I am Diversity

I used to listen to Bob Dylan a lot and, at that time, I would drive a friend of mine to and from work. She wasn’t a fan of Dylan and once asked if I had any black music, so I whipped out Miriam Makeba who I really, really loved. My friend was upset because this is not the kind of ‘black’ she was talking about. 

When I think of this incident I think of this division between black and colored and although it may not be a division that others make it is a division that I acknowledge when I say I am not black, I am colored. It is not that I wish to deny my connection to my ancestors or other people of color; on the contrary, I honor them, my ancestors and the people. Rather, I make this distinction because of the associations that ‘black’ represents. 

As a colored woman I have freedom, the kind of freedom my people died for, the kind of freedom that barriers were broken for. The freedom to vote, not the way a ‘black’ person should vote if they want to maintain their identity, but the way one would vote if they exercised free will. It is the kind of freedom that is exhibited when one is able to consider the politics and select the politician who might best represent what they, with their accumulated knowledge, understand to be correct. As a ‘black’ person, there is no such freedom. Today, you vote democrat and you are included as an identified other when people speak of diversity. As a colored girl, I am diversity, whatever room I enter, I bring diversity with me. 

When I think of my ancestors who were enslaved, I think, not of their victimhood, but of their strength. I think of the connection between their teaching of the children and the teaching of the drum. There is an insistence on learning to behave correctly and on learning to pay attention, not merely to self, but to others. I think of the importance of this teaching in my life and that I do not envy those who do not ‘have’ to think this way. So many idealize this lack of concern as if it were privilege, I, instead, think of it as arrogance. 

There is significance to the meeting of my Nigerian, Kenyan, Ghanaian, Guinean, Congolese, Sudanese, Scottish, German, Scandinavian, Spanish, Cherokee, Indonesian, and Chinese ancestors. It has power, collective power, it is my power. I think, not that this was a dilution of race, but the creation of something strong. I, as a colored girl, am not limited to ‘black’ music that is so narrowly defined that Miriam Makeba does not make the cut. For my ancestors’ sacrifices I can stand, although for what those who have popularized their ideas and determined identity based on the declaration of those ideas, but also on what I know is true and correct based on my teaching, my understanding, and my love. This desire to take-on the ignorance of the global north where black people fight for their right to be included, this is not what I understand as freedom. I understand freedom as this ability to stand as a colored woman in the wisdom of my ancestors and the love that created my life as diversity embodied. Where my life, as a personification of diversity and not some gimmicky movement or required class that fail to include the true other, can exist. 

the modern slave

The slave will cut his mother’s throat for his master, as his obsession with his trinkets will eat his soul; but his loyalty is to self alone. He is not loyal to his lord, no, he will cut him too, when given the chance, his only allegiance is to the obsession. He covets his ruler’s power and yearns for what he thinks is freedom. But he is a fool, his owner is bound by his compulsion to consume and the master is no freer than his slave. They are tethered by mutual ignorance and they would poison their kin for a dollar bill. No difference between them, the master poisons the nigger and the nigger poisons the nigger. They see their destruction as success building confidence upon it. He sees himself as king, he is better than the junkie who he got hooked and the prostitute who fucked him for a dime. Living in the gutter with a Mercedes-Benz, he is the ruler now. He, a king enslaved, who worships the shackles and begs for chains.

to my readers:

Hello readers, I have not posted here in a while and, for that, I apologize. I did not know that anyone read this blog and so I have not kept it up. However, the other day, I discovered that, not only are people reading but some appreciate what I write. I had this collection of undiscovered comments that I did not know existed, until this past week. Again, I apologize. I will do my best to keep this blog updated and hopefully you will continue to find value in my words.


