“Now That’s Trumped Up!”

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Well, it’s been two weeks since we awakened to learn that someone we believed could NEVER be elected President of the United States did just that. I guess this is how racists felt on November 5, 2008, the day after Barack Obama’s first election! It’s going to be a long 4 (or maybe even 8) years! My advancing age, professional status, and commitment to try to be a better Christian keeps me from saying what I really want to say. But I’ve come up with a substitute term… This is really, “Trumped up!” Here are just a few of the things I think are “trumped up” about the results of this election:

– A man with 5 children and 3 baby mamas was elected…that’s trumped up!
– A man who committed adultery on ALL of his wives was elected…that’s trumped up!
– The first-lady-elect (for now) has pornographic pictures of herself circulating while people denounced First Lady Michelle Obama for wearing bare arms…that’s trumped up!
– The President-Elect is an admitted sexual predator…that’s trumped up!
– The President-Elect built his entire campaign by instigating racist, sexist, homophobic ideologies…that’s trumped up!
– The President-Elect’s “appeal” to Black voters was by telling them they were all poor, unemployed, uneducated, and violent and asking what they had to lose by voting for him…that’s trumped up!
– The President –Elect demonized all Muslim families and suggested that all Muslim immigrants needed to be “extremely vetted”…that’s trumped up!
– The President-Elect started his campaign for the presidency by declaring our current president was not even a citizen of the United States…that’s trumped up!
– The President-Elect made a claim about bringing jobs back to the US while he is a primary mover for outsourcing in his own businesses…that’s trumped up!
– The President-Elect announced his candidacy while claiming that Mexico was sending its murderers and rapists to the US and he would build a wall between the two countries that Mexico would pay for…that’s trumped up!
– The President-Elect clearly lost all 3 presidential debates and demonstrated his unstable temperament…that’s trumped up!
– The President-Elect ran on a platform of “making America great again” (but I can not determine what bygone era of greatness he was referencing)…that’s trumped up!
– The President-Elect kept his tax returns secret from the American public for the entire campaign…and still has not revealed them…that’s trumped up!
– The New York Times revealed that the President-Elect has paid NO taxes for the last 10 years. So while the rest of us are paying for defense, social security, highways, schools, health care, etc., he’s paid for NOTHING…that’s trumped up!
– The President-Elect has been endorsed by the KKK and other noted hate mongers and White supremacists…that’s trumped up!
– The President-Elect began filling his cabinet and other key staff positions with racists and alt-right ideologues…that’s trumped up!
– The President-Elect encouraged thuggish and violent behavior at his campaign appearances…that’s trumped up!
– The President-Elect claimed he would prosecute his opponent when he won the election and led the cheers to “lock her up”…that’s trumped up!
– The President-Elect wants the nation to withdraw from international agreements and partnerships like NATO…that’s trumped up!
– The President-Elect wants to dismantle a health care plan that is the signature program of our current president and is likely to end up with many poor people without coverage and the rest of us with coverage with super high deductibles …that’s trumped up!
– The President-Elect wants to appoint Supreme Court judges that will control women’s bodies but will likely let old men get those little blue pills for free…that’s trumped up!
– The President-Elect claims to know more about ISIS than the generals whose job it is to know, plan and execute military strategy…that’s trumped up!
– The President-Elect claimed he could shoot someone in the middle of 5th Avenue (NY) and still not lose any voters …that’s trumped up!
– The President-Elect claims that climate change science is a hoax…that’s trumped up!
– The President-Elect ran a campaign based on fear and doomsday scenarios … that’s trumped up!
– The President-Elect is allegedly a billionaire who has poor people believing he is actually going to do something for them …that’s trumped up!
– The President-Elect is a reality show celebrity who has never run for any public office…that’s trumped up!
– The President-Elect believes he is the smartest, most charismatic, captivating person ever (despite a orange face and perhaps a hair transplant)…that’s trumped up!
– The President-Elect ran a fake University, was sued for fraud and recently settled for $25 million…that’s trumped up.
– The President-Elect is petty and petulant and explodes in Twitter ® rants whenever someone criticizes him …that’s trumped up!
– We may have to live with this man as president for at least the next four years…that’s trumped up!
– If the President-Elect messes this thing up the nation is stuck with his vice president who is a dangerous ideologue…that’s trumped up!

