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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.

RSI: To Just Function is a Problem

Though Self Improvement is intrinsic to the journey, I have a problem with how we’re expected to just function. I’m sitting in my dining room, my music playing and my roommate testing his Magic deck. With my fingers on the keyboard, I’m typing words while my entire life of decisions swirl around in my head. I’ve already started, deleted, and restarted thrice. I’ve settled on this topic because I believe that this statement is a universally relatable fact.

See, I’ve been calculating things like hours and dollars a lot lately; asking the ever important question: “What is the best use of my time?”  and in doing so, I’ve realized that I spend too many hours commuting and recovering from my commute.

Avoid minimum wage activities.

Here’s My#50percent: if you aren’t constantly asking yourself what the best use of your time is, you aren’t doing this life thing right. The best use of your time doesn’t have to always be work. Now, you might have a hard time believing that I just put those words in writing, so I’ll explain. Right now, the best use of my time is this conversation with you. In a few minutes or so, the best use of my time will be the deep coma I’ll have earned after working my regular job and coming home to pour the benefits of my musings onto this page. Tomorrow, the best use of my time will be seeking the long-term solution to my MWA–minimum wage activity–problem. Get it?

I have a problem with how we’re expected to just function because we aren’t being taught these concepts. Then, even when we are, the design of the system pushes us into the activities we’re supposed to be avoiding. I have a problem with how we’re expected to just function because there should be more to life than just function. Unfortunately, life is a series of MWA’s when you aren’t born into financial wealth or provided the education AND the opportunity to capitalize on what you’ve learned. We shouldn’t be made to feel guilty when we want to spend irreplaceable moments doing enjoyable things. We also shouldn’t be made to feel guilty when we have to sacrifice that many more hours of life that we’ll never get back working jobs that we’d rather simply Not because just functioning is expensive.

Those Minimum Wage Activities that we’re supposed to be avoiding are often the elements of life that keep us sane. Some clean to work through thoughts, unpleasantness, and turmoil. Some drive just to feel like they’re going somewhere. Sometimes, an MWA is the only thing protecting the general public from yet another mass shooting… but the expectation is that we function without regard for the inequity of the design. I have a problem with that.

Do More. Require Better.

It’s Been A Long Time… I Shouldn’a Left You…

I promise, I only left because… because… let me do this right. 

I’d love to say that I left because our Ruthless Leader decided to take a different path, but that would be a lie; I was mostly MIA quite a while before that happened. Y’all know I’m not much for lies, duplicity, or feigning optimism, so I’m going to apologize in advance if I shatter any false ideas you’ve cultivated over the years. The simple version is that I was pulling my life together. Unfortunately, the simple version never quite does it for me, so here we go:

I was busy being depressed. I couldn’t keep telling you to “Do More. Require Better.” when I barely wanted to do anything at all. I’ve been open about my depression, specifically because of what I believe to be my 50 percent, but I haven’t been open about how useless and ineffective the proverbial voices in my head tell me my writing is. I recognize that maybe once upon a time I had a legitimate following  before I started slipping. I also understand, or believe, that in all things, there must be balance. My depression makes it so I can’t see how anything I do means anything. Regardless of my efforts, there will still be pain, suffering, malice, disease, famine, poverty, discord, racism, sexism, and all other forms of unpleasantness. I was left asking “What is any of this for?” The only logical answer I could find: “Naught.”

So what’s a Reign O’Change to do?  I certainly couldn’t keep writing things I no longer believed. There was no Change on the horizon. I was incapable of believing that Justice would actually prevail. Thus, I stopped. It really wasn’t a conscious decision. I kept thinking, “I’ll come back to this one…” or “this issue doesn’t need my voice…” and “Do I really want be one more person blogging about Donamir Trutin’s ineptitude?” Lots of things to write about, but no drive to lend my energy to what seemed like yet another unwinnable battle.

So why are we here today? We’re here because I lost a friend. He’s still very much alive. He’s just not invited to the table anymore. Now, let me be clear: this young man literally came to the cookout. He brought deviled eggs and they were delicious. He tried to teach me how to play HALO. I promoted his craft as a Tattoo Artist. I defended him in public forum against an overzealous supervisor. So when I tell you “I lost a friend.” I mean I lost someone who I thought would be a permanent resident in the complex place that is my heart. How? It all started because of this story I shared on Facebook.

