Another Mommy Anecdote

So I just picked up my son from school. 
His teacher, who I think is incredible, just chewed him out in front of the entire class for playing during gym class. 
Now, she wasn’t there, but the gym teacher reported to her and she felt it necessary to report to me.
I appreciate being notified about my son’s behavior because I would have asked if she didn’t offer the information up anyway. I always ask. Teachers do a lot in a day and sometimes they’ll forget to mention things in the chaos of dismissal. But she made it a point to give me that information. Fine. What I DON’T like is that she did it very loudly in front of the entire class. 
I’m not a proponent of embarrassing kids. I do not think it is an effective tool for illiciting change in behavior. Naturally there have been times when I had to correct a child’s behavior in a classroom setting, but I’ve never had a private conversation about a specific child with their parent while the entire class looks on, and I take crying very seriously- so I would definitely lower my voice after that at the very least. 
Hari interjected to defend himself and clarify- as I taught him- (my friend threw something and I went to get it!) but the teacher wasn’t having it. When he began to cry she softened up by saying kids will be kids, but Hari has to follow directions- which I agree with. (The class was being instructed to line up when Hari and his friend ran and dived for whatever item his friend threw.) 
Because I know my child I know damn well he was not aimlessly rolling around on the floor with his friend for no reason. He went to pick something up. No problem. He got in trouble because it’s not what he was supposed to be doing at the moment. No problem. But the fact teachers often 
1. Overreact, and 
2. Back one another up with no proof or context
Can be very problematic.
I’m sure Johari got off line and raced his friend to pick up the bracelet he threw.
But by the time the story got to me Hari had been ‘flipping and rolling’ with another student .
No one flips and rolls on gym floors. That shit would hurt.
Hari was scared. As we walked home I assured him he was not in trouble with me. The public tongue lashing from a usually very loving teacher was enough for one day. I asked if his gym teacher had said anything to him after the incident. He said no. That bothered me. 
When my students are in trouble with me I make them fully aware of their transgression even if it is small and when I plan to get a parent involved I make that clear as well. That’s an important boundary not to cross without giving a child a heads up.
What if I was one of those parents who only ever believes the teacher and beats my kid for every little thing? 
What if he’s been doing really great behavior wise as of late and now I’m made to believe he’s out of control in gym class just because the teacher had a bad day and blew a small incident out of proportion?
I explained to Hari this is probably the case as his gym teacher loves him to pieces. All the teachers do. He’s the bomb diggity. He also talks excessively and can have trouble following directions. I acknowledge this and work with him at home to improve in the areas he could work on. 
What I won’t do is throw him under the bus unnecessarily or intentionally embarrass him/ get him in trouble. 
As his mother when I feel like I’ve overdone it I apologize. And I pushed him out. It’s important that adults whose life’s work it is to educate/ care for children never forget that kids have circumstances you know nothing about. Just like adults. Had I been another mother this situation might have turned out very differently for Johari. 
Also, we often punish a child multiple times for the same infraction. Teachers screams on them. Mom picks them up, gets the story and then screams on them. Then dad gets home from work and you tell him the story so they can get at the kid. Then you call grandma and let her get in on the action. Why? Once is enough.  
But I will say this. I’m so proud of my kid. THIS is the kind of shit he gets in trouble for lol. I’ve had students so off the rails I would purposely NOT call the parents sometimes because I felt like they needed a break from bad news about their child. 
So I’m thankful. Just making observations.



Preliminary thoughts on #KorrynGaines

You’ll never catch me demonizing an armed woman in her own home with her babies whose been a target of police harassment for months because she threatened the police. The house was surrounded. Her babies were inside. Where was she going? Who was she shooting? You got 3 days for a white man who knows you’ll give him the benefit of the doubt even after he OPENS FIRE ON THE POLICE but not 12 hours to diffuse the situation when a 2 and 5 year old are on the premises and you’re only on the scene to make an arrest because of some traffic violations and resisting arrest- which is probably the most ridiculous crime ever- and will probably befall several of our black asses before we meet our maker? I’m supposed to fault her for being strapped and wishing harm on the agents of the state who she probably watched get away with murder time and time again just like the rest of us? She was supposed to come out hands up and leave her babies with who? The police? I don’t know what happened but I know a lie, unnecessary use of force and a cover up when I see it. This is not a debate. You know exactly what you can do if there’s a problem ✌🏾️ #KorrynGaines #SayHerName #TheyShotHerTwoYearOldDaughterToo #LookHowYoungTheyStartErasingBlackWomensTrauma

