DO NOT call my baby UGLY!

(This post is piggybacking off the conversation in the Hear Ye post)

I have a cousin who has a sister and a father that her annoy her at times. My cousin often vents and complains to me about the things her sister and father does that irritates her and makes her angry. And I will agree that the things her sister does is just FOUL and the things her dad does are annoying. But I also recognize there is a line I have to draw when it comes to talking about them (even though I am also related to them) no matter how much my cousin vents and complains about them.

I sill understand that is her sister and her father and she loves them dearly no matter what – and will always love them no matter how many annoying things they do. I also realize that a lot of the frustration and complaining and venting she does to me about her sister and her dad, comes from a place of simply wanting them to get it together.

 

And so, I tread lightly when having discussions with her about the things they do that get on her nerves. I will offer her advice, listen, and even agree that she has a right to be angry. But I never cross that line of completely dumping on her sister or father because then I know she’d be defensive. And that is because even though we are all relatives and I love them as well, I am an outsider to her immediate family (her father and sister). I am her cousin. There is a bond there, that I simply cannot break by virtue that they are her immediate family.

 

Which leads me into why I and other African American women get annoyed and defensive when non-African Americans feel free to constantly diss America and African Americans YET while reaping all the benefits created by our struggle and fight from centuries and decades of blood, sweat and tears.

 

YES I and we will harp on America and African Americans all day long. But deep down, being both myself, a lot of that comes truly from a place of love and wanting to see us do better than what we are doing now. That means I have a dog in the fight. And when you have a dog in the fight, your motivations and intentions are much different than someone who doesn’t have a dog in the fight.

 

Just like my cousin. She constantly complains about the things her father and sister does because she has a dog in that fight and wants to see them become more independent and resourceful so they will be successful and stop always depending on her for everything. It’s the same thing here. I as an African American woman will and can point out the things that irk and irritate me about my country and other African Americans, because deep down I care about what happens to this country and I also want to see AA’s do much better.

 

I am so tired of people who are not even African Americans constantly ripping on America and African Americans. Too many people often forget PLAY STUPID when it comes to recognizing it was AFRICAN AMERICANS who fought to give me, you and all of the Black and Non-Black foreigners the resources and rights I & THEY enjoy now.

 

Another hard to swallow component is simply – Many people should be glad that Western Whites (In America and other heavily White dominated countries) are a lot more willing to share their piece of the pie with others outside their group/tribe. They certainly don’t have to and certainly have the power and resources to withdraw as much of that as possible if they so choose.

 

African Americans and other Blacks from other places living in this country and western countries have no INFRASTRUCTURE. So that means anything we achieve and get is truly because someone else GAVE IT TO US! PERIOD. Sowwy. It’s just the reality.

 

With that said, we should be GRATEFUL for all the opportunities and ability to live the best lives we can here in America because it certainly AINT like this all over the world for Blacks or other people of color. You want to talk about a real paper bag test. HMPH! Go live in some other countries where you are eternally doomed to live a life of poverty simply because your skin is darker than milk.

 

I’m so glad the discussion in the last post went the way it did with recognizing how so many Non AA people feel free to put down AA’s constantly, yet they are here in America reaping all of the benefits of what our ancestors fought for. And it’s ironic that the discussion occurred because last week at a Christmas Party, I ran into the SAME situation with my friend’s coworker who is from Jamaica.

 

Let me be clear. I have love for all Black women. I don’t care if you are African, Caribbean or American. Honestly, at the end of the day, we are globally all looking and fighting for the same things as Black women. We want to be prosperous, we want to have and reap all of the rights and benefits any other woman is getting and we want to simply just be free to live our lives on our own terms.

 

I have many friends from the Caribbean who I admire their drive and such when they come to America. There are things I admire about Africans and other foreigners who come to America and make the best life for themselves and who APRECIATE the opportunities given to them compared to their own countries. I also have 2-3 close Jamaican friends and have also dated Caribbean males in the past when I lived in New York.

 

My grandmother (who is not my biological grandmother) but helped raised my mother and whom I was also partly raised by is from Harlem NY and her parents are from Antigua. She is very proud of her Caribbean heritage, but to be honest I didn’t know of it much until I got older and moved back to NY with her. I never remember my grandmother putting down America or African Americans even though she was born and raised in a well-connected Caribbean family who migrated to NY through Ellis Island. My grandmother is 88. SHE even tells me how even back then during the roughest of times she and her siblings still had a great life living in Harlem. I ADMIRE THAT. That she never harps on the intense racism of that time, but rather remembering all the good things that she and her family were able to achieve here in America that they wouldn’t have been able to get in the Caribbean during those times.

 

I was born and raised in California. My first interactions with Caribbean’s was when I moved to New York in 1992 after graduating high school. I moved back with my grandmother (who is from NY) because I wanted to get a taste of living in NY. I enrolled in community college there and most, if not all of my friends we actually Jamaican. But I interacted with Caribbean’s from all over. I also found myself having dated mainly Jamaican males as well. It was something new for me, and I admired a lot of the Jamaican culture and my friends who I felt had it together.

 

But the one thing I remember irritating me back then was the arrogance in which many Caribbean people would talk about African Americans like dogs. This included some of my Jamaican friends (except one who completely was not interested in anything remotely Jamaican) previous b/f’s, their families and a couple of acquaintances.

 

It bothered me then and I remember arguing feverishly with them about how they had the nerve to insult AA’s when they were living off of the hard work our ancestors went through so they can come here and be successful. They would call us lazy and just all kinds of unfavorable things I hated. And then when I presented the ultimate question – “WHY ARE YOU HERE if you hate AA’s and America so much and Jamaica is so much better!!?” I was always met with silence and never got a response.

