The Pinocchio Effect

For those of you who have been around for the past three years, you probably know that I am an active tweeter.  I actually have my most recent tweets in the toolbar to the right of the screen, if you’re interested.  (You’re not.  I’m so horribly out of pocket there, you really don’t want any part of it.)  I’m just an interactive girl.  An extrovert.  I love speaking to those who address me regularly.  It’s not uncommon for tweets to become IMs, which become texting, which becomes hanging out.  Three of my CLOSEST friends I’ve made this past year, I met through Twitter.

A week or so ago, a young woman with whom I interacted regularly, was revealed to be a Pinocchio – not a real girl.  She and I weren’t necessarily friends, but we spoke regularly and laughed at one another’s jokes.  When she said that she got married, I congratulated her.  I also congratulated her when she said she was pregnant.  I prayed for her and her unborn when she told me she was going through cancer treatments.  It turns out that whoever was being portrayed in those pictures, was not her.  It’s such an odd feeling of betrayal.  What does one get out of faking an existence?

This past week, someone I interacted with regularly via twitter and IM TOTALLY went off the meter on me.  Since I respond to this person’s messages, as I spent time with my family, they proceeded to harass me not only all evening (during the Saints game), but all night, well into the morning.  I SPECIFICALLY asked that they stop contacting me, and yet they continued to insist that I speak to them.  Each time I shut off an avenue of communication, I discover another nook or cranny I didn’t consider.  In a way, he was a Pinocchio as well, because he existed in a mind state that was not rooted in reality.

I’m a very what-you-see-is-what-you-get type person, so when a person misrepresents who they are, what they want from me, and how they behave, it troubles me greatly.  What those two situations have done, is made me question the way I navigate twitter.  Is the mystery girl someone who still follows me?  It would stand to reason that “she” could be one of the people she regularly tweeted, to lend credence to her existence.  Maybe the person she ACTUALLY is follows me as well.  Do I tweet them regularly?  It makes me worry when it comes to my e-stalker.  Who’s to say that the next person I follow, that attempts to befriend me, isn’t him in disguise.  I do not like being made to feel unsafe.

I joked earlier about having a stalker, but this actually has me low key shook.  When a person misrepresents who they are, you are somewhat defenseless in how to approach them.  It makes me sad, because I’ve met some AMAZING people through Twitter.  But I need to feel secure, and I’m responsible for the security of other people.  I’m hoping that people who attempt to be “creative” with reality, whether it’s lying about who they are, or deluding themselves into something that isn’t, give consideration to the people they impact.  They should also give consideration to the fact that I am currently in the market for a weapon.  I don’t believe in living in fear, so something has got to gie.

Most of all, I hope that those people leave me alone.  Go right ahead and sell crazy somewhere else.  I’m all stocked up.

 

“The truth is…”

There’s a passage I got memorized. Ezekiel 25:17. “The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of the darkness, for he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy My brothers. And you will know I am the Lord when I lay My vengeance upon you.” Now… I been sayin’ that shit for years. And if you ever heard it, that meant your ass. You’d be dead right now. I never gave much thought to what it meant. I just thought it was a cold-blooded thing to say to a motherfucker before I popped a cap in his ass. But I saw some shit this mornin’ made me think twice. See, now I’m thinking: maybe it means you’re the evil man. And I’m the righteous man. And Mr. 9mm here… he’s the shepherd protecting my righteous ass in the valley of darkness. Or it could mean you’re the righteous man and I’m the shepherd and it’s the world that’s evil and selfish. And I’d like that. But that shit ain’t the truth. The truth is you’re the weak. And I’m the tyranny of evil men. But I’m tryin’, Ringo. I’m tryin’ real hard to be the shepherd.

– Jules Winnfield “Pulp Fiction”

Want to hear a secret?

