Rss

Archives for : Activism

DDD: I Am An Angry Black Woman

I’m angry. I’m pissed. I’m incensed. I have an attitude. I’m mad. I’ve had “Resting Bitch Face” since long before having a resting bitch face was in style. Oh, and in case I haven’t been clear on this fact, I’m Black… and a womanly woman with lady parts. Got it? Good. So when you, in your infinite wisdom and privilege, curl your lips to make statements about my character, or tell me to “smile, it’s not that bad…” understand that you have now contributed to what was probably an already unpleasant day. You don’t know my life. You can’t fathom my struggle.  I don’t owe you anything, least of all a smile that I might be saving for someone who actually deserves a brighter day created by my pleasant side. If you aren’t directly contributing to my wellbeing with friendship or a paycheck, your opinion is invalid. I might be an angry Black Woman, but you helped make me this way. Now, I spend a good percentage of my days trying to not be “the Angry Black Woman” everyone seems to be so hateful of, but today seems like a good day to let her loose.

Malcolm X had an idea about why we're angry...

If you had to spend your entire existence justifying your every emotion and defending your right to humanity, you might be angry too. If you had to listen to people devaluing you and women who look like you day in and day out, you might have an attitude too. If you had to watch non-Black women be praised and lauded for their fiery attitudes, their assertiveness, their braids, their purchased body parts, fabricated mannerisms, carbon copied style… but when you do it its unprofessional, unsexy, unattractive… all manner of Nope… you too might find yourself UNwilling to put up with the bull shit. If you had to read words from Black men who probably have equally Black mothers, sisters, and cousins talking about Black women as if we are… no, not “as if,” because they clearly have no love for Black women unless they are light skinned and otherwise as close to whiteness as Black woman can be. If you had to work 3 times as herd to earn half of what your white counterparts are paid, and one third of what men in the same position earn, you’d be pissed too.

One reason why we're Angry...If you belonged to the most educated, hardest working demographic who is also the least valued, often imitated/never duplicated group of human beings on this planet, you too might find cause for anger.

Here’s the history lesson:

Especially in this Nation, while white women were fighting for a right to work, own property, and not get beaten and raped bySkin Color does not equal Angry their husbands, Black women had never not worked, and weren’t even considered wholly human. While white women were burning their bras, Black women were tending to white women’s dirty laundry, raising their children, cleaning their homes, cooking their food, and making sure that they could come home to comfort when they were done Not working. Then, after suffering at the hands of often cruel “employers” they’d get to go “home” to similarly abused Black men who often found cause to take their frustrations out on who else but the Black woman who’d just gotten home from working to do more work and tend to her own family, and get raped and beaten too.

So here’s the thing, no one really likes being angry. No one wants to spend their lives in a general sense of dismay. This one isn’t directed toward any one group because everyone, other Black women included, are guilty of Anger happens when you see things that piss you offcontributing to the discontent of Black women. Existing in this skin is hard enough without additional external factors making a mess of things. Speaking in general, we don’t need a pity party or snowflake treatment. Just get out of the way. How? Keep your judgments and opinions to yourself. Stop telling us what we are, who we are, what we need to do… just stop. More specifically, stop limiting our humanity. I’m allowed to get and be angry. We all are. If you see us walking down the street looking serious, assume we’re contemplating metaphysics or the solution to world hunger, silently acknowledge our heroism to yourself, and move on with your life so we can continue moving through ours.

Do More, Require Better with your #50percent. The day you save may be your own.

And now we come to…the end of an era

Today, oddly enough was supposed to be the pay off FINALLY for a number of posts about relationships that I thought might be better than all my previous ruthless on relationships post. And indeed I’ll get to that later.

 

Instead,

Today is a day I bring us to a place I knew could happen, but was happy every time it didn’t. Today we end the hour for the last time. What do I mean? Today is the beginning of a goodbye party. For this blog. Oh it will continue to exist, but a transition is afoot. And so with all transitions, some things remain the same, while other change or are left behind.

