Can We Get Real About Allyship?

Y’all..there is entirely too much going on right now in this country. Racism, ridiculous abortion laws, trans folks being murdered, Trump still talking about this dumb ass wall, people killing themselves on Mount Everest for no reason, flat earthers are in full force, 692 democrats running for election, and all sorts of other shenaniganry. It feels like an information overload 24/7. On the one hand I am happy these conversations have been normalized, but on the other hand, I’m tired of hearing some folks be loud and wrong about it but I guess that’s the price we pay for having free speech; Everyone does indeed get to speak

Anyways, excuse my mini rant, what I want to talk about (as you can see from the title) is something that is reoccuring in all these social conversations, and that is allyship. I have a lot of issues with the idea of allies and more so with how people are claiming the term while simultaneously not being allies. It has gotten to a point where a lot of marginalized groups are simply just not fuckin with the term ally or simply don’t believe they exist. I think allyship is an important role that is necessary to “fight the fight” but y’all need to be better. WE need to do better. I saw WE because just like we all have privileges in some way, we all have the ability be allies to someone in some form.

The Current State of Allyship

Allyship is being used as a passive title. It is a title white people (or anyone else in a privileged role), love to call themselves to feel good while not actually doing anything. As we have begun pride month, we see this faux allyship all over the place. These corporations love to slap a rainbow pattern on all their logos and products but what are they actually doing for the LGBTQ community the other 11 months out of the year? Recently Victoria’s Secret faced a severe twitter dragging when they tweeted out “support” for the LGBTQ community

Now if y’all don’t remember, Victoria’s Secret is the same company who late last year said they will not cast plus size or transgender models because “trans people can’t sell the fantasy.” Their comments were bad enough that their very highly publicized annual fashion show is no longer going to be televised. They got kicked off the network.

Sooooo how do you say you don’t fuck with trans people yet, 6 months later you’re out here tweeting rainbows?

This is what most self-proclaimed allies do. You give the title to yourself, you show up once a year, to one march (where you just take selfies), you change your profile picture, you post one article, and all the sudden you feel like you have done your life’s work in combating racism and prejudice. This ain’t it sis. You don’t get to be a sideline ally. Please tell me how changing your profile picture to a black square is allyship? How did wearing those safety pins help these abortion bans or rape culture? Did your paperclip help make women safe? No, it didn’t.

Allies Need To Step Up

First of all, ally is not a title you get to give yourself. You have to earn it and be given that cosign by the communities you claim to work with. You don’t get to decide whether or not you are helping underrepresented communities sufficiently. That would be like me giving myself the title of a lawyer after watching Law & Order once. We will decide if your contributions and actions are enough to be considered an ally, otherwise y’all will continue to the bare minimum and give yourself that feel good title. We have this rule for a reason, it’s not just us being picky and “difficult” if you are giving yourself the title of an ally, that means you are truly here to fight for and protect minority groups. So if shit goes down, we come to you for help and you ain’t nowhere to be found…you have just put us in more danger. If I am dealing with racism at work, and you have presented yourself as an ally, I expect you to be front and center to back me up. But 9 times out of 10, y’all are cowering in your cubicles hoping nobody asks you about the issue because you don’t want to get involved. You’re not an ally.

Allies need to stop being comfortable. Step up to the plate, and get in the nitty gritty with the rest of us. The whole point and power of allies are that y’all have privileges where we don’t. Police ain’t going to shoot white people at a rally. Men will listen to other men before they listen to women, so use that. Instead of sitting by and watching prejudice happen, be the one who confronts it head on so that we don’t have to. When you see a white person calling the police on black people in the park, YOU say something. Don’t sit and wait for it to become a hashtag. You confront your fellow white people. When you see women being harassed and assaulted, how about you intervene instead of standing around with your phone out? Being an ally is active, aggressive duty. You need to be the ones taking the majority of the hits for us. You need to be the ones stepping out of your comfort zones. Marginalized people have been taking the full brute force of prejudice and discrimination on a worldwide scale for centuries and we’re tired. We’re tired and dying. If you truly believe in equity and human rights for everyone, you need to start doing the work to prove it.


