Archive for the ‘America’ Tag

On Being Black in America by Angenita Williams

I know it’s been a minute…

These past few weeks have been torment for me.

I’ve sat quietly watching as news story after news story after blog after blog spills the details about another mistreatment of people of color.

I’ve been silent. Trying to figure out exactly what I want to say that hasn’t already been regurgitated through media.

And then the Charleston Nine happened. The actual thought of removing the Confederate flag happened. On my drive home, I figured out what I wanted to say – a checklist of sorts. I’m only going to list three, or this blog will be a hundred pages long.

  1. On Being a Black Woman

I am a Black Woman. That means that royalty flows through my veins. My foremothers were Queens. My foremothers were dignified women. I wear my crown straight. Slave blood runs through my veins as well as the strength of my ancestors. My shoulders sometimes struggle for carrying the world is heavy. My back is arched, my head is held high. Just like Maya said, “Phenomenal woman, that is me.” My piercing stares are full of determination and tenacity. My tresses are strong. I love me.

And it took me almost 40 years to do that.

With what society says I should look like. All my images of “real” beauty came in the form of Barbie. Brooke Shields. Susan Lucci. Farrah Fawcett. And when I got a little older, Claire Huxtable and Dianne Carroll. I was a victim of the paper bag. My blackness always questioned because my skin is a tad paler.

But I was still Black. I hated my kinky hair. I hated my name because it was so unique. It always seemed like if I was a white girl named Tina with long brown hair, and pale blue eyes, I would be so much happier. Why? Because Tina had things that looked like her. That resembled her. That were her…

And I was grown before I could truly love everything that being a Black woman is, does, and strives to do. Before I learned the true strength of where I come from – the fields of Mississippi, Tennessee, and Arkansas. Before I understood that my beauty comes from the strength I innately possess. Before I realized that beauty is truly beyond this skin I’m in.

  1. On Being a Mother of Black Children

I worry every time my children leave my sight. They are of strong mind and strong will. My son, a Black man. My daughter, a Black teen.

I am bombarded with images of unarmed children being gunned down because the officers don’t understand that they too are innocent. They have an innocence about them just like his kids do. But he is threatened by their melanin. By there sheer ability to have the nerve to WANT to do things outside the home. To DESIRE to be something other than…*insert typical Black stereotype*.

Not too long ago, a Facebook friend posted a picture of the White Charleston Nine shooter next to the picture of the fourteen-year-old Black girl with a cop’s knee in her back. The caption compared the dignified way he was captured against the violent way a CHILD was thrown to the ground. A woman who was white said the picture was misleading and that the bikini clad young lady was being aggressive. A child who had no idea what was going on and begged for her mother versus a cold-blooded killer who was afforded a bulletproof vest and a sandwich.

I responded with – she is a CHILD.

The lady responded with a long response to which she ended with “I will teach my children to treat everyone well, and I hope they teach their kids the same.”

My long response ended with “be thankful you can teach your kids that. Be thankful that you don’t have to worry about your kids not coming home – not because they are bad kids, because they are not. It’s because they are Black.”

As a mother, this is heartbreaking. And the list just keeps growing. I pray my children’s names are never on that list. I pray my nephews and nieces will never make that list. I pray my brothers, uncles, cousins and friends never make that list.

  1. On Being Black, Woman, Near 40, and Single

It truly seems like the older I get, the worse dating gets. Seriously. One would think that with age comes maturity. This isn’t so in a lot of cases. And it’s frustrating. Maybe it’s because I expect so much. Like a job. And decent conversation. And thoughtfulness. And a date or two or three. In my teens and 20’s, I accepted pretty much whatever just to be recognized by a man. Just to have one in my presence. Just to have one be there…even if it was temporary. Just to feel “love.” And I got two kids to raise pretty much alone (my loves!), a broken marriage (not truly getting what marriage entails), a few broken hearts, an ocean of tears, fears of rejection and pain, a steel fortified fortress built around my heart, and a different view on love. Dating isn’t fun – it is a tiring assortment of role specifics and game playing. I am over playing the game. And many older men that approach me want to play it.

