Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Clown Car: The Republican 2016 Field

 Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Scott Walker, Mike Pence, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Ben Carson, Susana Martinez, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, Carly Fiorina, George Pataki, John Thune, Lindsey Graham, Donald Trump, Bob Corker, Mike Huckabee, Peter King, Bob Ehrlich and Paul Ryan.

Check out this Crooks and Liars article about FOX having kittens over their lords and lady a'running in the field.

Some folks are not so chuffed about the lack of potential in the candidates. The first comment is epic:

Nuts, loons, charlatans, confidence men and raving psychotics. Clowns who believe in nullification. Morons who think the US was founded on biblical law. Imbeciles who think that, "Agenda 21" is a massive global conspiracy. "Serious" business people who have turned industry leaders into industry jokes. Criminals who would shut down a major thoroughfare for political reasons. Blowhards who support terrorism in Great Britain. Racists who get caught on tape referring to, "blah" people. Simpletons who have three point plans and can't come up with what the fuck those three points are. Southern aristocrats who can't take a shit without John McCain's approval. Corporate leeches who have promised amazing revelations about President Obama's "real" (wink, wink) background and have come up with nothing. Hot-shot budget, "experts" who just can't seem to make their numbers add up. Has-beens who have been rejected not once, but TWICE by voters...

Or as conservatives call them: "substantial."

Please proceed, conservatives...

PLEASE fuckin' proceed...

Nick_1 - that was an  awe inspiring rant that, according to another commenter left strains of the Battle Hymn of the Republican playing as background music.

It was this final comment  from  Giganticjohndenver that tipped me over the edge into hysterical laughter:

So that's what shit piled 3 high and 8 across looks like.

Stick a fork in me. I'm done. At least we know what we're up against. It ain't pretty.

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Narrative of the Oppressed White Man

My last post was about how I've embraced Twitter as a fairly late adopter as is typical for me when it comes to tech, but whole-heartedly nonetheless.

There is a light side to Twitter, but as with all things in life, "Without the darkness, there would be no light."

Twitter's dark side for me is a direct but more aggressive and vocal form of the racism I experience in real life. We all know that people feel more comfortable saying things in the relative anonymity of the Internet than they would saying things to someone's face. Nowhere is this more apparent than with white people on Twitter addressing racism.

There's a disturbing narrative among some very unenlightened white people online and off. It goes like this.

Racism is over and done with.
Only a very few white people are racist and they are either very old or very crazy. If elderly white people are racist it's forgivable because they are just a product of the era when they grew up.

White People are Discriminated Against More Than Black People
In an effort to make things "equal" the government is actually discriminating against white people now. Affirmative Action takes jobs away from white people who deserve them and gives them to less qualified black people who have not earned them.

Slavery doesn't matter any more.
Slavery was a long time ago and has nothing to do with the present. Black people are ungrateful for white people ending slavery. Jim Crow, The Era of Lynching and Segregation were also a long time ago and have nothing to do with the present.

Black People are Criminals
Broken Windows Policy, School to Prison Pipeline and Stop and Frisk Policy are not evidence of white racism but evidence that black people need to be policed more harshly than white people. If it weren't for white people, the black community would fall apart.

Republicans Really Like Black People
The Republican party is, and always has been the true party of Liberty. Black people should vote for Republicans because Lincoln freed the slaves and Lincoln was a Republican. Democrats keep black people enslaved on a "political plantation" promising them welfare and other handouts to trick black people into voting for them.

Black people "play the race card" all the time
Black people claim racism all the time and claims of racism should not be taken seriously. Black people can claim an unfair advantage just by calling a white person a racist.

Respectability Politics
Black people don't want to work hard "anymore" (as opposed to how hard we used to be forced to work). If black people would go to school, get jobs and take an active part in the communities they live in, then white people would have no problem with black people.

I have had people argue these points with me for hours, days on end. I had a Twitter conversation with one white man that went on for four days. Any time I posted anything about Ferguson, he was back on the attack.

A lot of the white people who post things like this do so in very polite tones. They believe that because they couch their rhetoric in polite terms that there is no way anyone could or should be angry about what they're actually saying. They place a lot of weight on how "calm" someone is discussing their insulting bigotry, which mainly gives them a way to lob more insults.

The only way to get rid of these people is finally to call them out for the racist bigots they are. I've found that to be more effective than blocking them because white people do not like to be told that they are 1) white, 2) a bigot, or 3) an outright racist.

