All Articles Tagged "racism"

Ohio Attorney Jailed For Wearing Black Lives Matter Pin In Court

July 27th, 2016 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

An Ohio attorney, Andrea Burton, was sentenced to five days in prison for contempt of court by Youngstown Municipal Court Judge Robert Milich because she didn’t remove her Black Lives Matter pin. Explaining his actions, Milich told WKBN27 that his personal opinions didn’t influence his decision to place Burton in jail at all.

“A judge doesn’t support either side,” he said. “A judge is objective and tries to make sure everyone has an opportunity to have a fair hearing, and it was a situation where it was just in violation of the law,” Milich said. Although this may sound far from objective, according to Jezebel, judges can prohibit any type of political expression in their courtrooms. “The judge has the right in any circumstance that they think that some issue or matter will be disruptive to the court or a distraction to the court, they can ask that individual to remove that object,” legal analyst Matt Mangino told WKBN27.

As for Burton, she was released from jail without having to fully serve her five-day sentence and has yet to comment on her case. Youngstown’s NAACP chapter states that the Black Lives Matter pin is and can be synonymous to a symbol of the American Flag or Star of David. Judge Milich, however, stated otherwise. “There’s a difference between a flag, a pin from your church or the Eagles and having a pin that’s on a political issue.”

What do you think?

They Don’t Really Care About Us: No Charges After Girl Suffers Rope Burn To Her Neck

July 26th, 2016 - By Veronica Wells
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No Charges After Girl Suffers Rope Burn To Her Neck

Source: YouTube

Last month, we wrote about a young girl being called KP in the media. After a class trip to Germer Ranch with the Live Oak Classical School, 12-year-old KP returned to her mother with a severe rope burn around her neck.

KP, who had been bullied repeatedly even before the trip, told her mother that several of her peers found a swing with a long rope attached to it. According to a lawsuit, her classmates pulled the rope back and wrapped it around her neck. Then the boys violently jerked to the ground, leaving the abrasions on her neck.

Her mother sued the school.

But today, The Associated Press reports that investigators say no one will be charged criminally for the rope burns found around KP’s neck. Ben Ablon, of the Blanco County Sheriff’s Department said there was no evidence to support allegations that the injuries were intentional or racially motivated.

Still, there is hope that KP might get justice. The family has already filed a lawsuit claiming that the school was negligent during the time when she sustained her injuries at the hands of her peers. They are seeking $3 million in damages from the Live Oak Classical School and the ranch owner in Waco.

The school maintains that the girl was hurt accidentally.

Yale University Employee Smashes Residential College Window Of Slaves Picking Cotton

July 22nd, 2016 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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The Yale community enjoying this springlike weather on Cross Campus. #Yale #community

A photo posted by Yale (@yale) on

Last month, Corey Menafee, a 38-year-old employee of Yale University, smashed a window in Calhoun College with a broomstick because the imagery on the stain glass was a depiction of slavery. Immediately following the incident, Menafee resigned from his position as the college’s dining hall dishwasher.

This past Tuesday, Yale’s administration granted Menafee his position back. “Yale informed Mr. Menafee’s attorney that we are willing to grant his request for a second chance at Yale. Mr. Menafee, who resigned in June after he admitted intentionally breaking a stained glass window, has expressed deep remorse about his actions and informed us that he would like to rescind his resignation,” Yale’s spokeswoman Karen Peart said. Peart’s statement also described Menafee’s actions as “unusual” and “unique.”

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Window in Calhoun Residental College At Yale University

“He will be allowed to return to a position in a different setting, starting on Monday, after serving a five-week unpaid suspension. We are willing to take these unusual steps given the unique circumstances of this matter, and it is now up to Mr. Menafee whether he wishes to return to Yale,” she concluded.

Initially, Menafee was charged with reckless endangerment and criminal mischief but the charges were never filed. Since Yale decided for Menafee to be reinstated as an employee, he has not received any information on when he can return to work.

