I am a black woman who is an alumna of the University of Mississippi. There is a saying that says you never leave Ole Miss. Seeing this quote on the library wall my Freshman year, I never understood why this made sense. I do now. I did my post – graduate work there. Best seven years of my life! I lived Oxford so much that I lived and worked there three MORE years because it is a place that gets under your skin. I love my school. My time there is really why I am the way that I am. However that is challenged on a daily basis.
On Sunday, someone draped a noose and a Georgia state flag around a statue of James Meredith, the first black man to attend Ole Miss. Today people say, “there’s Ole Miss being racist again.” Today I am tired. I am tired of having to defend my school anytime that any thing remotely racit happens there. Am I saying that this type of behavior is okay? Absolutely not!! It hurts me to no end, especially with where my mind is about the Jordan Davis case and others like it. I’m just tired of the school that I love in the state where I grew up being a poster child for racial misbehavior. There are bigots everywhere and I am tired of my school having to take a 20 year step back every time someone wants to be stupid. Are we the only school to have a racist past? No, but our football team doesn’t always win and we don’t send dozens of black men to the NFL……so our penance isn’t quite paid yet. (READ: Alabama).
At work (where there is ALWAYS something red and blue displayed on my desk), I will inevitiably be asked why I love a place that is so racist. To them, I will reply:
- I went to Ole Miss because it made my parents and grandparents proud. I am only a generation removed from when black people could actually enroll without getting shot or coming up missing. II could go there as my first choice and not be scared to death. To go there and thrive, made the sacrifices and struggles they went through seem worth it. They told me so.
- Because I went to Ole Miss, I can feel comfortable in an atmosphere where everyone doesn’t look like me.
- It challenged the way that I look at the world. When your school has a past, you talk about it. A LOT. No professors shied away from it and I think to look at race relations as critically as I did, as young as I was, gave me a foundation in the way I look at things.
I challenge people to make a concerted effort to fight against racism and racist threats. Correct those that step out of line. Challenge the world. It’s everywhere. Not just Oxford.
Yesterday Jackson State University played Texas Southern University on ESPNU. Even living down here in the area, I decided to watch the game on TV rather than actually go to Veterans Memorial Stadium to watch it. You want to know why I didn't go? I didn't go because I like football. I don't think it makes good sense to pay any amount of money to watch mediocre SWAC football just to wait until halftime to see the bands play. This is why I make it my business to go to Atlanta every January to see the Honda Battle of the Bands (….that and to catch up with my Sigma Alpha Iota and Phi Mu Alpha family). While watching the game on TV, I realized that JSU isn't really all that good a football team. It's just that Texas Southern was so……BAD. I'm talking three fumbled punts by TxSouthern leading to three JSU touchdowns bad.
I said as much on Twitter….because I say whatever I'm feeling on Twitter. A lot of people on my timeline have stated previously that the integration of colleges is what led to black college football being so bad. I said, "you can't really expect top tier athletes to go into subpar programs just because they're black and this is a black school." Period. Point blank. Here is where the Twitter madness began.
"Catch 22. Top athletes go to other schools for the tv EXPOSURE. Dream=NFL."
To this I replied, "Great athletes come out of the MEAC all the time. They get their dreams fulfilled without the major TV exposure. You need a quality program first." Which is the truth.
"Only been a hs #guidance coun for 14 yrs, watched 5 AfAm go to NFL while 500 played in college. All 5 went to SEC D1 sch."
This one was a little easier to combat. I replied, "Sorry your experience led you see more than that. I'm a football enthusiast and can name more than 5 blacks from HBCU's that went to the league from last year's draft class. " There were 4 players that were drafted from HBCUs: Johnny Culbreath, South Carolina St.; Frank Kearse, Alabama A&M; Curtis Holcomb, FAMU; Kenrick Ellis, Hampton. Not only were these four drafted but TWENTY-FOUR MORE were signed as undrafted free agents as soon as the lockout ended. So miss me with that. I think I made her mad because I got these series of tweets.
