It never fails to piss me off when people—especially white people. Especially white people—laud celebrities—especially white celebrities—who openly bash Chris Brown for his actions.
Because yes, Chris is definitely the worst case we’ve ever seen when it comes to celebrities being abusers. I see nobody cracking jokes and shitting on Roman Polanski, or Charlie Sheen, or Mel Gibson, or any other white man who has done worse than Chris Brown. But yeah, let’s continue saying that Chris is the absolute worst person ever while letting white celebrities who do worse get off the hook and continue getting lauded while everyone conveniently forgets what they did.
I don’t even want to hear your faulty ass excuses, you just SUCK.
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white people, leave me alone.
To be white, or straight, or male, or middle class is to be simultaneously ubiquitious and invisible. You’re everywhere you look, you’re the standard against which everyone else is measured. You’re like water, like air. People will tell you they went to see a “woman doctor” or they will say they went to see “the doctor.” People will tell you they have a “gay colleague” or they’ll tell you about a colleague. A white person will be happy to tell you about a “Black friend,” but when that same person simply mentions a “friend,” everyone will assume the person is white. Any college course that doesn’t have the word “woman” or “gay” or “minority” in its title is a course about men, heterosexuals, and white people. But we call those courses “literature,” “history” or “political science.”
This invisibility is political.— Michael S. Kimmel, in the introduction to the book, “Privilege: A Reader”
Fucking hell. I’m keeping you in my thoughts. You did the right thing, and all those ignorant white people who think perpetuating racism in “harmless” ways is acceptable (there is no such thing as harmless racism) can go fuck themselves.
It’s only been a few hours and I’m already being called out and threatened.
And yet I’ve gotten messages from people saying to take down the petition because Rob’s the one in danger. Rob’s the one who has people rallying behind him saying #ibelieve at the end of their statuses.
Not sure if I feel safe going to class tomorrow.
You can acknowledge that LGBT/Queer/Trans* identifying people can get shitty treatment because of their sexuality (Edit: And gender identity. (I thought I’d written that, but I guess I didn’t. I’m sorry!). You can acknowledge that LGBT/Trans*/Queer people can’t oppress cis straight people on the basis of their straightness or cisness.
You can acknowledge that women can get shitty treatment because of their gender. You can acknowledge that women can’t oppress men on the basis of their being a man.
You can acknowledge that people with mental illness can get shitty treatment because of their mental illness, and that people with mental illness can’t oppress those without them on the basis of them not having one.
You can acknowledge that lower class people can get shitty treatment because of their class level, and that upper class people can’t be oppressed by them on the basis of their class status.
So why is it so hard to acknowledge that people of color can get shitty treatment because of our race, and that we can’t oppress you people on the basis of your being white?
It pisses me off more than anything that white women can dye their hair to look like a fucking rainbow and they will be lauded as cute, adorable, unique, innovative, and so very creative.
But a Black woman puts one color in her hair and they will be labelled a ghetto ass baby mama, and there will be fried chicken comments galore, and people will throw racial stereotypes at her with all their might.
Black women will twerk, pop, move our bodies in ways nobody else can, and it’s ghetto and dirty, and unclean.
But white women can walk in public totally naked, and it’s ~FEMINISM~ And they’ll laud things like the Hula, which is the SAME DAMN MOTION. But it’s not on a Black body, so it’s acceptable.
Lena Dunham can be nude and it’s an act of revolutionary praxis.
Beyonce does a photoshoot or whatever in underwear and SHE’S BRINGING DOWN THE ENTIRE STRUCTURE OF FEMINISM AND OMG SHE IS MAKING WOMEN LOOK BAD AND DESTROYING THE CAUSE.
White women can’t even respect us as human beings. Hell, they don’t even see Black women as women.
And Black women get punished for it when we don’t sit back and take it.
I wasn’t sure whether what I had to say on the Rashida/Kidada interview would be derailing or not, but.
In a way, I can relate to Kidada, with being the “more obviously Black” sister. But not in the same ways. Unlike Rashida and Kidada, me and my siblings are not mixed with white. And unlike Kidada, I’m not visibly mixed. Once in a blue moon someone can tell, but for the most part, not really. At least, not to my knowledge.