 

And that same thing happened last week at this X-Mas party where this Jamaican girl tried to tell me and two other White women that Jamaica/Carribean was the Holy Grail for race relations and America is just a hell hole full of no potential for anyone of color. YET, this young woman owns her own Townhome, has a good paying job, and virtually does as she pleases HERE IN AMERICA. I mean if it’s better in Jamaica, why on earth would you not go back there and live like a Queen???

 

Piggy backing off the conversation many of you ladies and Khadija discussed in the last post and comments I have made in the past – there is nothing SHAMEFUL about being African American or living in America. Also, I encourage AA BW to recognize the blessings we have here in America. Khadija also covered this in her latest blog post

http://muslimbushido.blogspot.com/2014/12/african-american-women-today-have-more.html

 

Back to the XMAs brunch. So the Jamaican girl (pretty much raised here in America) was a co-worker of my friend who threw the party. I actually liked her *somewhat* as I have always gotten along well with Jamaican women.

But she went there and I wasn’t having it. LOL

 

So there was myself, her and two other White women (whom I already know and are friends with) there having a discussion about America and Europe and some differences. This Jamaican woman starts going on and on about how it’s so different in Jamaica where everyone is seen as a “nationality” and not just your race like here in America.

 

She continues to go on saying that in places like Jamaica and Caribbean, everyone is like one big family because even the Chinese, White and Indian and Black Jamaicans all see themselves as “ONE” nationality and don’t separate based on race. That here in America she always feels that people look at her race first and people judge you solely by that. That in America the opportunities are solely based on being White. That here in America, yada yada yada.

 

I agreed with her that yes in places like Jamaica people tend to call themselves JAMAICAN regardless of what they are. I also agreed that America does still have some serious racial issues. But I disagreed that it was one big CUMBAYA like she was trying to paint it compared to America.

So the White ladies seemed quite shocked that Jamaica was so diverse and accepting of different races as one nationality. This Jamaican woman continues to go on about how the Caribbean was “seasoning grounds” for slavery etc. So we briefly talk about slavery and the effects it had on the psyche of the slaves etc.

 

She continues to say how in other places in the world like Jamaica and the Caribbean, they don’t have the same problems with skin color and race that America does. That is where I was like “okay she really needs to stop this LYING”. I jump in and say – Yeah America def has its issues and bad history and certainly still has some issues with racism etc.,, BUT at the end of the day there is no better place for a Black woman or person to be compared to other places and thus why so many people want to come here if they can. These women looked shocked and the Jamaican girl starts getting a little huffy as I am saying this and starts trying to cut me off. So I stop her and say “let me finish”. I also addressed the whole “everybody loves each other in Jamaica and Caribbean” nonsense she was trying to spew.

 

She asked me how “I knew this” and I politely informed her that I have lived in New York and many of my friends (and even a couple past boyfriends) were of Jamaican background. A good friend of mine family also comes from Jamaica. And I said, yeah I don’t think that is 100% correct. I went on to say that what i do know in places like the Caribbean, there is a very well-practiced COLOR CASTE system as it has been for DECADES and that the lighter, whiter, more mixed Jamaicans/Caribbean’s tend to get the better jobs and live in the better areas. That skin bleaching and such run high as well. So she tried to tell me that isn’t true and that if you are light, White, mixed and DUMB that you will not fare better than a dark skinned person who is smarter.

 

So I asked her if she was denying the extreme color caste systems in Jamaica and she keeps going on about how in Jamaica everyone loves each other and judges you solely based on you character *INSERT EYE ROLL*.

 

So then I ask her, well if Jamaica is so much better in terms of America and its treatment towards women of color of all shades and everyone works together and loves each other – why did she move to AMERICA? Of course I got no answer. Then I went on to say that if all of these other nations and countries were so much better than America (for Blacks) then why are they coming or trying to come here in droves – not just Blacks but EVERYONE?

 

So the two White ladies were actually shocked because I guess they expected me to sit and whine about how horrible America is towards Black people. But I am so tired of people (especially Blacks from other countries) talking crap about how horrible America is towards Blacks when in their own countries half these people wouldn’t have a pot to piss in because (1) they didn’t come from money and because of that they stay in the lower caste (2) their darker skin color would keep them from obtaining better housing, better neighborhoods and better jobs. And frankly, if Jamaica or the Caribbean was so damn perfect compared to America, why is she and her family HERE!?????

 

This is something that Black American women need to be very careful about when conversing with others. Because this woman started looking and sounding like your atypical AA Black complaining about how “HARD” they have it here because people are so race obsessed. Yet she has a good paying Pharmaceutical job, owns her own home, and has her own money etc. and still complaining about how horrible America is.

 

I know these two White women personally, and I can tell you that between both she and I we have better paying jobs than they do and make more money than they do. I KNOW THIS FOR A FACT.

I’m just over the complaining already. Especially from those who cannot see the forest for the tree.

I don’t care how race obsessed people are here, if your Black ARSE is still living here when you have a home country you could go live your perfect life in, then LEAVE! The more AA women and non AA’s LIVING in America bad mouth America the dumber they look. That is because these women do not realize the blessing they have.

 

I hate to sound so harsh but it’s the truth! America is NOT PERFECT. But you best believe as a Black woman there is no other place you would want to be. In case some people forget the reasons why let me list them for you.

 

Often times when I find myself frustrated with America and its race problems, I have to bring myself back to reality and thank my lucky stars I have all the opportunities and resources that so many other women of color would never see simply b/c of their skin color.

 

There are places like Brazil where you can NEVER make it to the top simply b/c of your skin shade. In many places there are already ESTABLISHED roles that people play based on race and skin color. And those things NEVER CHANGE. You are automatically shut out from achieving success in many countries because of this. There is no “rags to riches” stories or abilities for a lot of Black women in other counties. You are constantly from the day you are born until the day you die living in a perpetual state of being POOR because of your race and skin color. And that is a result of having NO INFRASTRUCTURE (thank your Black “Kings” for that) as a race or culture.