This incident comes as no surprise since Calhoun College has always been a source of controversy. Last year, The Atlantic reported that the residential college is Yale’s “Confederate Flag,” explaining how students petitioned the administration to change its name in the wake of the South Carolina Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church massacre. Reason being, the college is named after Yale’s alumni and South Carolina senator John C. Calhoun who was a proponent of slavery and white supremacy.

Menafee told reporters at the New Haven Independent he was tired of coming to work and looking at the window. He also shared that he wasn’t aware that Yale’s campus climate still had racial undertones. “When I walked into this job, I wasn’t aware of none of that. And then you know, being there, you start hearing different things… It’s 2016, I shouldn’t have to come to work and see things like that. I just said, ‘That thing’s coming down today. I’m tired of it.”

Perhaps after this incident, Yale will change both Calhoun College’s name and its window panes. After all, like Menafee said, it’s 2016.

“What Are You Going To Do About Your Hair?” My Boss Is Policing My Blackness

July 22nd, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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natural hair harassment

Corbis

It’s Friday! And I for one am happy to see the weekend. Between annoying co-workers, faulty equipment and a micromanaging boss, the workweek can start to look like a never-ending reel from Office Space. But imagine dealing with the usual disappointments of a 9-to-5 job while working in an environment where not only your wardrobe, but your very blackness is being policed.

Like most professional women, you become acutely aware of the environment in which you work in and tailor your wardrobe accordingly. For some, its corporate chic. For others? Business casual. Mine, or at least my interpretation of it, falls somewhere in between. You see, I work in the design field and naturally, I work in a space constantly filled with a lot of eclectic colors and patterns, and varying aesthetics. My clients do vary from gaudy to “Chanel” chic, and I do my best to maintain a healthy balance between trying to appear approachable to the two. With that being said, you could probably understand my disgust with my employer, who on a pretty consistent basis insists that she gets to dictate what I wear and how. And while I understand that as my employer, she has the right to instruct employees on how to dress appropriately, there’s a difference between being reprimanded for dressing garish and from head to toe, being considered “too much.”

To give you some context, when I was being interviewed for the job, I had on a chambray shirt, a statement skirt and heels. My hair is natural and at the time of the interview, the top of it was dyed blond. At no point did this seem to be an issue, seeing as I was hired shortly thereafter. There was never an established or written down company policy on dress code and the like. And as the weeks went by, I never really changed my “work uniform” and was even told I could relax a bit and dress in jeans if I wanted to.

Fast forward a few weeks into fall 2015, and I recall wearing a teal sweater with jeans and flats, the most basic combination of them all. I was told that maybe I “would want to tone down the colors” in my outfit. I pressed further, curious as to what exactly the issue was, and I was basically told that if my work attire were all black, it would be best for the office. I let it go, despite the fact that none of this was stated to me upon initial hire.

As the months went by, my hair and the color in it began to grow out. One would say that my afro was flourishing. I have a tapered afro, and keep it pretty well maintained. One day, while mid-conversation with my employer, I was asked, “What are you going to do about your hair?” Perplexed, I asked what she meant by that. To which she responded, with inflated hand gestures on both sides of her head, “It’s growing out. Are you going to do anything about it?” I wasn’t sure what I was more insulted by — the audacity to say that to another person, or the privilege that comes with such ignorance.

On another separate instance I mentioned that I wanted to get my hair braided. I was told that braids were too “out there” for the environment we work in and that she was “just getting used” to my hair in its current state. And she’s also made comments about my body from time to time. Including one instance where I told her about going to the gym with a former boyfriend and how I was doing strength training. I am a curvy woman with some hips, thighs, butt and breasts, so her response was that I should be careful not to get “any bigger” than I am now.