Truth be told, I didn’t even read the article. I figured the least I could do was continue conversing about things Requiring conversation. It’s yet another example of Hollywood deciding that Brown people are better represented by artificially tanned white people.  #RepresentationMatters is a battle cry for those of us who remain unseen and misrepresented by the media. How was I supposed to know it would devolve into “a friend” accusing me of hating white people. If anyone had told me that he would conclude that I was one step away from being a terrorist, I’d have laughed them to scorn. We had Jon Snowed our way through our friendship: we knew nothing about each other.

In my anger, I wrote this entire post, and in doing so, I realized that I needed to come back. That should’ve been–and might still end up being–an addition to The Letter Series. It could’ve been a head-first dive into Decorum Deficiency Disorder. I would’ve gotten so many more hits and shares if only I hadn’t forgotten the purpose of my mission.

#DoMoreRequireBetter is about me doing my #50percent more often and better. So, here’s how this is going to work: I’m back. I’m not mincing words, holding hands, faking the funk, or coddling Anyone. I won’t promise to be here every week, but I’ll be here with all the passion and vigor I can muster… because the conversations still need to be had. We will #RESIST and continue #NotBackingDown because the Cheeto in Chief has earned my wrath. In short: I’m here to Do More & Require Better.

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.

Decorum Deficiency Disorder: Respect. Respeck. R-E-S-P-E-C-T – Have Some

Respect. I have no idea what happened to make Birdman demand “respeck” on his name and I’m not going to go looking to find out. I honestly don’t care. What I do care about is that someone requiring others to show them respect has been made into a joke. I imagine it’s because of the way he said it, or maybe because of who he is. In either case, I think it’s about time someone said something constructive.

I Require Respect. I demand Respect. I command respect. Not because I’ve earned it, because how would anyone who doesn’t know me know what I’ve earned? Not because of my age; because I look young as fuck. Not because of my degrees; because I required respect before I had them. Not because I’m a “strong Black woman;” because Blackness nor womanhood are prerequisites for deserving respect. No; I require respect specifically because you don’t know me, don’t know my struggle, and if you did, you’d know I earned it and I wouldn’t have to explain anyway. When Aretha Franklin sang the song, I imagine she was thinking about some dude who tried to dull her shine with his dick in his hand and oral diarrhea so he was talking out the side of his neck. In my experience, people test people’s limits. Sometimes you can just look at someone and know exactly how far you can’t push them. Apparently, I’m the kind of person who you assume has a short limit, get to know and find the limit isn’t where you thought it was, then have to spend the rest of your relationship with me trying to figure out the limits of my Equalizer of Tolerance. For some reason, even when I am clear about what I will and will not tolerate, people still feel the need to test me. I imagine Aretha and Birdman were being tested, and had to remind people to put some respeck on it.

I don’t think disrespect is a laughing matter. Where I come from, disrespect is grounds for consequences and repercussions of the violent variety. Even at home, any form of disrespect was met with harsh unpleasantness. My last ass whoppin was random and unprovoked because my mother wanted to make sure I knew “which side of my bread was buttered.” It was a preemptive strike just in case I was thinking about disrespecting her. My very literal brain still can’t figure out what buttered bread was supposed to symbolize, but I knew better than to question her about it, in case she’d feel the need to reiterate her point. I know for a fact that most people from my generation and cultural background know exactly what respect is all about, and why a man demanding it is probably not something that should be laughed at.

Yesterday, someone implied that I wasn’t an actual person. He didn’t have a damn thing to say after I corrected him. I don’t expect he’ll have anything to say to me for a very long time. A few weeks ago, a former friend made several statements against my character while defining me as a demon after I explained why she was no longer worthy of my friendship. I might add that moniker to my title so people can have an idea of who they might meet if they catch me on a bad day, or worse, are the catalyst of one. I was commenting on a thread a few days ago that instead of telling little girls that the boys are mean because they like her, we should be teaching little boys how to be respectful and teaching little girls to command respect in turn. People disagreed saying that it shouldn’t be on the little girl at all. No, this isn’t a story time, this is just me providing examples to prove the importance I place on respect. So when I don’t laugh at Birdman’s demanding his name be sprinkled with respeck with everyone else, understand that it isn’t because I don’t have a sense of humor, it’s because I think people have forgotten how this shit is supposed to work.