 

THAT AINT THE CASE in America. You can become a rags to riches. You can get educated. You can enjoy all the resources and things that make life comfortable and enjoyable (if you work hard enough, and hell even if you don’t work at all).

 

Yet, we get so caught up in how bad we have it here, we forget how good we actually have it if we just took the opportunity by the bull hones and went for it.

 

Many of the problems African America and Black women have in this country are HONSTLY the result of dumb and silly choices we have made as women, ad sometimes just our overall MINDSET. AA women and Black women in general tend to do a lot of things that work against us as women. YES, a lot of that comes from indoctrinations and such, but no more excuses.

 

Black women in America do not live in a vacuum. We can clearly see day to day what kinds of bad choices lead to what kinds of consequences. We also have examples of COMMON SENSE things that other women do that work in their favors collectively. If we choose to not learn and play the game like everyone else – really whose fault is that???

 

The dating situation for Black women in America is something very new within the last one to two decades. And that is actually from a lot of things Black American women have created. We have allowed our image to be one that is the anti-thesis of what men look for in long term partners. We keep making choices and decisions that work against us collectively like fighting means battles, fighting to keep dysfunction that happens in the Black community, not standing up to colorism that affects our girls, allowing BM to exploit us as women, allowing ourselves to be used as cannon fodder for entertainment by the media and others who reap benefits from such presentations of us as women. I can go on. A LOT of the Black woman’s problems can and will only be solved STARTING WITH US.

 

Also, there are many places that if you are a woman without a husband you cannot make it. Here, no matter how bad the situation is for AA women and dating, we still have the ability to find other things to occupy our time and to enjoy when we do not have male companionship., We can travel, and we can do any and everything we want that our resources will allow. We can better ourselves as women and individuals without the need for a male. This is not like this in other places in the world, where single unmarried women cannot make it because society is set up against them.

 

THAT MEANS, at the end of the day, America yes has major issue. But when I see BW making strides in work and education, I know there is still a GEM to behold in America today. The dating situation can be fixed with patience and work and a chipping away at making our collective image better.

 

Understand this ladies – there is NO OTHER place on earth where you as an individual BW can make such great strides as in America. Everybody and their momma aint leaving their native countries or trying to leave their native countries to come here for nothing. Realize the blessings you have right now as an AA woman and do not allow NAYONE to make you think otherwise.

Black American women can overcome the problems and issues we have as a collective when we as a collective are truly ready to do that. Until then, as individuals we can keep living and making the best lives for ourselves.

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52 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kel
    Dec 28, 2014 @ 18:55:04

    Omg Neecy,

    Thank you so much for this reminder. I am so used to the complaining about how bad America and AA’s are that I forget how truly great it is to live here. It is African women that taught me so much about ethnic pride and learning about race, but I have to agree with you that alot crap on us and complain about how terrible we are when we helped open the doors for them in America.

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    • Neecy
      Dec 28, 2014 @ 19:03:26

      You’re welcome Kel! And yes truth be told there are many things we Black women from all over can learn andtake from each other.

      I admire African women’s ability to not stifle themselves in the dating arena. I also admire how African woemn take care of their bodies. Adn i admire the family and eucation structures that many Africans still have managed to hold onto.

      But there are also many things admirable about AA women that often do not get discussed because we are often always put oin the chopping block by others who think they are so much better than we are.

      Really AA women have made the greastest strides than most other Black women anywhere and you wanna know why? AMERICA. Because we live in a country where we simply CAN be the best of the best if we so choose.

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  2. Neecy
    Dec 28, 2014 @ 18:57:32

    This post is not to start a flame war between AA women and other Non AA women. Like I said, I love nad want to see ALL Black women succeed no matte where they are from.

    But I also have to defend my immediate group because there are still many things AA women should be admired for. YET we cannot even get that acknowledgement from some of our other sisters who are doing well because of the things that AA women have done to make it easier.

    AA women are not perfect, nor are we the dirt underneath the devils hoof. We have a lot going for us, and yes some things need improvement.

    But as someone stated in the other post, AA women should look back at ourhistry and understand that the fact we are here today says we conme from a long line of women who are survivors and thrivers and who were determined under even the most horrible circunstances.

    I think the lesson here is coming full circle. We may not be going through what our ancestors went through, but we are going thougg things as Black women today. And just like our ancestor AA women did in the past, we have to use our ability and such to make things better for oursleves and the future generation.

    And we won’t get there by simply saying how horrible America is, without recognizing actually how great we COULD have it if we just opened our eyes and started getting busy with making the things we want to happen in our lives – HAPPEN.

    But I wont’ tolerate the putting down of AA women. We can criticize in a manner that is only for encouraging other Black women to not make those same mistakes. But to simply put down and say we are nothing etc., is unnacceptable.

    AA women are the most powerful group of Black women worldwide.

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  3. jazzyfae45
    Dec 28, 2014 @ 20:19:22

    Thank you for writing this Neecy. It is definitely important that we as black American women keep reminding ourselves how far we’ve come and how far we can go. No matter who tries to make us feel inferior and less than. Black American women rock and I refuse to let ANYONE make me feel otherwise. Yes we have our issues, yes a lot of us need to change our way of thinking, yes we have a lot to change but that doesn’t negate the fact that we helped change so much in this country and we are still continuing make strides. Like more black women starting businesses, more black women getting educated, more black women traveling the world, and recently more black women opening up our options in the romance department. Damn right we have plenty reason to be proud!!! I think it’s we focus so much on what we need to change we sometimes forget to celebrate what we are doing right. And I also agree it is important we remember how lucky we are to be in America (even with it issues) and all the opportunities we get being American. From what I’ve read about other black American women traveling we get pretty good treatment because of our American status. Like you have stated black people from other countries are tripping over themselves to be in this country and take advantage of the opportunities here that thanks to black American people they can take advantage of. So yes it’s a slap in the face to hear and see non-AA talk down to us and make us seem like trash when they are leaving their own countries to be HERE.