As I’ve worked at this job, I’ve become very aware of the fact that not only is my appearance but my very blackness being critiqued all of the time. From the microaggressions about what colors “best suit my complexion,” the shape of my body, the color and length of my nails, the absence of color in my hair, and the very way my hair grows, it has become a toxic work environment. In a perfect world for my boss, I would look like “Morticia Addams” every weekday and all would be well. But I can’t. I’m a dark-skinned, shapely Black woman with an afro and she just can’t take it. In the America we live in, a country filled with people hell-bent on policing what it means to be Black, especially a Black woman, my workweek is just another emotional battlefield I have to wade through.

Have any of you experienced any of this in the workplace? How do you address it to be able to make it through the week?

Twitter Permanently Suspends Milo Yiannopoulos’ Account After He Targeted Leslie Jones

July 21st, 2016 - By Veronica Wells
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twitter suspends milo yiannopoulos' account

Earlier this week we reported about Leslie Jones enduring some pretty intense, racially motivated hate on Twitter. When we reported the story, Twitter had yet to take action, linking Leslie and others to their rules page. Which was, as you might imagine, not helpful.

But after more people spoke up about the issue and in defense of Leslie, they decided to take action.

One of the people who was tweeting hateful things about Jones was Milo Yiannopoulos. Yiannopoulos, in addition to being a troll, is also the editor of the right-winged website Breitbart. Yesterday, Twitter permanently suspended his account and issued this statement in response.

People should be able to express diverse opinions and beliefs on Twitter. But no one deserves to be subjected to targeted abuse online, and our rules prohibit inciting or engaging in the targeted abuse or harassment of others. Over the past 48 hours in particular, we’ve seen an uptick in the number of accounts violating these policies and have taken enforcement actions against these accounts, ranging from warnings that also require the deletion of Tweets violating our policies to permanent suspension.

We know many people believe we have not done enough to curb this type of behavior on Twitter. We agree. We are continuing to invest heavily in improving our tools and enforcement systems to better allow us to identify and take faster action on abuse as it’s happening and prevent repeat offenders. We have been in the process of reviewing our hateful conduct policy to prohibit additional types of abusive behavior and allow more types of reporting, with the goal of reducing the burden on the person being targeted. We’ll provide more details on those changes in the coming weeks.”

Twitter said more than the language used, it was Yiannopoulos’ targeted abuse of a specific user that caused him to lose his privileges.

Naturally, Yiannopoulos issued a statement. Among other things, he said: “With the cowardly suspension of my account, Twitter has confirmed itself as a safe space for Muslim terrorists and Black Lives Matter extremists, but a no-go zone for conservatives.”

And then: “This is the end for Twitter. Anyone who cares about free speech has been sent a clear message: you’re not welcome on Twitter.”

It always amazes me the way people hide behind free speech. Yes, we all have free speech and can say whatever we want in this country. But that does not absolve any of us from the consequences of our speech. And I’m glad this is a lesson Yiannopoulos is learning.

Do You Know Self-Respecting Black People Who Support Donald Trump?

July 20th, 2016 - By Patia Braithwaite
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Donald Trump, pastors

AP Images

A recent article in the Washington Post stated that Donald Trump has less than one percent of the Black vote in swing states like Ohio and Pennsylvania. It goes on to assert that only six percent of Black people support Trump nationally. Whether you’re into Hillary Clinton or not, the lack of Black support for Trump probably makes you sigh with relief. You might think to yourself, of course! No self-respecting black person I know would vote for Trump. Except maybe Uncle Freddy, but Freddy is crazy. Then, if you’re like me, you’d go outside, sit on the stoop with your wine glass and strike up a conversation with your neighbor.

And you’d discover that you’ve found an anomaly: They support Donald Trump .

So there we were, sitting on our stoop, my neighbor and I. There were kids across the street playing basketball, and the local bootlegger had just come by with some movies. All was well. The sun was setting and our conversation flowed easily from movies, to music, to current events, and finally politics.