In the end, we have visited much of this foolishness on ourselves. We acted as if President Obama’s legacy would remain intact and because we weren’t enthusiastic about his Democratic successor we did not mobilize to stop who we got. And that is trumped up!

Stay Black & Smart!

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“Shout Out To My Real Ride or Die Chicks”

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Well, we’ve just come out of one of the most vicious, contentious presidential election cycles and it has ended badly for most progressive, equality, and justice minded people. People on the left are wringing their hands and telling us that the sky is falling. Indeed, it may be falling. But it is not falling because of one group of women—Black women.

Once we saw the demographic voter backgrounds we learned that White men voted for Donald Trump at a rate of 63%. That does not surprise me. Trump tapped into some notion of an “angry White man” (angry for what—that you don’t own EVERYTHING?) but we kept hearing that he had alienated White, educated women. Well, the data reveal that White women voted for Trump at a rate of 53%, i.e. the MAJORITY of White women voted for Donald Trump. Let that sink in! White women voted for a serial adulterer who has talked about his sexual predatory ways and demeaned women at every turn.

But, one group of women has been ride or die for Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton from the outset. They knew she was flawed—deeply flawed, but they could not look their daughters in the face and say I voted for a man who will not permit you to have control over your body. They could not look into the face of their sons and say I voted for a man who tells you it is all right for you to take advantage of women and grab their genitalia whenever you feel like it. They could not look at their children and say I voted for a man who is racist, sexist, misogynistic, homophobic, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, and makes fun of people with disabilities. That group was Black women. We rode HARD for Secretary Clinton to the tune of 94%. She didn’t make us any grand promises. Some will argue that she took us for granted. But at the end of the day, we looked at our chances for our children with her versus him and decided that he had absolutely NO interest in helping us. She seemed to offer us the better chance.

Black women have been “ride or die” from day one. We birthed babies out of a rape culture that was slavery. And, we not only birthed them, we cared for them. We worked the fields side by side with our enslaved brethren. We cleaned the floors and cooked the food of White people and listened carefully to what they planned and plotted that spelled our destruction so we could aid in our own liberation. We led our people out of slavery in the person of Harriet Tubman. We sharecropped with our men. We saved our pennies to build Black colleges. We are the backbone of our churches. We keep our families together. We sacrifice for our parents, our men, our children, and our communities. Oh, we are ride or die chicks!

The fact that Black women are ride or die chicks is not news but some of us were under the mistaken impression that White women would ride along with us at least for the cause of gender. What a huge mistake that was! White women embraced their whiteness as fervently as men—maybe more so. And, that understanding creates some changed relations for those of us who have to interact with White women on a regular basis. Now, lurking in our minds is whether or not each White woman we meet is “one of the 53%.” The “implicit bias” Whites have hidden behind was on full display on November 8, 2016.

The question for Black activists is now to what degree we can work in coalition with White women? White comedian Samantha Bee did a post-election monologue in which she excoriated the White community but I noticed she said, “How many times do we expect Black people to build our country?” The pronoun modifying the word, “country” that she chose was “our.” This makes me ask, “who is the our?” She may have meant a collective “our” that includes everyone but I would have been more settled in my soul if she said, “the country.” This would suggest that no one group has a special right of ownership. But she is right about Black people building it. We plowed the fields, tilled the soil, planted the seed, and harvested the crops. But, we did not get to come to the table to eat.