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    • Neecy
      Dec 28, 2014 @ 20:46:37

      JAZZY SAID:
      From what I’ve read about other black American women traveling we get pretty good treatment because of our American status.

      BINGO!! I have also heard the same things as well! That African American women often get treated well in other countries because of our American status.

      These are things we hav to remember. And I like how you pointed out how AA women are and have helped to shape this country.
      Despite all the negatives, you are right, we should also celebrate all the posiitves.

      Another key thing that makes me proud of AA women is no matter how hard and extreme colorism is here in our communities, I have yet to see or hear of darker AA women bleaching their skin like they do in Africa and Carribean.

      In fact, its rare to know of or hear of AA women doing such. I remember in th past they tried marketing that stuff in Black communities and Black publications and it never took off to the rates it has in Africa and Carribean.

      I mean its a serious problem over there – especially AFRICA. Yet despite that, our darker sisters here in America seem to push through and avoid doing those things to themselves. THAT is something to be proud of despite our history and present day issues with prominent AA males making claims against darker skinned women.

      It makes me wonder why AA women have avoided the skin bleaching plague. This is something we nver get credit for.

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      • jazzyfae45
        Dec 29, 2014 @ 00:03:11

        I think we don’t get credit where it’s due is simply because people don’t want to give it to us. And it seems anytime a black woman does get credit or something there is usually an outside reason for it or she’s some exception to the rule. For example with me when I get a compliment its usually long the lines of “You’re pretty what are you mixed with” like a full black girl can’t be pretty without being “mixed” with something. The same thing I think can be said about the skin bleaching thing. Other than black women celebrities that “supposedly” bleach their skin seems to apply to all black American women even though there is almost no proof of it. Shoot the only time I remember ever really hearing anything about black American women skin bleaching was on the Trya Banks show a while back. But yes it’s annoying that we don’t get credit where it’s due but it’s been happening since the beginning of America I think.

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        • Neecy
          Dec 29, 2014 @ 08:15:34

          Completely agree. But that us why we AA women have to be ready to point out the many things were proud of when peopke who don’t have a dog in the fight start spewing their Anti AA women rhetoric.

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          • jazzyfae45
            Dec 29, 2014 @ 14:51:47

            Yep let’s have some positive reinforcement from time to time. It will help us feel less hopeless and like all the things we are doing aren’t for nothing.

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      • juleah
        Dec 29, 2014 @ 14:07:12

        Yes, I can personally attest that Black American women get treated well in other countries because they are American. During conversation you’re first and foremost just considered American (not Black) and accepted on that alone. At least that was my experience in the U.K. and Italy.

        The lady that braids my hair is from Senegal and she told me how bad she was treated in France and how she hates it there. I said well maybe I should take France off my travel list. She said no you will be fine you’re American. She said the French treat American Blacks better than Africans and I won’t be treated in the manner she was.

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  4. Olu
    Dec 28, 2014 @ 21:50:59

    Neecy, I really liked your response! As an American-born, African BW, I have had great relationships with from BW across the ethnic spectrum-African, African-American, Caribbean, and Hispanic. And the blogs/pages from primarily AA black women but including a few others as well (Halima, Evia, Khadija, Sara, Faith, Velour, Breukelen Bleu, etc.) have been indispensable. The level of analysis that goes into their writings, and the fact that they make most of their work accessible to black women for free, is incredibly touching and speaks to their commitment to helping black women generally to better their lives. I’m thankful to them for it, as I am thankful for all of those who have added value to my life.

    I also think it is important to recognize that black people generally have a lot of cross-cutting problems that they love to pass the baton of blame for other black people for. For example, a while back I read on another blog that the reason Caribbean black men in the UK were disrespecting BW publicly and choosing light/white over Carib BW was that AA BM in the U.S. had made it fashionable to do so by their treatment of AA women. While BM in the U.S. have made a sport of denigrating BW (especially AA BW), I don’t by any means think that Caribbean BM valued Caribbean BW any more in the past. Nor do I think African BM are much better in the way they see BW, collectively. A lot of the problems of the BM in one territory or country are the shared problem of those in another, even without one necessarily causing the other. Likewise, notice that a lot of the problems black people have cut across ethnic group and location-OOW births, high rates of violence against BW, colorism, BM’s group tendency to sell out the group for personal gain… We might want to protect our egos by acting as if some other group is the reason, but we’d only be fooling ourselves if we did. Since I feel more connected with BW across groups that I feel with BM collectively, I have no reason to try to pass the shortcomings of the men in my group or any other group onto others. And I sympathize with BW across groups because I recognize that our major problems are a result of having the kind males that we do as our counterparts.

    I am with you on feeling gratitude for being BW in America. I am exceedingly grateful for this especially when I look at the condition of BW in other countries. And I am surely not going to squander the unique opportunities I have as a BW in this country.

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    • Neecy
      Dec 29, 2014 @ 08:55:03

      OLU,

      This is the reason why BW collectivley cannot afford to play that “my group is better than yours” because as you have pointed out the obvious – BM collectivley across all ethnicities have and are selling their race/culture up the pond to achieve things for themselves as individuals and collectives that have NADA to do with BW.

      And technically that *STARTED* in Africa and still goes today. There is no reason Africans should be living poorly anywhere in Africa.

      The Carribean as well. These are places that are mostly dominated by Blacks and still the Blacks have not created sufficient infrastructures that would make other Non Carribean or Non African Blacks want to migrate to their countries/continents for better lives. Many of these groups of Blacks still migrate to Western White dominated socieities for better lives.