When you stroll by with your weapon, expecting my affection, I remember this…. You see a pet over whom you believe you have complete control. I see a slave, filled with repressed aggression, and I feel violence. Our views are cultural, I know, but like much of your culture, you spread it so wide that nothing can exist outside of it. Pushing your desire into every corner of our shared space you jeopardize my safety. Down every street, into markets and stores, restaurants, parks, and schools, you bring your violent companion claiming it as a therapeutic tool. You say he is friendly, but his foul scent, his insistence on groping, licking and sniffing me are reminders of his savage nature; of his willingness to attack on command; and of his desire to push beyond the boundaries of the social contract. I am forced to interact with, be touched and threatened by, your beast. I have no right to walk, shop, or eat, even in the places designated “pet free”, because you define the laws of the land and the rules of our language, he is no longer a pet but a member of your family functioning therapeutically; as for me, I’m a worthless nigger less valuable than he.

more on diversity

I once believed that diversity was important to promote. I believed that the teachings in educational institutions lacked breadth and wisdom and I wished to contribute to its growth. I have come to cringe at the mere word. It no longer means what I once thought it meant, rather it seems to represent the promotion of progressive ideology. Certain people are included and others are excluded and the exclusion of those who think and believe differently is justified because the value system of progressive ideology assumes that certain beliefs are good and others are bad. This would not be a problem save the fact that it as a system is hypocritical. To promote diversity and exclude those who think, believe, and value differently is the representation of a lack of diversity. Within this same group there is the assumption that the semi-global civilization of the natives that took place during colonization was a terrible thing and yet the group who criticizes colonization is the very group who is “civilizing” the natives today.

The great white father is under attack and as the attack progresses I cannot help but feel deep sorrow for him. I feel sadness not because his karma is such that I feel he is being treated in an undeserving way but because the mass elimination of any group causes me a bit of distress. I know that his elimination can be justified, as he roams the earth claiming ownership and civilizing those who hold different values but the fact that he has now become a representative of the new out-group being systematically eliminated brings to question the idea of civilization and its place in the global society.

If the civilization of the natives is wrong and progressive ideology deems it so what the hell is going on? Why is it okay to insist that, not only must the nation accept, promote and protect certain behaviors while punishing those who hold and act on different values and how is this spread around the world as a concern of global human rights? If this is not the same as colonization please tell me how it differs? The great white father knows best; he believes that what he values is best for everyone. He is the protector and the one who promotes civilization. He knows what practices are good and bad and he enforces his values around the globe. The progressives now do the same thing. But, rather than admitting that they are the new rulers of the world they slip their beliefs in like poison. They teach the children what they believe is right no matter if it is in violation of the parent’s will and they craft the law to protect their ideals. The poison is sweet and sold as “the protector” the one who wishes for and creates diversity. They promote their opposition to the great white father and their solidarity with the natives. They offer a place at the table while excluding the host. In solidarity, the natives have no right to oppose this new rule and they are included to the degree that they will agree, condone and promote this liberal mentality. Those who oppose are considered bigoted, ignorant, unenlightened and the like.

The help, those who support the natives are helping in a similar way to that of the great white father during colonization. Only now, they use psychological warfare rather than physical force. This form of colonization feels much more dangerous to me. The great white father believed he was the ultimate ruler and that which he understood was categorically correct. The new progressives also believe they are the ultimate rulers and what they believe is unquestionably right but they are unwilling to admit it. Rather, they use language that hides the fact that they will not be challenged and anyone who challenges them is in direct violation of some global human right. Those who disagree are either self centered greedy capitalists, misguided natives who know no better or are merely acting from a place of misunderstanding rooted in patriarchal ignorance or are just plain old ignorant with no hope of redemption.