Today’s atmosphere of thumb thugging, and the imaginary shield that the internet provides has people forgetting that there are limits and levels to this, and that crossing these lines–much like changing lanes out of turn–may cause death. Don’t think that kindness or patience are mandatory. If you receive either, consider yourself blessed, and act accordingly. Don’t take it for granted. Don’t think the the nice person won’t change clothes and get fist-ical. Just because someone knows that violence isn’t the answer, doesn’t mean it isn’t one of the multiple choice options.

Respect.

Do More. Require Better.

Story Time: Hood Mentality

It’s been a long time since I lived in the hood. Even when I lived in the hood, it wasn’t theG.Ma's House kind of hood that I had to look around and feel some kind of way about. I lived in an area of Brooklyn with mostly Caribbean home owners. They took pride in what was theirs; swept the sidewalks in front of their stoops, picked up litter and trash, made sure the block was clean after the garbage truck passed. The area I went to school in on the other hand was a different story. The common theme–the mentality–was “no one cares.” It’s the hood. It’s supposed to be dirty. People occasionally complained about how infrequently the garbage was collected or how the so-called street sweepers only wished the dirt around, but they never seemed to care enough to not drop trash on the ground in the first place.

I wish this was going to be one of those simple pieces where I point my finger at an issue, give a brief history lesson, and provide a clean solution. Unfortunately, this is one of those times where the issue goes so much deeper than simply “clean it up.” There’s something about the hood mentality that makes everything about being from the hood the kind of struggle that even hood people don’t really understand. It’s goes Aristotle and Kant deep. It’s knowing that the hood is set up to keep people down, thinking you’re beating the system because you’re “living well” in the hood, then seeing how people live outside the hood and having one of those #awkwardmomentwhen. It’s trying to describe how deep it is only to find that Words Don’t Do It Justice. Let’s see if I can put this into perspective.

ChevronI stopped for gas at a Chevron the other night. I knew I was in the hood, and as such I was appropriately cautious and carefully observed my surroundings. I was with friends, one of whom is an equally–if not more so–hood smart young man. He pumped the gas, I surveilled. There was a woman begging at the door to the convenience store and one or two other gas station patrons. What was I most bothered by? That all but 2 pumps were fully functional. It’s the hood. There are supposed to be poor people, drug addicts, and cantankerous arguing patrons. What I don’t accept is that a multi million dollar corporation would allow it’s gas pumps to remain in disrepair or be left empty for more than a few hours. East Point, GA is no less worthy of services than Buckhead. Corporations shouldn’t be allowed to treat their patrons differently just because of a zip code. I’ll go deeper.

When I mentioned that I was irritated, my friend assumed that it was because of the Homeless at Chevronbeggar by the door asking him for change repeatedly. I don’t think I explained then, but I’m not generally bothered by people begging. A closed mouth won’t get fed, whether what the body needs is a meal, a roof, or their favorite chemical alterant. I’d rather her be begging than out stealing or hurting herself for what she needs. I don’t know what circumstances lead her–or any other person–to that position, but it probably wasn’t part of their life’s plan. I have a hard time believing that anyone grows up striving to be homeless, a drug addict, or mentally ill. It happens, but I highly doubt that it was planned. I also wasn’t bothered by being in the hood. I come from a hood that probably isn’t very different from the hoods of Georgia, or any other hood for that matter. When I did explain that I was upset about the state of the gas station, his first reaction was to remind me that the hood mentality dictates that the people who live there don’t consider themselves to be worthy of “nice things.”

So here’s the thing: it’s hard to believe that you’re deserving of things like a fully functioning gas station when everything in the social construct tells you that because you didn’t get the good job you were told you’d get after college or after serving in whichever branch of the Armed Forces… because the job you did get barely pays enough to keep a roof over your head which also means your income is low and thus a you’re in a low tax bracket. Less tax contribution–by means of property taxes, not income–means less service (i.e. road maintenance, garbage collection, public school funding, etc.) The lesser services means the hood children don’t have access to the same standard of education that other children in more affluent neighborhoods do; larger class sizes taught by underpaid, stressed out, inattentive teachers… and even if the children get into college, the cycle often continues. But wait! There’s more. What happens to the kids who don’t make it into college? What happens to a child who has one or two working parents who are too busy trying to make ends meet and keep the utilities on? What happens to the kids who basically have to raise themselves because the adults in their lives are absent? What happens to the kid who only gets attention when they act out? What happens to the kid who gets convinced that his life isn’t valuable? What happens?

No one cares.

Do More. Require Better.