I’m amazing.  This is fact.  I don’t fully understand it myself.  There’s this tiny bit of magic inside of me that you just don’t find elsewhere, and I’ve always had it.  Put me anywhere on God’s green earth, and I can make a friend.  Not even the language barrier can stop me.  It’s a gift. Life can be so weird and funky, I just really want to be a good person.  That’s really all I get out of it.  And I recover from anything.  Anything?  Anything.  I love that part of myself.  I’ve rebuilt my life more times than most would believe to be humanly possible, and I do it with a smile.  Again, it’s a gift, and I consider myself honored to have it.  I really haven’t done anything to deserve it.  But I am discernibly one of a kind.

But I’m not a sprightly do-gooder fairy.  I’m human.  As the song says, “I’ve got headaches, and toothaches and bad times too.”  I get angry, annoyed, on rare occasion, even jealous.  Some days, I just fucking feel helpless.  I’m okay with being flawed, since I do everything I can not to allow them to overtake me. Despite my determination, some days I just kind of crack a little bit.  I’m always embarrassed when it happens, not because I don’t believe that I’m entitled to feel, but melting down won’t change anything.  Sometimes I just feel the weight of the expectation that I’ll be okay.  It almost feels that people do really see me, as Hurston put it, as a mule of the world.  People heap things upon me, and just assume I’ll carry it, because that’s I always do.  I had to end an extraordinarily toxic relationship for this very reason.  After ascending to heights of narcissism and and callousness that would make eagles envious, the offender said, something to indicate that we’d soon be back to our old selves again.  Loosely translated, “You’ll get over it.”

And they were positively right.  But that doesn’t mean I didn’t politely tell them to go fuck themselves.  Because, I’m okay with my stress fractures.  I wear them like badges. But I’m not now, nor will I ever be in the business of allowing myself to be tested, simply because YOU believe I can handle it.  I’ve come to the conclusion that the weak enjoy testing the strong.  The false power that comes with taking people down a peg or two placates a certain type of person.  No fucking gracias.  That goes for “any muthafuckin contender.” (c. Masta Killa)

Now let me take this tyrrany on the road and bring my cubs home.

Uncivil

“There’s like a civil war goin on with black people and there two sides – there’s black people, and there’s niggas.”
– Chris Rock “Bring the Pain

“Everybody wanna be a nigga, don’t nobody wanna be a nigga.”
– Paul Mooney “Chappelle’s Show”

“All the while, I thought I liked chicken because it was delicious.  It turns out, I am genetically predisposed to liking chicken.”
– Dave Chappelle “Killin Them Softly”

“Dear black people who go out of their way to not like watermelon, chicken and Kool aid:  Shut up.”
– Me Twitter

I love being black.  I like my buckshots, and having a donk (plush posterior for those not in the know) and bodacious soup coolers.  If by some flip of the coin, I were born a black woman with silken locs, a flat booty and thin lips, I would still love my blackness.  For me, being black is simply another part of who I am, whether I fit into the perceived norms or not.  One of the things that I love about being black in this day and age, is the realization that there is no NORM of blackness.  My father preferred Yes and Little Feat over 70s R&B.  My mother passed away, despite growing up in the deep south, without ever having sampled chitlins.*  My sisters and I were raised to embrace diversity, and had friends of all races.  Despite having to grasp for black and/or female role models in the media, I grew up being a black child that was happy to be black.  Being black was natural, normal and not something requiring explanation.

So Friday, while reading The Champ’s latest post at Very Smart Brothas, I found a very funny, tongue in cheek piece about certain bits of black Americana that The Champ just didn’t get.  It’s hard for me to not enjoy a blog post, because at the end of the day, it’s one person’s opinion on things in life that are totally matters of opinion.  I can’t chide anyone for not liking “Love Jones.”  You speak a language that I don’t understand I’m sure, but if you don’t get it, that’s you. I still haven’t seen Menace II Society in it’s entirety. Everybody’s got something.

What started out as a funny, tongue in cheek commentary on unappreciated rites of passage, became a bunch of folks trying to out-pegro** one another.  Of course some of the comments were funny, some of them were interesting, and then some of them were laundry lists of how un-black they were that was just plain sad.  Some of these comments made me wonder, “Who was your mama?”  One commenter listed, as proof of her un-blackness, that she was neither overweight nor angry.

