Tag Archive | rants

What You’re NOT GONNA DO!

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So I just saw a picture of Khloe Kardashian on Facebook wearing a silky, blonde set of bantu knots. Khloe captioned the pic on her Instagram “Bantu Babe”. Of course, Black Twitter WENT OFF!!!! I must be honest, though, I’m happy she at least knows the name of the style.

Personally, I don’t really care about all of Black Twitter’s tweets, and I’m sure some of “White” Twitter’s tweets in defense of Khloe K. It’s a free country, say what you want. Post whatever pictures you want. I’m sure I can guess with relative accuracy what people said because this situation isn’t anything new.

But this is what pisses me off: I don’t care if Khloe or Kim or anyone else wants to rock Bantu Knots or cornrows or whatever else. Go ahead and wear them. Honestly, Khloe looks gorgeous in the snap, but allow me to tell “you”  (people who will see this picture and emulate it thinking that Khloe is starting some new fashion trend or movement) what you are NOT going to do! YOU ARE NOT going to act like you came up with it. YOU ARE NOT going to assert that you look anymore fabulous than the brown beauties who have been rocking these styles FOREVER! YOU ARE NOT going to try to pass this off as some new fashion that you created or discovered, but when I do it, it’s tacky or ghetto or “excessively black” in a way that turns black into something to fear or snuff out. YOU ARE NOT going to let this end up on the runways and in the magazines without letting the world know exactly from where you drew your inspiration.YOU ARE NOT going to pretend that our magic does not exist.YOU ARE NOT going to pretend that our magic doesn’t enrich your life.

What you WILL DO is APPRECIATE the culture! Learn about it, and don’t stand in the way of that beautiful knowledge reaching the masses. What you WILL DO is be fascinated; be inspired; be in awe. I mean, at this point in humanity, those are all perks of living in a world with so many incredible cultures that we have access to. Our ability to shrink this great world and take in its vast, enchanting wonders is amazing! This is the reason we say “What a time to be alive!” But while you’re living, don’t starve those who feed you. Don’t starve us of credit, recognition, or true appreciation. And don’t poison us by simultaneously perpetuating the idea that we’re not quite living up to some standard of beautiful, while ” trying us on like costumes”, as Jesse Williams said; costumes you want to keep and wear whenever you feel like it. That is not what cultures other than your own are. They are people, rituals, histories, struggles, triumphs, LOVE!

And this is not just to White people. We’re all probably appropriating somebody’s heritage as we speak. And sure, it can influence fashion and help build other cultures altogether, but let’s not stop at fascination and costuming, for those are the extent of appropriation. Let go further, into appreciation. Let’s say that WHAT WE WILL DO is at least try to learn about the bountiful cultures surrounding us. Let’s say that WHAT WE WILL DO is take proper advantage of the world and the times we’re living in, bringing people together.

 

PeaceLove&GummyBears,

Trixie B.

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No, We’re Not Exaggerating and No, It’s NOT OK!

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I just came across this Huffington Post article on Facebook with tweets by women recalling the first time they were catcalled.  As expected, it made me so angry. The article itself isn’t what pissed me off but the overall reactions women get when we insist on talking about this. I’ve heard so many times “you’re exaggerating!” or “learn how to take a compliment!”.  But when you’re just six years old (SIX FREAKING YEARS OLD) and a grown man whistles at you from a car, or when you’re just starting to learn about the insane changes going on with your body and some STRANGER thinks it’s OK to touch you, IT IS MOST CERTAINLY NOT OK!

I personally can’t even remember the first time I was catcalled. Living in Brooklyn, I’ve got numerous stories of varying levels of grossness, and they go back YEARS! I still haven’t quite figured out how exactly to respond. But what struck me was that one of the women from the article said that when it happened to her, the adults around did nothing to correct the behavior.

I remember literally being groped in the hallway in middle school during period changes. My friends and I were walking to class and a group of boys circled us and started shouting, whisting, and grabbing at our butts and breasts. There were a number of teachers milling about, but NOT ONE said a word. I recall making eye contact with one. He didn’t do anything. It wasn’t the first time I was made to feel self conscious about my body, but it was one of the first times I felt completely unsafe in school. It was also one of the first times I lost all trust in adults. Your parents always teach you that if you have a problem and you can’t come to them, talk to a “trusted adult”. Usually teachers fall into that category. That day, my teachers fell short!

A major part of the problem is that kids are often taught that girls’ bodies are at the same time something to be afraid of and something that is literally up for grabs, and that boys will just be boys. A lot of times girls learn that their body is never really their own, and boys learn that since they can’t help but be distracted by girls’ bodies, they are then entitled to it. This helps to create  a culture where girls and women are incredibly self-conscious. It also creates a culture where even the simple acts of getting dressed and leaving the house are almost immediately assumed to have been done for the benefit or approval of some guy. And when we decide not to live in these little show-boxes, we’re either punished or shamed for being distracting or prudish. When we decide who or what to give our time and attention to, we run the risk of dealing with sometimes fatal consequences.

When things like catcalling start before a girl even loses all of her damn baby teeth, it can really affect her relationship with herself and the other half of the world: boys and men. We need to teach boys and men that it’s not funny, it’s not complimentary, and it’s NOT OK. And it’s really not that hard! Sure, it’s nice when someone thinks you’re pretty or your outfit is flattering, but if you wouldn’t want someone saying or doing those things to your mom or sister or, down the line, your daughter, then don’t say or do those things to girls and women you see on the street. Men are not animals, so let’s not excuse their behavior as such. And women are not meat, so let’s actually listen and do better NOW!

Is Change Really Possible?

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It seems we are at war in this country, and throughout the world, but that’s always the case at any given point in human history, isn’t it? It’s all too much, but it will never be enough if we keep going down the same path. Human beings are proving to go more and more insane as time moves ever forward. We continue to do more of the same and expect different results. It is not only about race, it is about humanity and life and our growing disregard for these that are supposed to be the most precious.

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