I have also found it effective to explain that I will never agree with their views that the present history of Ferguson, Missouri has nothing to do with racism.

This narrative explains a lot. It explains why Ferguson is surrounded by tanks instead of the mayor, governor, state or federal legislators or the President simply talking to and assuring the protestors that Darren Wilson will be prosecuted and making sure that happens.

This narrative explains why the the former mayor of one of the largest cities on the planet, Rudy Guiliani, feels perfectly comfortable going a national Sunday morning show like Meet the Press and telling two prominent black men, to their faces, that the policing in black neighborhoods is necessary because black people and their communities don't deserve respect.

This explains why every 28 hours a black male is killed by police or white vigilantes in America. It's why black people run out of breath and memory before detailing a list of black men and women who have been slaughtered by racist American law enforcement or just white people who considered themselves offended.

Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, John Crawford, Aiyanna Jones, Oscar Grant, Sean Bell, Timothy Thomas, Nathaniel Jones, Roger Owensby, Mike Brown....12 year old kid shot in Cleveland this past weekend...elderly black man shot by cops for calling 911...kid shot for having his music turned up and white guy didn't like it....kid shot because white guy accused him of stealing a gun from his house....

Oh and Renisha McBride. And the other black man shot trying to get help from the cops after an accident. And the naked man....

Without resorting to Google searches, this is all my brain can handle right now. It's overwhelming as the faces, the stories, the heartbreak, the grief go through my mind.

The pain is unbearable and far too much of this destruction hinges on the false narrative that black people deserve to die if white people are afraid of us and white people are the new oppressed minority.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Falling in Love with Twitter

For the longest time I would not have a Facebook account. Not 'didn't have," I mean 'wouldn't have." I had heard a lot about it and it just seemed stupid. But in true DebLite fashion, I always make the opposite argument with myself: Why should I have a Facebook account?

I did a Google search for that very thing and came across an article where a  young woman made what I felt was a very compelling argument that reached me. That people who failed to embrace Facebook were much like people who once scoffed at the notion of having a telephone, radio or later television. At each stage of our technological development there are those who deliberately leave themselves out based on reasons from superior morality to simply seeing "no need" for such an item.

The idea of myself as a moribund scoffer of progress just sounded too Republican for me. So I joined Facebook that very day. You could say that maybe I was just looking for any reason to join Facebook, but I think the closer truth is that I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to learn how to use it, so I just took the fake moral high ground of not needing it or seeing a use for it.

And so it was with Twitter. Well not quite. I understood what Facebook what was for. Twitter, I simply did not get. What was the point of Tweeting what you're doing? All day, every day? I could barely keep up with what I was doing all day. Now I was supposed to write about it? All the time? While it was happening? Absurd.

Twitter was the one thing I didn't understand but always wanted to get. So I joined and sent out  a few tentative tweets. I had a few followers, mostly friends I'd asked to join me on Twitter. Things stayed that way for pretty much a year.

I knew there was something more to Twitter when more and more news broke on Twitter than on any news station, any other social media. Twitter is the now of the planet. If it's happening right now, it's on Twitter. Twitter is immediate and I had to get more involved but I had no idea how. And moreover, it seemed I had no time.

My life slowed down a bit when a friend of mine went to jail and rehab and I agreed to take care of her baby when she got out. Suddenly I went from roaming the world at my sweet will to being in the house with a 7 month old baby. My own daughter nearly a college graduate it had been a long time since I'd taken care of any child who could not already read. This was back to square one with a vengeance.

While the kid napped, I explored more and more of Twitter. And slowly I became more and more engaged, read up on how to properly use a hashtag, retweet, message, communicate with others, it became a lot more fun.

Discovering Black Twitter was a mind-blowing revelation. The depth, breadth, wit, candor and sheer beauty of Black Twitter has expanded my mind and my heart in ways I can't begin to describe.

However I tend to pay less attention to what's trending on Twitter than what's trending for me. Mainly because  I'm still playing catchup but also because it's impossible to be aware of every trend, every news item at once. What's new for me may be a year old. That's ok. I'm learning.

But I've learned one thing - if it exists, there's a hashtag for it. If there's not a hashtag for it, create one.