The exclusion of these people from the pool of diversity creates quite a closed system. It lacks diversity and it lacks imagination. I agree that the great white father must be balanced but we are moving far from balance and instead colonizing the minds of those who create true diversity. The desire for a monoculture is not the problem that I have but rather it is the lie that is told and the poisonous way that it is promoted. I do not feel in solidarity with those who claim they are considering me. I too am evil and bigoted but I am curious to know what you plan to do with us? What do you plan to do with those of us who do not agree? If we refuse to be silenced how will you handle our dissent? The great white father has been silenced and his aggression is seeping out in obscure ways. He, like many of the natives, will probably survive but his survival will bring with it a host of dysfunctional reactions. We are creating monsters and the longer we attempt to silence us the more horrific will be our reemergence. People complain about President Trump but fail to see how they have created him. He is a mirror for us and if we continue to deny our responsibility for him and what he represents we will find ourselves in quite a predicament down the road. He reminds me of the black ghettos. The more you repress the greater the dysfunction that arises once it finally escapes.

On diversity

morning thoughts… the beginning of a longer piece on Diversity, the Mass Hysteria

Society is becoming less tolerant of diversity. The modern conception has begun limiting the diversity of the world under the guise of solidarity. The term diversity is the new mask for liberal imperialism where, rather than people expanding to include those who are different they are contracting to exclude those who are different. The new diversity has reinforced a dichotomized relationship between those who are in and those who are out. The formula for inclusion is based on apparent attributes that represent marginalized individuals based on a particular value system and it includes the following: women, colored persons, persons of color, persons of the LBGTQQIA community, persons with disabilities, and their allies. Those who are members of this group are expected to support other members. For instance, a person identified as disabled is expected to support race relations and not engage in acts of racism. If such an individual engages in acts that are considered racist they are called on this behavior, sometimes considered bigoted and lectured about how they “should” not engage in behavior that oppresses other people because they understand what it is like to be discriminated against. However, this is not expanding diversity. Rather, it limits freedom. No longer is a person with a disability free to support or reject people or behaviors based on their beliefs, but rather are expected to believe, support, and uphold the behaviors and/or positions that are held by the majority within this protected group. To be identified as a member of this group is to be subjected, not only to the discrimination of the (straight, white, male, well-to-do, etc.,) who sit outside of the protected categories, but to also be subjected to the discrimination of the card-carrying members of the new diversity.

As a colored woman I find the new diversity discriminatory and absurd and yet we use this formula to educate, enforce global laws, and recreate a power structure similar to that of imperialism. This ideology suggests that the superiority of thought from one group is and should be held above all others. The use of force coupled with the ability and willingness to eliminate those who do not believe in the superiority of this group is at the root of both colonialism and the new diversity. Rather than use direct force we suggest a change of tactics under the illusion of inclusion. Criticizing capitalists who dominate the world using force, the new diversity reverts back to the method of intellectual seduction liken to that used during colonization. Similar to the way that values were spread by missionaries, the new diversity infiltrates the minds of the “oppressed”, suggesting that together we must stand and fight this shared enemy and in solidarity we will overcome the oppression. By liberating the marginalized persons under the guise of the new diversity the practices, beliefs, values, and behaviors are subjected to the scrutiny of this group. By doing this we inadvertently change the ancient wisdom to some modern form of liberalism, where, in order for the belief, value, or practice to be protected under the global regulation of human rights, it must fit certain moral, political, and ideological criteria. This criterion is assembled using the same methods of thought upon which colonialism was built, where one group found their ideas superior to those they encountered. Assuming superiority of thought and moral standing, the new diversity pushes an agenda that eliminates true diversity. Using the same logic as colonialism, we hide behind language like solidarity, diversity and unity. Unfortunately, in order to stand in solidarity, those who are recognized victims of oppression must acknowledge the shared experience of all other recognized victims. What is missing is the acknowledgement that the very nature of this imposes certain beliefs, ideas, thoughts, and values on those who are already oppressed by a system that imposes its beliefs, thoughts, ideas and values. A member must fit into the category of recognized victim, must stand in solidarity with other victims, and must identify as a victim or an ally in order to be recognized as a valid member of the new diversity. Those who fit into the new diversity must either submit to a system of oppression within a group of supposed allies or stand alone under the pressure of neoliberalism.