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7 Black Owned Business You Should Check Out

You have probably heard the phrase “Support Black Businesses” used a lot lately. Generally, this is a conversation that exists within the black community (or within other communities of color). The idea is that in order to truly support and combat racism, we should be giving our dollars to our own communities instead of these big wig corporations who make money off oppression communities of color and ripping off our cultures. So rather than giving our dollars to the oppressors, why not give it back to our own communities who are working 10 times as hard and also offer products/services catered to us? We always here the MAGAs of the world complaining “why don’t you just create your own” etc and the reality is we do. We have been for centuries but then white people come along and do shit like burn down black wall street and we have to start over again from the bottom. We do create, white supremacy just loves to come along and destroy our communities anytime we get close to being successful.

That being said, I think this conversation and responsibility shouldn’t just be on the black community. Why shouldn’t white people also be giving their dollars to black business and other POC owned companies? You should, especially if you are a parent of children of color. Teaching to give back is an important lesson, and frankly, there are just some really damn cool companies out here being ran by people of color. I try as much as possible to by black, from a person of color, or at the very least, local. I will go out of my way to go support black companies because I want to see my community thrive and it is amazing to see what they can do for us when we support.

And with that, I give you some of my picks for black businesses you should check out.

I am NOT being paid to mention these. I genuinely just like the products and encourage y’all to support these or any other black business you find.

1. Bandages

Listen, it may not sound like much, but having “nude” colors that match our dark skin tones, is actually important. The first time I heard of bandages, shoes and undergarments being made in true nude color that matched ALL skin tones and not just white people, I almost cried. Check out Browndages, ran by a black husband and wife, and get some bandages that match dark skin tones.

2. Headwraps & Bonnets

For all your headwrap and bonnet needs Isoken Enofe, an e-boutique started by influencer Isoken Enofe-Asemota. She offers a wide variety of products for both adults and children in beautiful designs. They are affordable AND they take into account size. Nothing irks me more than these white brands who hop on the natural hair movement but don’t account for basic things like the size of an afro. So check out Isoken Enofe instead.

3. Earrings & Accessories

I discovered HOA (Halls of Art) at Afropunk and ever since, she has been my go-to for all my earring and accessory needs. So many fun, funky, afrocentric designs and at a great price.

4. Blerd (Black Nerd) Gear

Adorned By Chi  is your go to for all your black girl mafic and nerd gear. They have everything from comics, to clothing to home goods. Started by two young black women, this online store is filled with fun stuff for the black nerd in your life.

Adorned By Chi is your go to for all your black girl mafic and nerd gear. They have everything from comics, to clothing to home goods. Started by two young black women, this online store is filled with fun stuff for the black nerd in your life.

5. Cookies & Cakes

Yummy Brothers, also known as Joshua, 11, Isaiah, 9, Caleb, 7 and Micah, 5, is the company of four brothers (and adoptees!) who simply made cookies, people loved them, so they started a business. They now ship nationwide with cookie flavors like lemon white chocolate, chocolate chip and snicker-doodle.

6. Natural Health & Beauty Products

BLK + GRN, is a Natural Marketplace for Black Artisans. It’s like if Amazon was black owned and featured black owned products/company. It’s pretty awesome, if you are in to natural products skip whole foods and check out this site instead.

7.  Feminine Care Products

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The Honey Pot, founded by BEA FELIU-ESPADA , provides NATURAL products for menstruation, as well as other body care products. Everything is natural, clinically tested, gynecologist approved, cruelty free and designed by women. What more do you want?

Get your wallets out and go support where you can!


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Reparations Is A Cop Out Solution That Solves Nothing

It’s an election year, and 937 people have decided to take a chance at running for office, thus we are being bombarded with every single candidate throwing out their promises to take on some giant issue in America, so we all feel good and vote, knowing damn well they ain’t never going to do it. Universal income, wiping out student loans and now, reparations have been thrown into the ring.

New York Times best selling author Marianne Williamson has thrown her hat in the ring for the 2020 election. The issue she has brought to the table, is reparations and repentance. You can read her full take on the issue on her website, but here is a little snippet of her ideas.

Our current racial dramas have their roots hundreds of years ago, and nothing less than pulling out those roots will heal the situation today. America needs to reconcile with our racial history — seeking genuine atonement and making meaningful amends. Until such time, tortured race relations will continue to plague us with more and more tragic results.