I have serious things I do on twitter, usually a continuation of the political things I write about here and on Facebook.. And there are fun things I do on Twitter. I stumbled on Tweeting While Watching TV by accident, but it's an awesomely fun thing to do. I made a decision to focus more on my own writing and less on watching TV. To that end, there are only about three prime time TV shows that I watch anymore. Watching them is way more fun when I'm watching them with a few hundred thousand of my closest friends on Twitter.

So I think I'm going to do a thing here at DebLite called "Trending." On what issues or topics have caught my attention on Twitter. In the meantime, of course, follow me on Twitter: DebLite (@ThatDeborahGirl).

Monday, October 13, 2014

Ohio November 2014 Ballot Information - Candidates and Local Issues

Check out the League of Women Voters site for your state to get local candidate & issues information! 


It's mid-October and it's long past time I educated myself on all the candidates who are running
this November, not just the Governor's race and a few other familiar candidates for office.

The sad part is that it took a very bad a campaign commercial to make me realize that I'm behind on researching candidates. It seems David Pepper is doing the usual failing upwards bit and challenging Mike DeWine for Attorney General of Ohio. Good Lord - are these really my choices? With options like these we need a "No Confidence" option.

In every election year since pretty much the Internet, I've been using the League of Women Voter's website to educate myself on candidates and issues.

I couldn't find the information for the Ohio 2014 November Election on the old Smart Voter website. Now I see that LWV Ohio has a new fancy setup, but  to me it's a bit creepy because they require your exact address to get voting info where before they used to only ask for your zip code. And they do not explain at all what they do with this info or make their privacy policy plain. I called them and the lady who answered the phone put me on hold briefly and then she said she asked their Executive Director, who assured her that the info is used only to personalize ballot info and that's it. I really hope so, but it would be nice to have that in writing on the site.

At any rate, I decided I better get busy researching the rest of the candidates, and not feeling comfortable with the LWVO, I did a Google search for Ohio Ballot Information and turned up the Ohio Secretary of State John Husted's "Whats On the Ballot" website with information on General Election Candidates and Local Issues.

If I didn't know any better, I'd say they really don't much care about people having this information. The downloads they have with lists of who's running are only available as badly formatted Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. I wouldn't use them for my college homework let alone for an official website that's supposed to inform voters about their candidates. It's really pathetic. I'm appreciating LWVO a lot more about right now.

I took the liberty of cleaning up the spreadsheets a bit and making them into PDF's that can be viewed  and also downloaded at the following links.

Ohio November 2014 Candidates
PDF View or Download (13 Pages Letter Size)

Ohio November 2014 Local Ballot Issues
PDF View or Download (50 Pages Legal Size)

Seriously, if I can do it, you'd think the Secretary of State could hire someone who could do that as well. At any rate, here's the basic info about who's running in Ohio and local issues. I guess we'll have to do the rest of the research on each candidate ourselves. Or you can go to the League of Women Voter's website for your state and trust that they only have good intentions with your address.

Either way, get informed and get out and vote.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Making the Case for Reparations - Blackness as a Financial Liability

I've never really given much thought to black people being given reparations for slavery, or the Jim Crow despite having family members who lived during both eras.

Ta-Nehisi Coates has taken a lot of heat for his article that does make the case for reparations to black people, not only for slavery but for the discrimination we endure to this day. He does so in a matter of fact manner that does not even question whether such discrimination is in evidence which, to my mind, is half the battle.

But lately, there's an interesting case that hit the news that seems to make the case for reparations as well Ta-Nehisi Coates. (I had no idea how to pronounce his name, having only ever seen it in print and never heard it pronounced. Well you can check out his episode on "The Colbert Report" and hear him talk about reparations and learn to say his name correctly.)

I'm referring to the case of the white lesbian parents who were mistakenly given the sperm of a black donor, resulting in the birth of a child who is "bi-racial."

One of the mom's is suing saying that the birth of this bi-racial child is causing them economic hardship. The very fact of this child being black is determining where they will live due to discrimination in their own community. This has the potential to change where they will work, what family members they can associate with. Even such a small thing as getting this child's hair done is causing them additional expense for travel to further neighborhoods and additional cost and learning - and therefore they expect to be compensated for the economic loss as well as the emotional issues they did not expect for merely being associated with blackness.

As I read the "complaint" from the mom in the lawsuit it dawned on me that what she's referring to is what we call "The Black Tax." Despite consistently being paid less than our white peers, life is more expensive when you're black.