If you would have told me 3 years ago as I was studying for the bar that we would be here I would be shocked. But if you would have told me that we would get here after 450 thousand views I’d also be shocked so much attention happened. Words Don’t Do It Justice started as an idea, a bit of fun, and a lot of me. I have buried hatchets with enemies because of this blog, reconnected with old friends, and made new ones because of this blog, found meaning in the midst of my own personal depression because of this place. I have consumed it, and let it consume me. I love it. But loving this blog means knowing what to do. And taking a good long look I know the thing to do is let it go.

But I said this was transition not destruction.

And indeed it is. I’ll be taking Words Don’t Do It Justice away from our blogging past into a show based future. For me, the question was one of logistics. Was it better to end everything and walk away from these years of effort, or find a way to keep the place alive in the hearts of all of you who have supported us? I choose to believe that you will keep supporting us, and I chose to keep this place alive in a new way.

That means giving you what we planned. Give No Quarter, The Wrath of Ruthless, and Words Don’t Do It Justice are the three pillars of Ruthless Radio. 3 shows with different formats that bring you many of the topics you might see written about here, but in a new form and with some new and old faces/voices. Over the next few weeks as we ready to for the relaunch of Words Don’t Do It Justice as a podcast, you’ll get to read some farewells from various alums, and hear from the incoming folks for these shows. You’ll also see the Words Don’t Do It Justice site itself undergo various changes. With plenty of hard work, luck, and you listening in, I hope to earn your trust for these new shows, and continue to hold our interest.

SO! What about Weekend’s Don’t Do It Justice?

Well I’m happy to say our little casual interest site is growing well. And it is going to continue. We had a nice response to the sample chapter from Project 13, and now that game of thrones is done you’ll see a lot of other reviews, news, and related content there. Our gamers are doing their thing, and if Vantinel’s CEO appearance is any indication of commitment, we will only continue to grow over there.

As I end for now I just want to say thank you, and of course to keep watching what we do. But more than that, thank you for being a force for us. We continued to push because you were there with us. 100,000 visitors, 450,000 views, and 3 years of growth, While things must change, I am glad to have made it to this point. A point that let’s me look back and say that YOU made us more than I imagined. And though Words Don’t Do It Justice…Thank you.

 

“THE Ruthless Wonder” Matthew Elisha Williams

Founder of Words Don’t Do It Justice

Manly Men are B*tches

Good DaddyI’m a girl. I’m a lady. I am a woman. I am strong and delicate, fierce and gentle. I get to be both. Unfortunately, the world demands that men… that our boys choose a side. What it means to be manly… just one more thing I don’t have any business really speaking on. There’s a lot out there about the messages we send to little girls, and make no mistake, that’s important, but not what this here is about. I need to talk about men, how we raise men, how we program boys, and how important it is that we make some real changes if we’re going to make moves in the right direction for all of our futures.

Sometimes I don’t know what’s more damaging: I understand the importance of teaching boys to be Suck it Upstrong, but for some reason, it’s like they’re not allowed to be balanced. Why are any displays of non-aggressive emotion considered weak? I’d ask why Any indication of weakness is automatically considered feminine, but that’s not what this is about. We raise boys to hold everything in, hide their true feelings, and show only a supposedly manly variety of strength, but expect men to be honest, caring, and sensitive as lovers, compliant, subservient, and malleable as employees, and then be tender, gentle, and patient as fathers… all while maintaining an impermeable armor of masculine strength. Then we wonder why they die younger, are more susceptible to violent outbursts, and more likely to go on killing sprees that end in their own death.

Pink OnsieThe pressure to be manly men starts when they’re born. The suggestion the dressing a baby boy in supposedly girly colors–colors they haven’t even learned to recognize–will somehow make him gay. The assertion that letting a boy play with girls weakens him. The idea that boys have to “toughen up” and can’t cry. In my conversations with guys and gals about what makes a man manly often has more to do with what he does than who he is. Does he work? Does he spend time with his family? Does he act like a man? I honestly don’t really know what that means: “act like a man.” As a matter of fact, it doesn’t seem like most other people really know what it means either. How is it then, that we expect our boys to grow into strong men when we can’t even come up with a definitive answer for what it means to be one?