Notes on the Baltimore Situation

I was strolling through my newsfeed and ran across this shouting, hooting, and hollering that is happening in Oakland. I had previously refrained from commenting on the Baltimore situation because I have been trying to focus my energy on academic work and I believe this issue needs a lot of attention. However, after seeing so many posts about Baltimore, and now these Oakland rants, I could not resist.

Black Lives Matter!!! …it is a slogan shouted out in anger, with aggression and very much in your face. I once walked the streets of Boulder shouting these very words. During my walk I noticed the divisive nature of the movement. I will not walk again with people shouting in the streets for justice and recognition of the value of black lives. Once was enough to understand the dynamic. It is not that I cannot understand the frustration or that I feel as if the lives of black people are unimportant, rather, because I know the importance of life I must refrain from acting out in such destructive ways. The violence of destruction whether directed at an inanimate target or a living being operates much like karma. For every action there is a reaction. The kickback is not the police retaliation or the destruction of physical property but the destruction of the person who aligns him or her-self with the force of violence.

When I was a child I heard the phrase, two wrongs don’t make a right. Today, I think of this phrase. In an effort to understand the dynamics of what is happening in Baltimore I had to sit for a moment, refrain from responding, contemplate the movement, withdraw, consider both sides, and join my emotional with my rational center. I am a darkie. I am a nigger; a colored, a blackamoor, I possess a black life and it possesses me. I have black children, a black father, a black mother, black sisters, black brothers, black nephews, black nieces, black grandparents and the list continues on. I am connected to black men; I love them and everyday I contemplate their position in society. With all of this love and connection to black lives I know that if I were in Baltimore and any of my guys were contemplating joining the movement, I would lecture them, I would plead with them, I would fight with them, and I would drive them out of town. This is not because I imagine there is nothing worth fighting for or even dying for, rather, it is because I have felt the energy of this movement and it is toxic. I see how enticing, and exciting it is. I see how much it inspires. Watching the people demonstrate madness can be seductive and this is seductive. They are moving like a storm and like a storm consumes, this movement consumes. It does not only consume its target; no, storms do not discriminate in that way. Neither is this movement discriminatory. While the energy is just that, energy, the place where this movement has channeled this energy is in a destructive, rather than constructive, way. And this, this is what divides us.

While I am considered black, my skin is dark and my hair is fuzzy, I also hold within my veins, the blood white ancestors. My ancestors were instrumental in constructing this country. Its construction is not merely the energy of my white ancestors and their drive to build a nation but it includes my black ancestors as well. It includes their blood, sweat and tears, their love and wisdom as well as their ability to consider the ‘other’ despite personal discomfort. As I sit with this, between these worlds, I cannot help but contemplate oppression.

The black people are tired, they are fed up; they have carried long enough… I have heard these words many times in social justice circles. Unfortunately, these circles are inadvertently encouraging their demise. When there is an opportunity for me to teach another, I often think of the blessings granted in that moment. It is an opportunity to share a moment of vulnerability and connection. It is an opportunity to love and extend beyond the self. To serve, the ‘other’, is a truly amazing time for transformation. Unfortunately we, as a culture, fail to consider this aspect of the relationship. We look at the master and we consider his material possessions. We call him evil and we are encouraged to fight for a position at “his” table. The slaves are often offered as examples of victims. From our current lens we can see the destruction of this position of the master and yet we continuously reach for he possesses. When we fail to see the wisdom of the slave, when we imagine that the ‘great white father’ was so clever that he fooled the naïve blacks into caring for him and his children while the blacks suffered without any choice, not only do we overlook the wisdom of those willing to carry but we also discount the antidote for our current system of mass destruction.

There are many things gained by caring for another, despite apparent return. One can gain an ability to care, empathize, carry and love, as well as strength, wisdom, obedience and patience. I am in no way suggesting that we move back into a system of pre-civil war society but I am suggesting that the relationship between our ancestors, both the masters and the slaves, is not being fully considered. By speaking of the slave as a victim, without deconstructing the entire system and from a different lens, not only do we disempower the slaves and their descendants but also we make villains of the masters and their apparent descendants and we create a division impossible to cross.