Word?  Who yo people is?

I officially lost it when someone stated that they not only hated Kool Aid, but they preferred Tang. TANG?  First of all, the name of it is “Tang!”  Second, it tastes like giraffe piss after an Orange Kool Aid Bender.  Third, the first ingredient is sugar, so it’s not for health reasons. Finally, do you know people use that crap to clean out their dishwashers?  So I got real angry, and I went on a Twitter rant. Because:

1)  I am hard pressed to believe that you can be a living soul and not like chicken, watermelon, AND Kool Aid.  You might not roll with all three, but you at LEAST fist pump for one of them, even if you don’t actively consume them.  (I haven’t purchased Kool-Aid in at least six months, but if it’s in your fridge and I’m there, your stash is getting effed in the A.)

2) Who gives a damn?

Part of this, of course, stems from the compulsive desire to combat stereotypes.  We have to prove to the man that he ain’t massa no mo.  It’s not enough to just live our lives and say to hell with ignorant preconceived notions.  No, we have to validate and qualify.  Several people went on a tirade over their disdain for chitlins.  I find chitlins the biggest non-issue in the country.  I have never been at a family gathering (and I’ve been at plenty) where there was a pot of chitlins.  No small Tupperware bowls, no wayward cousin in the corner eating his chitlins in shame.  Rebuking chitlins as a benchmark for blackness is about as relevant as declaring your refusal to pick cotton for free.  It’s a non-issue.   After listening to my rant, My brother in blog said it best:

“[They] think avoiding that…will give them some extra favor.  Barack is Ivy League, articulate, smart, fit, a great husband and father, worships God.  He’s still a terrorist socialist, out to steal their grandparents and exterminate them.  If a white person is judging you fairly it don’t matter if you drink kool aid or not; for racist bastards it don’t matter either way.”

I will go on record and say that if you are a meat eating human, (and by meat, I mean turkey, beef, lamb, frog legs etc.), you’re a knucklehead.  Because you’re not doing it out of preference.  You’re doing it out of some borderline self hating desire to be the premiere anti-black Black.  Your stance is stupid as a person who says black people don’t swim and we all have bad credit.  You’re still feeding into the stereotype.  It’s ugly, and it looks bad; not to white people.  It looks bad to me – your sister – who sees this as the behavior of the lost.

I’m frustrated with the nonstop potshots we take at others to prove we’re “not those kind of black people.”  So what if we are.  This civil war has become quite uncivilized, because in the end, who gets to decide who has the “nigga” mantle?  Who gets to decide who the “niggas” are?  The “Talented Tenth?”  Bill Cosby?  What happens when certain individuals who consider themselves black intellectuals, come up lacking?  Is there are revolt when they are left out?  It sounds ridiculous, because it is ridiculous.  There are certain social issues that plague the black community that must be addressed:  Lack of opportunity; substandard education; personal safety.  I have yet to hear of a half eaten bowl of chitlins being found at a crime scene; bullets though?  Tons of those.  Let’s get on that.  Let’s talk about how easy it is to get a gun in the hood.  Or even how easy it is for a neighborhood to go from thriving hub for black folks, to abject ghetto that we are run out of for fear of our lives, to gentrified paradise that we can’t afford.  Let’s go in on THAT SHIT.

Let’s all get along and put these verbal weapons of civil war away.  Let’s all band together, pegro and hood rat, locs and lace fronts, country bumpkins and concrete jungleites, and just accept each other as black folk.  The statement “We’ve got to do better” isn’t just for ghetto people.  No one is exempt from being part of the problem, once their attitudes have become sour and excessively judgmental.

My black is beautiful.  So is yours.

*I can’t bring myself to spell “chitterlings.”  It just looks dumb to me, and I feel spelling the word properly is giving it an undeserved dignity.