But the mother in the lawsuit is claiming that blackness is putting her at a disadvantage in a society that is mostly white. If merely being associated with blackness is putting her at a disadvantage, how much more is actually being black in a majority white society a disadvantage?

If this woman is compensated for merely being associated with blackness, shouldn't black people be compensated for actually being black?

It seems to me like she's coming in on the tail end of centuries of oppression and demanding compensation for something that she never even experienced. But being a lesbian woman, she knew about oppression and bigotry but she chose to live in a community where those "values" were reinforced. Having a black child makes that impossible and she expects money to make up for it.

I wonder if this woman realizes that she's telling millions of black people that what we're experiencing and saying is not only real, but deserves financial compensation.

I hope she wins her lawsuit - if so, she has kicked a door wide open for every black person to be compensated for the discrimination we have suffered through and been oppressed by.

It's not 40 acres and a mule, but it would be a good start.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Racism is the new Four Letter Word

I shocked a black woman yesterday by telling her that occasionally I blog about racism.

She visibly startled, as if I had said "boo". But  as I spoke, she quickly recovered and shook her head in agreement that yes, racism is an issue that still needs to be addressed.

But I realized, I had struck a nerve.

I spend a lot of time on the internet so I'm used to the denial and outright anger when the word "racism" comes up. White people immediately internalize that word and they do not hear "something someone said or did was racist." What they hear is, "I am white. Are you calling me a racist? How dare you? I'm not a racist. If I were we wouldn't be having this conversation." And on and on until they are sufficiently certain that they are not personally being called out on racist behavior or actions.

To talk about racism to a white person who is inexperienced at addressing matters of race is an exercise in tedium. Because first they have to exonerate themselves. They must make sure that they are not included, they have to make sure that the rules against generalizing about white people are being followed - that is, if there is one white person who is the exception to the rule against millions who fall under the umbrella of what's being discussed then the caveat must be given - "You can't say all white people, because that's just raci...I mean wrong."

It's also helpful if to white people to discuss racial issues without using the words "race" or "racism". To discuss anything to do with *whispering* black people. Political correctness and the corporate boardroom have given us words to use to discuss race without ever saying the words Black or Asian or Latino. All you have to do is talk about "diversity."

"Our organization is diverse." "We embrace diversity." Which can mean anything from we have a rainbow coalition to we don't push women down the stairs. At best it means, "We find that having different people from different backgrounds gives our company an edge." At worst it means, "We realize that hiring only white people makes us look bad."

What I hadn't realized is that using the word "racism" has become taboo among black people as well. We have learned to use all the euphemisms. We have learned to describe racism in individual acts of hatred rather than an overall and collective system of oppression.

We have learned that "racism" has been reduced to something akin to "bullying." And as we are constantly told, bulling is an increasing problem but it's up to the "victims" to fight back. As long as they do so in ways that are constructive.

There's always a caveat, isn't there? There's always a "way" to discuss these issues so as not to make anyone feel bad.

Except for the person who already does.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

GOP: You Created This Mess. Fix It.

Prisoner Deal
Posted on Jun 8, 2014
Adam Zyglis, Cagle Cartoons, The Buffalo News

Once, in the bad old days of politics, we could always count on Republicans to parrot the wrong side of an issue but do the right thing for America as a whole. Slowly and in their own time, sometimes dragged kicking and screaming, but eventually, they would do what was right.

That changed with the advent of the Tea Party. The Republican Party invited and promoted into their party a group that they can't even rightly be called right-wing. They're just Haters.

Spurred on by the Fox Network, The Tea Party hate anyone and anything that does not represent all that is  white and conservative, straight and male. They despise anyone who does not espouse the most narrow view and interpretations possible of Evangelical Christianity. Most importantly, they truly disavow nearly all forms of government that do not include mob rule and anarchy. Worst of all, they simply cannot tolerate and any idea that a nation that supports each other is better than a nation of individuals left to sink or swim on their own.

Eric Cantor's defeat has taught the Republican Party nothing. The GOP are blaming his loss on their inability to correctly read the polls. There, they have a point, considering their faith in an inevitable Romney presidency that was fueled merely by numbers pulled out Karl Rove's ample backside.