      Also, yes whether a BW is Carribean, African or American, all the same problems still plague us across the globe.

      But people will often extole the virtues of all other BW from Black ethnicities, while freely putting down and never acknowledging the great accomplishments and things that have come from AA women.

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    • Breanna
      Dec 31, 2014 @ 08:23:50

      Olu, we are in the same boat. Born here, but first generation. I am.from.the Carribean and yes I have hear anti-african american sentiments aplenty. Being Haitian; I have also heard more than enough anti-haitian sentiments. Its been extremely hard for me to navigate amongst black people as s collective because of either side of bashing and being connected to both sides by sheer existence.

      I will be the first to say that I don’t know why anti- africanmisn in general, is so carried by black peoplenbut, as you eloquently stated, WE ALL HAVE THE SAME COLLECTIVE OF PROBLEMS!!! Misogynoir, no black male leadership, extreme violence, corruption and rape as a tool of daily life, unfortunately.

      All like minded black women can do is move forward, imo.

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      • Neecy
        Jan 01, 2015 @ 20:33:22

        BREANA,

        you hit it on the head.

        All BW need to be moving forward and not dividing or pointing the finger to the next.

        We should be proud of our heritage and different cultures we come from, but also be able admire each other for all the different things we bring to the table for the greater collective.

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  5. Formavitae
    Dec 29, 2014 @ 00:25:59

    EXCELLENT POST, Neecy!

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  6. Mike Street Station
    Dec 29, 2014 @ 07:35:23

    Since Jamaica is over 90% Black, I think you experienced Jamaican Black Privilege. It’s easy to think everyone thinks of themselves as Jamaican and one big family when you are in the super majority!

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    • Neecy
      Dec 29, 2014 @ 08:57:43

      Even if that is the case, it still hasn’t stopped many Jamaicans and Carribeans or Africans from migrating to Western socities for better lives.

      So when i hear things like this woman was saying the obvious question the smart person is going to ask them is “why even come here if its so bad and your country is so much greater and accepting of you and your race?”. That question they never seem to want to answer because then that would mean they have to take a step back and stop their complaining about America since they came BY CHOICE and can leave at anytime if its that bad.

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  7. Silver Roxen
    Dec 29, 2014 @ 07:47:55

    This post has changed my perspective. What comes to mind are the phrases, be grateful for what you have and the grass isn’t greener on the other side. These phrases apply to this situation as well, no more complaining. Great post!

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    • Neecy
      Dec 29, 2014 @ 08:58:55

      Yes. More Black women need to be appreciative of the good things we have. We can complain and vent and always recognize things could be better, but we also should be grateful that things aren’t worse.

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  8. Eji
    Dec 29, 2014 @ 09:55:54

    I agree with you completely on this issue. While race relations are difficult in the USA, they have improved and that in and of itself is a sign of progress. Race in Brazil, Mexico, South Africa and a host of other places are still so damaged that it is simply accepted that anyone “darker than milk” is the scum of the earth. in fact, it is my understanding that the whole of India’s caste system is built on this ideology. I also think that Mike Street Station was right, anyone that lives a a middle to upper class black in Jamaica has lived in a world of black privilege, and like white privilege in America, which allows whites to think that we live in a post racial America, they too think that race is not an issue in Jamaica because it is not an issue that they ever had to deal with.
    say what you will about the good ole’ US of A, but has always been the land of opportunity and black, white, Asian or other, if you are willing and/or are able to change your mindset, stop being the victim and work hard, you are more likely to succeed than you are anywhere else, even in the majority black, Asian countries.

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    • Robynne
      Jan 02, 2015 @ 11:14:20

      “[A]nyone that lives a a middle to upper class black in Jamaica has lived in a world of black privilege, and like white privilege in America, which allows whites to think that we live in a post racial America, they too think that race is not an issue in Jamaica because it is not an issue that they ever had to deal with.” Yes! This is true, as I explained in more detail in my comment below.

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  9. DiraD
    Dec 29, 2014 @ 10:01:00

    Excellent post!

    AA women need to remember our beauty, our resiliency and our will to get things done. Over the Christmas holiday, I learned that my grandmother and the other AA mothers cooked school lunch as unpaid, volunteers. Due to the separate, but “equal” nonsense of Jim Crow, black schools were under resourced and often could only pay just the teachers and principle, so the mothers would make up the slack. My grandmother cooked lunch for all the schoolchildren for FREE. Some mothers would clean the school for free. Furthermore, often, the women bought/grew food for the school and they did not let students go hungry. Although, breakfast was not officially served, a hungry student could go to the cafeteria and get a meal.

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    • Silver Roxen
      Dec 29, 2014 @ 11:51:58

      Your grandmother sounds awesome. This is the history that we should be celebrating and what we are defending. Our females ancestors were resilient and resourceful, and this has been instilled in us.

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      • DiraD
        Dec 29, 2014 @ 13:18:02

        I feel we have others to control our narratives. As I’ve learned more of my family history, my AA pride has shot through the roof. It’s amazing what just knowing your history can do for you. Now, I seek to learn more about AA history, especially our history not dealing with slavery or CRM

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    • Formavitae
      Dec 29, 2014 @ 12:02:26

      WOW.

      ADMIRABLE.

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      • DiraD
        Dec 29, 2014 @ 13:04:49

        I’ve come to realize that stories like my grandmother’s are common amongst our group. AA BW have always been resilient and have always possessed a “can do” attitude. It’s easy to forget our strengths when others down us so much and tell us about us.

        My grandmother’s story also drove home what Jim Crow really meant. Of course, I’ve always know about Jim Crow in a textbook sort of way, but I never internalized its ramifications. According grandma, the white schools got adequate resources and supplies in a timely fashion, but the black schools got whatever whenever. Hence, the BC just pooled resources to keep schools running.