I think the idea of manliness that we’ve been shoving down our boys throats is Abuseactually feeding a bitch-made mentality. When I say bitch, I don’t mean anything feminine. I mean that we have been raising boys hoping for men, and instead ending up with bitches. They’re over sensitive, homophobic, and moody. Unfortunately, because they’ve been conditioned to hold all of their emotions in, they’re prone to spontaneous combustion. They have a tendency to interpret everything as attacks against their manhood. Of course these are very general statements, and I know that #notallmen are like this. Unfortunately, we’re living in a social climate where everything is taken personally and indifferently at the same time. Every conversation is an opportunity to get defensive or accuse someone of being oversensitive. Even when trying to address and fix these kinds of social problems, we run into this–as the kids would say–bitch-made mentality that makes it impossible to make progress. Here’s my attempt…

A man’s manhood cannot be measured by how many women he beds, hours worked, or dollars spent on material things. Manhood cannot be challenged by anything, if the man in question is truly a man. A an who knows his position, knows his worth, and is fully secure in his manhood does not allow trivialities to diminish his manly swag. A man is honorable, kind, and diligent in all of his undertakings. He keeps his word and is sure to mirror his words with his deeds. He knows his strengths, and does not allow his weaknesses to define him. He understands the importance of partnerships, team work, and family. He works hard, and plays hard. He is balanced. He most certainly strives to Do More & Require Better.

Story Time: The Price of Being Conscious

It’s a strange thing being “conscious.” I don’t generally consider myself conscious becauseof the connotation. For example, I was trying to decide whether I was going to address the Trans Allyanti trans issue or the Lemonade mini movie–which I still haven’t seen. Initially, I decided on the trans issue because going out of my way to give any performer my attention… it just isn’t that important. The trans issue, on the other hand, I haven’t addressed beyond my disgust over the new Miss Jenner’s claiming the woman of the year award. Yesterday, I had an epiphany: the trans issue doesn’t need my voice. Of course the issue is important, I simply feel like especially because I have that bias as it pertains to one having been born a woman and having to suffer the several indignities that come with going through puberty as an adolescent girl, I feel like speaking from my perspective isn’t where it should be. I remember a little over a year ago when the Geek Street Radio crew were preparing to do an episode addressing LGBTQ* issues. We didn’t have enough representation and I felt uncomfortable being listed as a primary speaker. It’s like when white people speak on the Black experience. Even as allies, they’re speaking from a place of privilege and haven’t had to deal with the indignities that come with being Black. The same reason Black people are often offended by White people who appoint themselves champions of the Black community. I didn’t want to be one of those… and I still don’t.

Here’s what I will say: The issue is important. Trans gendered people deserve the same dignities and rights as cisgengered people.Trans No One Cared Creating legislation that makes it easy for ignorant people to discriminate against transgender men and women is in direct opposition to the values that are supposed to be dear to the hearts and minds of all Americans. It’s unconstitutional and shouldn’t be allowed to stand. Once upon a time Black people were legally considered less than human. We’re still fighting for our equal rights, so what’s adding one more set of people to the list of communities requiring equal recognition under the law? How I… how any of us feels about people who diverge from the accepted norm is irrelevant.

In separate but related news…

I imagine that people who don’t care about anything are that kind of happy that everyone is hoping to acquire. The more I learn, the longer I live, the more I experience stuff, the further from happiness I feel myself getting. I honestly don’t understand how people manage to see other people’s struggle. I can’t see people dealing with injustice without at least wanting to join the protest. I want to be one of those people who can just live life completely unaffected by the suffering of others. I guess some things simply weren’t meant to be. I’ll just be one of those caring people who gets angry and impassioned on other’s behalf. It’s why I Do More & Require Better.

