A Glimpse Into My Life

See it through my eyes & understand me a little more

Monthly Archives: November 2010

This Is A Man’s World

Today on Twitter, I went on a mini-rant after I remembered an encounter I had with a young man yesterday. For the record, I currently work in retail to pay the bills so I’m used to assumptions being made about the level of education I possess. However, there was something this young man said that rubbed me the wrong way and his attitude did little to help the situation. During the “discussion,” he told me that if I got a degree, I wouldn’t have a problem finding a job because I’m a woman. Let’s momentarily forget that the country is in a recession and the unemployment rate for Blacks is almost twice that of the overall unemployment rate (15.7 percent to 9.8 percent) source.

According to this guy, holding all things equal, I would find a job in my field easily before he found one in his. There may be some truth to this statement (although in my experience, I’d still call this bull) but I was completely offended when I realized a few things:

  1. I told him I had my degree. He exercised his “right” to ignore me.
  2. He gave sexual harassment the ok (whether he realized it or not).
  3. He told me I was like the “BINGO!” in the field because I’m Black AND a woman.

Cue dramatic eye-roll here.

I’m the first to admit that racial and ethnic minorities face systemic and systematic discrimination that could possibly make it harder for us to earn a living and lead happier lives. But to simply say that I have a better shot at a job because I’m both Black and woman denies the truth of my everyday existence. As a woman who happens to be Black, there may be instances where I’m denied a position or opportunity and I have to ask myself, “Is it because I’m Black?” OR “Is it because I’m a woman?” OR “Is it because I’m a Black woman?”

After sharing my experience on Twitter, I made a comment where I asked the question:

“When will men admit that many of them only view women as objects to further their own personal agendas? I mean, once we get there, we can REALLY start to build ourselves up. It would also save many from being cussed out.”

This tweet led to exchanging comments/thoughts with two followers/friends. Both of them happened to be Black males (there was an interesting discussion and a brilliant idea born of this). While I understand that they was an offensive tone in my statement and the qualifiers that I used/didn’t use, I simply wanted Black men to understand that there are certain privileges that they enjoy because they are male.

Women in the workplace are subject to non-affirming behaviors every day. It could be the simple mistake of a visitor asking a woman who holds some power in her company to fetch them coffee. It happens in meetings when statements are made and people gloss over them ONLY to praise the male coworker who says the same thing. It happens when our work is stolen and our names are removed from the product. It happens when comments are made that are sexually harassing but nothing is done when it is reported OR we’re told not to report it because it could damage the credibility of the men in the office. We’re not affirmed when people laugh off or chuckle at our credentials. We’re not affirmed when we’re given 3rd author on a project that we’ve done a large bulk of the work for. We’re not affirmed when we’re asked to quiet down or change our behavior in such a way that leads to our male counterparts being more comfortable with their own ability.

For me, the discussion with the man in the mall, and the questions/comments that I received, point to a larger problem within our community. There are assumptions made about the status of women in this country and because of our background and history, some Black men seem to feel their behaviors don’t maintain the idea that women are lesser beings when they do. To me, this is sad. At the end of the day, this isn’t even about feminism and equal treatment and shit like that.

It’s about affirming women and our abilities for the betterment of us all.

Miss C. Jayne’s Bookshelf

In an effort to preserve my sanity, I’ve taken to repeating some old habits. My schedule (during any given week) is filled with work. Some weeks, I work close to 40 hours (not bad) and others, well, I have to schedule sleep. What I’ve realized during my long commute home is that reading has provided me with the vacation that I long for, yet can’t afford.

It’s absolutely nice.

But why reading?

We push for literacy within children, youth, and young adults and we often overlook ourselves. Recognizing that many of the people I associate with also see this as an enjoyable past-time, I’ve decided to “review” books that I’ve read. Noticing that many find it hard to disconnect themselves from the internet, I hope that this leads to some people picking up a book just to enjoy it.

I welcome recommendations for titles and comments from those of you who read this blog as well.

Christmas Wish List Item 1: Regular Problems

I know…I know. I’ve said it before but I’m going to say it again!

I WANT REGULAR PROBLEMS!!!

Today was a day unlike any other and because the Universe gave me hell from 5:30 am until about 5:15 pm, I’ll just tell of my Morning Mess (inhale, exhale, and get ready to laugh).

Today, I had to go to a local company that employs a large number of people. Since I’ve been home, I’ve tried relentlessly to locate a full-time and salaried position in my field doing what I love to do that doesn’t leave children in 3rd World Countries sleeping near open sewers.

And that seems to be too much to ask.