And our age gap is far more significant. My sister was a teenager when I was born. But when I got older and started grappling with identity, physicality was a huge factor. We’re both mixed with different things, which might have had a role in it. She’s Black and Puerto Rican, and I’m Black and Cherokee (with a smidge of PR, but I don’t really feel right claiming it, but that’s a different convo.) Anyway, my sister identifies as both, and when asked, she tells them she’s Black and Puerto Rican. I identify as both, but I did so quietly. Out loud I tend to just say Black unless asked for the specifics. Even here on Tumblr, y’all know I’m mixed, but I’m visibly Black so for the most part, I tend to just say Black. My sister on the other hand, is pretty visibly mixed. It’s obvious she’s Black. But it’s obvious that she’s mixed with something else too.
I remember how as a teenager, if my sister took me out, people would be all smiles when interacting with her, and they’d really engage with her, and throw a cursory glance at me, until they found out we were sisters. I’d get a shit ton of microaggressions until they realized that I was her sister, whenever we were together in public. I never resented her for it, or was jealous of it because I didn’t think race had anything to do with it; this was back when I was on that kool aid drip, thinking that racism=racial slurs and burning crosses.
And I never actually would admit to being half Cherokee because people would assume I was lying. “Every Black girl wants to say they’re Indian, bluh bluhhhhh”. :|
Like I really only started openly identifying as it a couple years ago, and even now, when my mixed identity is announced in front of people who weren’t aware of it, I freeze up and get that moment of, “Oh god what is going to happen now?”
It’s interesting how visibility and treatment have an effect on how people choose to identify, and there’s more I could say, but I need to organize my thoughts.
So reading that interview with Rashida and Kidada got me thinking about this, and idk, I’m just kinda think speaking right now, so sorry if this was all over the place, haha.
Any of y’all have similar experiences?
RASHIDA: I wouldn’t trade my family for anything. My mother shocked her Jewish parents by marrying out of her religion and race. And my father: growing up poor and black, buckling the odds and becoming so successful, having the attitude of “I love this woman! We’re going to have babies and to hell with anyone who doesn’t like it!”
KIDADA: We had a sweet, encapsulated family. We were our own little world. But there’s the warmth of love inside a family, and then there’s the outside world. When I was born in 1974, there were almost no other biracial families–or black families–in our neighborhood. I was brown-skinned with short, curly hair. Mommy would take me out in my stroller and people would say, “What a beautiful baby…whose is it?” Rashida came along in 1976. She had straight hair and lighter skin. My eyes were brown; hers were green. IN preschool, our mother enrolled us in the Buckley School, an exclusive private school. It was almost all white.
RASHIDA: In reaction to all that differentess, Kidada tried hard to define herself as a unique person by becoming a real tomboy.
KIDADA: While Rashida wore girly dresses, I loved my Mr. T dolls and my Jaws T-shirt. But seeing the straight hair like the other girls had, like my sister had…I felt: “It’s not fair! I want that hair!”
PEGGY: I was the besotted mother of two beautiful daughters I’d had with the man I loved–I saw Kidada through those eyes. I thought she had the most gorgeous hair–those curly, curly ringlets. I still think so!
KIDADA: One day a little blond classmate just out and called me “Chocolate bar.” I shot back: “Vanilla!”
QUINCY: I felt deeply for Kidada; I thought racism would be over by the eighties. My role was to put things in perspective for her, project optimism, imply that things were better than they’d been for me growing up on the south side of Chicago in the 1930s.
KIDADA: I had another hurdle as a kid: I was dyslexic. I was held back in second grade. I flunked algebra three times. The hair, the skin, the frustration with schoolwork: It was all part of the shake. I was a strong-willed, quirky child–mischievous.
RASHIDA: Kidada was cool. I was a dork. I had a serious case of worship for my big sister. She was so strong, so popular, so rebellious. Here’s the difference in our charisma: When I was 8 and Kidada was 10, we tried to get invited into the audience of our favorite TV shows. Mine was Not Necessarily the News, a mock news show, and hers was Punky Brewster, about a spunky orphan. I went by the book, writing a fan letter–and I got back a form letter. Kidada called the show, used her charm, wouldn’t take no for an answer. Within a week she was invited to the set!