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        • Formavitae
          Dec 29, 2014 @ 17:34:56

          “I’ve come to realize that stories like my grandmother’s are common amongst our group.”

          ABSOLUTELY. AAs and AA women, in particular, have always been involved with various forms of philanthropy–even today. One thing AA women on the whole ARE NOT is “selfish”.

          I understand what you mean about having a “textbook” awareness of AA history. Learning about our history from the viewpoints of those who lived it, versus dates and events, makes it more “real”.

          It saddens me to see how much apathy many AAs have when it comes to making the most of the educational opportunities they DO have. It’s a shame how they complain about the public schools yet make no effort to be involved in their children’s education or to improve their condition. This is one horrible side effect of the “welfare mentality”.

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          • DiraD
            Dec 29, 2014 @ 19:57:15

            What I hate the most about the ABC is their anti-intellectual stance. I feel such a stance is pissing on our ancestors. Whether it was secretly learning how to read, establishing HBCUs or simply volunteering themselves to make school run more efficiently, AAs have fought a long, hard battle to gain access to educational opportunities. Ironically, by trying to define AA culture as anti-education, the ABC are actually denying the true heritage and history of AAs.

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            • Formavitae
              Dec 29, 2014 @ 22:48:31

              MOST DEFINITELY.

              And, it’s one of the primary reasons MANY AAs will fall into “the pit” for generations. What REALLY sucks, is when you have these “intellectual” blacks standing up for hip-hop, ABC behavior, and misogyny. Instead of encouraging younger blacks to look a different direction and think differently, they seem to offer validation to these self-defeating paradigms and actions.

              I REALLY DON’T LIKE THEM.

              It’s very unfortunate, all that is going down with Bill Cosby right now. He was one of the few high-profile AAs who promoted positivity and encouraged younger AAs to better themselves and stop the nonsense. I really respected that about him.

              SO SAD.

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            • FoxyCleopatra
              Dec 30, 2014 @ 12:36:51

              secretly learning how to read………….Ironically, by trying to define AA culture as anti-education, the ABC are actually denying the true heritage and history of AAs.’

              You know what Dira, I’ve never actually looked at it from this persepective. I’ve generally just looked at the anti-intellectualism and anti-education mindset of the ABC more for the foolishness it is as well as the impact it has. Looking at it from the angle that they are actually doing and more or less fighting for the complete opposite that AA ancestors fought for make it even more galling especially when as Formavitae said, the so called intellectuals who should know better, seem to excuse it.

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              • DiraD
                Dec 30, 2014 @ 18:29:10

                I’ve felt this way about this particular stance ABC since fourth grade when I learned that slaves were forbidden to read. I just wish I had been able to see through all the ABC nonsense. The worse ABC okey dokey I fell for was that degrading (c)rap music is a free speech issue. I shudder at my memories of defending rap in high school.

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  10. kenna
    Dec 30, 2014 @ 14:25:11

    I am an immigrant black woman from Jamaica, I recently moved to States about 4 years ago. What she is saying about Jamaica seeing each other as a nationality vs race it is true, you are a Jamaican first. But the idea that we all sing Kumbaya and jam to bob marley all the time is ridiculous. Like America and other predominantly black countries colourism is still prevalent. E.g. Jamaica is a predominantly black dark skin country but if you take a look at all the women who enter Miss World and Miss Universe for my country Jamaica of those women are mixed, light skin or if they are dark skin they have Eurocentric features. So what she is saying is a farce. Another example, at the university i attended in Jamaica we started to realize that the light skin students would always hang with each other, we didnt make a fuss about it, but we began to just notice that it their circle it was pretty much light skin. Dont even talk about the whole skin bleaching thing.

    Several years ago darker skin black people esp. women couldnt be bank tellers you had to be light skin, has that changed throughout the years? yes it has but not 100%. If you are lighter skin is it always easier I dont believe it is, but I would hate it if a lighter skin Jamaican woman told me that his/her skin tone did not help them in anyway shape or form.

    Oh Caribbean men marry outside of their race in far greater numbers approximately 50% than African American men who live in the UK and other European countries.

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    • JaliliMaster
      Dec 30, 2014 @ 16:35:59

      I am an immigrant black woman from Jamaica, I recently moved to States about 4 years ago. What she is saying about Jamaica seeing each other as a nationality vs race it is true, you are a Jamaican first. But the idea that we all sing Kumbaya and jam to bob marley all the time is ridiculous.

      I am tired of hearing Jamaicans make this comment. As if in other countries (yes, even America), you aren’t ‘insert nationality here’ first. All the rights that you get as a citizen, apply whatever your race. Now, the extent to which you can (1)freely exercise said rights, (2) pursue your dreams/make something of yourself, etc, might vary, depending partly on your background (and many other factors). This whole ‘ I’m seen as Jamaican first’ talk is more an attempt by:

      (1) black folks who are embarrassed that in a country where they are the overwhelming majority, they still live ‘second-class status’ (in terms of position in society, access to opportunities, amount of discrimination they face, etc), compared to other non-black folks, who are in the minority. So they need to convince themselves, as well as others, that it is not really happening.

      (2) multi-racial, lighter-pigmented black folks, who know that the only way that they can stay nearer the top of such predominantly black societies, is with the co-operation of the majority darker-skinned black folks. So they, too, repeat that line because it is in their direct interests to do so. They don’t get all those goodies by merit, or the goodwill of white folks who may dislike them, but prefer to substitute them for actual black folks (which is what happens in predominantly white society’s, hence why so-called multi-racials are able to get ‘goodies’ at the expense of black folks), as these same whites (and other non-blacks) are a small minority in these societies. They get these privileges because deep down, the majority of the black folks there (just like the majority of the blacks in America) see them as better, and more more comfortable with being represented by someone ‘half-other’ or that looks like they are half-other.

