lover of humanity; like the world, I woke up to what feels like the erosion of my sanity and I heard the metallic clink of slave irons.  I turned off the television before the final call of the election with 4 states still out, and did what I do every night. I prayed. But my prayers were different last night, my heart was racing and I quivered on the inside. It wasn’t from my love and veneration of God , but it was because, for the first time ever in my life, I truly had fear creeping its way around my heart.  Its icy grip piercing into my soul, I saw what the future could be and I curled in around myself, trying to break free.  I’ve seen the ugliest part of humanity these last months, not that I wasn’t glaringly aware of how nasty people can be.

 I was fearful that the bigots, the xenophobes, the homophobes, the sexists, the racists and the demagogues had won. I was fearful that the precious freedoms that I have, like the ability to vote, would be torn from my hands by those who deem me unfit and unworthy. And I cried. I shed tears of frustration, tears of solitude, rivulets of emotions I had surpressed because this couldn’t be possibly happening. This hurt is real, my tears are real, my fear is justifiable. I fear for everyone, every population of people, who were insulted, disrespected, mocked and bullied by Donald Trump and his supporters. I fear for those of us who found out on social media that our “friends” were Trump supporters and closeted bigots, racists, etc. I am genuinely scared that now that Trump has won. I am scared that all of the predators with their racial epithets, slurs and violence will feel absolutely no need to keep hidden anymore. They will feel free and justified in letting it all hang out and that violence against minority groups will ensue, unchecked, as it has with the police force in this country. 

A little more than 50 years ago Blacks couldn’t vote; my mother was born in 1960 and she was born without the right to vote. Slavery didn’t officially end in this country until December 6, 1865, that was only 151 years ago. The memories of Jjm Crow are still fresh in the minds of Black America.  Last night’s election nightmare has proven, without a doubt, that Jim Crow never died. It was festering in the souls of men all this time and finally reared its ugly head and came out of hiding. This hurt and injustice didn’t just happen to our ancestors. This injustice just happened to us. But for all my fear… I have hope. 

I have hope because there will be a resurgence of the Civil Rights movement. A new breed of revolutionaries will take on the mantle of the disenfranchised and we will fight! We will raise up our children to tear down the walls of intolerance and oppression. We will arm them with truth, humility and we will embolden them to challenge anyone who seeks to denigrate others. We are blessed that we still have mentors who fought the good fight and can guide us. This is a rallying cry and we will not be silenced. America, the world, will see that though we grieve at this moment, we don’t grieve as those without hope. 

 

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Why Black Lives, Like All Lives, Matter

Why Black Lives, Like All Lives, Matter

Anyone who knows me well knows that I tend to stay away from politics and religion on social media. It isn’t to say that I don’t have an opinon on global politics, domestic policy or theological discourse; I’m just not one of those people who go back and forth with strangers via Twitter, Facebook or Instagram (no judgement on those who do choose to do so). One person asked me if I was scared to put my thoughts out into the abyss of cyberspace, if I had a fear of people speaking out against me. The short answer is “no”, I have no fear of anyone else’s opinions, I’m strong in my beliefs and have no issue speaking on them when asked. If not wanting to bandy words with those that are militant, racist, facist and/or ignorant is cowardice then you can call me such and I wouldn’t care. 

I say all this as a preface to what comes next. In the last days and months I’ve seen many Facebook posts regarding the Black Lives Matter movement. Today I saw one about a correspondent on Fox News categorizing the entire movement as a ‘hate group’ and ‘murder movement’. And though I’m not surprised by this type of coverage from Fox News, I am surprised at how much hate against the Black Lives Matter movement has been generated. So here’s a combination “Grinds My Gears”/PSA post:

First of all, ALL lives matter.  No one deserves to be beaten, brutalized or murdered. We are all deserving of justice and civility, no matter our socioeconomic status, race or anyone else’s perception of who and what we are.  However, there are those in this vast country that feel and think otherwise. There are those who would deem that Black lives are expendable, disposable and nothing of worth.  This country has seen Blacks ripped from their home countries and shipped across the Middle Passage as chattel. They have been enslaved, raped, beaten, tortured, denigrated, degradated, and had to fight for basic civil rights. From the first day that the first Black person set foot on the soil of this country, they have been deemed less than human and not deserving of the same rights as those who brought them here. Fast forward 150 years after the abolition of slavery, 61 years after the overturning of Plessy vs. Ferguson and 50 years after the enactment of the Voter’s Right Act and still we are called niggers in rants by civil servicemen and lay people alike on Twitter and Facebook. All these years later we as a people are still denegrated and terrorized by those who would and should protect us. 

*As a footnote, I am not speaking of or making a generalization of all peace officers. Just like not all Black males have criminal tendencies and/or backgrounds, not all peace keepers are bigoted, racist or impart injustice on John Q Public. While I absolutely do not condone nor relish in violence against the police, neither do I condone police brutality. Revenge is not an appropriate response to the events of late, it just further widens the gap of racial and social discourse.*

When we consistently and repeatedly see Blacks being accosted and killed just because they are Black, it is no surprise that we have spoken up. When these sad and unnecessary deaths are caught on video and the perpetrators are not held accountable, we speak up. Sadly until you have been accosted, descriminated against, called nigger, black monkey or told “you are so articulate” in a tone that imbides that they are surprised that you have any command of the English language, you’ll never understand why Black lives matter. 

If the power structure was reversed; if history was flip flopped and it was Blacks who enslaved Whites; it was Whites who had to fight and die for the right to vote and send their children to school; if it was Black police officers employing brute force, chokeholds, knees in necks and shooting of unarmed Whites, would you be so critical?  Would you not stand up and say “White Lives Matter”?

  

 

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A Bleeding Chasm: The Racial Divide in America

A Bleeding Chasm: The Racial Divide in America

In Memorium

I’m at a loss. My heart is heavy with despair, grief and unimaginable rage that can’t be contained in words. It’s rare that I speak out publicly on the things that happen in the world, I try to be non-polarizing, even keeled but strong in my personal opinions and faith. Within the confines of my personal relationships I’m very vocal about the things of God, geopolitics and the like. But I’ve kept my opinion to myself for too long and I can no longer with a clear conscious keep it all to myself. Enough is enough and we are tired! I didn’t live through the Civil Rights movement, my mom was a young child at the time but the struggles, the fights, the death and anguish was passed on to me so that I would not forget. We are not so far removed from the abolition of slavery and the Civil Rights movement that we couldn’t easily slip back. I was told that I could be anything I wanted to be, I had the freedom of choice and should be free of fear. And yet I am fearful and I both want and need answers. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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