"Sounds like you know ur ppl, but they don't know you. Prolly tv. Typical crabs in a bucket put'n down SWAC. B blezd. Self hate is the worst hate. I'm 2 pro-black 2 put any HBCU down. That's just me. Get there 1 day. Keep tryin."
This is when I logged out for the night. I'm a self hating black person because I don't like SWAC football. Are you serious?! How many people actually go to the game to WATCH THE GAME? Not very many. It's a band field show and a social event where football is played in the background. My parents both went to Alcorn State University. I've been to enough SWAC games in my life to figure that out. What do guys call it when a team is playing football and gets beat by three touchdowns? Give up? They call it GETTING SWAC'D! I wasn't putting down the schools. I just think the football is bad. That's my opinion. I'm entitled to that. What I need all these "pro-black" people to do is research and speak with knowledge about things they claim to love so dearly. I want them to stop getting so mad about other people's opinions that they do a smoke and mirrors routine to cover up their ignorance.
I am a black woman. I know where I come from. I graduated from the University of Mississippi and learned more about my skin color than I ever could have imagined. Get over yourself. Learn to see something past skin color. I also don't care for Ole Miss football and think that maybe we should join Conference USA…..but you didn't ask that…did you? For me to be such a self hating black person, I surely knew more about these young black men than she did. I go out of my way to know these things. I don't rest on a degree from a particular college or living in particular neighborhood to give me my blackness. I live in it everyday. That was not my first time hearing that….I'm sure it won't be my last.
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I loved this book! With all the controversy surrounding the book and the movie, I was afraid that I wasn’t going to like it. I finished the book this week and I saw the movie tonight with my aunt and grandmother. This was the only book and movie combo where I cried at the end of both of them. I loved the fact that there were white women in that book that loved and were appreciative of their maids. My favorite two characters were Minny and Celia. The relationship between the two of them was hilarious and kept me reading just to get back to them. Being a native Mississippian and recently moving to the Jackson metro area, the book just seemed so alive to me because I could picture those places on my mind as I read.
I am quite convinced that those who are mad at the movie haven’t read the book. What people fail to realize is that the book and the movie were not targeted for the African American audience. We live with racism on a daily basis and have heard first hand accounts from parents and grandparents. This was targeted toward the white audience. These books and movies are important for those who have white privilege. It lets them know exactly what the struggles are…..and how they haven’t changed.
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Did anybody catch the Super Bowl on Sunday night? Of course you did. It was the most watched TV program in history! I watch for the love of the game, but lots of people just watch it for the commercials. There was one commercial for PepsiMax that caught my attention. If you missed it, here it is for your enjoyment.
I laughed my ass off at this commercial. To me, it remains one of the best ones of the night (….well second to the guy sucking the Doritos cheese off the other man’s fingers….but I digress). After I stopped laughed, I peeped in on Twitter and the reactions to that commercial were through the roof! The main thing that I kept seeing was that the commercial was racist and stereotypical. I thought my followers were on crack. Then I read all my favorite blogs yesterday and see the same thoughts.
Here is my impression of the commercial: Wife wants to keep Husband healthy. She does everything in her power to make sure he makes the correct food choices…..which in this case came down to down beating him up a little bit. Wife sees him looking too hard at another woman and tries to smash him with the can but ends up knocking other woman out. Husband
sees that the police are probably coming and will Rodney King the shit out of them takes Wife by the hand and gets them the hell out of there before trouble comes. And they say Black love is dead. I thought it was hilarious. But there are SO many different nit picky things that others saw that I didn’t….so I will address them here.
- This commercial was full of stereotypes!! Ummm….yea. So is life. The way that most humans deal with people different from ourselves is based on stereotypes. Is it right? I don’t know. What I do know is that stereotypes don’t come out of thin air. They are based in part on the way a group of people act. If you don’t want the stereotype, then you must work harder to fight it. Art tends to imitate life, so they had to get the inspiration for this commercial from somewhere.