** “Pegro” = pretentious negro

Open Letter

Dear Dr. Laura:

Forgive me if I seem discombobulated.  See, I heard your name mentioned in current, and seemingly relevant, conversation, so I thought I’d slipped into a time warp. At lunch this past Saturday, Cynthia said it best, when she asked, “Is this the 90s? Why the hell am I hearing and saying Dr. Laura’s name?”  This is officially getting old.  Is there a great meeting of forgotten white celebrities that hash out how they’ll scam themselves back into relevance?  Is there a great wheel that you spin with options such as “Pose Nude,” “Go to Rehab,” “Adopt a Minority PR Wet Dream Infant?”  So I would imagine that you, like Michael Richards and Mel Gibson, hit the “Racist Asshole” bonanza.  You were rude, you were dismissive, and yes, you were racist.  Let’s not lose that in translation.

I’ll be frank here: when a person above the age of 40 makes ignorant, “I miss the days of yore” type statments, I don’t expect it, but I am not surprised.  Part of this is because you come from a different time; a time where life thrived on exclusion.  We had no idea about other races and cultures, because life was conducive to people living in little enclaves that only included people of their own class and culture.  I don’t see that type of thing as telling.

What was telling, however, was your reaction and curt non-apology.  Your deliberate tone punctuated your statement with, “Happy now niggers?”  Yeah.  We all heard it.

So now you have decided to not renew your contract at the end of the year, because you want to, “regain my First Amendment rights.” To say nigger?  Color me confused again.  According to your non-apology, you were wrong, but you told Larry King that you were a victim of hate groups and you did not want to live in fear.  Okay…I’ll speak to you in terms you understand:

N-word 101 for Dr. Laura (Pardon me.  Every time I say your name in the 21st century, I have to check my Beta Max for the time. )

Though I doubt very seriously any interest group has threatened you, I can safely say that uttering the n-word any time after, let’s say 1972 may not guarantee you getting a mudhole stomped in your bony posterior, but it makes it a distinct possibility.  Black people don’t like white people saying that word.  Ever.  It’s not for you to decide that you would like to use it.  WHY do you want to use it?  (This goes for every white person that wonders why they can’t use it.  Do you think it tastes like raspberry gelato on your tongue?  It doesn’t.)  I say that you aren’t fearful enough.  If you knew like I know, you would not have dropped the n-bomb in the first place.

Additionally Doc, what you did was either wrong, or it wasn’t.  So you can’t say out of one side of your mouth that it was wrong, then out of the other, cry censorship and blame hate groups.  You, my dear, are the one who used hate speech.  You are the one who told the caller, who revered and respected you enough to go to you for advice, that bristling under her husband’s friends’ hate speech was her being hypersensitive.  But here’s where you are right:  we do NOT want to debate you.  As the great Negro philosopher Sean Carter once said, “A wise man told me don’t argue with fools/’Cause people from a distance can’t tell who’s who.”  We want your variety of ignorance eliminated — eradicated either.  There is no place for you.

So to you and your non-apology, I extend to you your much desired freedom.  The freedom to suck it, and kiss my EN-TIRE ass.  NOBODY’S FOOLING WITH YOU ANYWAY!

Okay, Now You’re Just Trying to Play Me

I don’t view every first as a heralded milestone.  For example, though I was not vehemently angered by 3-6 Mafia being able to place “Oscar Winning Group” in front of their name, I did not see it as a great moment in black or hip hop history.  “Fight the Power” could have just as easily been such a first over twenty years ago.  There are some things that really just fall under the category of us being fucked with.  (I see you “Precious.”)

The latest example is Milwaukee’s Ieshuh Griffin. She is an independent candidate for the Wisconsin state assembly, and she wants all and sundry to know that she’s not the white man’s bitch.  Even after TOTALLY ignoring her Rapunzel weave with the blonde streak in the front, I was still annoyed.  I believe that she is trying to make a statement, and she is standing on the platform of free speech.  Fine.  It will get her some notoriety, I’m sure some votes, and she will no doubt gain national attention.  In this day and age of fame whorism, my annoyance with her can go only but so far.