There are way more things to speak on – finances, education, awareness, growth. I’ll save that for another time…

I’m baaaaacccckkkk


Utopia by Angenita Williams

So much has been said about the tragedy of Ferguson. So much has been said about black on black crime and how we, as Black people, should really focus on that. So much has been said in regards to why the Black community needs more cops because Black commit the most crimes. So much has been said about race relations. So much…

Yet, while so much has been said, nothing has been said or listened to. Nothing has been absorbed into the minds of the United States of America. It shows with the blatant, intolerant, racist, and disrespectful remarks against young Black men who are killed, the people who march to protest the unlawful killings, and the brutal disregard for a human life under the guise of law.

It’s been open season on Black people – not just the men. The women as well. We are seen as beasts…unnatural, super strong abnormalities that have polluted this earth. Although…it was our people that built the pyramids. (Remember, they cannot be duplicated.) It was our people who scribed history on the walls of caves. The people who share skin tones of various hues taught this world how to read, count, season food, and build villages. My people were taken from their land to build this conundrum of takeover.

And we are supposed to just get over it. Although we are still feeling the consequences. Although slavery has taken the form of prison and mind poisoning through “reality” television and “hip-hop.”

I watched as my grandkids fell asleep. My grandson put his arm under my granddaughter, and they fell asleep holding on to one another. It was so moving to see their closeness. They are two (grandson) and three (granddaughter). And they already realize they have to hold on to each other. Even in slumber.

It also saddened me. This is my second generation. And to know that I am going to have to advise them that their skin makes them a target breaks my heart. I’m going to have to tell my grandson that even when he’s right, he’s wrong. He will always fit the description. And for my granddaughter, it’s virtually the same. And both will have to have smartphones so they can record their encounters. (If they have smartphones by then.)

What a sad, cold, cruel world…or maybe I should say – America.

What can we do to change things? Honestly, I don’t know. We are dealing with people who are told what to think, and not how to think. If we come with something that is outside the box…it’s preposterous! We are crazy. How dare we go outside what has been fed to us? Why cause that trouble?

Imagine how good things would be if we worked together to fix this broken system…

But we can’t because…let’s face it…we live in a country where skin color means more than the content of one’s character. A country where money drives everything.

I guess this is…Utopia…at least for those with rose-colored glasses on. And money to blind those that don’t.

Violence…Gotta Stop…by Angenita Williams

Gang members on the street, focus on guns - stock photo

I am appalled, saddened, heartbroken. Angry. Confused. Distraught.

My city is turning into a war zone. It brings up so much pain. I lost my young cousin at the age of twenty-two a few years ago due to violence. Every young man maimed by a bullet reminds me of him. Just last week, a friend of mine lost his sixteen-year-old brother. I ask myself when will it end.

I hate to watch the news now. I’m so afraid for my young son, his brothers, his closest friends. I am afraid for my brothers. My cousins. My friends. My sisters. My mothers. My grandmothers.

No one should have to endure the pain and agony of loosing their loved one in a senseless manner. And the sad part about the whole situation is that…absolutely NOTHING is being done to curb the violence. The ‘education’ system…or the pipeline to prison…is failing our kids miserably. The parents without a clue are failing our kids miserably. The VILLAGE is FAILING our KIDS.

Our young ladies do not respect themselves or love themselves enough to know that being a ‘bitch’ or a ‘bad bitch’ or a ‘main bitch’ is not an honor, it’s a disgrace. They are having babies by grown ass boys who probably didn’t have daddy there to show them the way…or maybe they did, and follow in his footsteps they shall. The family structure is deteriorating. And the kids are suffering.

And the legislature wants to ‘protect’ the nature of marriage between men and women. I’m sorry, but…it doesn’t look like the institution of heterosexual marriage is working. If the sex partners make it to the altar, there is a 50% chance it’s gonna end before either of them get to ’til death do us part.’

And when it’s all said and done….we’ve got angry boys out here mad at a world that frankly doesn’t give a damn about them. The President of the United States even acknowledged that our little black and brown boys have to fight extra hard just to make it. And when momma and daddy can’t get it together, grow up, and realize that this life is not about them, we leave the children to be raised by song lyrics, and aspirations to be a Basketball Wife, or to be on Bad Girls Club.

Seriously? We brought our kids into this?

What happened to the community that fought together to ensure we all got rights? The women with linked arms to make sure we could get jobs and work just like the men? What happened to the leaders who only want to pray and walk away? God can and will help the situation, but faith without works is dead. So we can either keep praying, and standby as our kids fall victim to what society wants them to, or we can rise as a community, build that strong family unit, and take it back from those who seek to destroy it.