Just as with the failed Romney campaign, the GOP will believe any reason for losing except the truth. The GOP want to claim that supporting immigration reform was Cantor's undoing. Or that Cantor was trying to be "all things to all people," as if partisianship in office is now mandatory, rather than trying to find consensus.

Believing their own hype is not their greatest conservative failing by far.

The greatest failing of Boehner's GOP is buying into an ideology that they don't even believe in, just to get votes. You'd have to go a long way to prove to me that John Boehner truly hates black people, gays or thinks that women shouldn't have autonomy over their own bodies. I don't think John Boehner much gives a damn about immigration, legal or illegal.

But espousing the poverty of those ideals keeps the likes of Boehner in office and wields what meagre power he holds as a human on this planet. What he and the others of his ilk in the Republican Party are doing is far worse than parroting or pushing a conservative agenda because they believe in it. They push an agenda of white male patriarichal supremacy for their own personal gain, power and money.

It would be easy to say that John Boener believes in male white supremacy because, obviously, he is white and male. Supporting the power structure would make sense for him, right? But the truth is, it's not that simple and John Boehner no more believes in male white supremacy than I do.

No, what he and the GOP do is worse than the base racism and treachery of any Tea Partier simply because while the average Tea Partier should know better and doesn't, Boehner does.

Boehner's GOP does what Republicans have done since the advent of the Southern Strategy:  they use and abuse their ignorant, mostly white followers and do it for votes, power and money.

They have sold out America for their own personal gain. It's really that simple. It's beyond treason, it's evil. Their strategy worked for several decades, but now it's failing badly. The dog they brought in to guard the house is turning on the family.

  • The Tea Party doesn't just want to talk about slavery, they want to prove black people were better off as slaves.
  • The Tea Party doesn't want to talk about securing the borders, they want the right to shoot people as they cross.
  • The Tea Party doesn't want to acknowledge gay marriage, they want to challenge the idea of gay people having the right to exist.
  • The Tea Party doesn't want to talk about abortion or even birth control, they want women to surrender their rights at puberty.Most of all, the Tea Party doesn't "want their country back", as they are so fond of saying. They want to destroy The United States of America, from the inside out: infrastructure, schools, healthcare, and any vestige of the social saftey net.
The Tea Party are not patriots. They're not "civil libertarians." They are traitors to the ideals of "Liberty and Justice for all," not the privileged, male, white few. None of their ideas are acceptable if this country is to have any sort of future that does include us becoming a third-world backwater.

The Tea Party can only further destroy, not only America, but whatever remains of a sharply divided Republican Party. Cantor's defeat proves that. It's long past time that the Republican Party did what was right and ousted the Tea Party and their racist, sexist, anti-American ideals from their ranks.

The old guard Democrats also have a responsibility to support the GOP's efforts by ousting the "Blue Dogs" and "DINOS (Democrats In Name Only) from their ranks. Democrats will have to move from their current position that is actually just right of center and move back to the actual left. This will give Republicans room to move back to more centrist positions.

The Republican Party can only divorce the Tea Party by doing what is right for all the rest of us. The only reasonable course for conservatives is to lend their support to each and every progressive ideal; to redefine their positions to levels that that they can live with, but that the Tea Party cannot. Then and only then will the GOP be able to shake off the dust of their past, secure the future of their party, while also securing the ideals of liberty this country was founded upon.

Then and only then will the Republican party have a future at all.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Racism Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Some days are perfect days. I go about my business with minimal negative contact with white people and breathe a sigh of relief when I walk back through my door. Another evening has come and we have survived. My family has survived the struggle another day.

Other days, the racist slings and arrows fall so hard and so fast, it's hard to fend them all off. They leave wounds that are deep and take a long time to heal. Even the ones that heal leave deep and lasting scars that leave me ducking and defensive for days, weeks, years to come.

And then there are the incidental reminders of the struggles all people of color face. The blatant hatred and barely hidden degradation that I see plainly and most white people really can't be bothered to recognize, let alone understand.

But there comes a time when even white people must begin to realize that all the "isolated incidents" of bigotry and racism are really just part and parcel of the larger system of American Apartheid.

I'd like you take a good long look at the pictures above. Look at each face. Look at everything those pictures represent, then, now and in the future.

And after you look at them, please explain to me why I should patient with white folks ignorance and hatred as I am often implored to do?

Read the following headlines and stories and understand why my patience is at an end.