There was a complaint filed pertaining to profanity being used on a ballot.  Watching the panelists reviewing her case made me want to throw up.  The video linked includes two white guys heartily professing that there is nothing wrong with her using the term “not the white man’s bitch” because it is only portraying that she is standing her own ground politically.  I mean, “unbought and unbossed” had already been done, right? There are a million ways a person can express independence and free speech.  But I find it absolutely ridiculous for her to claim, and for three panelists to concur, that this was neither racially motivated, nor offensive.

When we talk about upholding free speech, it is a slippery slope in either direction, but this is NOT a landmark victory in the case of equality.  Even if she wins on such a platform, as my DC folks would say, she’s a bamma, and she ran on a bamma platform, so guess who’ll vote for her?  That’s right.  She’s the premier independent bamma.  I’m sure she is priding herself on standing her ground, and she had quite obviously done her homework pertaining to her rights to choose her slogan terminology.  But this is so misguided.  From the perspective of a citizen, grandstanding of this nature shows a selfishness that, though prevalent in public office, rightfully has no place there.

Gays have had to jump through hurdles to attain basic human rights, women’s bodies are still viewed as chattel, and the safety of our children is in ever-increasing peril; but rest easy, Ieshuh’s freedom of speech is in tact.  Would we be so cool with this if a former white prostitute ran under the slogan, “Not the black man’s ho?”  I’d be the first one in line to punch her in the boob.  Because she’s a moron.  Politics has become the game of idolizing the wacky, rather than electing the candidate who gets results.  It is this EXACT mentality that has made Sarah Palin a “respected” political voice.

I will be the first to say that  Palin is a much more dangerous force.  Even if Griffin wins, she quite probably will not go farther than her home state, whereas Palin has the political machine and right wing agenda in her arsenal.  Yet, I can’t help but think that people have lost sight of what is important: a functioning government.  Griffin did not get the required votes needed to allow her to use her slogan (she needed four, she got three), so she is taking it to the federal level, and is requesting that the election be delayed until then.  Damn a functioning government, this is the Ieshuh show, the right wing show, the paranoid left tapdance show, the Palin show. They each seemed to forget that point of public office is to be a servant to the people.

Everyone is trying to be shocking so as to incite revolution.  The revolution has been reduced to sound bytes without context and hidden agendas.  There’s posturing and proselytizing.  We’ve got left wingers, right wingers, and independents and they’re armed with laptops, blogs, radio shows and Twitter accounts.  The revolution has EVERYTHING.

Except true revolutionaries.

Big Black Dick

Unless you have been under four rocks, a building and an opera singer’s bosom, you’ve heard about Mel Gibson’s latest racist rant.   In a recent argument with his baby mama (whose name I have no interest in attempting to spell, despite the fact that I could have copied and pasted her name in less time than it took to write this), Mr. Gibson gifted us with this gem:

“You look like a f***ing pig in heat.  And if you get raped by a pack of n***ers, it will be your fault.”

There is a part of me that wants to give it a standing ovation.  I always love when people tell folks how they really feel.  Outstanding.  A random tweeter said that Mel actually went for a two-fer if you consider the pork reference, but that is neither here nor there.  On it’s face, Mel is a racist asshole that thinks black males rove in packs in search of white women to violate.  This is quite compelling, because Mel is quite obviously racist, an asshole, and we’ll throw in nutty as squirrel shit for good measure.  But it goes deeper than that.  Mel is a desperate man.  He is not only losing his relevance and credibility in Hollywood, but he is now losing his new family.  You know.  The one he left his wife for.

Mel’s rant over the “pack of niggers” does not rest solely on the shoulders of his bigotry. It is also attributable to the fact that he KNOWS what he had on his hands.  A woman who was perfectly fine with being impregnated by a douchebag in a long term marriage with several kids.  Apparently, he’s never heard the term, “You can’t turn a ho into a housewife.”  It’s not that he had the sudden epiphany that she was a skank, it’s just no longer convenient for him, so he chooses to take issue with it.  It’s not about black men and rape.  He fears she is one fuck away from having his precious child in cornrows and a dashiki.  He doesn’t believe she will be Mystikaled.  He believes she’ll be Jack Johnsoned.  And therein lies the problem.