Anyway, after being un-employed and under-employed for so long, I FINALLY broke down and went to the one place that was sure to give me a job…in August. Yeah, that’s right — August. Anyway, it’s November and I’m still trying to get in there. Which is why I woke up before the cock crowed on today.

You know…I felt amazing to say I was functioning on 3 hours of sleep! Honestly I did. I got up and got ready. While I was ironing my shirt, the dang iron decided to burn a hole in it. Seems that little knob for the setting is useless and/or someone broke it and replaced it haphazardly. I should have known then the day was going to be “less than pleasant” seeing as I was wearing my LUCKY Shirt. RIP Lucky Shirt.

So, I switch out the shirt and iron a second one with no problems (thank goodness) and walk out of my door to catch the 6:23 bus. That’s right. I had to catch a bus at 6:23 am. In the rain. In the dark rain. But whatevs. I really didn’t have a problem there. No! I didn’t have a problem UNTIL this lady got on the bus and started yelling some compliments TO my bag. She said that it was bright which was great for a gloomy day like today and all I wanted was peace and quiet while I figured out if I could afford a Breakfast Meal at McDonald’s AND bus fare for the rest of the week. The woman got on the bus around 6:39 am. Sat next to me the ENTIRE time talking about my bag AND when it was finally my stop, she didn’t want to move.

She said we were friends (cue up migraine) and that we had “more to discuss.” Um…it’s 7:27 am (did I mention that bus ride was an hour long?). It’s too damn early to be making friends and discussing things (inhale, exhale). But it gets better…

and by better, I mean, it’s get LOL-funny.

Now, when I stood up to get off of the bus, it was drizzling. The MOMENT I step off of the bus, it began to downpour. I think the Lady I sat next to was a witch or something because my umbrella wouldn’t open. It continued to downpour until the umbrella opened. By that time, I was soaked to my knees and I’m sure my shoes are ruined. I just bought them on Saturday.

Anyway, I walk to Canal Street and the nearest McDonald’s because I can, in fact, afford a breakfast meal (YAY) but the line was out the damn door (awwww). So, I kept walking to my destination. All 6 blocks. I got splashed when a truck turned the corner too fast (insert obscenity here) but I finally made it and with MINUTES to spare. HOLLA!

But then I opened my bag to pull out the necessary documents for this whatever-they-called-the-thing-I-went-to-today and they were SOAKING WET. This is how I felt:

 

But then they told me that it wasn’t a problem. I’m not sure if it was the agony in my voice or the pain in my face or the tears in my eyes…whatever. She said I didn’t have to fill out another fifty-leven-hunnid page form. And everyone lived to see another day!

Okay…that was dramatic. Sorry.

Anyway, I sit down to type in my info and I’m told, “Oh, you can’t submit your app today. You must call John, Paul, that 17th Apostle we never hear about, AND the IRS. They wanna know why you’ve never filed taxes in Louisiana.

In my head, I only heard, “You woke up at 5:15-ish in the morning and burned a hole in your lucky shirt and got rained on FOR NOTHING!!!!”

Then I left. I walked back to McDonald’s. There was no line…but there was a suspicious homeless looking dude sitting off to the side of the counter. Now, I order my food and I step to the side to wait. They put my heartburn-inducing-but-oh-so-delicious Orange Juice on the counter and some random dude off to the side gets excited because he thinks McDonald’s gave him an extra orange juice. I was like, “Sir…Sir! Give me my damn juice” (go ahead and laugh at that). As I turn around to the counter, I see the chick signal to me, “This is your food I’m placing on the counter” and I step closer to pick up my order.

The homeless man sitting off to the side runs up to the counter and snatches MY food off of it. So, I hit him with an umbrella and yelled, “Not today!” Because…I really would have cried if he took my food.

I was hungry. My shoes were wet (still). My feet and legs were cold. AND THAT WAS BUS FARE!!!!

But when I hit him, he dropped my food and I caught the bag of food (while dropping my brightly colored bag and orange juice).

You win some and you lose some, right? Right.

I mean, this was after some dude in the bank tried to steal two of my quarters out of a fresh roll of quarters. The same rolls that are hard as hell to open but popped open when I didn’t catch them and they hit the counter (blinks).

Whatever.

I ended my morning with a trip to the library which resulted in three awkward conversations about why I’m single, my library card not working because my PIN was wrong, and some lady saying she knew me because I slept with her man. She had to be about 47. She definitely had the wrong person. By 11 am, I was done with November 15, 2010.

And then at dinner, I got pasta in my eye. *deep sigh*

I just want regular problems.

Things Black Girls Do

Things Black Girls Do!

