America Wants Us To Let It Go And That’s Exactly Why We Can’t

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Philando Castile’s murderer was acquitted yesterday. When a disappointing, yet predictable ruling like this happens, the Black community goes through the same pattern of emotions: Shocked (but not surprised), saddened, outraged, tired.

Then we go to work. We physically and metaphorically come together as a community and respond to another blow of injustice. We gather in prayer, we gather on the streets, we gather on Facebook and Twitter. Because we must do something. We can’t let injustice slide. We must stand up for our right to exist.

But year after year, shooting after shooting, hashtag after hashtag, I’m starting to think no matter what we do or how often we do it, there’s nothing we actually can do to make that will make Black lives matter. I’m sometimes tempted to just give up this exhausting fight, accept the way things are and let it go.

And that’s just what they want us to do: Let it go. Continue reading

I Shouldn’t Have To Say This But It’s Okay To Be Sad, Okay?

Let’s talk about depression and anxiety. 

When my nephew was a itty bitty baby, he cried a lot. Almost always. Mostly for no reason at all except that he wanted attention which I guess, as a baby, he’s entitled to. In my attempt to be a Cool Auntie and a responsible older person, when he had his crying episodes I’d try to make him laugh. I’d dance, sing, make weird voices and silly faces, pick him up and spin him around… I’d do anything I could think to do to turn his little frown upside down. Because that’s what a caring person does when they see a sad baby: They try to make that baby happy.

This simplistic logic may have worked for an infant yet I still find myself applying the same strategies to my sad, anxious and depressed peers: If I can just get you to smile, I’ll have fixed all of your problems and have proven myself to be the caring-est person you know. But it’s not that easy nor should it be. As we transition into our adulthood, our triggers are going to become more complex and our solutions need to go deeper than just forcing smiles on our faces. Continue reading

My Ancestors Require That I Rebel

justJolie at 'The Birth of a Nation' red carpet screening

justJolie at ‘The Birth of a Nation’ red carpet screening

Last week, three people touched my hair without my permission. Two of them were complete strangers. One of them I knew. All three were not Black and my reaction to each incident was exactly the same.

The first hair touching occurred in Baltimore on a Monday. I was waiting for a bus to New York in a gross-ass Greyhound station, looking at the TV monitors trying to distract myself from the sneezing, coughing, piss smells and various other scents and sounds typical of a gross ass Greyhound station. All of the TVs were showing  news reports of the then developing story of Terence Crutcher, an unarmed Black man in Tulsa, Oklahoma who was shot by a white police officer in the middle of the street. Continue reading