It’s interesting that we even use the phrase “race relations,” given how little we register that this is even about a relationship. The relationship between blacks and whites as groups in America is psychologically and emotionally dysfunctional, to say the least, and until this is dealt with on the level of the cause and not just effects, we will continue to play out over and over again the cycle of violence at its core.

-Marianne Williamson, Race & Repentance In America


Now, black folks have been having this conversation about reparations since slavery “ended”, but now, because of this election year, white people are being forced to talk about publically it too. While I’m glad this conversation is being had on a larger scale. I have a lot of issues with the idea of reparations for black people and with this particular plan (that isn’t really a plan), for 3 main reasons.

How Do You Decide Who Qualifies?

I know America still wants to pretend all black people are the same, but we aren’t. The diaspora is LARGE and incredibly diverse. How are we supposed to determine which black people in America are to receive these reparations? Do immigrants qualify? Do mixed black people qualify? What if you’re only 1/4 black or 1/8 black? Do you still qualify? Do we just give it to all black people in america even if they are not descendants of slaves? Is it one lump sum? How about dark skin people who've suffered more? Is it a sliding scale based on shade? What if you are a descendant of slaves but can’t prove it with paperwork because white people have refused to let us keep our historical documents? Our history is largely oral. How does work? What if you’re a descendant of both a slave and a slave owner?

How can you create a truly just system of handing out reparations to an entire race of people? It’s a slippery slope that I am not interested in exploring. You’re either going to have to give it to everybody or nobody.

Why Does This Conversation Not Include Other People of Color?

In this proposal from Williamson, she focuses on race issues between black and white people, which is fine, but America has blatantly destroy and slaughtered other races besides just black people. What reparations are we giving to those families at the border white america keeps seperating? Hell or all the legal mexicans who got deported because white people decided to move the border? How about native americans whose entire country we just took over while murdering all their people? Asian americans that got thrown in concentration camps? What is going to happen about that? You can’t base your whole platform on righting the wrongs America has caused against other races and then only acknowledge one race that was wronged. America has fucked over a lot of minorities and they all deserve to be cut in on this conversation.

Ok…And Then What?

This is my biggest issue with the reparations conversation. Ok, say all black people in America get a big ol’e check for however many thousands of dollars because…slavery. Great...now what? Was racism magically solved and I can go about living my life as a black woman in America without being murdered by a white man or a police officer? Will our kids stop being kicked out of school for having kinky hair? We will stop being murdered in our own homes because “whoops my bad”? Will all the wrongly convicted black people be let out of prison? Will y’all finally go get Flint some fucking clean water? No, literally nothing will happen. We will have a little bit of money to pay Sallie Mae back for that degree we can’t use because of racism.

Reparations mean nothing unless the core white supremacist system that this country runs on, is demolished. If I stab you, then hand you a $100 bill, is that going to stop you from bleeding? Is it going to stop the pain? No, you still got stabbed, you’re still bleeding, you just got a temporary aid to go towards your outrageously high medical bill that is about to come. That is why we talk so much about the definition of racism being more than just “I’m mean because of your skin”. This country’s race problem runs so deep that it cannot be solved by writing a couple of checks. This can’t be solved with money. This can only be solved by dismantling the system completely and starting over with laws and a constitution that values equity.

So while yes, a big check sounds nice, it isn’t going to do anything in the long run. I think this conversation is a way for white america to feel like they’re doing something without actually having to change and do work. The best form of a reparation to me is to dismantle white supremacy in america. Get rid of it so that I, and the next generation on black people to come after me, don’t need to live in fear 24/7 because there are no consequences for white people being racist.


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Have You Heard of Blackfishing? Let's Talk About It

If you aren’t hip to this weird racist beauty trend that has been happening lately, there seems to be many beauty influencers on Youtube and Instagram that are using darker color makeup, traditionally black hairstyles and creating other “black” feature, in order to make themselves seem or appear “black”.

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Even Ariana Grande has been accused of participating in this trend. Many people have notice her skin is drastically darker than its original color. It doesn’t help that she seems to be quickly speeding down that lane of “white girl using hip hop for profit” with her new song “7 Rings” in which she stole imagery from rapper 2 Chainz and a sample from Soulja Boi, whom only got credited on the song, when She was publicly called out on twitter.