A quick note on the supposed black girl magic fest that was #YeezySeason4

I wasn’t going to comment on the #YeezySeason4 casting call because I know who Kanye is at this point and his affinity for ‘mixed’ and mixed looking women is QUITE apparent. 
But if you really think the presence of black women at his showcase absolves him of his misogyny and the blatant anti Blackness prevalent in that casting, or the numerous instances where he has shown his ass you might want to think again. 
(We all know how the world perceives the term ‘mixed’ whether or not you personally are mixed and proud to be black so stop it.) 
“How do you word the idea that you want all variations of black?” West asked in an interview with Vogue addressing the casting backlash. “How do you word that exactly?” 
Oh I don’t know. How about ‘all ethnicities and complexions welcome?’
It would have been VERY easy to create an inviting model casting that didn’t single out black women as uninvited. 
He tried it.
I am not impressed, moved or convinced Mr. Kardashian gives a flying fuck about black women. 
Whole lotta dark girls in the grass bare foot while the majority of lighter girls walk the runway but that’s nooooone of my business.
And as always, the ‘fashion’ is basic AF.
But y’all will wear anything if Yeezy says it’s hot.
Still praying for him and acknowledging his musical talent. Still hype Teyana is part of the squad cause she’s deserved the publicity shes getting now for a LONG time. 
But don’t act like Yeezy got my back cause he got them brown skinned girls bare foot in the grass facing away from the camera.
#EndRant #Yeezy #YouAintGottaLieCraig #Colorism #AntiBlackness #Fashion 

A message to the masses on demanding self censorship of black social activists 

I find it hilarious that so many people find me ‘divisive.’ I’ll post about black solidarity, black male misogyny, cute white babies doing hilarious stuff, the dangers of criminalizing entire groups, rape culture, grammar nazism, fashion, media portrayals of black women, the newest Marvel movie, some shit from Buzzfeed, the cool bus driver who let me ride for free and my home made lunch all in the same day and some folks seem to sift through it for all the times they read the words #BlackLivesMatter 

Seems to me like some of you have some very personal issues that my clear and concise knowledge of self & history and dedication to a better, more self actualized community of culturally competent citizens of ALL races seems to bring to the surface.

But I’m here to tell you that whatever you’re going through when you read my posts is personal and you really might want to look into that because there has never been a time when I practiced or preached hate.

I fill a specific need in my community and I will not be deterred or have my ‘tone’ policed. I will not be continually asked whether or not I think a ‘different approach’ might be more ‘welcoming’ to people with a ‘genuine interest’ in social justice who get ‘turned off’ by my language. 

I will not practice the self censorship nor engage in the respectability politics that so many Black folks find necessary on a daily basis so they do not ‘come off’ as ‘this’ or ‘that’ type of black person.

If you have a question ask me. If you have commentary, bring it! I am open to dialogue when a genuine interest is clear and a mutual respect exists. But please don’t think that means I will be disrespected or spoken down to based on some preconceived notion you have that my world view is ‘one dimensional.’

History tells no lies and it is my source of information within the context of how people are treated and perceived differently based on the groups they belong to and I am dedicating my life to destroying stigma, empowering youth, families and communities and educating in a wholistic and socially conscious manner. 

That’s my goal folks. That’s why I speak, act and live this way. It’s very important that those of you who say you love me and want social change understand how telling me I should be a different person or suggesting I ‘move on from the past’ that effects the daily lives of millions across the globe is dismissive, trivializing, infuriating and traumatic. 

Read and re-read my posts if you’re going to begin a dialogue with me because more often than not I have provided context and a multi dimensional view of the situation at hand- thus my often lengthy posts. At the same time if you can see this you have Internet access and therefore must commit to doing some of the leg work in terms of getting information and understanding the context surrounding present day issues rooted in past trauma.