Why don’t I sit out here more often? I thought to myself, as my neighbor was bringing up the 2016 election.

“That’s why I mess with Trump,” he said. 

At first, it didn’t register. My neighbor is pretty chill, but sometimes he flirts with me, so conversations always require me to filter out half of what he says. I was about to file his comment in the same place I put his unwanted compliments when he added, “Well, I really support Bernie, but if not Bernie than Trump.”

“Wait,” I turned to him, “Trump over Hillary?”

“Yeah,” he replied. “Of course.”

It took me a second, but I finally fixed my side-eye to ask him why. Under what circumstance could he possibly “mess with Trump”? I expected him to rail against the amorality of the Clinton administration or the rise of political dynasties. I expected him to extol the virtues of Bernie Sanders (a.k.a., the unsullied), the brokenness of our electoral system, or point to Clinton legislation that fostered the mass incarceration of Black people. Did he do that? No. No, he did not.

“Trump is going to bring our jobs back,” he stated.

There was a look of determination and triumph in his eyes. When I tried to explain why it was economically impossible for any president to overturn the tide of globalization, he silenced me.

“You clearly never needed a low-paying job before.”

I didn’t tell him I could use one right now.

This conversation with my neighbor isn’t an isolated instance. In the wake of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile’s deaths, a good friend of mine was trying to make sense of the wreckage.

“I just feel like Trump can turn all this around.”

“Huh?” I wrote back. “You think Trump will crack down on police brutality?”

“Yeah,” he said. “Trumpknows what’s up.”

Now, despite Trump’s insistence that “the system is rigged against him too,” and that we Black folks aren’t wrong for thinking that, most of us can admit that easing systemic racism isn’t The Donald’s primary political agenda. And based on his past comments, it doesn’t even register as a concern.

I chalked my friend’s ramblings up to those of a person who has just endured the trauma of seeing two police shootings in less than 24 hours, but I was shocked. I don’t live in the South. I don’t roll with conservative Christians, and I consider most of my friends to be well-informed citizens, yet there are Black Trump supporters in my own backyard.

“How will having Donald Trump really impact your daily life,” my neighbor asked me the night we hung out on the stoop. “What are you so afraid of?”

I rattled off xenophobia, economic turmoil, and the danger of Trump’s potential Supreme Court appointments, but his question struck a nerve. The truth is that state and local elections have far greater impact than federal ones, and I’m not actually registered to vote in the district where I sleep. After I went upstairs, his question stayed with me.

What are you so afraid of?

There are tons of reasons why Trump  is unfit to be president. Beyond the legislative and economic implications of a Trump administration (which are scary enough), what scares me most is the possibility that if he’s elected, it could embolden racists to act out their hateful ideations. Just as #Brexit was met with a surge of idiots bigots harassing people in the streets, a Trump election could turn anti-immigration rhetoric into full-blown hate crimes. To be a Black person in this country is to understand the effects of bigotry, hatred, and fear on a visceral level. To support Trump would be an act of radical amnesia — increasingly hard to do given the current state of affairs.

What scares you most about a Trump administration? Any Black Trump supporters want to defend the man?

“I Didn’t Do Anything To Deserve This” Leslie Jones Responds To Racist, Hate Speech On Twitter

July 19th, 2016 - By Veronica Wells
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Leslie Jones Responds To Racist, Hate Speech On Twitter

WENN

As long as it took Leslie Jones to break into the mainstream consciousness, it’s sad that so much ugliness comes with it. First Leslie wrote about the fact that designers didn’t want to dress her. And now that Ghostbusters has been released into theaters, Twitter users have flooded her mentions with racist- fueled hate speech.

In an effort to expose these users and their hate speech, Leslie shared some of these tweets.

She couldn’t understand where all the hate came from. 

Considering that these tweets were racist, hate speech, many users were asking Twitter to suspend these accounts for violating the site’s user terms. They issued this response. 

