“Most black girls don’t have pretty hair like you do.”

– An actual thing that was said to me by a white woman while I was working.

I’ve been dealing with a lot of racism at work lately. A crazy customer called me a “black bitch” when I told him he needed to put a shirt on to come in the store. Another man proclaimed me beautiful and proceeded to tell me how I was “descended from African queens” because they only chose the best of the best (meaning royalty) to bring over as slaves. I cut off his delusional rambling, saying, “No, I’m pretty sure they just grabbed whoever they saw.” But he kept insisting.

Then there was that first lady with her backhanded “compliment,” who even had the nerve to ask me if my hair was real (invasive question btw)–as if she couldn’t believe something beautiful could actually be mine. I relayed this story to a mixed coworker, thinking she would sympathize, but she scoffed, “You’re not black.” This coming from a girl who’s lighter than me!

Over time, all these seemingly little comments and microagressions can build up into a bigger picture of racism that starts to take a toll on our mental health. That one comment left me reeling, like, Wow, this is really the way white people think. This is how they see us–as different, other, all one mass. Ugly, unless we happen to have some trait they deem desirable, like long curly hair or light skin. Suddenly I was spiralling, recalling every racist comment that had been said to me recently, of which there were quite a few. It took me a week just to be able to articulate what I was feeling into this post.

Add to that the fact that this is a battle most of us have to fight alone, carrying these horrible comments around in our heads forever.

Subtle racism; it’s hard to pin it

Cuz you’d only understand if you were me for just a minute

-Childish Gambino

I can write about it all day to raise awareness of what we go through and how terrible it is–and yes, it’s an important and worthwhile endeavor because maybe I’ll educate someone as I vent. Win-win. But fact is, people already know racism exists. I want to take action. I want to fight back. I want to DO something.

So I made a playlist of songs from the perspective of black girls with relevant social commentary–hoping that somewhere, someone like me might find it, listen to it, and feel uplifted. This is my humble but heartfelt offering to help my fellow black girls combat all the negativity we face when out in the world, both from racist white people and uneducated members of our own.

Advertisements

Weird Weekend Thrift Finds

Me and my best friend went thrifting in Joplin this weekend for her birthday. Strange celebration, I know, but we’re both thrifting fiends. In fact, we even ended up reaching for the same items a couple times (whoops).

But for every great thrift find, there lurks another weird, strange, cringey one around the corner. In the spirit of the Tumblr I follow that’s all about the awful, here you go:

20180526_133445
I sincerely hope this was a gift for a couple who was trying to conceive because I can think of no other context for it. If so, the fact it’s been donated has some sad implications.
20180526_134210
Someone thought their pun was so hilarious they took the time to hand-letter it onto a shirt. Being a runner, I immediately bought it.
20180526_162604
#judgingyou #donttalktomeormydaughtereveragain

Quick Thoughts on KOD

sixmau-j-cole-1524081746-640x634

I finally got around to listening to KOD (J Cole’s new album), and my main gripe with it is it doesn’t sufficiently answer the question posed at the beginning of the album and repeated throughout: “Life can bring much pain. There are many ways to deal with this pain–choose wisely.”

He made that the motif, yet he never really talks about what those choices are beyond the obvious ones. He lists off a bunch of drugs at the end of KOD and talks about his mom’s alcoholism on Once an Addict, but the only other “way” he mentions is “meditation” on FRIENDS. Maybe he meant meditation metaphorically, not literally–as in we need to address the root of the trauma and not just treat the symptoms (something that’s not always possible). But if we assume he meant it literally…

The ways in which people cope are as diverse as they are. Some are healthy, some are not. I personally use running and creativity as outlets (among others), so I don’t think you can reduce the issue down to either drugs or meditation. To do so would be oversimplification, creating a false dilemma. You can’t just tell everyone they need to “meditate, not medicate,” because some people NEED medication, or therapy, or help … and you know what, THAT’S OKAY. We need to stop making it something to be ashamed of. Our society takes individualism to an unhealthy extreme, to the point where we’re scared to ask for help or even talk about our mental health openly for fear of being ridiculed.

Instead of trying to make generalizations about which methods are good or bad, I think Cole should stick to letting people choose what’s best for themselves without piling on the judgement. While I generally agree with his message (we should try to use less substances and find a healthier way), I also understand that this doesn’t work for everyone–which is why I think weed, etc., should be legal. Though I personally don’t partake, I still respect others’ right to have the option. Also, there’s a big difference between regulating substances or using them in moderation and abusing them.

I feel like Cole is the complete wrong spokesperson since he admits to smoking medical grade marijuana he wasn’t prescribed on the same track, making him a hypocrite with no better alternative to offer us. But on the other hand, I totally agree with the points he made about how it sucks not having a say what our tax dollars go towards, and that trauma is often buried and ignored among black families and communities instead of being dealt with in a healthy way.

Thoughts?

10 Albums

Recently I saw my friend participating in a tag on Facebook where you post one album a day for 10 days, then tag someone else to do the same. The idea is that they’re formative albums you find yourself returning to again and again, but the twist is that you can’t post an explanation of any kind. I assume this was meant to generate curiosity as to why your friend loved them so you’d then go and listen for yourself. I kind of like the idea of stating your favorites and letting people make their own judgments.

I wasn’t tagged but it seemed like a fun exercise, and was made even more challenging by the fact that I’m not an “album person.” It’s very rare that I’ll play a whole album in its entirety, so overall listenability was a crucial factor, but anyway, here’s 10 projects I loved from start to finish:

 

Thoughts on Pacific Rim 2 & The Weeknd’s New Album

I went to see Pacific Rim 2 this weekend. I know, judge me. What 24-year-old in the world cares enough about giant robots battling giant monsters to watch a whole movie about it? I do. Me, me, me! It may come as a surprise, but I kind of have a history with monster flicks. My dad used to have all the Godzilla movies on regular rotation–and I’m talking retro Godzilla, where he’s in black and white and smashing replicas of towns and power lines, and the English is dubbed over the Japanese so their mouths never line up right.

dfbdf926ffa68f9516400e511b1f46fe-1000

Continue reading “Thoughts on Pacific Rim 2 & The Weeknd’s New Album”

Ugly Customers

I don’t mean ugly as in physically, but ugly in the way they treat people. Some customers come to you with a chip on their shoulder, already bitter and angry and just looking for someone to take it out on. It happened to me just this morning: a lady stepped up and before I could even say hello, ask how she was, or scan her items, she snapped, “I didn’t know [gas station] workers were allowed to be on their phones.” Continue reading “Ugly Customers”