I really try to promote dialogue but if you come into the conversation looking to shut it down or prove me ‘wrong’ as opposed to having an honest moment with me and yourself and making it a situation where we can share perspectives (that are not inherently problematic I.e. ‘Being gay just isn’t natural’ ‘Muslims are the ones blowing everything up’ ‘the truth is the most crime happens in black communities’ ‘women could protect themselves from rape by not being out late or dressing provocatively’ etc) then I simply cannot entertain that, or you.
I’m putting this into the universe because I like things to be clear and I find myself being asked the same questions and having the same dialogues about how I identify and ‘come off.’ This is who I am and how I operate. 

I will not apologize for it.

On Non Black POC in black spaces: you gotta chill

I’ve built a stadium full of seats for non black POC who feel the need to comment on extremely and specifically black issues.

We love to scream on wypipo for interjecting with their unwanted, unwarranted opinions but what of the rest of the world?

Surely they don’t get a pass just because they possess a little melanin?

When I heard about the white washing of Ghost in a shell I didn’t suddenly consider myself the authority on how the Asian community should respond to this blatant disregard for a staple in one of their most popular art forms- anime. 

I was not out here tone policing. I was not telling them they had better things to worry about. My black ass was LISTENING. And sharing articles and suggestions BY ACTUAL ASIANS on how this shit is harmful and the fact that there are a million actresses who could have fit the role and Are ACTUALLY Asian. 

I don’t see the trauma in the Muslim community post 9/11 and hit up ACTUAL Muslims to give them MY assessment of the situation and give them tips on how they can live happier lives despite THEIR subjugation.

I’m not private messaging all my Latino homies like, look man. Just tell ya fam to get they papers and this immigrant shit wouldn’t even be an issue. YOU’RE DOING IT TO YOURSELVES.

I know better than that.

So why the fuck would you think it’s ok to come into MY space, on to MY post, about police brutality, or the criminalization of black youth, or the demonization of the black woman with a natural aesthetic and sexualization and shaming of her relaxed haired sister or child rearing in black households, or feminism as it pertains to blackness, or anything else you have never and WILL NEVER experience, and give me a piece of your mind?

You got some expertise I don’t know about?


You passing or some shit?

Cause if you passing my bad.

I’m not on that colorist bullshit.


Like, please be the fuck quiet. 

You have NOTHING to offer me in these contexts.

But if you stay a while, and you TRY real hard, you JUST might learn something.

No Filter Friday: Daniel Holtzclaw

Be warned.
It’s #NoFilterFriday
Let me just say that I am fucking disgusted by the fact that half the news segment I just watched about this cop rapist of black women with records was about his condition at the sentencing. 
You think I give a fuck about his tears? You think all those women he raped, sodomized and stalked weren’t crying? Fuck outta here. 
Give him all 236 suggested years and I don’t wanna see his mama crying on the news talmbout ‘that’s still her baby’ either.
Tamir didn’t get to be a baby. His mama was a heroine addict right? He shouldn’t have even been playing with a fake gun, right? And why was he alone in the park, right?
Mike was fresh outta high school but he was a big brute and a ‘man’ right? And he charged at an armed officer ‘like a demon’ right? 
Not even the boy on the way home with skittles got to retain his humanity or innocence. Instead of playing that footage of Trayvon begging for his life before being shot at point blank range they told you all about his supposed weed smoking and suspensions and how ‘tall’ he was and how he ‘was on the football team’ so you would know for sure this child was actually a hulking man savage who deserved death.
But you sit here for five minutes and tell me how a known serial rapist with a badge was crying and shaking?
Miss me.
And put that nigga UNDER the jail.
One of many reflections of #BlackGirlMagic , tired of being at the bottom of society’s barrel. 
#DanielHoltzclaw #BlackGirlsMatter

#TruthfulTuesdays – on the Gang rape in a Brownsville park

Oh Nah. I feel a #truthfultuesday post coming on.