Cliven Bundy Muses On What He Knows 'About The Negro'

L.A. Clippers Owner to GF: Don't Bring Black People to My Games

#myNYPD Campaign Inspires Global Awareness Of Police Brutality

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Humblebrag Rant and a Confession

If you never want people to know what you think or read what you write, start a blog. Nobody will ever read your blog. Yes, I'm whining that very few people I know read my blog. But it pisses me off because they always want me to support whatever they're doing.

OK. Seriously. I'm not really pissed about my blog readership. I do have a few regulars and I love y'all. I really do. I see you in my hit logs every time I post and you folks make me feel good. So thank you. It's my closest friends and family who NEVER read while I'm kinda salty with. They always want me to support their latest fly-by-night venture while I've been doing this for damned near 8 years now (accidental humblebrag).

So before I get all full of myself, let m get to what I really came to say today:

I should have probably told y'all a long time ago. Some of my closest friends already know, but it's time I came out and just let ya'll know: I'm fat. My dating profile says BBW and every letter is true.

I've been fat for a while now. Like 20 years. And honestly, I don't give a crap. I'm not just saying that. I'm not on a program. I'm not dieting. I'm not watching my carbs. I'm not juicing. I'm not on anybody's diet pills. I eat what I want, when I want, pretty much when I'm hungry.

Furthermore, I don't want anyone's unsolicited health advice. I laugh in the face of moral judgments about my weight. Like I'm "good" when I'm eating a salad and "bad" when I'm eating a cheese coney.

I'm happy. I'm dating someone. I love my life. I'm not a kid anymore and I'm much bigger than I was in high school. My blood pressure, cholesterol levels are fine. I'm not pre-diabetic. My last colonoscopy was fine for the people who really are that far up my ass.

I just wanted you to know.

And now for the humblebrag rant:

To Ex-Ye Old Matey, who called me with his humblebrag that he's lost so much weight that he can wrap his belt around him three times and none of his old clothes don't fit and can I give him some advice on where to buy some inexpensive clothes to wear for College Arabella's graduation....I'm going to tell you what I should have told you the day I awkwardly hugged you and tearfully sent you off to Atlanta (they weren't tears of sadness, they were tears of relief): Fuck off.

You left me with our unpaid bills and the fallout from your aging rockstar dreams. You left me with the weight of all our relationship angst and the weight of never calling or contacting the kid we raised together. You left me with the weight of your family who doesn't understand why I made you move out and a lot of our mutual friends who think everything was "my fault."

You may have lost some poundage but there's still some weight you need to deal with old friend of mine.

I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders just writing this. Now I'm gonna go have a McGriddle and take my ass to work.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Microagression Log Entry 15623

"Can I help you?" - racist question number 1. It doesn't mean, "Can I help you?" It means, "You're black and I don't think you belong here. Can I put you in your place or do I need to call security or the police."

"Acutally I'm looking for Amy with..."

Racist interruption, assumption and racist question #2 - "Is she with Pierre Foods?"

REALLY? Did this bitch just go there. Am I dressed like a warehouse worker? I have on very nice office attire, a leather coat and and a briefcase and she thinks I'm headed to the warehouse?

I look her dead in the eye and say, "Actually, no, I'm looking for "XXX Company."

"Oh, I think they're on the top floor."

Yes, I know. I never asked for your help. You just seemed so insistent on making sure the one black person that accidentally got close enough to you for you ask a question of wasn't "in the wrong place" or "lost" that you just had to direct them back to the warehouse where you felt they belonged.

*sigh* Please don't tell me she was trying to be helpful.

I'm sure she thinks was.

She wasn't. It's been four days since this happened and it still rankles a bit.

One day I  may have forgotten about this micro-aggression.

Until the next time it happens.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Late to the Party - Divorcing a Man Because He's "Too Nice" Part 3

Women, especially black women, are supposed to manageable, pliable. We are not supposed to think, learn, grow, evolve. That we have a thought in our heads beyond the next man, the next welfare check, the next handout is unimaginable to many white people, despite so many examples that black women from the celebrity to the every day woman provide.

There are so many stereotypes about what black people do and don't do. But the main rule of being black is that we're not supposed to ask for any more than what we've supposedly been "given." Because that's the terms we're taught to think of black people in aren't we? All of us, white and black. I can hardly turn on the TV these days without some white Republican politician telling me what he thinks we've been given. We give them welfare, we give them food, we give them jobs - and this is the thanks we get. They just want more.

