Thoughts on POC youth representation on social media

  
Watching my former students grow up online is such a wild experience. I love and miss you all. I want to throw a large tuxedo jacket over you and cover you up or push those middle fingers down in some of your photos but I still love you lol. 

Doesn’t make me feel like I didn’t do my job in our time together. Just reminds me that growing up is a process that does not take place within the calendar year an educator spends with a group of students. 
It’s what you impart upon them that they will carry for life that counts. It’s also a reminder that no one facet of a persons persona, especially online, tells the whole story. 
Knowing these kids personally, I am not blind to their goodness and humanity when I see photos of them rolling blunts or mean mugging, but someone on the outside looking in will obviously make assumptions. 
In the context of the world we live in, it’s an unfortunate truth that makes our kids extremely vulnerable to ignorance and violence simply because they are finding themselves on a public forum. 
This is so relevant when you consider how kids like Kimani Gray, Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin were demonized based on certain narratives that were strengthened with the use of very specific images. 
It’s very important that we see the humanity in our youth, regardless of their online antics. 
I’ve conversed with far too many people who have a ‘well why would they do that if they didn’t want people to look at them a certain way?’ Mentality, and that, coming from us, is a detriment to young people of color. 
The world is already full of people looking for a reason to demonize these kids. Do not help them. 

Knuckleheads come in all shapes, sizes & ethnicities. Do not be complicit in the criminalization of our youth simply for being young. We were all young & dumb once.

On Gay Marriage & Religion

I must have missed that part in the bible where it says ‘love thy heterosexual neighbor exclusively and shame any non gender confirming individual like your place in heaven depends on it.’
Silly me.
Then folks wonder why people can’t get with religion. When your love is conditional I have to wonder whose God you think you’re pleasing and how you could possibly be able to put people on to the ministry you supposedly believe in when you go out of your way to make certain individuals feel unwelcome in God’s house and among God’s people. And I use the terms loosely.
If I know one thing about God, it’s he don’t like ugly, and we ain’t talkin’ physical unattractiveness.
Lotta ugly souls on my timeline.
Same ones asking me to forgive murderous white supremacists want me to persecute the lgbtq community.
Gotta let the Alanis Morisette play on that note.
#IsntItIronic

Happy Fathers Day to EVERYONE celebrating!

I will shout out my incredible spouse and my irreplaceable father in a later post.
First, I need to speak on something.
Single motherhood is not an epidemic that is exclusive to the black community. 
In that regard The fact that there are now cards that celebrate single mothers on Father’s Day being created by a black company is troubling though well intentioned.
HOWEVER The divisions we create amongst ourselves in communities of color, even in the face of constant destruction coming from OUTSIDE the community, just blows my mind.
Are we really going to argue about who can celebrate what and how? Are we really going to Judge the children of single mothers for viewing them as both parents, and celebrating them as such? 
If you don’t agree with it that’s fine! Totally up to you!
But why attack someone with a different view in the name of promoting someone else?
Why not just show love to the dutiful, responsible, loving, honest, caring, hardworking, loyal, intelligent, funny dads who deserve our praise all year instead of fighting on their day about who gets to celebrate it?
You think all the awesome dads out there are sitting at home like ‘Man! I can’t believe these hardworking single moms are being celebrated on MY day?!’ 
Of course not. They’re too busy being awesome dads!
And for those dads who are up in arms about it, there’s a way to have an opinion without discrediting a group just as underrepresented as yourself. 
Black fathers and single mothers alike get a VERY bad rap and instead of tearing each other down, we should be lifting each other up.
I don’t want to hear about how women who have children with dead beat dads ‘chose’ them. At least half of you on my timeline have children that were not planned. That can happen to anyone, with anyone, period. 
Before I had my happy, ‘perfect’ nuclear family I was a 19 year old single mother. 
And do you know what? I did the damn thang. 
If that was still my situation and my child viewed me as mama and papa that would be fine with me and if they didn’t? That would be fine with me too. At the end of the day I know the kind of parent I am and the impact I’m having as an individual on my children and I don’t need any outside validation.
But it doesn’t mean I have the right to dictate how someone else feels or behaves in regards to a situation I’m not in.
Imagine how much we could get done as a community if we were less concerned with who is sharing a bed with whom, who’s hair texture is this or that, who’s complexion is this or that, who’s fixing whose plate, whose choosing not to shave, etc.
I shudder to think of the impact we could have on this entire world.
Yall don’t hear me though.
Happy Father’s Day to the dads, grand dads, big brothers, Uncles, God fathers, educators, activists, mentors, faith leaders and yes, the single mothers who are doing their best to provide any and everything from the basic necessities to love, understanding and the tools to build a great life and strong character.
I acknowledge you this and every day and I love you ALL on every day of the year.