      (3) non-black folks who are keen to remain at the top (particularly economically) of places with a majority black population. To prevent/avoid civil unrest, they need to do a ‘Jedi-mind trick’ on the foolish blacks, so that they ignore what is right in front of their eyes. So they too repeat this ‘we are all one Jamaica’ (similar to how many white Americans say ‘we are all Americans’), whilst ignoring and benefiting from the structure that is set-up (by them) to work in their own favour.

      E.g. Jamaica is a predominantly black dark skin country but if you take a look at all the women who enter Miss World and Miss Universe for my country Jamaica of those women are mixed, light skin or if they are dark skin they have Eurocentric features. So what she is saying is a farce. Another example, at the university i attended in Jamaica we started to realize that the light skin students would always hang with each other, we didnt make a fuss about it, but we began to just notice that it their circle it was pretty much light skin. Dont even talk about the whole skin bleaching thing.

      It is baffling that you can notice the farcical nature of her comments, but don’t seem to notice your own. So you can see the deep colourism in your own country, and even noticed how many of these ‘lighter-skinned blacks’ self-segregated at your university. So evidently, they don’t see themselves as ‘one Jamaica’ with you. Yet you think the non-black minority (whites, Chinese, etc) do?!

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      • JaliliMaster
        Dec 30, 2014 @ 16:39:05

        Sorry, only the comments I was replying to were meant to be in italics.

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        • APA
          Dec 30, 2014 @ 17:45:23

          JaliliMaster:

          You hit the nail on the head! She was trying to be empathetic with her comment, but she ended up just sounding dishonest because her comment had a lot of half truths that glossed over the ugly realities in her home country.

          The AA women here and on other blogs have been very honest about the ills within the black community, so any non-AA BW acting in good faith would also be honest about the ills and shortcomings of her own community when participating in these discussions. Olu was right that there are a lot of cross-cutting problems among the different cultures in the African diaspora, so it would behoove all of us to be honest about the problems in our respective countries. Discussing these issues honestly is the only way that we can come up with viable solutions. In addition, the cross-cutting problems that Olu mentioned are the main reason that many non-AA BW frequent blogs written by BW. The information presented on these blogs is applicable to these women and extremely beneficial to their lives, which is why it is insulting when non-AA BW come on blogs and act superior to other AAs. They know, and we know that their sh*t stinks just as much as AAs.

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      • DiraD
        Dec 30, 2014 @ 18:23:24

        Thank you so much for your incisive analysis. Unfortunately, when I come across such statements from non-AA blacks, I am not always able to see beyond their words.

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      • Robynne
        Jan 02, 2015 @ 12:06:06

        “So what she is saying is a farce.”

        I can’t speak for Kenna, but I believe she was referring to the obnoxious lady in Neecy’s post, and not to Neecy’s analysis of the situation, and not only that, she (Kenna) cited to the example at her college to show that colourism is very much alive, and that the “there is no colourism” sentiment is – farcial, in line with Neecy’s post. As to the rest of your post, believe it or not, there are some of us who are proud of where we come from (despite all its problems), and we cling tight to that. This is more far more nuanced than the situation in South Africa or Latin America, where perhaps your comment would be more on point, as for many blacks, any semblance of ethnic pride would have been beaten to death.

        “This whole ‘ I’m seen as Jamaican first’ talk is more an attempt by:

        (1) black folks who are embarrassed that in a country where they are the overwhelming majority, they still live ‘second-class status’ (in terms of position in society, access to opportunities, amount of discrimination they face, etc), compared to other non-black folks, who are in the minority. So they need to convince themselves, as well as others, that it is not really happening.”

        Again, this is far more nuanced. I know that you are a UK citizen of Nigerian (?) descent. Your comment here and the others following it would be akin to me saying that Nigerians (or insert appropriate Nigerian ethnic group here e.g. Yoruba) identify as Nigerian or Yoruba to escape the stigma of being regarded as a second class citizen in Nigeria or XYZ setting, disregarding any nuances ( eg the fact that moneyed blacks are apathetic because they truly don’t experience colourism, and are thick as thieves in many instances with the multiracial others – in many cases to access yet more resources), not to mention any complete disregard of any pride and sense of identity you derive by identifying as Nigerian or as a member of any of the other subgroups, such as the Hausa or Yoruba. I identify as a Jamaican because I was born there, my ancestors were born there, I know of its rich history and traditions, our contributions to global advancement, our cultural icons, past and present that we admire, and all of this is a deep source of pride for many, no matter where we go on the globe. It is not about escaping the label black (although I am sure this is true for some) – many of us are black and visibly so. Again, this would be a sticking point mostly with the light skinned people and multiracials who are NOT used to being called black in the islands, but then travel and live overseas and all of a sudden they are deemed black. This is the group that I KNOW hides behind the “I am Jamaican” to bypass being called black – the light skinned people and mixed race others, especially when they can’t pass for some other race or ethnic group. I personally don’t feel sorry them, they’ll get over it. They chose to go to a country where they’ll be considered black, after all.

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        • kenna
          Jan 04, 2015 @ 22:37:19

          I love my roots and I will never deny where I come from, but neither will I act as if our country isn’t plagued with colourism.

          Its funny you said there are Jamaicans who dont want to be seen has black but hide behind ‘ I am a Jamaican’. I remember at my old job some of my African American co-workers would tell patients, “she is not black she is Jamaican”. WTF is that even suppose to mean? Jamaica is not a race its a nationality. But hey! Beats me!!

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  11. AnonPizza
    Dec 30, 2014 @ 14:42:10

    I love everything about this post!!!!

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  12. DiraD
    Dec 30, 2014 @ 18:24:07

    How does one do the italics and bold script?