KIDADA: I was kicked out of Buckley in second grade for behavior problems. I didn’t want my mother to come to my new school. If kids saw her, it would be: “your mom’s white!” I told Mom she couldn’t pick me up; she had to wait down the street in her car. Did Rashida have that problem? No! She passed for white.
RASHIDA: “Passed”?! I had no control over how I looked. This is my natural hair, these are my natural eyes! I’ve never tried to be anything that I’m not. Today I feel guilty, knowing that because of the way our genes tumbled out, Kidada had to go through pain I didn’t have to endure. Loving her so much, I’m sad that I’ll never share that experience with her.
KIDADA: Let me make this clear: My feelings about my looks were never “in comparison to” Rashida. It was the white girls in class that I compared myself to. Racial issues didn’t exist at home. Our parents weren’t black and white; they were Mommy and Daddy.
RASHIDA: But it was different with our grandparents. Our dad’s father died before we were born. We didn’t see our dad’s mother often. I felt comfortable with Mommy’s parents, who’d come to love my dad like a son. Kidada wasn’t so comfortable with them. I felt Jewish; Kidada didn’t.
KIDADA: I knew Mommy’s parents were upset at first when she married a black man, and though they did the best they could, I picked up on what I thought was their subtle disapproval of me. Mommy says they loved me, but I felt estranged from them.
While Rashida stayed and excelled at Buckley, Kidada bumped from school to school; she got expelled from 10 in all because of behavior problems, which turned out to be related to her dyslexia.
KIDADA: We had a nanny, Anna, from El Salvador. I couldn’t get away with stuff with her. Mommy knew Anna could give her the backup she needed in the discipline department because she was my color. Anna was my “ethnic mama.”
PEGGY: Kidada never wanted to be white. She spoke with a little…twist in her language. She had ‘tude. Rashida spoke more primly, and her identity touched all bases. She’d announce, “I’m going to be the first female, black, Jewish president of the U.S.!”
KIDADA: When I was 11, a white girlfriend and I were going to meet up with these boys she knew. I’d told her, because I wanted to be accepted, “Tell them I’m tan.” When we met them, the one she was setting me up with said, “You didn’t tell me she was black.” That’s When I started defining myself as black, period. Why fight it? Everyone wanted to put me in a box. On passports, at doctor’s offices, when I changed schools, there were boxes to check: Caucasian, Black, Hispanic, Asian. I don’t mean any dishonor to my mother–who is the most wonderful mother in the world, and we are so alike–but: I am black. Rashida answers questions about “what” she is differently. She uses all the adjectives: black, white, Jewish.
RASHIDA: Yes, I do. And I get: “But you look so white!” “You’re not black!” I want to say: “Do you know how hurtful that is to somebody who identifies so strongly with half of who she is?” Still, that’s not as bad as when people don’t know. A year ago a taxi driver said to me, That Jennifer Lopez is a beautiful woman. Thank God she left that disgusting black man, Puffy.” I said, “I’m black.” He tried to smooth it over. IF you’re obviously black, white people watch their tongues, but with me they think they can say anything. When people don’t know “what” you are, you get your heart broken daily.
KIDADA: Rashida has it harder than I do: She can feel rejection from both parties.
RASHIDA: When I audition for white roles, I’m told I’m “too exotic.” When I go up for black roles, I’m told I’m “too light.” I’ve lost a lot of jobs, looking the way I do.
PEGGY: As Kidada grew older, it became clear that she wouldn’t be comfortable unless she was around kids who looked more like her. So I searched for a private school that had a good proportion of black students, and when she was 12, I found one.
KIDADA: That changed everything. I’d go to my black girlfriends’ houses and–I wanted their life! I lived in a gated house in a gated neighborhood, where playdates were: “My security will call your security.” Going to my black friends’ houses, I saw a world that was warm and real, where families sat down for dinner together. At our house, Rashida and I often ate dinner on trays, watching TV in Anna’s room, because our dada was composing and performing at night and Mom sat in on his sessions.
RASHIDA: But any family, from any background, can have that coziness too.
