Jobs & Justice - DC, 10.15.2011

{for pictures, click here.}

I arrived at the Mall around 11:30am, thinking I’d missed the march itself. Actually, it hadn’t started. Speakers were still speaking, folks were still gathering.

I noticed the youth first. They seemed ubiquitous, some in marching bands, others rhythmically shouting “Free DC!” as they made their way through the crowd. Black youth. I had to struggle to find whitefolks--one of the radio personalities cracked a joke about that from the stage a little later on.


singlehood chronicles # 9

in the midst of a conversation yesterday, i realized that i've never had the relationship i truly desire.

yes, there have been close calls and other glimpses, but not a full-blown expression of it.  something's always managed to get in the way: distance, school, fatherhood, workaholism {his, not mine}.  an emergency always popped up. a trip always had to be taken. money always had to be made.

life is gonna get in the way, no doubt.  but it seemed unnaturally problematic.  then there were the things i saw and sensed, but didn't name until much later: trauma was a big one, mental illness or distress was another.

eventually i realized i had to state a definitive boundary about what work i was not willing to do in my heart and in my bed; that i wanted my purpose to be lived in my larger life, not my intimate one.

as i approach my mid-30s, my sincerest desire is for a relationship where we sincerely make time to grow with and love one another despite the ebb and flow of life.

i need a man who knows how to navigate his existence so the distractions aren't allowed to dictate our pace.

i want time spent being: chillin in our/each other's space after work a couple days a week, lazy weekends in bed or on long drives...

this probably means no more daddies.  y'all know i love the babies. and, yes, i know i'm at the age where it can be difficult {note: NOT impossible} to meet someone who hasn't had a partnership or marriage that's resulted in at least one child.

however, i've observed that parenting a school-aged little one is very time and energy consuming, and it puts a lot of weight on a new relationship.  this is especially true since (a) i don't have children myself and (b) i am not willing to include said child(ren) in our dealings until/unless the relationship becomes a serious one.

i've also noticed that in those situations, time with me becomes a refuge--now, that's something i naturally and enjoyably create for lovers. but i want that reciprocated.  and that's difficult for a man who is perpetually exhausted by his life outside of "us".

for better or worse, that's where i am right now.

the good news?  i feel like i'm on the verge of realizing this dream. there are different and no less serious challenges...but nothing insurmountable.

guess we'll just have to wait and see, huh? 


growing up black

i love tumblr.

when i first arrived there, i barely understood it: a blogging interface designed mainly for artists, photographers, and other creatives who wanted to blog without words. although it's greatly expanded since then, it is still, mainly, that.

tumblr's also allowed me to encounter a fantastic community of insightful, intelligent, constantly questioning women whose thoughts i enjoy reading and, occasionally, engaging with.  i say occasionally because i try to keep the words to a minimum, poetry being an exception. i built my tumblog as a space to take in inspiring imagery, and i've largely kept it that way.

however, i have noticed the stories of {presumably} blackfolks and other people of color who didn't grow up around blackfolks/their folks.  and the deprogramming that has to happen when one grows up in that context. 

by no means were my parents or extended family what you would call "race people".  there's not even a black muslim among us.  i heard few explicitly political or religious conversations, although i picked up nuggets of their philosophies. folks shouldn't go without in a country this affluent. god is love. that kind of thing.

one thing that was explicitly spoken: whitefolks weren't "like us". they weren't raised to the level of angels or reduced to heinous demons; they were just different. and, sometimes, they tried to make us feel bad about who we were. but that was just some bullshit they made up.  and so what? we're still here anyway.

yes, i heard the stories of carrying food with you when you traveled.  all the places we couldn't go to or neighborhoods we couldn't live in.  my great grandmother was a domestic worker. my dad constantly railed against the racism in law enforcement--but he'd also praise those whose love for the city enabled them to do their jobs well and fairly.

and, yes, i got the equivalent of the "don't bring 'em home if they can't use your comb" speech {that might be another entry...}.

on the other hand, they also didn't care if my friends came from roland park or north avenue, as long as they were good friends.  they didn't hang with bourgie negroes, and no one felt the need to sacrifice culture and sense of self to "make it".   

my schools--because they were built around ability more than zoning, property tax, or anything else--were more multicultural than most in baltimore city.  in elementary school especially, i was taught by teachers who engaged us and loved us--race or ethnicity notwithstanding.  i fully understand that for a solidly middle class, urban black girl, i had a charmed public education.  on all levels.

what's all this mean? it means that whiteness--as a social and psychological concept--did not truly enter my life until college. the notion of white supremacy making the world go 'round was something i don't think i had language for until late adolescence, if then.  no one insulted me (to my face) with a racial slur. with family, i only heard the n-word used for someone you didn't like--and when it was said out of that context, it was amongst blackfolks in varied and colorful ways.    

i helped run "sisters for black awareness" in high school, but that wasn't to confront whiteness or make safe space, i've just always been interested in my identity and heritage beyond the "we came here as slaves" narrative. there were times when the organization had to step up in that way, but that's another blog.

whiteness wasn't prettier. it wasn't easier. if anything, it was almost pitiable. it didn't matter if most of the folks on tv, the president, or similar folks were white--probably because the first mayor of my city that i was aware of was black.  the main magazines in our house were ebony, jet and essence

blackness was normal.  broad, wide and deep.

and now, i can see how wonderful a blessing that knowing is.