On Labels, Love & Unifying the Struggle

You know, we give words a lot of power. I’m not one to say words can’t hurt you, because words start wars and turn entire nations against select groups of individuals. Words can literally kill. But I think those that recognize the power of words, and the power of the people, should be extremely cautious of what they can do and how even the most ‘conscious’ ‘liberal’ or ‘progressive’ individuals can be swindled into unnecessary, problematic and distracting (not to mention counter productive) wars of words.

For example, terms like ‘bad bitch’ and ‘nigga’ are all but forbidden in most ‘conscious’ black circles. There’s constant shade and endless memes comparing ‘queens’ to ‘bad bitches’ and ‘real niggas’ to ‘real men.’ While I don’t want either of my children referring to themselves as bitches or niggas I will not have a classroom full of kids who grew up like I did.

There are parents who refer to themselves, each other, and their children using these terms. There is a constant stream of rhetoric laid over impeccably produced and popular music suggesting that this is what/ who to aspire to be and what/who to talk/be like in order to be liked, respected and well known.

Understanding that, whether or not I agree with it, is key as an educator. No child wants to learn from someone who clearly thinks they/ their lifestyle/ their family is somehow ‘less than.’

And in the greater scheme of things, its titles like ‘bitch’ and ‘nigga’ that relegate us as seemingly incapable of being victimized. (You know how those niggas/ bitches/ black kids are!)

So yes, maybe you want your daughter or son to consider them-self royalty, and that’s cool. Maybe they’ve got their head on straight and happen to like trap music, and are familiar with the terminology as a result, and they’ve incorporated it into their vocabulary. Maybe they’re completely lost and operating under the influence of a faulty and unrealistic value system that puts boobs before books and ass before ambition.

Regardless, they still deserve our love and care. They may not understand or be invested in the struggle but those are still our people and the whole point of the movement is to unify, uplift and empower.

Not just the self proclaimed Kings, Queens and kente wearing folks who choose to ignore the transgender struggle and the specifics of black male misogyny. Not just the sistas with natural hair. Not just the ‘respectable’ black people that won’t scare, embarrass or make you uncomfortable.

This is about all of us.

Mind your manners, watch your words and look out for one another.

There is no group more critical of one another than us. Constantly in-fighting instead of building on the similarities and unifying around the struggle with respect to individualism. (Cause, intersectionality!)


I don’t have any closing remarks.

I didn’t even mean to write all of that.

Happy Friday?



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