I have two grandsons. Four nephews. And I cry because I know that before they will be men, they will be judged based on how they look. They are smart kids. Funny. Full of personality. I love them with all my heart. But my heart also weeps for them. I mean, it seems like if they make it to thirty, they will be considered seniors.

America…we’ve got to do better.

Romney & Ryan: Team Obama’s Opposition by Angenita Williams-Childs

On Saturday, August 11, 2012, Mitt Romney announced that his running mate would be Wisconsin Senator, Paul Ryan. Now, I already knew in the back of my mind that Ryan would be the chosen one. Romney made it really obvious when Ryan accompanied him on the campaign trail. Now, how does this go for our President? Well, it could go both ways.

Ryan sort of acts as a Tea Party candidate, which means he had a huge following. These radicals would like nothing more than to divide the country into the haves and have -nots. His “Ryan Plan” budget significantly cuts the basic programs people need to survive: Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, food stamps, and the transportation infrastructure. It gives another tax break for the wealthiest of the nation. Basically, it makes the poor take the blame for being poor, and gives the reward of being rich to the rich. I think it would be a little harder to pull yourself up by the bootstraps if you can’t afford the boots.

I guess I classify myself as a liberal. I believe that our government should help take care of the people it governs. Obamacare is necessary to level off rising health care costs. My medical insurance premium rises every year, and when I didn’t have any, it was difficult to find a doctor willing to get to the root of my problems. I had a female issue for over four years, and all I got was that it was in my head, and the doctors wanted to prescribe antidepressants. With medical insurance, I was able to get to the root of the problem in three months, get it resolved, and now I’m better. Amazing what that little card can do, and amazing how much it costs me a month to have that little card.

I thought this was a government for the people, by the people. But the Republican lead states across the nation are attacking voting rights, citing voter fraud. Voter fraud? They are warding off voter fraud in areas where it doesn’t even exist. Basically, let’s make it harder to vote so people won’t do it; namely Democratic voters. Michigan has all but stripped voters in the poorer cities, electing emergency managers to come in and take charge, instead of allowing those chosen do their jobs.

I’m not sure what the future holds with this Presidential race. Only because, the Tea Party wants Obama out, if for nothing else, it’s the fact that he is a Black man. He may be the Food Stamp President as touted by Newt Gingrich…but why are more people on food stamps? Because his predecessor decided to destroy the American economy, but eliciting a tax cut that was designed to accommodate the wealthy, who in turn were supposed to boost the economy by providing jobs. Instead, unemployment rose, companies closed, and we sank into rising costs for everything, and wages all but eliminated.

This past week, the Republicans hosted their national convention. I was angered at virtually every speech. Especially when Ryan blatantly lied about Obama being responsible for an auto plant being closed in Janesville, WI. (The plant closed in December 2008. Obama took office in January 2009.) Clint Eastwood had a bizarre speech; talking to an empty chair that was supposed to be President Obama. It was disgraceful. (I LOVED Clint Eastwood! “Do you feel lucky? Well, do you?”)  And let’s not mention the whole “We built it!” slogan that the Republicans completely blew out of context. And, all the people and stories mentioned about the American dream all had some help from somewhere, but those particular people “did it on their own.” Let’s take a walk down history lane…who really built America?

This country was built on the backs of my ancestors, who never were paid for their labor, nor were they given any portion of the riches made for their owners. This country was built on the blood of my people, whom endured family separation, beating, starvation, kitchen scraps, raising children of a different race, denied education, treated as animals. This country was bullied from the Native Americans. Let’s be real about how and who built this country, Romney, Ryan, Republicans.

Without US (all races, creeds, and religions), America is nothing. If we don’t vote, we the people will be treated as nothing. If the Republicans come in, everything will be privatized, subsidized by the government. We will be at war. Our kids will suffer. Women will suffer. Seniors will suffer. But the good ol’ boys? Not so much.

I urge, encourage, and almost demand that you vote. If you don’t, you can’t complain when your home is foreclosed because the owners of your company decide to save money in their pockets by shipping your job overseas. You can’t complain when you cannot get any unemployment funds, or health care. You can’t complain when you default on a student loan because the rates doubled, or can’t go to college due to Pell grant funding being cut. You can’t complain if your daughter is raped, and gets pregnant by her attacker, and she wants an abortion. You can’t complain if you can’t get help for your womanly issues. There would be no room for you to.

You didn’t exercise your right.

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