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I have had many messages from people asking me my thoughts on this trend and I really only have three things to say about it.

We Know Why This Is Happening.

Blackness has always been popular, black people have not. And this is why we, people of color, make such a fuss about cultural appropriation. It’s not just was wanting to hoard our cultures for ourselves, It is the fact that white people want to take the parts of black they like while simultaneously getting rid of black people. Same applies to every other ethnic group y’all love to appropriate. It’s cultural genocide. I’ve never seen Ariana or these other beauty influencers out on the front lines fighting or advocating for black people’s rights. Have you? Of course you haven’t. They never do.

Call It What It Is—It’s Blackface

I really REALLY hate this new term “blackfishing”. This trend was actually originally coined as "“niggerfishing” (which I hate even more) by someone on twitter. I’m really tired of people coming up with cute hashtag terms to describe blatantly racist behavior. This is blackface, call it blackface. Do you know why there is a such an uproar, worldwide when someone is called out for blackface? Because we have over 400 years of racial history and context to back it up. People know what means and why it’s disgustingly racist. When y’all create these cute, hastagable terms for racist acts that have been happening for centuries— a) no one knows what the hell you’re talking about, b) no one takes it seriously because there is no context or history attached to “blackfishing” to prove why it’s a problem. No need to call a duck a sophisticated chicken, it’s a duck. Call it what it is.

When Tanning Becomes Problematic

The most common response I see to this blackfishing conversation is people stating that it’s just tanning? Tanning in itself is rooted in being problematic. Tanning was originally based in classism. Only the rich who had money and time to travel to places with warm climate to tan on the beach. Today, with tanning machines, pretty much anyone can get in on the tanning trend and some folks take it too far. One really could ask why there is an obsession at all with needing to change your skin color. I also think there is a vast difference between a natural tan you get from the sun and that from a tanning bed. The sun isn’t going to give white people a “black” tan, fake tans do. Look if y’all for whatever reason, want to go out and get your little tans on the beach, fine, but when you’re going to the point of drastically changing your skin color, that is a problem. It’s racism and blackface.

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Just be a white girl. Damn y’all.

I Finally Watched 'Three Identical Strangers' Documentary and...Yikes

I heard about the “Three Identical Strangers” documentary about the same time everyone else did, and I promptly avoided it like I do most media stories about adoptions. All I knew is that it was a fucked up story about adopted triplets and I knew it would make me angry. So I didn’t watch it when it was released.

However, I kept hearing great reviews from people and so when earlier this week, it popped up on my Hulu feed, I decided to give it a look. I can always shut it off like I did that terrible “Abducted In Plain Sight” documentary. I ended up being pulled in by to documentary and when it took a turn, whew chilllayyyy, I was stressed.

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For those of you who don’t know what it’s about (spoilers ahead), the film interviews adopted triplets and their adoptive families. The triplets were separated at birth and adopted into different families. The families and brothers had no idea about each other. The boys, David, Eddy and Bobby eventually reunite by accident in college. Two of them found out about each other, it became national news with their photo everywhere and the third sees the photo and boom everyone is reunited and having a great time. While the boys were worldwide news doing tv shows and media circuits, the parents started to get suspicious and wanted some answers from the agency. They were all adopted by the same agency, so the parents visit the agency to start asking questions, they didn’t get anywhere. Eventually, a reporter who was covering the story about the triplets reunification, started digging and came across a study that separated twins and placed them in different homes, so they could conduct experiments. And from there, you can probably piece together what happened. Turns out, yes this was done intentionally, they were purposefully placed in three different homes, one high class, middle class and lower class, and specifically homes that also had an older adopted sister in order to study what exactly? Well we never really find out a clear answer. All three boys struggled with mental health issues throughout their lives (which many speculate was the subject of this study) and eventually Eddy committed suicide. The documentary follows the other two boys on their quest to figure out what the hell this study is for and why. But they never get answers, the study is locked and not to be released until 2060 something or other. In the end notes of the film, we’re informed that after this documentaries release, the remaining boys were actually granted access to the study but it didn’t really answer any questions.