That moment you comment on a friend’s post about the gang rape in Brownsville and a stranger tells you ‘we don’t even know if it was an assault. Let’s not assume things too quickly.’ I’m definitely not doing this with Yall today. I will readily believe a victim of rape just to combat the mind numbing amount of you who are so quick to write them off. ONE dude tells you a girl is a hoe you’ll believe it but 5,437 people and news outlets will be like ‘HES A RAPIST’ and Yall be like nah. Nope. I’m not convinced. That’s why our 14 year olds are out here raping people in the park. And you know what else? Agreeing to something at gunpoint does not sound very much like ‘consent’ to me. And if that baby DID agree to have sex with those boys I don’t see how they’re any less gross and she isn’t any less in need of some help so wtf. Yall worried about the semantics I’m worried about the broken family that led to this occurrence and the black male misogyny that Created the type of young black men who will take turns with the same chick in a PUBLIC PARK. so don’t sit here and act like she did something wrong. I will flame your stupid ass. Go get your fucking sons man. No disclaimer. I meant exactly what the fuck I said just how I said it.

#theblackcommunity #brownsville #rapeculture #blackwomenmatter #blackgirlsmatter

white baby goes viral for hitting the Quan and I’m just liiiike 

Why do White people go viral every time they are recorded doing ‘Black’ shit? If my son and I recorded ourselves singing ANY song by Fetty Wap I’d be all kinds of hoodrats and unfit mothers. Folks that look like me and folks who don’t would have something negative to say about my parenting and what kind of (black) person I am. But Kate Hudson and her son singing Trap Queen is life even though some of yall wouldn’t be caught dead in an elevator with a Fetty Wap lookin/ dressin brotha without clutching your purse/ pearls/ lady parts. Munchkin going viral cause she hit the Quan? Cool. Kids adorable. But do you know how many kids recorded themselves doing that? Millions. I know all kinds of people go viral for all kinds of things but this particular trend of blackness being super entertaining on white bodies while our bodies, culture, psyches, etc are constantly attacked and questioned (ugh I hate rap! Worse genre ever! Who listens to this stuff?) is very annoying to say the least. I bet the same folks who ‘hate rap’ were bumping trap Queen after Taylor swift bought Fetty onstage during her concert. After she shaded a black woman trying to put the world on to some of the hardships of black womanhood in Hollywood. But that’s none of my business. Let me make some breakfast for my babies. #AnalyticalPeopleStruggles #EveryThingIsPolitical #FullOfJoyButIWillCallOutProblematicBehaviorWhenISeeIt

10 Things In My Post – Trump Self Care Kit

One week ago today America’s ugly truth was laid bare. But don’t fret.

This article isn’t about how terrifying the election of a known demagogue to the highest office in the Western Hemisphere is. 

It’s not about how aware many black, indigenous, Latino, immigrant, femme and femme presenting, LGBTQ, poor and Muslim people have always been about the discrimination and violence that plagues marginalized communities and the intersections that increase that violence ten fold.

It’s not chock full of hope in the form of safety pin solidarity and supposed ‘backtracking’ on the part of our newly minted President elect.

And it certainly won’t tell you how to feel.

If you’re already in organizing mode it’s ok.

If you’re still grieving it’s ok.

If you’ve been shocked awake I’m going to try my damndest not to be mean but please understand your horror is just a reminder that you haven’t been listening to us this whole time as we begged and pleaded with you to meet us in the streets in defense of our collective humanity and the sanctity of black lives.

But this isn’t about that either.

Like millions of people I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled for the latest news out of Washington and simultaneously praying for a miracle while preparing for the worst mentally, socially and yes- physically. 

Here are some of the things that have helped keep me sane as we complete our first full week living in Trump’s America.

He may be the President, but we’ve always had the numbers and the power in our own lives and at the structural level. We simply have to commit to seeing injustice undone and discontinued at all costs by standing with those most endangered beyond a hashtag or an election cycle and challenging those who refuse to do so.

In the meantime and in between time here’s how I’ve been getting by.

10. Coffee

There is nothing like a hot cup of creamy deliciousness in the morning. Or the evening. Or roundabout noon. I just love coffee guys. I stopped drinking it for a while but I put it back in my repertoire a couple weeks back and I must say life is definitely better when it’s vanilla or salted caramel flavored and drizzled with whipped cream. If you’re not a coffee drinker I completely support the tea lovers out there. There’s just something soothing about a hot beverage.

9. TV

The day after the election results were announced I sat in front of the television in my very comfy wine colored robe and the fuzziest of slippers hoping to snap out of my funk. It definitely helped. It just so happens that I prioritize watching television shows that celebrate different cultures and experiences.