It’s 2010, and the black penis is still the Boogey Man.  I’ve heard sportscasters make jokes about going into the NBA locker room.  Speaking of the NBA, in the case of Kobe Bryant, a woman, by all appearances, falsely cried rape, and the big black dick jokes surfaced.  Kim Kardashian was branded a whore for having video evidence of taking her boyfriend’s – not jump off, not random party guy, not stranger – big black dick.  No one can convince me that she would have received the same backlash if her companion was white.  The preoccupation with black male sexuality does not border on obsession – it’s baptized in it.

When we as a society discuss the problem with black women and the HIV/AIDS crisis, before we put the weight on women to have protected sex or not share needles, we scream “DOWN LOW BROTHERS.”  Though men of any race can be gay and in the closet, here, the offenders blackness is understood.  So, these gay men and their big black dicks are sticking them in innocent black women and killing them with reckless abandon.  As a society, when we discuss man sharing in the black community, we don’t bring up women who do this knowingly, or at the very least, ignore all the obvious signs.  We scream that men are dogs who are compelled to put their big black dicks everywhere.

If gone unchecked, one could surmise that the big black dick:

  • makes one a smooth president
  • can cause any argument
  • can end any argument
  • is responsible for all of the ills in the black family, and therefore, the black community
  • will try to rape you in prison
  • will try to rape you out of prison
  • can not wait to find itself a white woman
  • killed and hid Jimmy Hoffa.

Bad judgement, characters and decisions transcend race, gender and social status.  There are some offending dicks of all races.  There are offending dicks of all sizes.  Not every black dick is laying in wait for unsavory activity.  And please do not take my tongue in cheek writing to mean that I am glossing over the danger caused by this line of thinking.  Black men have had their humanity stripped away from their genitals since we were brought to this country. Additionally, the demonization of one group in the way of blanket statements covering all and in only looking at one party when others are equally culpable, is unconscionable.  I don’t have the answers to this, but for my part, I’m taking it upon myself to look at the big picture, rather than just the tiny Viewmaster version.

Train Stops, Overhauls, and Other Stuff

I’m on my hamster wheel with one leg.  I hate being in flux.  I haven’t felt this off since my Saturn’s Return.  I’m not going through quarter life crisis.  I’m not going through mid-life crisis.  Third-life crisis?  I’m supposed to be somewhere else.  I can feel it.  I have no fucking clue where that somewhere is.  I have been battling for a silent moment lately.  If there was a spiraling toilet ride at an amusement park in hell, I’d be stuck on it.

I feel overwhelmed.  I’ve felt overwhelmed for months.  I’ve had no direction for months.  Mental constipation is so not the business.  This snow situation has me so frustrated I could take a crap in the middle of a board meeting.  I have only been outside to shovel show.  I have much more to shovel, yet my back hurt so damn bad, I couldn’t do it today.  It makes me question moving to a place where I have no family around me.  I know when the Spring comes, I’ll be over this, but right now, I’m so verklempt.

This bothers me because I’m a mover.  I’m a shaker.  When shit gets rough, I shake it off and devise a new plan.  There is no plan.  Trying to carve one out gives me a headache.  There’s a lump that’s sat in my chest for God knows how long, and I have no clue to get it out. It just weighs on me.

My boys won the Super Bowl last night, and of course I have a post coming about that.  But in this moment, I want to sit in a corner, put my feet over my shoulder and cry.  Until my throat hurts and the tears run out.  I want to cry because I’m not sure why the hell I’m crying.  My heart says go to counseling, and I think it would be helpful, but where the fuck am I supposed to find the time?  I had a conversation with my HR manager pertaining to my career path, and the end result was me going back to school.  That encourages me, but how the fuck do I do that.  The thought of incurring more student loan debt is frustrating.  Trying to find the time is frustrating.  Being frustrated is frustrating! ARGH!

And I’m getting fatter.  The more depressed I get about my weight, the more discouraged I get and the more I eat.  It literally makes me want to cry.  It literally makes me cry.  I’m overwhelmed, but I must be focused.