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    • foosrock!
      Dec 31, 2014 @ 08:28:44

      Just enter the follow before and after the sentence, word, paragraph you want to italic or bold:
      Italic Bold

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    • Neecy
      Jan 01, 2015 @ 20:40:00

      so for wordpress anything you want to do has to start with brackets and end with brackets (the greater than less than symbols on the keypad next to the M letter. Use the less than first, enter code for italics and then close it with the greater than symbol.

      1. so type the code inside the brackets. For Italics its EM. Once you type the code inside the brackets and close with the greater than symbol….

      2. Then type the part of the comment you want in italics

      3. when you are finished with the commented part you want in italics you end with the same brackets but place a backwards slash before the code

      4. hello

      5. just make sure you enter the right code for what you are doing. BOLD in WordPress is STRONG, Italics is EM, etc.

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  13. Breanna
    Dec 31, 2014 @ 08:05:39

    Discussing your issues around mixed company is a big no no. I remember always being told that..

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  14. Robynne
    Jan 02, 2015 @ 11:00:40

    I have not read through the comments yet, but as a Jamaican bw, I sincerely apologize for my idiotic & ill mannered compatriots. People who harbour those ill thoughts do better by keeping these beliefs to themselves, and not be stupid enough to “diss” people to their faces. I am glad you maintained your boundaries & called her out. Fool won’t do that again, and embarrass her country (people like that annoy the hell out of me, and I wish they would shut the hell up – b/c it does reflect poorly on the person going off). I have one question for you, was this woman light-skinned, or of a higher socioeconomic class in Jamaica? I’ll let you in on an inside secret: these folks tend to sing the biggest kumbayas about race relations on the island. Like the rest of the Caribbean & anywhere blacks were made slaves, there is a colour hierarchy. Anyone who says otherwise is a liar. Yes, we identify ourselves in terms of nationality/ethnicity, and not by race. Anyway, like some dishonest lighter skinned folks stateside, there are those lighter people in the islands who are quick to deny any colourism exists because they benefit from it. Also , in the islands, colourism plays out a bit differently than it does in the USA. It is more subtle and less in your face, especially if you are a member of the middle and upper classes. Being a member of a higher socio-economic strata will shield you from most of the effects of colourism, so Jamaicans who fall into this category (like many of the ones I grew up with, and went to school with) will feed into the “we are all one” bs – because their money & class (if they are darker) protects them. Among this group, elocution, diction, dress, areas of residence, and of course, money sets them apart from the masses of working class dark folks who bear the full brunt of colourism. I have very good high school friends from Jamaica (who are dark) who also very much play into this nonsense of the island being a racial utopia. Again, they are from the moneyed set, who choose to be removed from certain realities. I was born into the middle class, however, this did not blind me to what was going on, particularly when I had parents who would severely criticize this phenomenon all the time. You see, they were both from working class backgrounds, and my dad did feel the colourist and classist bites before he became a member of the professional class. My mother is lighter, so for her not so much on the colourist front – if anything, it helped her land jobs. She is still very critical of it however.

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    • Neecy
      Jan 02, 2015 @ 12:20:58

      Hey Robynne!

      No need to apologize. Most jamaicans I have known have never denied the colorism factor in Jamaica and they have all been of darker complexions. This chick was just trying to prove something.

      But she was not light skinned which was more shocking to me why she would deny the colorism. She didn’t mention which class she was from, but I’d wadger middle class?

      I think she actually was just saying those things to make the WW feel as though there are better places than America. I don’t believe for once that she believed anything she was saying. But she probably didn’t figure I’d call her out and let her get away with what she was saying.

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  15. Nina
    Jan 04, 2015 @ 23:18:22

    Great discussion, but what many are missing is the “system” that Blacks who were enslaved or colonized live(d) under.

    One may find that Latinos are racist, but don’t even realize it because racism is not a concept. It is more of a contradiction of what is right: a white Jesus, a white Catholic priest, a wealthy landowner or politician, etc. It is considered rude to even discuss because to do so would be to acknowledge slavery which was clearly wrong but undertaken by Spain and the Catholic Church. Pres. Obama did Black America a very great disservice by legalizing the illegals because they are bringing their “system” of racism and sexism, I may add, with them.

    In Jamaica the phrase is: Out of many, one people. That IS the concept and national statement. Jamaicans really do identify as Jamaican. This identity was more of a rebuttal of being British subject. Unfortunately, the only “system” that was to build upon after statehood was the British system and all that went with that: racism, classism, colorism, elitism, hypocrisy and colonialism (which is in full effect). I’d like to point out that the Jamaican men of means who were educated in England used both the colonial identification of being a British subject as well as that of “Out of many, one” to marry white British women and return to Jamaica as some kind of “to the manor born” type.

    Which is why we need to understand more than attack and to question more than declare and to learn more than classify. Kenna was stating that Jamaicans identify as Jamaican. True, but she also pointed out the BRITISH SYSTEM via colorism. As a product of Jamaican, South American and Southern descent, I have had a pretty good view of the whole damn craziness. Americans are just as blinded by their own “EXCEPTIONALISM” and xenophobia which is being expressed here as the bristling of anti-American comments. I embrace America, and I am the first to say that my grandparents were economic refugees. But I’ll be damn if I don’t exercise my right to recognize and call out an unjust war (Iraq), drone attacks on innocents, expansion of NATO, neocolonialism in Africa, bank robbery by the banksters themselves, etc.

    We don’t need to be militant about anti-Americanism or pro-Americanism. America gonna do what it gonna do without the feelings, comments or opinions of Black Women. However, we need to be cognizant OF THE SYSTEMS, be they British, Spanish, French, American or Portuguese, and all survival tactics we need as Black Women to navigate and OVERCOME said systems.

    The way the economy (global) is going and the way Black men (globally) are actin’ a fool, we betta get some cooperation to lay down a global underground (or cyber) railroad for Black Women. No Joke.

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