By simply tuning into Jane The Virgin and Insecure I inadvertently reminded myself that although FAR more Americans suck severely than a lot of people would like to admit, there are many who rock and they are working to bring us art that celebrates humanity in all its splendor. (Women of Color! Woot woot!)

8. Cooking

Chopped. Is. My. Jam. I love watching cooking shows with my 8 year old son and we are always trying new recipes and making up our own creations- usually to our pleasant surprise.

Throwing down in the kitchen can be hard work but it’s also very therapeutic and the results always bring us even more joy in the form of good eats!

7. Arts & Crafts 

While my children were at their grandparents house this weekend I custom made them some wish lists to fill out for the upcoming holidays. My fiancé and I always mean to do it and somehow the holidays creep up on us every year. Except this one! 

Paint. Pipe cleaners. Crayons. Christmas and Kwanzaa details. I went all out. Why? Because art is love. If you have a knack for Crafts, and even if you don’t- consider making something to pass the time and ease your mind.

6. Family

When I wasn’t being a dork and making Christmas crafts for my children, I was enjoying their presence and that of other relatives and extended family. My dad came to get the kids Friday so I could hang out with my fiancé since I have a birthday coming up. 

We went out Saturday night to see a movie (Doctor Strange was awesome) and grab some dinner and dessert (Rabbithole + Martha’s Country Bakery = everything.) Then Sunday I had the pleasure of attending a Harry Potter book club meeting hosted by my God mother with my munchkins. I got to see my nieces and nephews and my sister. I got to revel in the joy of books and childhood and imagination. We watched Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone and had a Hogwarts ‘feast.’ It was the best. Ever. 

And I encourage you to create the same kind of moments with those close to you. You need them now more than ever not only to calm your spirit, but to remind you what’s at stake and what we’re fighting for.

5. Talking about it

Most people think talking about politics is the worst possible thing you could do, even and especially after the most traumatic election in history has just taken place. But I think the truth is only scary for those who haven’t accepted it or don’t want to effect positive change.

Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself in times of trouble is find a space to let it all out where you don’t have to apologize for experiencing human emotions.

4. Unplugging

On the other hand it’s true what they say. The company you keep effects you, and if you’re on social media all day long being anxious with other anxious people, you’ll all end up even MORE anxious. 

We must allow ourselves the space and time to feel and process so called ‘negative’ emotions without getting stuck in them. If you notice you’ve been online for several hours ONLY posting about a topic that causes you stress perhaps it’s time to get some air, make a snack or make a phone call to someone you know can cheer you up. Those who feel how you feel will be waiting for you when you get back, and perhaps you’ll have an encouraging word to offer after giving yourself a break from the discouraging news.

3. Rest & Relaxation 

Sleep is life. Anyone who knows me will tell you I am famous for my insomnia but motherhood has taught me the value of rest and relaxation. Emotional stress in the past year has confirmed that lesson. Many people might say you can’t sleep your problems away but sometimes a nap or a day of laying about can give you the mental and emotional break you need to carry on. Even if you can’t fall asleep, consider doing something that relaxes you like yoga, taking a long bath or turning off your phone and curling up with a book.

2. Primping

Long gone are the days when I equated fashion, make up and physical maintenance with superficiality. It’s a scientific fact that looking good makes us feel good. So whatever that looks like for you- whether it’s a fresh face, a full beat or something in between, head wraps or hoodies, sweats or stilettos- be sure to bask in your element and take special care to look your best. It’s a simple and very effective mood booster.

1. Organizing 

You probably think I’m referring to community organizing but nope. I’m referring to good ole fashion tidying, planning and goal setting.

What does a good day look like for you?

How are you working toward your goals?

Are you practicing living your best life?

And how can you create actionable, tangible goals that will help you as well as others as we strive to be better and think bigger?

Organize your living space as well as your thoughts and watch your world transform.

This is not a demand or even a plea for you to feel any other way than you are feeling right now. But if you don’t like how you’re feeling I hope I’ve provided a couple helpful hints that will put you in better spirits.

Righteous rage and even angst can change the world, but only when those who possess them also activate their knowledge of self and know when it’s best to rest, reflect, plan and act. 