- Why does Pepsi have to act like all black women are angry?! Didn’t you read the above statement? Art tends to imitate life. Case in point: This commercial was meant to be funny, but what was the overwhelming response from two-thirds of black women? To get very angry. Yep…I said it. There is a major problem when the only images that we see of black women in mainstream media are the angry kind. BUT we can’t be mad when something goes mainstream that we celebrate in like company. One of my favorite bloggers, RiPPa, said it best: “don’t we celebrate these images ourselves when we patronize NAACP Image Award nominated shows like, oh… The Real Housewives of Atlanta?” We love to watch Tasha Mack on The Game, the mom from Everybody Hates Chris, NeNe Leakes, and most of the women in Tyler Perry’s plays and movies. We can’t love it when it is made by us THEN turn around and hate it when white people see it and make it into a commercial. We all know that angry black sistah. She’s your mom, best friend, lady at the church, boss…..and if you don’t personally know any, it is probably you. To beat a stereotype, you have to stop being that stereotype.
- Why did he have to make googly-eyes at the white woman? Why do they think that the epitome of beauty is a blue-eyed, blond haired white woman? Again….I wasn’t paying that much attention to the race of the woman that jogged up. Since we are talking about stereotypes, the woman in that ad would have tried to hit her man upside the head with that can if the jogging chic was white, black, Asian, Latino, or a polka-dotted alien. Would it have been that big of a deal if all the people in the commercial were black? Probably not. The real issue to me is not that mainstream society sees the white woman as the epitome of beauty. The issue is that Black women have a hard time accepting interracial dating. The fact that a Black man could be attracted to a white woman still makes a lot of black women angry (there’s that word again!). It still blows my mind to hear otherwise levelheaded black women go totally off (stereotype alert) when they see a black man out and enjoying the company of a white woman. It’s 2011. We are supposed to be in a post-racial society (that phrase still makes me gag). Interracial dating should not still be something that sets us off (there I go again). I can admit that it used to bother me to see it, but once I got older and wiser I realized that it is hard to find love out there. I hope people find it with what ever color makes their hearts glad.
The moral of the story is…..lighten up. The ad was supposed to be funny. I’m sure that PepsiCo didn’t set out to make this commercial a conversation piece. They just wanted to make 111 million people laugh. Well Pepsi….ha ha. I liked it.
This past weekend Americans commemorated the 9th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. It is amazing how on that day many emotions arise that make it seem as if the attacks happened only yesterday. I remember the feeling of never wanting to EVER get on plane. I remember looking at every single person that I thought was of Middle Eastern descent with conviction. I thought that they all had something to do with it and my trust of the world was lost. That was 9 years ago, though. I was an 18 year old college freshman…..young and dumb, for lack of better terms. As I grew up and advanced in my knowledge of the world and other cultures, I expected that America would as well. I was dead wrong.
In recent months there has been another surge of Islamaphobia. This is in large part due to the Park51 Islamic community center that is going to be built near Ground Zero. Not only is the center being protested, but mosques and proposed mosques all over the country are being vandalized, fire-bombed and terrorized…..for lack of a better term. What the opposers would have you to believe is that Muslims build mosques on areas that they consider conquered territory…..hence the location near Ground Zero. HUH?! There is a mosque about 5 minutes away from where I live. I highly doubt that any “conquering” happened there. There was a mosque of sorts INSIDE one of the towers. There was also a mosque already in that area that was destroyed when the towers fell. So the idea of Muslims worshipping peacefully there is not out of the norm. What is really killing me out of all this is the blatant racism and ignorance that is being shown by a LOT of people. How a Christian could condone the burning of a holy book of someone else’s religion is beyond me.
Lots of Muslims are being looked at with a second glance as if they were planning an attack. As a black person, I just can’t get down with that. It is hard enough to live in America and just get by. But add to that mix being a minority and not have a “favored religion?” That has got to be enough to make even a sane person go mad. Common sense and research tells me that Islam is an Abrahamic religion, meaning simply that I can relate to a lot of the teaching of Islam if I am a true Christian. The origins are rooted in the same God. How can you hate something that you know absolutely nothing about?