Right now I have a number of White women contacting me via text, IM, and social media wanting to be absolved of guilt but I’m sorry that’s not going to happen right now. I still have to process the betrayal. Of course I have some White women friends and students (who know who they are) who do not have to ask me about our relationship or what they should do. They are already doing it. I don’t need any more White women running up to me telling me how much they love my work and asking whether or not we can get a selfie. I don’t need your idol worship. I don’t need a fan club. You can keep your fair trade coffee. You can keep your “mindfulness.” You can keep your hot yoga! But some White women keep asking me what should we do? My metaphorical eyebrows are raised as I ask, “We?” You have failed to convince me that you can participate in any activity with Black and other people of color where you can take direction from women of color. My experience has been if you can’t be in the forefront; if you can’t lead; if your name is not on the marquee…you are not interested. My experience is you will only ride so far (and typically only if you are driving) and you won’t die for anybody!

To my ride or die Black women sista’s…

Stay Black & Smart!

“I’m Through!”

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This might seem like a very strange blog for me to write since I devote much of my professional life to teaching, researching, and writing about race and racism in education. But, with the exception of my scholarly pursuits, I am through talking to White people about race and racism. My absolute “through-ness” (I know, a made up word) came to a head when my university covered up blatant racism (a man in a Trump costume had a noose around a man in an Obama mask at a recent football game and the university president called it “free speech.”) Below is a litany of what I am through with:

  • I am through trying to assuage White tears whenever the topics of race and racism arises;
  • I am through acting like I don’t notice when I’m the only Black person in a room of White people with authority and power;
  • I am through pretending like I don’t notice that college football fields and basketball courts are filled with Black players earning enormous sums of money for universities that have stadiums and arenas filled with White fans;
  • I am through trying to explain why Donald Trump is racist…indeed, I am through not reminding people that the entire presidential election has race as a subtext;
  • I am through giving White entertainers and celebrities a pass when they do racist foolishness on line, on social media, etc. and then “walk it back” with, “I didn’t mean to offend anyone!”
  • I am through with trying to explain when something is racist…(e.g. police shooting, lead water poisoning, the justice system, schools, housing, voter suppression);
  • I am through going HARD for other people’s issues and then finding myself standing alone when the issue is racism;
  • I am through with people using “implicit bias” to paper over their racism;
  • I am through with explaining why Confederate flags, nooses, references to fried chicken, watermelon, and “Black on Black” (what about “White on White”) crime are racist;
  • I am through explaining the need for affirmative action (when you break stuff, you are obligated to fix it);
  • I am through trying to get people to understand why slavery is still relevant to Black people’s ongoing plight;
  • I am through pretending appropriation of Black culture is flattery (don’t braid your hair or try to enhance your butt and stop putting kale in everything);
  • I am through worrying about if something I say will “hurt your feelings,” “make you feel uncomfortable,” or “make things ‘worse’;”
  • I am through thinking it’s okay for White people to move into and take over Harlem, Detroit, or West Philly;
  • I am through explaining the need for HBCUs;
  • I am through explaining why I attend a BLACK church;
  • I am through explaining why I am in a BLACK sorority;
  • I am through with the unbridled hatred of Serena Williams, Cam Newton, and President Obama;
  • I am through with your children being so ignorant that every time they see a Black person they rudely stare (I will be staring back);
  • I am through listening to you start sentences with, “Well, you know I’m not racist, but…” (Yes, you are);
  • I am through with White mediocrity being called excellence while Black excellence is ignored;
  • I am through with people trying to pit the plight of Black people against that of others implying Black folks should still wait;
  • I am through indulging comments like, “everything is not about race,” when most times it is;
  • I am through explaining my style—hair, dress, swagger;
  • I am through being your teacher when I am not paid to do so;
  • I am through supporting “liberal” causes that don’t make race central to their work;
  • I’m through trying to get folks to understand that “Black Lives Matter!”

Yes, I’m just through! So you may wonder what am I going to talk to White folks about. Well, we can talk about Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones (although I don’t actually watch that), Portlandia (which I’ve only seen 3 times), and why every fall you turn EVERYTHING into something “pumpkin” (lattes, muffins, and bread).

Stay Black & Smart!