Story Time: Reign Writes – Me As A Writer

ShadowShadow Bolt Reigns, my adventurous puppy, gives me something other than myself to focus on. He forces me out of my head and away from the things that keep me mired in negativity. He nudges whatever he can reach, jumps onto my lap, tap dances on my back or chest (ouch!), and licks my face until I get up to fill whichever need he has, which sometimes is just a few moments of attention. Even now as I write this piece, it’s as if he’s thinking “She writes, therefore I must nudge.” All he’s doing is what comes to him naturally. He’s probably just being completely self-centered without a single thought of my actual feelings or my needs, but he has saved my life and my psyche at least once a week ever since the day he showed up in my life. He’s the  reason I’m still here to talk to you. He keeps me Doing More because he Requires my best.

On any given day, I have at least 5 pieces in progress. I start writing, I lose my thought, I go off on tangents, and end up either deleting whole chunks of text or copying and pasting into new pieces to be worked on when my mind finds its way back to a steady train of thought. This is my version of writer’s block. I have so much to say about so many things; police abuse of power, the attack in Pakistan, the attacks everywhere, being Black in a world that seems to hate Black people, depression, my depression, my family, my friends, the media, the election, the American people, lies and liars, my desperate wish that superheroes were real… so much and so many things I want to talk about, and I can’t Do any of It Justice because the Words are all there at the same time.

Right now, I’m mostly bothered by the way circumstances have changed me. I never wanted to see things through colored lenses. In spite of the kids making fun of my dark skin, the little white boys in Virginia who called me a nigger, the kids in Costa Rica calling me “elote negra” which I didn’t actually understand at the time, but I knew it wasn’t meant as a compliment… the scary big girl in my first predominantly black school saying that I wasn’t special; that I was “just anotha nigga like the rest of us” I’ve always wanted to believe in the bigger picture. You know, the one that sees that the reason the system is set up this way is because it works better for the top 10% if the rest of us are busy fighting and disagreeing with each other, we aren’t paying attention to them screwing us over with crappy wages, the ever-increasing cost of living, and the never-ending list of drugs and products meant to mask the symptoms of the very curable diseases they infected us with.

I just heard a great line–one of many–on Jerry McGuire:

First class is what’s wrong buddy. It used to mean a better meal, now it means a better life.

Have you seen that commercial with Jennifer Aniston?

For me, its a picture of everything that’s wrong with the world. This rich white lady’s Greedy whonightmare is flying on a plane that doesn’t have a shower or bar, while the rest of us are worrying about jobs that we might lose if we take a vacation, and that’s if the job pays enough to afford more than a staycation. I’ve never been a fan of Jennifer Aniston, and this ad, while it might be just another job for her, does nothing to sway my favor. The disconnect between the rich and the poor is beyond vast, and so much deeper than skin… but the tools of division are strong; too strong to ignore. So now I see things through my brown eyes. I experience the world through my skin, through my gender, through my heterosexual privilege. I see the biases. I see the isms. I see the media ignoring dead Pakistanis. I see a reality TV star using the fear and insecurities of ignorant Americans to ensure viewership for his next show. I see it all, and am overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of how well it is working.

I want to talk about it all, but I can barely focus on just one thing because it’s all connected. I feel like I’m not doing the other issues justice by not addressing all of them. It’s like I’m betraying my on mantra by only taking one issue at a time. I want to Do More and Require Better of my writing, and myself, because limiting myself to a world painted various shades of brown and white isn’t enough… and I’m still tired of the black perspective. The world is a big colorful place, and there’s a lot more wrong with it than race relations. I just wish I could Say more too.

Do More. Require Better. It’s not just about you. It’s about me and everything I do here too.

Fear: A Great Motivator

Fear. False Evidence Appearing Real. I’m afraid for the future. I’m afraid of the kinds of changes we’re going through. I’m afraid I’m never going to get Shadow obedience trained. I’m afraid that the Zombie Apocalypse is going to be a real thing and that too many stupid people will survive because all the smart people are going about their lives unwilling to consider the possibilities. I’m afraid I’ll never achieve this “together” level that I’m supposed to be getting life. I’m afraid that I’ll never be satisfied. I’m afraid of being afraid.