KIDADA: I’m sure that’s true, but I experienced all that heart and soul in black families. I started putting pressure on Mommy to let me go to a mostly black public school. I was on her and on her and on her. I wouldn’t let up until she said yes.
PEGGY: So one day when Kidada was 14, we drove to Fairfax High, where I gave a fake address and enrolled her.
KIDADA: All those kids! A deejay in the quad at lunch! Bus passes! All those cute black boys; no offense, but I thought white boys were boring. I fit in right away; the kids had my outgoing vibe. My skin and hair had been inconveniences at my other schools–I could never get those Madonna spiked bangs that all the white girls were wearing–but my girlfriends at Fairfax thought my skin was beautiful, and they loved to put their hands in my hair and braid it. The kids knew who my dad was an my stock went up. I felt secure. I was home.
RASHIDA: Our parents divorced when I was 10; Kidada went to live with Dad in his new house in Bel Air, and I moved with Mom to a house in Brentwood. Mom was very depressed after the divorce, and I made it my business to keep her company.
KIDADA: I wanted to live with Dad not because he was the black parent, but because he traveled. I could get away with more.
RASHIDA: At this time, anyone looking at Kidada and me would have seen two very different girls. I wore my navy blue jumper and crisp white blouse; K wore baggy Adidas sweatsuits and door-knocker earrings. My life was school, school, school. I’m with Bill Cosby: It’s every bit as black as it is white to be a nerd with a book in your hand.
KIDADA: The fact that Rashida was good at school while I was dyslexic intimidated me and pushed me more into my defiant role. I was ditching classes and going to clubs.
RASHIDA: About this time, Kidada was replacing me with younger girls from Fairfax who she could lead and be friends with.
KIDADA: They were my little sisters, as far as I was concerned.
RASHIDA: When I’d go to our dad’s house on weekends, eager to see Kidada, the new “little sisters” would be there. She’d be dressing them up like dolls. It hurt! I was jealous!
KIDADA: You felt that? I always thought you’d rejected me.
RASHIDA: Still, our love for the same music–Prince, Bobby Brown, Bell Biv DeVoe–would bring us together on weekends.
Awesome story. Great journalism.
im glad they interviewed them both, instead of just rashida. I definitely relate to this hard, esp to “IF you’re obviously black, white people watch their tongues, but with me they think they can say anything. When people don’t know “what” you are, you get your heart broken daily.”
“Passed”?! I had no control over how I looked. This is my natural hair, these are my natural eyes! I’ve never tried to be anything that I’m not. Today I feel guilty, knowing that because of the way our genes tumbled out, Kidada had to go through pain I didn’t have to endure. Loving her so much, I’m sad that I’ll never share that experience with her.”
jfc so many feels while reading this. most of this made me cry.
I know this is long but I definitely relate to this. Super glad they interviewed them both as well. I don’t pass for white but my sister does and we both very strongly identify as Latina. I really like how Rashida touched on having half of her identity erased in a lot of instances.
Made rebloggable by request
Let me add something to that response: Even today, people of color wearing clothes from our cultures gets us killed. Hell, even if we AREN’T wearing things from our culture, if we aren’t speaking the ~dominant language~ in a public place, we face unwelcome stares at best, death threats at worst. Even when we aren’t doing THAT, we face the same things. White people come at us for simply existing and daring to do so in their line of sight; you really think us wearing stuff from our culture will be welcomed with open arms?
“But I’M white and *I* don’t—” Yeah, good for you. Doesn’t change the fact that the majority of this harassment comes from your god damn people. Doesn’t change the fact that the risk is still there. Doesn’t change the fact that while we get harassed for wearing out clothes, white people can wear our clothes—which, bee tee dubs, holds a lot of significance—and be praised for it. If anybody feels so compelled to cry that racism is a two way street, I’m gonna tell you to stuff it and bounce.
People of Color face all sorts of risks—risks that you as a white person don’t even have to think about, risks that are so removed from your lived experience that you think we’re making this shit up— just by walking out our god damn doors in the morning, and you want to get mad at us for wearing jeans, when we wear them because your folk perpetuate the threats we face if we don’t? Nah, bruh, get real.