Wednesday, June 17, 2015

the root's entire staff is so up in its feelings - that they're incoherent...,

the root |  My mother handled these issues and raised me well, so I don’t need you to cry for me, wannabe Teena Marie. But do know that the last act I performed to honor her life—which, true to the experience of all too many American women who actually possess African genes, ended a good 15 years earlier than a white woman’s life expectancy—was to change the race on her death certificate from white, which the hospital assumed that she was (the daily presence of her brown-skinned children be damned; at least they could have asked), to black, since that’s how she both identified and lived.

Yes, Rachel, I know that there’s a way in which that act was just as crazy as the one-drop rule, but I fought the last fight she couldn’t fight for herself. Plus, how can you be born colored and die white? May the good Lord bless my mother (and father).

So this, Rachel, is why I am challenging you to do better, for these reasons and the fact that mixed in with your very human and understandable identity issues is your racial privilege, multiplied by your opportunism, to the cultural-appropriation power. (That’s my hairstyle you’re wearing, sweetie, but it probably never occurred to you that some of us, in order to wear it and other natural styles, have to overcome a cultural beauty standard that tells us that the way God made us is ugly.)

For the most part, I think you mean well, and I don’t want to minimize the good deeds that you’ve done. But please do “the work” and become a true ally and stop playing the community that you say you love, as though we’re not intelligent enough to peep your B.S. Instead, please support us by doing the things you can do that we can’t, from your identity position as a white woman.

It may be a while before you gain that level of insight. Until then, I do understand that membership has its privileges. I’m not a wagering woman, but if I were, I’d bet that you will be on the speaking circuit soon, getting paid rates that rival, if not exceed, those paid to highly qualified speakers of color, some of whom I could name-check by tagging them, but I won’t. Oh, and you’ll probably get a book deal, too. But if any sistah I know helps you write it (ahem!), trust and believe that we will call in the Drop Squad. I’m quite sure you watch movies and know what that is.