Black Folk: stop ‘leaving it to Jesus’

  
No shade to my folk who leave it all to Jesus but I gotta keep it funky witchu. If you’re not doing the work, God won’t be fixing a damn thing.

Stop waiting on him and use the talents, minds, skills and souls he blessed you with to do his work instead of sitting idly by while the world falls apart calling on Jesus and staying ‘prayed up.’

What is prayer without works? What is faith without action? 

And I hope you at LEAST waiting on 4C Jesus and not that surfer dude.

We all know what copper and wool look like.

I will happily wait on the Lord and be of good courage but I will be down at the shelter serving food, with my homies at the community action meetings, in the hood with our kids tutoring, and finishing this teaching degree while doing it

Faith don’t count for everything yall.

A Day In The Life of the Black Community

Imagine being bullied.

Daily.

Every period.

By a bully so damn good at bullying most people don’t believe you when you try to tell them you’re being bullied.

Imagine your bully has parents who are friends with the Principal, guidance counselor and superintendent.

Imagine this bully has a gang of bully friends who don’t necessarily bully you too but they laugh when their friend does his bullying.

They call you a cry baby.

They tell you that’s life.

Imagine thinking to yourself, ‘damn. If only I could get someone to believe I was being bullied- maybe it would stop.’

Imagine finally making a friend who bears witness to the bullying. 

You ask them to help you get some assistance and they say ‘just be cool man. Don’t worry about it. Bullies are part of life. It could be way worse.’

Imagine watching that bully pummel a classmate and hearing teachers describe him as ‘troubled’ while he receives in school suspension during which time he continues to terrorize you and your schoolmates.

You think now, surely, your friends will come to your aid.

But they say, ‘relax.’ He got suspended didn’t he? That is punishment enough. Move on with your life. 

Imagine deciding to stand up to that bully and confiding in some classmates who are also effected by his violence daily and being told they would rather not get involved because it ‘wasn’t worth it.’ 

Imagine being told to be the bigger person. (Bigger than the person inflicting harm upon you consciously, knowingly, happily, daily.)

Imagine being told to pray on it.

This is the experience of the Black community each time we choose to wear our pro Black politic on our sleeve instead of a bleeding heart and are met with silencing, shaming and suggestions instead of understanding, humanity and action.

White supremacy and the systems that uphold it are the bully.

White silence & compliance with the status quo is the bully’s gang of friends. 

Corporate media, law enforcement and the government are the Principal, Guidance Counselor & Superintendent.

Non Black people of color are the so called friends who would rather not be involved.

Black people who have resigned themselves to letting the ‘system do its job’ are the so called friends satisfied with a singular arrest, indictment or ‘suspension.’

Everyone in the peanut gallery making suggestions from the outside of the struggle looking in, regardless of race, is guilty of suggesting peace, prayer, humanity, and understanding in the face of a historical monstrosity that continues to destroy lives, families, institutions and the very fabric of our moral fiber in the face of injustice.

I will not apologize for going toe to toe with this bully no matter who finds me ‘abrasive’, ‘angry’ ‘aggressive’ or any other completely incorrect adjective for the situation at hand unless it is led by the word ‘justifiably.’

We live in a world where we are constantly told to be humane, to think of others, to treat our neighbors as we would like to be treated and so on and so forth, but as soon as the topic of discussion becomes race- no one feels the need to practice those basic tenants of humanity, and those who speak out against injustice are put on the chopping block for promoting the very humanity everyone claims to be upholding by silently witnessing atrocity after atrocity and trying to figure out how it’s ‘not about race.’

Humanity requires love for all within the context of integrity, not what makes everyone the most comfortable. And the one human race people keep saying we belong to is comprised of individual struggles that MUST be acknowledged in order for authentic harmony to exist.

I am not here to make you comfortable.

I am here to get FREE.

finding the will to do the work after the AME Massacre

I should be sad. I really should. But I am way too focused to allow depression to seep into the places I could be harboring the love for my people this world clearly lacks.

I also remembered something today. And that’s how much I love myself. I remembered how that simple act is one of revolution. And it brought me peace. 

I want to recognize all the people in this world who look like me and love themselves as well, because you are part of the struggle whether or not you know it. 

You don’t have to march to be part of a movement and you don’t have to support my work for us to be connected. 

I’m going to ride for you regardless. 

I also recognized the glorious burden of Black parenthood today as I watched the young black man I’m raising exit his school with his diverse group of awesome friends, completely oblivious to the world that awaits them.