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So, that’s where we are left, with more questions than answers. This is a very well done documentary. I very much liked that it was all a first hand account of the adoptees and their families. While the subject is obviously terrible and terrifying, I think it is an important topic that needs to be discussed more. I do not think this is something of the past. I 100% believe this type of thing still happens today. More importantly, I think it’s vital to shatter this image of adoption that currently exists. This idea that adoption is all rainbows and butterflies. A place where everything is perfect, happy, ethical and everyone farts rainbows. Most of us involved in adoption already know, this image is a lie. The current adoption industry is very dark and unethical. There are too many loopholes in the system that allows for things like this study to be legal. There are no checks and balances in adoption, so these agencies can get away with doing pretty much whatever they want for whatever reason. There is a reason why the adoption/foster industry is closely linked to human trafficking. 60% of all child sex trafficking victims have histories in the child welfare system. That is WAY TOO HIGH PEOPLE!

Anyways, my point is, this story is bonkers, but it’s an important one that needed to be told. This isn’t a one off situation folks, this type of unethical decisions are being made every day in the adoption industry and we need to start paying attention.

Some Things White People Can Do That People of Color Cannot

In my experience one of the biggest barriers we have when discussing racism with white folks today, is that because of their privilege, they do not really understand what racism looks like in 2019. There’s a reason why responses are always things like “I didn’t own slaves” or “racism was so long ago”. Most white people who “don’t get it” think that racism is equal to slavery. While slavery was used as a form of racism, that isn’t the only form racism comes in. It seems that, because white people don’t see us physically in pain or suffering, that they don’t think racism is a real factor anymore.

While racism started a simple act of “white are better than everyone else” it’s not that simple anymore. That concept was carefully implemented into society as a norm and has been festering for centuries to the point that that simple concept, has become a social standard ingrained into our societies. So I was trying to figure out a way to explain what racism looks like today, and I couldn’t find an easy way to explain it. But then while driving to work, I was thinking about this Ed Buck story where two dead black men have turned up at his house in two years and police are just like “oh maybe we should look into that after I’m done eating this sandwich…” and it got me thinking about allllllll the things white people can do without being questioned, while the rest of us would’ve be murdered.

And with that, I give you “Things white people can do, that people of color can’t do without being arrested and/or murdered (because those are pretty much the same things for us)”. Title pending.

Eating/opening Food In The Store Without Being accused of theft…even though it is literally theft.

As both a black person and someone who has worked many years in retail, seeing white people do this, pisses me off to no end. How much entitlement do you have that you just open whatever you want without buying it (which is literally theft), and it’s just assumed that you will pay for it? Meanwhile, people of color are stopped, harassed and even killed when we DON’T steal anything and even after we pay. If that ain’t a shining example of white privilege, I don’t know what is.

Talking back and/or assaulting police officers without being murdered.

I hope I don’t need explain to you the many many incidents of police brutality against black people that is still happening today. We’re getting murdered for sitting in our backyard. Meanwhile, white people can physically assaulted police officers and they just giggle and slap some handcuffs on like this is an SNL skit.

Being arrested alive and peacefully after murdering children and/or being a terrorist.

Yup, I’m going there. Somehow when white people (men specifically) finish shooting up schools or bombing a church, and get arrested, it’s peacefully. It’s amazing how police can calmly and reasonably arrest a terrorist who murdered a bunch of people but shoot a 12 year olds like Tamir Rice for having a bb gun.

The majority of EVERYTHING is catered to you. Books, movies, tv shows, stores, jobs, clothes, #MeToo, women’s march, feminism etc..

Never been a lack of representation for white people. Everything is made for and about white people, even non white things. And still, anything that is made for people of color, there are always white people crying that it’s not for them and using “reverse racism” to justify their flawed logic.

I know these might seem small to some or maybe don’t apply to you, but you can’t deny it is true. It is the thousands of small thing integrated into our social norms that cause racism today. It’s not just shackles and physical hate crimes, it is all the things implemented into our society to ensure mistreatment and setback for people who are not white. Think about the ways in which your privilege, white or otherwise has allowed you coast through life ahead of those who are disadvantaged. How are you using your privilege to help?