I offer this because it is essential to what is happening in our nation now. While there are many people wound up about the black people and what is happening to “them” these methods of “support” are destroying us. There are black people and white alike commenting on how fed up the blacks are, they are pumping them up to bring our system to its knees. But the system is not shifting because we are not shifting. This kind of support is dividing and destroying us. This kind of support is destroying all of us. Our towns are burning, businesses are being destroyed and more black boys are going to jail. The lines of division are being solidified and the tension behind these actions is so great that our current system of working with racism cannot heal our wounds. We must discover new ways to think, talk, and act around this issue of race. Our collective ideology, which has been embedded into the psyche of this culture, must change.

In order for this change to happen we must first dissect our understanding of power. There is a widespread belief that the power is of the state, which consists of a select few, and that these few are separate from the mass population. When I consider the state, however, I am reminded of its power but I am also reminded of the power of the individual and the masses. What I have understood is that they are one. We are one with the State and the state is one with the people. There is no state without participants. There is no power without compliance and there is no change without understanding. As we continue to divide ourselves by political affiliation, race, class, ideological position, and by ‘oppressed’, ‘allies’ and ‘oppressor’, we divide ourselves, we divide the state and we divide our nation.

The relationship between the oppressor and the oppressed is illusory. We have scapegoated a group and named it oppressor, but the group we have named is no freer than the one it is understood to be oppressing. The power we have granted this entity is a power that we, as individuals and agents of the state, have offered. If this system is a system corrupt we have corrupted ourselves in our complicity. And, there will be no underlying change until we begin to take responsibility for our part in maintaining this dynamic.

Our black boys are dying and losing their freedoms yet we fail to see our own contributions to this. The moment I look at the master and his descendants and envy their position, I wish for their station and fight to grab ahold of what it is that they appear to have, and I name that position power, is the moment at which I begin to contribute to this national and global imbalance. By doing this I am promoting the worship of apparent power thereby reinforcing it. I cannot help but consider my contribution to the desperate need to consume and serve my-self without consideration for the lives that will feel the reaction of my karmic action. I cannot help but understand that what it is that I seek is the very thing I report as problematic. And I cannot help but understand that the beast I feed is none other than myself.

There is a great need for change here and we will not achieve it by indulging in white guilt, victimhood, or blame. It will not come by shirking our responsibility for self, state or other. Rather, it must come form true understanding of oppression, the other, care, love, destruction, anger, disagreement, disappointment and fear. We must begin to shift our relationship to these things and we must begin showing-up fully vulnerable and ready to carry. The change will come only after we begin to serve. We must dismantle and reconsider our belief systems, as they currently hold us bound to a mass illusion, they are dividing us and we are conquering, us.


on black women

When I was a child the last thing I wanted to do was grow up and be a black woman. All the examples of black women were of companionless souls and I didn’t want that to be my fate.  It wasn’t that they lacked beauty or kindness but something was missing.  The balance of feminine with masculine was missing.  As a child, I noticed that white and Latina women had mates, husbands, partners.  Being alone seemed to be an attribute of being black and female.  It seemed as much a part of black womanhood as skin pigmentation or curly hair and I really didn’t want to accept this as my destiny.

It was very painful to watch; I could not verbalize it, I didn’t have the words to do so, rather, I internalized the feelings.  To this day, it is difficult to verbalize or get people to understand what it is that I see.  When I speak about it, people often respond defensively or dismissively.  But it is something that has been very real in my life, something I have witnessed, felt and experienced.  As a child, I didn’t know what was wrong with them, the black women; I didn’t know why the men seemed to steer clear of them.  I wondered if it was because they were unworthy of partnership or if they lacked a desire for it.  I wanted to be worthy of partnership and, even as a child, I had this deep desire to grow into partnership and into a companion.