“While we don’t comment on individual accounts, here’s an explainer on our content boundaries  here…” and they linked to their rules page.

Leslie wrote this statement in a series of tweets. 

It’s so sad. Most of these comments sound like they are from ignorant children. ‘I’m the source of AIDS?!’ WTF!! These people hate themselves. You have to hate yourself to put out that type of hate. I mean, on my worst day I can’t think of this type of hate to put out. I don’t know how to feel. I’m numb. Actually numb. I see the words and pics and videos. Videos, y’all. Meaning people took time to spew hate. … Like no shame or compassion for human life. It scares the fuck out of me!

I used to wonder why some celebs don’t have Twitter accts. Now I know. You can’t be nice and communicate with fans ‘cause people crazy. As much as I love live-tweeting, posting the pics of awesome things that happen in this life I’ve been blessed with, I don’t know anymore.

As much as you want to think actors ain’t human, I want to give you something to think about. I work off pure passion for this game. I’m more human and real than you fucking think. I work my ass off. I’m not different than any of you who has a dream to do what they love. I’ve never claimed to be better or special. I just try to do my job as best as I can. Isn’t that any of us, y’all? So yeah, this hurts me! It’s like when you think, OK, I’ve proven I’m worthy, then you get hit with a shovel of hated. I’m numb.

I mean, I know there is racism. But [am] I that naive to think that some things was changing? Yes, I was. We still live in a world where we have to say ‘black lives matter.’ I’m so tired of it. Why is this still a fight? I want to hate so bad, but I can’t because I know it doesn’t fix anything and just makes me sad. I’m not stupid to not know racism exists. And I know it will probably live on way after me. But we have to make people take responsibility, responsibility for the hate they spew. We have to stand up to it. Block [motherfuckers] but let them know they are racist and spewing hate. Stop saying, ‘Ignore them,’ or, ‘That’s just the way it is,’ ‘cause that’s bullshit. Everybody knows an asshole. Check them for their hate. Stop letting people get away with being ignorant. … Say something. Stop letting the ignorant people be the loud ones. … Be louder. I’m tired of everybody not believing they can change something. We are the people. We can change anything if we want.

I just am saddened today. Twitter, I understand you got free speech. I get it. But there has to be some guidelines when you let [hate] spread like that. You can see on the profiles that some of these people are crazy sick. It’s not enough to freeze [an] acct. They should be reported.

And for all the ‘don’t stoop to their level’ people, it’s way past that. So please have a seat. Don’t tell me how to react. ‘Cause I have every right to be offended and pissed.

… I feel like I’m in a personal hell. I didn’t do anything to deserve this. It’s just too much. It shouldn’t be like this. So hurt right now.

Later, Twitter issued a more in depth statement. 

“This type of abusive behavior is not permitted on Twitter, and we’ve taken action on many of the accounts reported to us by both Leslie and others. We rely on people to report this type of behavior to us but we are continuing to invest heavily in improving our tools and enforcement systems to prevent this kind of abuse. We realize we still have a lot of work in front of us before Twitter is where it should be on how we handle these issues.” 

In response, #LoveForLeslieJ was started by MarissaRei1, also known as T’Challa Black Girl.

From there, director of Ghostbusters, Paul Feig picked it up. Celebrities like Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect), Loni Love, Kristin Davis (“Sex and the City”), Margaret Cho and Courtney B. Vance and Angela Bassett tweeted in support of her.

I’ve written about this before but it seems that when it comes to Black people, the hate speech and racism directed against us isn’t taken as seriously. It’s so commonplace, so excepted people lump it in with “free speech.” I literally saw a girl on Facebook argue that it was freedom of speech that kept the Klan from being classified as a terrorist group. But the Black Panthers with their message of Black unity and economic empowerment was targeted by the FBI. It’s the reason why George Zimmerman was able to tweet a picture of the dead body of Trayvon Martin but when he uploaded images of his naked ex girlfriend, along with her phone number and e-mail address, that’s when they decided to take action. 