And so when a black woman gets on national television and tells a black man, who has been deemed perfect by a black woman judge no less- No, it's not enough. No, your love, your devotion, what you have to offer is not enough- it's angering to some people.

It was angering to the judge who used very angry words to put her in her place.
"You don't know what you want, do you?"

"How does one be too nice to ones wife?"

"I cannot conceive of the world you have structured for me here."

The wife does her best to articulate her feelings and to me her feelings are very concrete.
"He was too nice, like, it was scary nice. You know how some people are just to nice? He was stalker-ish nice? It's too nice, it's to good to be true. You can be nice but you can be too nice."
The judge then makes a completely opposite comparison to what this woman is talking about. She goes out of her way to make this woman look foolish without actually listening to what she's saying. The woman knows that what she's saying isn't the norm, but nonetheless it is true.

As it goes on, the more hurt and silent she becomes. This eggs on the judge and the audience.

The judge asks her snidely: "So if I found you a brotha who ran around on you, called you names and smacked you upside the head, you'd be in heaven wouldn't you?"

The wife says no, but the judge doesn't believe her. She makes the classic mistake that many people do. If a black woman leaves a man who is considered by others to be a "good man" then she must be out of her mind. She must like to be abused.

She doesn't know how to be in a good relationship.

The husband explains that he thought he was the kind of man she wanted. Someone who would cherish her, love her, cater to her, cook for her.

And the wife explains that in the beginning that was enough. But she's asked him to cook a little less because she's gaining weight. She's asked him to stop saying, "I love you," all the time because the more he says, the more meaningless it sounds if he's not really paying attention to what she's asking for versus what he thinks he should give her.

She wants to settle into an adult relationship and he wants to worship at a shrine. She doesn't want to be the goddess on his pedestal. She wants an equal partner to walk through life with.

He was too nice. And she wants to be free.

She's not a greedy or ungrateful woman. She's an evolved woman and he's stuck in some romantic comedy version of the relationship he thought she wanted.

In society's narrow view this is only somewhat acceptable for white women, but not at all for black women. And no matter what color you are, you will suffer for your choice to be independent.

When I was considering, quite seriously, ending my relationship with Ye Old Matey, a friend of mine told me I should watch a movie: Sex in the City II.

I thought she was nuts. Sex and the City is a fun and sometimes thoughtful show, but it's not where I go for relationship advice. And it's not a show I take very seriously, mainly because it takes place in the fictional realm of White New York.  But my friend was serious. She reiterated that I should watch the movie and that I should pay very close attention to Samantha's story.

Samantha was in relationship with a wonderful guy but it just wasn't what she needed. His wonderfulness and worth had nothing to do with why she ended it.

When she says, "I love you, but I love me more," it's not a laughable moment. It's poignant and another moment of independence for a remarkable and unapologetically independent woman.

We live in a world where women can still be defined solely by the men they choose and this is expected. When a woman refuses to reduce herself to her mate's accomplishment's or her mate's worth she is seen as selfish and greedy. Short of abuse, a woman is supposed to give her partner every benefit of the doubt. Black women especially so.

And when we don't, our worth and our sanity are called into question.

This wife bravely put her case on trial for the world to see. Her husband was too nice. And she left him.

Honestly, I don't blame her one bit.

Divorcing a Man Because He's "Too Nice" Part I
Divorcing a Man Because He's "Too Nice" Part II

Monday, January 27, 2014

Late to the Party - Divorcing a Man Because He's "Too Nice" Part 2

Part II, Divorcing a Man Because He's "Too Nice"
We live in a world that does not encourage women in general and black women in particular to assert their autonomy.

In the realm of living as a black woman, there comes a point where you're simply not supposed to ask for more than what the nearest white person thinks is enough for you to have. And if you expect and have the nerve to ask for more, reach for more, work harder for more- then you're seen as greedy and snatching at something that you really haven't earned. Yes, even if it's something you've worked for.

There are many examples of this happening to black women professionally.

Let's start with the paragon of black professional women, Oprah Winfrey.
"It was 1980. I was getting paid twenty-two thousand dollars and the guy who I was co-anchoring with was getting paid fifty [thousand]. So I went in to my boss and I said, 'He's getting paid a lot more money than I'm getting paid.' And you know what my boss said?