 The number one trending topic on Twitter (as of 11:00 am) has finally caught my attention. What’s “unique” about this trending topic is that it comes on the heels of BET’s airing its first “Black Girls Rock” recognition/awards show. It was really good, from what I could tell after watching 16 minutes of the Encore presentation and 3 YouTube videos. So! Imagine my excitement when I saw “Things Black Girls Do” trending on Twitter (in my defense, I follow some really conscious and positive people, so I saw the nice stuff first). Then came the complaints and then I saw the tweets that didn’t leave us in too positive of a light.

So I’m here to shed some light on what Black Girls Do, Have Done, and Will Continue To Do…because lots of folks are confused.

 Black Girls Start Movements

Meet Claudette Colvin. In 1955 Colvin was a student at Booker T. Washington High School in Montgomery. Colvin was returning from school on March 2, 1955 when she got on a Capital Heights bus downtown (at the same place Parks boarded another bus nine months later). Colvin’s family did own a car, but she relied on the city’s buses to get to school. When a white women got on the bus and was standing the bus driver ordered her along with two other black passengers to get up. She refused and was removed from the bus and arrested by two police officers. She refused to give up her seat and has been quoted as saying, “spirit of Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth was in me. I didn’t get up.” Colvin was handcuffed, arrested and forcibly removed from the bus. She shouted that her constitutional rights were being violated. Although this case preceded Rosa Parks’ refusal by nine months, controversy surrounding Colvin’s image halted the NAACP from proceeding with the case. (Source; Source)

 Black Girls Carry Movements on Their Backs with Minimal Recognition

 Say “Hi!” to Elaine Brown. Elaine Brown (born March 2, 1943 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is an American prison activist, writer, and singer; she is a former chairperson of the Black Panther Party. Brown briefly ran for the Green Party presidential nomination in 2008. She currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia, and is a founder of Mothers Advocating Juvenile Justice. In 1968, Brown joined the Black Panther Party as a rank-and-file member, studying revolutionary literature, selling Black Panther Party newspapers, and cleaning guns, among other tasks. Brown soon helped the Party set up its first Free Breakfast for Children program in Los Angeles, as well as the Party’s initial Free Busing to Prisons Program and Free Legal Aid Program. When Newton fled to Cuba in 1974 in the face of murder charges, he appointed Brown as his replacement. The first woman Chairman of the party, Elaine Brown was the Chairman of the Black Panther Party from 1974 until 1977. During Brown’s leadership of the Black Panther Party, she focused on electoral politics and community service. In 1977, she managed Lionel Wilson’s victorious campaign to become Oakland’s first black mayor. Also, Brown developed the Panther’s Liberation School, which was recognized by the state of California as a model school. Brown stepped down from Chairwoman of the Black Panther Party less than a year after Newton’s return from Cuba in 1977 when Newton condoned the beating of Regina Davis, the administrator of the Panther Liberation School. This incident was the point at which Brown could no longer tolerate the sexism and patriarchy of the Black Panther Party (A Taste of Power, p. 444). (Source)

Black Girls Beat the Odds

 Wilma Rudolph was born prematurely at 4.5 lbs., with 21 brothers and sisters, and caught infantile paralysis (caused by the polio virus) as a very young child. She recovered, but wore a brace on her left leg and foot which had become twisted as a result. By the time she was twelve years old, she had also survived scarlet fever, whooping-cough, chickenpox and measles. Her family drove her regularly from Clarksville, Tennessee to Nashville, Tennessee for treatments to straighten her twisted leg. In 1952, 12-year-old Wilma Rudolph finally achieved her dream of shedding her handicap and becoming like other children. By the time she was 16, she earned a berth on the U.S. Olympic track and field team and came home from the 1956 Melbourne Games with an Olympic bronze medal in the 4 x 100 meters relay. At the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome she won three Olympic titles; the 100 m, 200 m and the 4 x 100 m relay. Rudolph retired from track competition in 1962 at age 22 after winning two races at a U.S.–Soviet meet. (Source)

 Black Girls Win Spelling Bees

 Jody-Anne Maxwell from Kingston, Jamaica, was the winner of the 1998 Scripps National Spelling Bee at the age of 12. She was the first contestant from outside the United States and the first black student to win in the history of the competition. According to Ebony magazine, she was viewed as a celebrity on her return to Jamaica. Maxwell also attained significant fame in Jamaican communities within the United States. (Source)

 These are just a few things that we do. We also blog, own businesses, run networks, own sports teams, teach, and embody the spirit of social justice. We act, we sing, we direct, we dance. We are the wives of presidents and rulers. We are known the world over for our commitment to people.

 In a perfect world, when these kinds of topics come up, people would shy away from the stereotypes. Let’s all take steps toward this world by portraying accurate pictures of Black Girls.