Thankfully, enough people spoke up today to catch the social media site’s attention. But what about those Black women who don’t have the same following as Leslie Jones? 

Two More Countries Warn Its Citizens About Traveling To U.S. Amid Race Issues

July 15th, 2016 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

Over the weekend, we reported that the Caribbean island of the Bahamas issued a travel warning to its citizens who have plans to vacation in the United States after the recent deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. The notice stated: “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration has taken note of the recent tensions in some American cities over shootings of young Black males by police officers. We wish to advise all Bahamians traveling to the US but especially to the affected cities to exercise appropriate caution generally.”

Joining in similar efforts to protect their citizens, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have both issued warnings regarding racial profiling and being present in crowded areas or protests. Condé Nast Traveler reports that the Bahrain’s embassy in Washington, D.C. wrote on Twitter:

Earlier this year, England issued a traveling warning to its LGBTQ residents about traveling to both Mississippi and North Carolina, two U.S. states that passed anti-discrimination legislation against the transgender and gay/lesbian community. The advisory told residents that if they are traveling with their partner to these states, public displays of affection should be kept at a minimum and they should be cautious about traveling to rural areas, as well.

Ironically, the United States has issued several travel warnings and alerts over the past month for Yemen, Haiti, Kenya, Laos, and Bangladesh without acknowledging the violence occurring on its homefront.

“I Just Think That All Lives Matter”: When Your Friend Of 20 Years Is Racist

July 14th, 2016 - By Patia Braithwaite
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black history month

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We’ve been doing this for a while now, haven’t we? When I say “this,” I mean dealing with police terrorism in the age of social media.  Many of us have strengthened our “unfollow” fingers, expertly silencing so-called Facebook friends  when they’ve said something prejudiced. I know I have. High school teammates and old co-workers disappear from my timeline with the push of a button. But what happens when you encounter racist friends in real life? How do you “unfollow” the friend who has seen you through bad times? How do you disconnect after 20 years of friendship?

It’s a hard pill to swallow when you realize that some of your oldest friends harbor racist sentiments. Maybe the signs were always there, or perhaps it took a second to notice because they’re not very vocal, nor do they have ill intentions. The thing is, as we continue to galvanize around ending police terror, Eldridge Cleaver’s quote comes to mind: “If you’re not a part of the solution, you are a part of the problem.” I’m left wondering if my friendships are a part of the problem.

A few Sundays ago, an old friend asked me what I’d done before meeting her for brunch, and I told her that I had gone to a Black Lives Matter rally.

“Oh,” she said, looking at me and then her menu. “I just don’t know what to make of all this.”

Before I could respond, she launched into a diatribe about not understanding BLM. She confused being anti-police brutality with being anti-police, and lumped the actions of the Dallas shooters into the actions and message of the entire movement and/or, all Black people (I’m still not sure which). She educated me about how some police were actually pretty awesome (because she assumed, as a Black woman, I didn’t know any personally), and then ended with the quintessential quote, “I just think that all lives matter.”

Now it was my turn to look down at my menu. I didn’t come to brunch to educate the ignorant, and yet here I was, face to face with one of my oldest friends, having to explain to her why Black lives do indeed matter. Here I was, instead of delving into bottomless mimosas, delving into systemic racism, helping her understand that if folks really thought all lives mattered, Black people wouldn’t be bleeding to death in cities across the country.

I felt anger rising inside of me, but when I looked her in the eye it softened. I’ve known her my whole adult life, and the questions she had probably lived in her heart for our entire friendship. I did what I know how to do: I answered her questions. I felt detached from my emotions, treating her like a student who’d stepped into my office. If she asked a question, I answered it. If her perception seemed skewed, I did my best to correct it. I even concluded our conversation asking her to recount some of the points I brought up.