"'Why should you make that much money?' In 1980! He said,'Why should you make that much money?'

"He said, 'Do...He has kids. Do you have kids?'And I said, 'No.'

"'Do you have a house?' (laughing) "And I said, 'No.' And he said, 'So, so tell me why you need the same amount of money?'

"And I said, 'Well, because we're doing the same job.' "He says, 'I don't think so.' And so I thought, 'Hm. I'll show you.'"

Let's also consider the recent events regarding Dr. Danielle Lee noted scientist and blogger of the Urban Scientist at Scientific American.
When A Black Female Scientist Gets Called An 'Urban Whore'
Laura Rankin, TPM

If you haven't heard of Lee already, here's the backstory: She was recently asked by an editor named "Ofek" of the scientific site Biology-Online if she would be interested in blogging for them. When she asked for further details, including how much they paid their guest bloggers, the editor responded that the opportunity could provide traffic and exposure, but no payment. Lee politely declined the offer from Ofek, who penned a horrifying response: "Because we don't pay for blog entries? Are you an urban scientist or an urban whore?"

By calling Lee an "urban whore," the Biology-Online editor was essentially chastising her for not taking what she could get. The editor couldn't possibly understand how this black woman wouldn't jump at the chance to work for free, given that women of color are so rarely featured in publications, scientific or otherwise. This offensive slur reinforces the notion that women of color should be thrilled with the meager scraps they are thrown, and that they should smile and nod while doing so.
Do you see a pattern here? We get to a point in our public and professional lives where someone decides we've simply gone to far. Gotten above ourselves, beyond our station. Gotten too uppity or bougie. We've outplayed the draft status that black skin should have limited us to and we simply shine to brightly.

We must be taught a lesson. We must be taken down a peg or two.

We cannot be allowed to think too much of ourselves because we may become unmanageable.

Give us equal resources and who knows what we could do?

How much more does these false expectations come to play in what we're expected to accept at our most personal core and in our intimate relationships?

Divorcing a Man Because He's "Too Nice" Part 1
Divorcing a Man Because He's "Too Nice" Part 3

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Late to the Party - Divorcing a Man Because He's "Too Nice"

I spend a lot of time online. For all that, it's just impossible to be aware of everything that's popular online at any given time. So I'm going to start a new segment here at DebLite called "Late to the Party."

For my first entry under the "Late to the Party" segment, we're going to go all way back go 2011, to an episode of Divorce Court where it seems the wife divorced her husband because he is, and I quote, "too nice."

The wife explains why she is seeking a divorce. He's a good man, the relationship was going pretty well up to a point and then, she began to feel that her husband was "too nice."

Th e courtroom titters, the judge looks at the wife askance and repeatedly berates her, eventually calling her "trifling and self-centered." Judge Toler accuses the wife of not knowing what she wants and of throwing away a "good man" on a whim. Unsaid are the words, "good black man"  but you best be damned sure that's what we all heard.

Throwing away a "good black man" is a crime that is punishable by extreme derision, head wagging and judging the mental status of the black woman in question.

Everything the Judge says underlines this. I've heard these shows are scripted. I pray this one was, but I don't think so because of a moment where the soon to be ex-wife looks so incredulous, I just don't think it was acting. Also because she held her piece where I would have gone off and she just lets it go.

She has the look of a woman who is done. I know that look. It's that point Chrisette Michelle sings about in her song, "Blame It on Me"

Blame it on me, Say it's my fault
Say I'm a liar, a cheater, say anything that you want
As long as it's over...

 It seems there are several ways we can view this:

The Judge is right: The woman is trifling, self-centered and throwing away a good man for a reason she can't really explain.

The Husband and a lot of people are right: The woman is an ungrateful bitch who doesn't understand the good thing she has and is just plain evil to toss this "good man" aside.

The Wife is right: The husband is too nice, or at any rate, he's not her cup of tea anymore. She's not crazy. She's not trifling, self-centered, ungrateful or evil.

She just wants something more, or more to the point, something different, than this man can give her.

I'm inclined to believe #3. Mainly because I spent 15 years with a "nice guy." And when I broke up our relationship it hurt him, me, our families, our friends, hell even our dog. But it had to be done.

I believe the wife.  My next post will explain why.

Divorcing a Man Because He's "Too Nice" Part II
Divorcing a Man Because He's "Too Nice" Part III