As I aged, I inevitably developed into a black woman.  I did anything I could to avoid it; I did not want to become another single, lonely, partnerless, black woman.  But, there was nothing I could do to avoid it, save die.  And no matter how little I wanted to embrace it, to become it, it was irrelevant because I was it; I was a black woman.  It didn’t matter how I dressed, where I worked, how I wore my hair, or what kind of education I received, I was faced with the reality of my feminine blackness.  There was nothing I could do to reverse these things, to be some other kind of woman, one worthy of partnership.  And so I sat in the unbalance of my estrogen-ridden form.

Over the years, people have said things like, ‘there is nothing wrong with you’ or ‘he is the one missing out’ something deep within me knew otherwise.  I saw and felt the loss and I knew that I was connected to it.  The men who rejected me had not lost in the exchange; it was I who had lost.  I knew that I was not good enough for them.  I was not good enough for any of them.  I was a black woman, one of the women worthy of solitude.  I was worthy of single-motherhood; I was worthy of one-night stands and a cold and empty bed.  I knew this, even as a child.

My dread was real but these chants that people would spew, ‘he is the one missing out’, and ‘there’s nothing wrong with you’ were lies.  They were not malicious and intended to harm, they were intended to comfort and soothe.  But I was not soothed; I was far from soothed.  Along with the chants people would give me examples of black women who were married or they would give me examples of white women who were not married and often suggested that my blackness had nothing to do with my status as a single woman.  Between the chants and the examples I felt deep pain.  I felt as if I were invisible.  I was unheard by the majority of people, as they could not look at what I had been watching all of my life.  They could not see what I had seen and, rather than admit this, they often discounted my experience.  Even with the pain and frustration I knew that there was something in it for me.  I knew that I was touching my destiny.  It was the thing I tried to avoid as a child and it was the thing that engulfed me so completely as an adult.  And with all the discomfort and will to avoid it I knew that there was something important in the experience of it.  Once I was able to quiet the soothers and escape from the culturally conditioned responses to the experience of being inadequate or inferior, I began to discover a deeper and more complex understanding of my direct experience as well as something that was happening nationally.

The issue was beyond me, this was clear, but it did not mean that I was not a part of it.  As I began to sink into it, really enter it, rather than try to avoid it as I had done for so many years, I began to see trends.  I understood that the black woman was clearly not favored but the reason for her lack of value to society was obscured.  She was a good nanny, cleaner, a fair mother, a person who would carry others, and a good lover, but a partner, she was not.  In her natural form she was not a beauty, the more she resembled a white women, the more beautiful she was.  The more she valued the things that white women valued, the greater her value.

As a black woman, I knew that I was inferior to white women as a partner.  I knew that, as an object of beauty, I was inferior.  I knew that there were cultural preferences, which seemed to stem from the idea of being or becoming civilized, cultured, culturally advanced and/or superior.  And this idea of superiority began to make more sense to me.  I saw so many people strive for some sort of superiority or advancement and it seemed clear hat this was at the root of so many of our social and global ‘problems’[1].  This was at the root of the inferiority of black women.

What I began to understand was that my difficulty was related to cultural preference.  It was related to civilization, in its modern form.  I understood that it was systemic and, what I saw as a child, was the result of a national drive for equality.  What I felt was the dread of facing my path and living with the weight of my responsibility to carry.  I felt the dread of having to see through eyes of a different colored lens.

I knew that, as a black woman, there was something about me that failed fit into the much-desired state of happiness.  It seemed clear that it was not the fault of anyone in particular but I was an unwanted black woman, unworthy of partnership and I needed to sit with that truth.  I needed to embrace the fact that, as a black woman, many things in society would fail to work in my favor.  It meant that love would be challenging to attain and I had less than a 30% chance of having a partner.  It meant that my children would always be black boys and girls and they would grow into black men and women.  They would be facing certain challenges in a society that favored certain ways of being and neither my children nor I would easily fit into these favored ways of being; and yet I would love them as my parents loved me.