“Do you understand a little better?” I asked, sincerely hoping that I’d changed her opinion.

“Yeah,” she said. “I think I’d like to know more. And I know it’s on me to educate myself, but…”

“Well,” I cut her off, “next time I go to a rally or panel discussion I’ll invite you.”

“Yes,” she said. “Please do.”

We changed the subject before my second mimosa. We talked about the things we always talk about: dudes, work, and our lives in the same city. We talked about how much it sucks to online date, and how neither of us want to live in America anymore. We had a good time, but when we got our check and parted ways, I found myself walking toward Central Park with tears in my eyes.  How could someone so close to me hold so many strange and damaging views about my people? How could she see a movement so clearly rooted in love as something inherently threatening? How could she be using the same phrases my friends and I judge so harshly? I’ve blocked people on Facebook for less…

The sad reality of life is that no one, not even the Facebook racists, are completely terrible people. It’s easy to silence a high school friend that you only experience through pictures, but its harder to do that when you find yourself in a loving relationship with an ignorant person. Is it your job to help them understand the world?  Maybe it is, but what I think gets lost when we’re asked to explain and interpret what is obvious to us is how much explaining can hurt. The act of asserting that our lives have value is a deeply heartbreaking endeavor, and when you strip away all of the intellectualizing and arguing — having that brunch conversation with an old friend was f–king painful. Though it may help change her mind, I wonder if I become more human or less human in the process?

I don’t know.

What I know is this: Those of us pushed to the margins in this country must find spaces where we are loved. It’s not the time to find ourselves in places where we feel “othered.” By all means, do the work that you feel called to do. Have the difficult conversations you feel it’s worth your time to have. But in the end, find nourishment, restoration and a sense of peace in those communities where you feel seen and understood.

For what it’s worth, I see you and I understand.

Patia Braithwaite is a black woman who believes justice, equality, and the sanctity of brunch. To learn more about her travels, both physical and spiritual, you can find her at www.menmyselfandgod.com. She Tweets and Instagrams at @pdotbrathw8

Gabourey Sidibe: Not A Day Goes By That I Don’t Block Someone Calling Me A Fat N-Word

July 13th, 2016 - By Brande Victorian
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When it comes to social media, there are racist trolls and then there are people who you get the sense genuinely believe the hateful things they type on Twitter and Instagram and, for the long-winded types who don’t believe in anonymity, even Facebook. And it’s the existence of those in the latter camp that has Gabourey Sidibe openly admitting that she feels fearful for herself and her family in these racially charged times.

Monday night the actress attended the premiere of the second season of Hulu’s Difficult People in New York City and she spoke very candidly to People magazine about the kind of racism she has to deal with on a regular basis.

“As a black actress, I have a few social media accounts and every single day I deal with racist comments,” she explained.

“Not a day goes by that I don’t have to block someone from calling me a fat n—-. So I have to say, I’m not surprised by some of those bad reactions [to what happened last week].”

Speaking to the negative responses she received when, after the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, she tweeted “Who’s going to be next?” and “I’m scared,” Sidibe added:

“What I realized, the only difference between the world that I live in and the world my mom grew up in – my mother was born in 1952 – is that we have cell phones. We have cell phones and we have documented proof that there’s no real difference.

The 33 year old isn’t the only person who feels that way, with today’s murders being likened to the widespread practice of lynching in the United States which increased dramatically following the Civil War. It’s obvious, as Sidibe concurred,”There is a long, long way to go.”

“I’m scared. I’m not just scared for myself, I’m scared for my family, I’m scared for everyone.”

Sidibe did express feelings of hope and, specifically, gratitude, however, for the work of activists like DeRay McKesson and Johnetta Elzie.

“I have to say, I am just so proud to know all of these people that are standing up – not just Black people, but white people, anyone who has a heart really.

“I don’t base any of my friendships or my loves on color, I base it on people and I am so glad for the insane amount of people that show support.”