The bombings in Brussels yesterday changed the color of this piece. See, the thing about Media Loves Isisterrorists and terrorism is that it’s primary purpose is to strike fear into the hearts of men. So as afraid as I am of so many things, when these attacks happen, my defiant nature kicks in and instead of staying afraid, I want to prove to those people that their antics didn’t work on me. I want to take a train blindfolded with my headphones on and sit right next to a suspicious bag. I want to fly out to Afghanistan with all of my femininity and girldom wearing a tank top, form fitting jeans, and flip flops, rent a car and drive through residential areas blasting old Beatles, Michael Jackson, and whichever local revolutionary underground rapper they’d want to silence. I want to tell the TSA and the NSA and the alphabet soup of agencies to find new jobs because their services are no longer needed and we won’t be letting acts of terrorism direct how we live our lives and treat our people. Much like how my negative experiences with racists hasn’t made me hate white people, I refuse to let these extremists scare me out of living. The only fear I have now is of being fearful… and zombies… because F*ck zombies.

I feel like the suggestions of adding security checks before people even get to the airport plays right into their agenda… Whoever “they” really are. I remember the scenes in Swordfish with John Travolta’s character explaining how  perpetrating acts of Fear... and Spidersterrorism is important ad necessary to the world… or at least maintaining the American way of life. He justifies killing tens, hundreds and thousands of children in the name of maintaining the American status quo. The objective is to keep people afraid to keep us in line. Fear: a Great motivator. Have you ever heard someone say “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” but then they turn around and freak out over a spider? That’s what is being done to us. Drumpf is out there pointing at imaginary spiders. The terrorists are out there breeding wolf spiders, sending them to highly populated areas, and detonating their egg sacks and dispersing thousands of tiny spiders like miniature eight-legged fear bombs. They spread all kinds of fear for all kinds of reasons and we give in to it. They do it to keep us in line, they do it to keep us distracted, they do it to get us to let them do things to us that we’d otherwise revolt for. They’ve been doing it for centuries. The Romans did it with public executions. Slave owners did it to their “white” slaves. Bush did it with his infamous, imaginary “weapons of mass destruction”… and we the people fall for it every time. We the people ignore the voices of reason in our heads and give into the proverbial spiders. Every. Time.

Supposedly, the worst thing that could happen is death. Last time I checked, all of the religious sects Underdoghave happy places to go for the good people and unpleasant places to go for the bad ones. Well, if they’re right, and I’m considered good, what do we have to worry about? If I’m considered bad, with all there is to be afraid of here, going to any version of hell would be just like being here, so what are we afraid of? And if I’m right, and heaven and hell are created here on earth, then death might just be a welcomed release from all the damn stress, anxiety, and of course: fear. Further, to put the icing on the proverbial cake, death is the great equalizer; it will happen to all of us eventually… so get scared for wha?

I’m choosing to ignore my fear in favor of hope. Bravery is being afraid and choosing to act anyway. Let’s be brave. Let’s #feeltheBern. Let’s protect the future by doing what we need to do today to protect it. Let’s vote so the fear mongers of the world don’t get to lead us into another unnecessary war here or abroad. Let’s stand together again in favor of continuing to effect the change we believed in when we voted for Obama. Send me links and ideas to get Shadow to o back to being the obedient little pup-panion that’s I’ve come to depend on. Let’s pay attention to all of the possibilities… Let’s not allow ourselves to become like zombies; mindlessly dragging ourselves around giving in to our baser instincts and our penchant for instant gratification. I know that if we can do these things, we’ll all have a better chance at achieving that “together” thing that we have all claimed to be working towards and that even if I am never satisfied, I might at least be able to get close.

…oh, and let’s Do More & Require Better.

Decorum Deficiency Disorder: F*ck Humility

February was a good month, and it’s looking like March is going to be good too. Yes, this is me tooting my own horn… because f*ck humility. Yesterday (which is today for me) Facebook remembered that March 8th is international woman’s day, and that the whole of March is Women’s History Month. Today being the socially acceptable day to talk about this sort of thing, I’m preempting a piece that I’ve already postponed for a month in favor of Blackness, love, relationships, and “race stuff” in favor of  Yep; it was a good month and I’m riding the wave.