It wasn’t until I embraced this, it wasn’t until I really embraced the idea that I was not good enough, I was inferior, and not favored, that anything began to shift.  I decided to allow this to be.  It was truth manifesting in the natural world.  As one who was less preferred on the basis of my skin, which represented a root to a different way of being in the world, it would have been beneficial for me to ideologically assimilate.  But, I never had enough grace to do a thing like that.  This, I shared with many other black women.  I, as I manifested in the world, was unworthy, inferior, and would remain alone.

There was truth in this understanding no matter how uncomfortable it was for people to hear and no matter how unpopular these words are to speak.  I needed to acknowledge these truths so that I could understand my life more fully.  I needed to acknowledge these truths and understand my reason for taking birth in this form, my reason for taking breath.

By accepting the fact that I was inferior, I was able to think about the black women in a different way.  I was able to think of them/us in a less tragic way. I started thinking about the black people in this different way, in a less tragic way.  As the idea of inequality set in, I was able to consider my life in the context of the larger culture.  Rather than finding myself occupied with thoughts of my personal discomfort I began contemplating preference and superiority vs inferiority and inequality.

I realized how we balance the world through our preferences, our global values and the cultural values that clash with others’.  Genocide, infanticide, and racism began to make sense.  I started to see their necessity as manifestations of ideological preference.  These were behaviors acted out of, not insanity as I had formerly considered, but from necessity.  One thing will always be superior to another and in our drive to equalize will are and will continue to be forced to eliminate those who we consider inferior.  We will eliminate them through silencing, censoring and killing.  We will eliminate them by forcing them to participate in certain ideological trends. We will eliminate those who do not think or believe as “we” do.  They will be considered evil, mean, bad, intellectually inferior, ignorant, and stupid.

How is one to find his or her path if one thing is not superior to another?  In the world there are hierarchies and women are not exempt from this, black persons are not exempt from this, I was not exempt from this.  It seems an unintelligent move to try to eliminate this hierarchy, as it is necessary in the world.  In order for me, as a student, to learn, I must hear from, see, and understand those who are superior to me.  They do not always come in the forms we imagine; it could be a mendicant on the street or a PhD professor.  It could, and often has been my children.  It has also been my father, my siblings, and the list continues on.

We are taught, in this culture, to get the best, to be the best.  There are strong suggestions for what the best is.  In terms of women, the white women are clearly at the top of the list.  But, once the best is taken the others are left.  I understood that, while I was inferior to white women as a partner to men, it did not mean that I was inferior in all things.  I was not equal to white women; I was not equal to any woman.  This was not because she was superior in all things but she and I could not be measured with the same instrument.  The importance of my life was different from that which is important in a partner for a man.  As a black woman I had this in common with other black women.  I had this in common with the black women I studied as a child.  We are the carriers of this story.  We are the women, the companionless women and we hold this, and we carry this.

If one must be un-favored, why should it not be I?  Why not be inferior, why not be less than? It wasn’t until I really started to understand and accept this that I began to accept and embrace my life.  Then, something truly opened up.  It wasn’t that I became happy; I was never one for happiness, but, something within me opened in such a way that I was able to embrace what I am.  I was able to embrace the rejection of a nation, the hideous, black form, the dry and nappy hair, the attitude, the inclination to dark and uncommon thoughts, the willingness to carry, the desire to challenge, the inability to assimilate, the loneliness, the ability to hear the one and to make a clean move, and the strength, truth, and wisdom that came with all of this.

It was no longer this thing to be sad about or to cry about or even try to resist.  It became something interesting to understand, to bring curiosity to, and to examine.  I began to really consider what it was about my path that brought me here.  I began to contemplate the reason I took birth as a black woman.  I began thinking of how I manifested in this world in this way with whatever struggles attract me.  The loneliness became my friend rather than an enemy to avoid.  I began to contemplate ideas and wonder why, as a culture, we find the experience of inferiority less important than the experience of superiority and so everyone tries to believe they are either superior or equal thereby discounting the truly superior and ignoring the truly inferior.  This seemed to be at the root of my childhood struggle.  This was at the root of my desire to become a woman other than black.  I had the irrational desire to be favored.  It was something that was taught by the culture, women were equal to men, blacks were equal to whites, homosexuals were equal to heterosexuals, children were equal to adults the intellectually unsound were equal to the intellectually sound.  I could never embrace this because these things were not true.

