Posted in Blog, General, Uncategorized

Respectability Politics Aren’t So Respectable

Some of my thoughts on respectability politics. Please give it a read.

Rose Water Magazine

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In 2004, Bill Cosby remarked “Are you waiting for Jesus to pull his pants up” to supplement his point that black men are not good fathers or role models for their children because of how they appear.

Telling someone to “pull their pants up” does not do as much good as you think it does. In fact, it does the opposite. Although people should take note of where they are, having sagging pants does not mean that you should not be taken seriously or respected. It does not give the ultimate title of thug; it is just what society finds unacceptable. On the other hand, when girls’ bra straps (and other undergarments) show, they are automatically given a slap on the wrist.

Respectability politics —when members of a marginalized group police their actions into being more “mainstream” or “acceptable”—undermine the actions of that specific marginalized group. It does not add…

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Posted in In progress, Poetry

Easy (Tentative title)

I am easy to slide down eardrums
relatively pleasant to look at
different
special
because no one is quite
sure what to do with me
I pronounce every syllable
and I am still working
on acceptable hairstyles
I do not speak unless spoken
to but my mind is always working
cogging along
before I can be anyone else’s
idea of a black girl

my ex boyfriend liked black girls
different black girls
oreos
he made the distinction
of calling me better than
prettier than
whiter than other black girls he knew
because I didn’t wear weaves
if only he knew that wasn’t a compliment
had the nerve to say I dumped
him because he was white
and I pro-actively black
raising right fists
while educating myself
about our atrocities

what happened in the south
the caribbean
leopold in the congo
down in the cargo holds
being three fifths of a person
couple hundred dollar price tags on our heads
denied civil rights, marriage, families
while women carry products of rape
serving trays of food to the father
and men mate horses
their hands turning rougher than steel
picking cotton in the fields

it was never about color
but it was always about history.
black history and what he failed to realize
I am unapologetic with my blackness
because I spent too long
hating myself because of it
so I am easy to slide down eardrums
I present what people white
people want to hear
and they pretend to listen

but in the end
I am just another black girl
nothing special to you
but to me, we are everything

Posted in Poetry

vickers road

jagged vines
crack
white siding
two black doors with single
diamond windows
rocking on hinges
splayed open
into hallways
windows fallen
to ground
shattered
splintered wooden steps
rusted over railings
no more mown grass
or laundry on clothes wire
golden daffodil garden gone
green for sale sign leering
from the screened-in porch

my father says i cannot
move into the unoccupied house next door
though his mother
my grandmother
lived there
and his childhood and mine are there
it is not as safe as it once was
when i walked down to hanlon park
and I only had trouble
with cars not letting me cross
but baltimore is baltimore
it will only hurt you if you let it

i don’t want to write this poem

a police badge leers from living
room windows
i am only visiting
i can only visit
peeking in a five year old
me with a crooked smile
smiles from the mantle
my father doesn’t trust me
enough to open the door
trust inhabitants of nearby homes
on vickers road
when all i want is strawberry
candies, steel-cut oatmeal, mashed
potatoes
to watch the summer olympics
in a sleep number bed
and gaudy jewelry from the fifties

i am too old
to play pretend
reimagine my childhood
it won’t be the same
i know
but it is wanted