They make songs about how much more attractive a girl can be when she doesn’t act like she knows she attractive. It seems to be a widely known fact that humility is a desirable trait in a woman. People talk about humility like it’s a virtue worth practicing. Humble people are nice to be around because they don’t make you feel like less than you are, other than guilty for not seeming as humble as they are. Let’s take a deeper look…

Humility defined

Humble:
adjective, humbler, humblest.
1. not proud or arrogant; modest: to be humble although successful.
2. having a feeling of insignificance, inferiority, subservience, etc.In the presence of so many world-famous writers I felt very humble.
3. low in rank, importance, status, quality, etc.; lowly: of humble origin; a humble home.
4. courteously respectful: In my humble opinion you are Humble definitionwrong
5. low in height, level, etc.; small in size: a humble member of the galaxy.
verb (used with object), humbled, humbling.
6. to lower in condition, importance, or dignity; abase.
7. to destroy the independence, power, or will of.
8. to make meek

When I look at the definition of humility, it’s no wonder that I’ve ever understood why any sane person would consider humility a good characteristic to emulate. You mean to tell me that even when someone is clearly drenched in awesomeness, they’re supposed to act like they aren’t? And to what end? As if anyone every really likes watching someone acting like they’re less awesome than they are. Here’s an example: Have you ever talked to someone who you think has it all (great life, family, career, finances, home, things, etc.) and hear them talking shit about their life as if you didn’t just see them tip the valet with a 50 dollar bill. Sure, they’re being humble… but their humility seems more like an insult than an equalizer.

You know what they call a confident Woman? A bitch. You know what they call a confident man? A leader. As far as I can tell the idea of humility is one of those things that has only truly served rich men. Disclaimer: I’m not saying that there aren’t any difficulties that come with not being humble or that all seemingly confident men…. you know what, fuck this disclaimer shit too. If you don’t know that there are levels and layers to this and that I’m primarily addressing one aspect of it here because this would end up being a 5 hour dissertation on life and how much it sucks… then stop reading and go back to watching kitten videos on YouTube; This is not meant for you.

Certificate of HumilityAnyway, it seems to me that back when they were writing the so-called holy books, they decided that the best way to keep people in line; to keep people in their places was to convince them that vows of poverty and acts of humility were among the highest forms of piety. In doing so, they could demand levels of obedience and unquestioned subservience that they probably couldn’t have gotten otherwise. Further, they depicted women as inherently unclean and thus even more susceptible to sin and temptation of the flesh, they suggested even stricter penalties and even higher standards piety. Of course I could say that this is all just a theory, but unfortunately, history supports my thesis.

Since our expectations of people, and–for the purpose of this piece–women in particular, hasn’t evolved to fit the construct of modern society, we’re left with a relatively useless standard of humility that mostly serves as another way to diminish women’s willingness to require things like equal rights, respect, and higher pay. We might make better students, we might work harder and be better team players, but having been programmed to be humble, we’re less likely to demand things like raises or interfere when men are making decisions that are counterproductive or inefficient.

So fuck humility. I say claim your awesomeness. I remember back when I was getting my real estate license. I took the class and the test with a then romantic interest. He didn’t think studying or reviewing notes was a valuable use of his time. I remember how angry he got with me when he didn’t pass. Not with the test, not the instructors, but with me. I didn’t even get to celebrate my success because it might further damage his fragile ego. Almost 10 years later and I still kick myself over it. I should have celebrated. I should have focused on my success instead of trying to make him feel better about his failure. It didn’t stop him from resenting me. It didn’t make him appreciate my effort or make him try harder to succeed. Ego stroking doesn’t accomplish anything other than inflating egos that should be left to their own devices. If the only way for one person to feel good about themselves is for you “to lower [yourself] in condition, importance, or dignity” then that isn’t someone you should keep in your life. Your goal should be to surround yourself with people who encourage you to Do More & Require Better… and then celebrate your successes. Fuck Humility.