Here’s to self care and solidarity beyond safety pins.


why your defense of the #AssaultAtSpringValley is dangerous

This one time, at band camp, I shouted DICK at the top of my lungs.
No seriously.
It wasn’t band camp, it was elementary school, but I once sat in the back of my ‘gifted and talented’ classroom and yelled the word “DICK” so loud my teacher at the front of the room heard me.
What happened was, my elementary school bestie and I had been given bulletin board decoration privileges because we were known for being very artistic. I was excited about the honor. 
But being that I was sitting next to the bestie, I just had to try to be funny, so as we took our spelling test, and I came across the word dictionary, the gears started to turn. Thinking I was going to get a good chuckle out of her I (thought I) whispered ‘hey look. dick!- tionary’ but since ya girl can’t whisper worth a damn I later came to find I was actually SCREAMING AT THE TOP OF MY LUNGS into her ear and also at the entire class- including Ms. Paduano- who obviously relieved me of my bulletin board duties immediately. I had to go back to my seat. I even tried to lie and say it wasn’t me. (Really dumbass?)
I felt like a fool the rest of the day but it never came up again. 
I’m sharing this story for multiple reasons.
1. Even the ‘good kids’ do ridiculous shit sometimes. Doesn’t make them any less intelligent, talented or worth our care and understanding. It makes them human.
2. Notice how my teacher did not berate me for my behavior. That is by far the most outlandish thing I’ve ever done in my school career and she probably should have come down harder on me which leads me to believe
A- she genuinely cared about me
B- she knew it was a fluke and wasn’t going to allow it to erase what she already knew about me
C- she did not feel the need to involve anyone else in the situation 
Having had the fortune to have a teachers who look like me and teachers from different walks of life see something in me that allowed them to differentiate flukes from failures and manage their classrooms without arresting small children I kind of can’t believe the things I’m seeing about the #AssaultAtSpringValley
Not only would my teacher never have called the cops on one of us in the first place, but had she felt the need, and then saw a police officer kicking one of our asses, I am 100% positive she would have intervened verbally if not physically to protect us- because she actually LIKED and CARED ABOUT us.
Educators want to be respected but if you have been in the presence of people teaching you material that has nothing to do with your daily life in boring and unrelatable ways and throwing you out of class or calling school safety at the first sign of trouble, why the hell would you have any respect for educators, or education as a whole?
If you create a situation where students don’t feel the need to listen to you and then they don’t listen to you, and you come down on them with an iron fist- aren’t you part of the problem?
That’s not to say our kids don’t need to listen to reason and follow instructions, but to be quite honest, a lot of the adults our kids are growing up around are not setting an example and therefore do not command respect, so as teachers we are in a position where we have to earn the trust and respect of our students that they may not have for their parents or guardians or for adults in general. Hell, even some kids that come from ‘good homes’ don’t respect authority outside of their parents because other people have not earned their trust. You don’t have to agree with it but that doesn’t change the reality of the situation.
Cops in classrooms are not the answer to ANYTHING and the attacking of children, female children, by grown men at that, should not be acceptable under ANY circumstances. 
If the logic some of you are using is applied to my situation is 5th grade, the police should have been called, and I could have been justifiably attacked for shouting obscenities during class and talking back to the teacher when she told me to return to my seat.
Where would I be now if that’s how my situation turned out?
Probably not a Graduate of Brooklyn Technical high school in the 3rd year of of her childhood education major at Brooklyn College and working in a daycare and an after school program that serves at risk youth.
Because I would have BECOME an at risk youth. I’d be fucking traumatized. You send someone to attack me in class you think I’m going back? You think I trust a teacher or school or COP to have my back after that experience?
You think I’m about to sit around and listen to everyone talk about how disrespectful I am and how I need to learn some respect and then, THEN, I’ll be SAFE in my own SCHOOL?
I can’t even explain how unacceptable this all is but I’m so glad I’m one less completely unhinged educator in a system full of people enjoying summers off who really couldn’t care less employing a bunch of thugs who also couldn’t care less to bully truants and cell phone users.
I’m sending all my love to the educators, paras, administrators, super intendants, principals, after school employees, school safety agents, parent coordinators, tutors, coaches, etc. who make a difference and GET IT and deal with young people in a way that keeps their humanity in tact.

That is not what this teacher of this officer did and the scars of this interaction will stay with this child and her classmates forever.