I hugged the SHIT out of my kids today. And everything is in perspective. 

Together we will win and failure is simply not an option.

The Ryann Storm Roofs of this world ain’t got shit on me.

Sending every bit of love in my soul to the families of the victims of the #AMEMassacre 

You will be on my mind when this work gets too difficult. 

I will never fucking stop.

Never.

Maybe now we’ll stop talking about Rachel Dolezal

 
And the anti Black hate crime being described as a ‘church shooting.’ The energy media outlets are pouring into giving someone with privilege an outlet to repeatedly speak on why she has every right to pretend said privilege does not exist is an abomination to the Haitians in the DR and the 9 victims murdered in a church last night. Anti- Black racism is a global epidemic and the sooner we start going to bat for #ActualBlack people the way we are defending the humanity of Rachel Dolezal, the sooner we will see a more equitable and accessible world. It’s not hating on her to acknowledge the space she’s taking up in a conversation that has nothing to do with her nor is it wrong to point out the implications of transracial theory and the lived experiences said thinking will impose upon the black women, girls & femmes already struggling to be loved, protected and humanized in this world. #charleston #dominicanrepublic #racheldolezal #thecostofactualblackness

Social Media Hiatus

There’s a lot going on and there always will be, so taking the time for self care and improvement is essential. I have too much going on with my brands to forego social media in that regard but as for my personal blogging & updates- it’s time for a hiatus. 

You can catch me at the #YPOCFathersDayBrunch this Saturday June 20th at Zoma Ethiopian Restaurant from 12-3pm and at the #60sNaturalHairAffair Saturday July 25th at Mark Morris Dance Studio in Brooklyn from 2-8pm.

Other than that I will be enjoying my huge, awesome family & legion of friends, and focusing on doing the work instead of trying to compel others to care about the work. The work must get done regardless.

Here’s to positive vibes, choosing your battles, making a difference and enjoying life fully in every area that is important to you.

Here’s to owning your life.

Tajh ‘Afrocenchick’ Sutton

Mother -Model – Musician – Writer – Educator – Activist – Step & Dance Instructor – Entrepreneur  

Founder
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Final Thoughts on Rachel Dolezal

I swear I won’t say anything else. But this interview is all over my damn feed. There’s nothing to explain. Loving and wanting to be donkey kong does not make me a fucking video game character. Too much baggage comes with blackness to be co opting it cause you FEEL like it. The epitome of privilege is the ability to CHOOSE blackness. I love the skin I’m in but I damn sure didn’t get to choose it, how people see me because of it and how they treat me and people like me. Race is a social construct, I get that. I would love to explore that. But not at the expense of the lived experiences of my people across the diaspora. This is not the story from which a dialogue about race should be spawned. Just another confirmation of white privilege and the feelings of white women overriding the lived experiences of black women. Although I was made to think critically the past few days I stand firm in my belief that the dialogue surrounding this serves an agenda that will be harmful to marginalized groups at the end of the day. The comparisons to the transgender struggle set a dangerous precedent that undermines the lives, safety and legitimacy of women, trans & black people. This ‘what is race?’ Question would not have come up if a black woman was outed as white. I guarantee it. On the flip side all the black folks standing up for Rachel on the grounds that she did so much for the community and embraced it and ‘well how come she can’t be black? Eff stereotypes! What makes a black person black anyway?’ You would be the same ones digging a grave to throw her in if she was a black woman who believed she was white (negropean! Humph! Look at that self hate!) so I really don’t get it. Anyone with a stake in the community, regardless of your race, let’s let Rachel do whatever she’s gonna do and keep building for the collective. This woman has already gotten too much air time. God bless her and keep it moving.

Transracial is NOT a thing

Race is only a societal construct in the sense that white is the default and everyone else has been ‘other’ -ized and the systems in place work diligently to keep that framework in tact.

But don’t sit here and try to tell me white people now have the option of changing their racial ‘identity.’

Sexual orientation is complex.

Ethnicity is not.

We all are born with the ability to be ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’ and see the beauty in all people regardless of gender.

WE ARE NOT ALL INHERENTLY BLACK, WHITE, INDIAN AND CHINESE WITH THE ABILITY TO CALL OUR TRUE SPIRIT ANIMAL RACE INTO BEING AT ANY GIVEN TIME.

Please don’t fucking play with me today.

There is no such thing as transracial.

People pick and choose things about black bodies & culture they like and try to emulate them and I accept that.

But when you create a fake life and family to convince the world you are someone you are not in addition to altering your physical appearance to fit what you want to be (not who you are) then I have to press the pause button.

#RachelDolezal #TransRacial #GTFOH