You cannot compare a woman to a man.  By doing so you bypass what is truly great about her and what is wonderful about him.  By trying to equalize them you dilute them both getting mediocre rather than superior.  In some things he is truly superior and in others she is truly superior.  The same was true as I went through the list of ‘disenfranchised’ groups.

As I began contemplating this I thought of religion.  Religion has been hit, so hard, by this movement of human ‘equality’.  People complain that it encourages the ‘underclass’ to stay stagnant and for the bourgeoisie to stay in ‘power’.  It seems, however, that religion is encouraging man to understand what I, after years of struggle, began to understand.  There is no equality.  This is not because one thing is completely inferior to another but because they are not equal.  Each thing brings something to the world.  And, when one is in an inferior position, what does s/he do; fight, try to gain status, accept and understand why, find the purpose in the life of the inferior individual/s?

This journey has been interesting.  So many people have resisted my contemplations about this.  People want to be happy and they want to burden me with happiness.  They wanted this because they value it and want me to have the best.  They often felt terrible and didn’t want to entertain the though that I wasn’t good enough, I was hideous, men didn’t like me, being a colored woman meant something in the world, it meant something to the men and it meant something to me.  These things were hard for people to stomach because they wondered what it would mean about them.  Or, they loved me and didn’t want me to feel these terrible feelings of inferiority.  But what if inferiority is no less painful than superiority or equality?  What if equality is more painful than superiority and even more painful than inferiority?

As I journeyed through these ideas I began to find the wonderful things about my life.  Although I am an inferior partner there is something important about my experience, my position in society and the way I view the world.  While many may feel as if my view is unbalanced, as I admit my inferiority, I do not believe this is the case.  I am not pathological or even illogical.  My experience was and is real and the work I did to understand has been difficult for others to tolerate, as I am difficult for others to tolerate.  Even with my difficulty, however, there is something important that I bring.

There is something precious about my life and the lives of the black women I didn’t want to join.  There is something the world needs from our lives, our experiences, from us.  We could not bring it if we were playing house in a plush and cozy environment.  We could not realize it unless we began to see the truth. And we could not see the truth if we were masked with happiness and comfort.

[1] I put this in single quote because the idea that these things are problems is debatable.  As a culture we seem to think these things are problematic yet we continue to engage in behaviors that perpetuate them.



To imagine that, as the member of any group, one does not represent that group is an illusion. It is a way to escape truth and retreat into oneself. We are all representatives whether or not we want the responsibility; but shirking our responsibility benefits no one.

As a colored woman, I am a colored woman and represent them. As a woman, I represent women. As a person of mixed ethnicity I represent people of mixed ethnicity; the list goes on and on. By recognizing and appreciating our differences we can begin to move towards healing our world. This means understanding our strengths and weaknesses, and honoring them.

It would be far more interesting to have a conversation about the things a colored woman does, the way she might see the world, and how that might differ from a white woman; or, to hear the differences between the emotions evoked for a man when he sees a small child, and those that arise for a woman, than to pretend no difference exists between these pairs, that each are equal, or that such differences are solely based on individuality. It is far more intriguing to have honest conversations about such things than to hide behind illusions of equality masked by political correctness.

Identified Problem

ill-fit for manicured lawns. growing into wild forms; misshapen, misbehaving, misfitting. . . we add color and texture to those manicured lawns. we are pulled and cut, diluted and exterminated, but, like many called weeds, we, the creative ones, the outspoken and timid ones, the shy and disillusioned ones; we continue to grow; we continue to create; we continue to color the world. we are the weeds of society bringing color and texture to its manicured lawns.