I don’t know any Muslims personally…..but my fast Blogspot friend is Irendi, who is a Muslim. Just reading her blog and the blogs of other Muslims that she follows make me long for the type of devoutness and honesty to their faith that they have. It prompts me to pray for ignorance to be removed from the hearts of all of these misguided people pretending to be Christians…..
If you have watched any major news outlet over the past week, you have certainly heard of Shirley Sherrod. If not, I am going to try to catch you up just a little bit. This, my friends, is the Readers’ Digest version of the story.
Shirley Sherrod was an employee of the USDA. She worked as the state director of rural development for the state of Georgia. At a recent NAACP Freedom Fund banquet, she made a speech about race relations. She talked about an incident in her career that happened back in 1986, way before she worked for the USDA. She spoke about a white farmer that showed racist behavior towards her. She said that because of his behavior, “she didn’t give the white farmer the full force of what she could do” in order to help him to avoid foreclosure on his farm. A 2 minute, 47 second video excerpt of this speech was placed on a conservative blog. This was quickly picked up by FOX News and reported on in true FOX News fashion. She was asked by the USDA to tender her resignation in response to the video and the NAACP released a statement that reads as follows:
“Racism is about the abuse of power. Sherrod had it in her position at USDA. According to her remarks, she mistreated a white farmer in need of assistance because of his race. We are appalled by her actions, just as we are with abuses of power against farmers of color and female farmers. Her actions were shameful. While she went on to explain in the story that she ultimately realized her mistake, as well as the common predicament of working people of all races, she gave no indication she had attempted to right the wrong she had done to this man.”
During the course of the week, the video of her full speech was shown. It was very obvious that what she said in those 2 minutes and 47 seconds was not what the speech was about. She was offered an apology by the NAACP, the USDA, and President Obama. You can read a summary of the events here or you can Google it.
The NAACP retracted their statement saying that they were duped by FOX news and the publisher of the conservative website. *record scratch* Duped? Seriously? Let’s try this on for size…research EVERYTHING before you speak out and make a statement. For the life of me, I can’t understand why conservative blogs and FOX News would throw off the NAACP. I only watch FOX News to hear what the conservative point of view is for the day. (I feel that in order to have a complete political view, you need to know and try to understand where everyone is coming from, no matter how preposterous.) She was speaking at a NAACP event. How hard would it have been for the national organization to have gotten a copy of the original video BEFORE they made a statement based on a slant from a conservative organization? I truly believe that this was done in such haste because of the stance that they have taken against the Tea Party Movement. (That, my friends, is a whole other blog post.) They (rightfully) spoke out against the racists elements inside the Tea Party. I guess in their own way they felt that they had to “give them one” when it came to alleged racist statements made by another black person. But again…..this was a NAACP Freedom Fund banquet!!! Quit being so freakin’ gullible. A woman has lost her job because of a bad case of playing politics.
Actions such as these are the reason why I feel that the NAACP and other organizations that historically have dealt with civil rights are losing ground. It seems that in a push to remain relevant they are speaking before they have had a chance to think, which we all should have learned to do by the age of 16. Case in point, a local chapter of the NAACP were outraged by the Hallmark characters Hoops and Yo-Yo because of language that was used in a graduation card using the characters. You can view that news clip here. They said that the card was racist because it said “black whores”. Ummm…when? I have listened to so many of those cards because they were cute. They normally print what those things are saying in the card because it moves so fast. I just have a problem with the fact that there was no one mad about this card under the age of 65 in that room. But it got the response they wanted. Hallmark pulled the card off the shelves. In my opinion, it is wasted energy. There are so many other things that I feel like these organizations, or we as black people, should be putting our energy into. For instance: mentoring programs for black youth, emphasizing importance of getting an education, programs for people living in poverty, access to the democratic process, HIV/AIDS awareness….see where I’m going with this. More talk and less action.