Let’s Talk About It: Tiny & T.I.

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TW:  struggle love, pain before love, toxic patriarchy

This week, the entire internet is a blaze over Jada Pinkett Smith’s Red Table Talk. I did my best to stay away from this because I think this is a conversation is overdue. I also am aware of the cultural implications of this conversation.  I knew that the moment I, as a divorced Black woman with two children from a failed marriage, all the hounds of Hotepean Hell would come after me. But yet. this is what I do here. I speak. This will be no different.

I know women like Tameka Dianne “Tiny” Harris.  I have been a woman like Tameka Dianne “Tiny” Harris. Everyday I am graced to walk towards 40, the more perceptive I have become. I see the things at 38, that I could never have seen at 18 or even 28. I see life as the gift that is, and value whom I want to keep in mine. So, when I saw this Red Table Talk with Clifford and Tameka? It was like looking into a mirror.

The one thing I do like about Red Table Talk is Jada Pinkett Smith as allowed, held space to have hard conversations. However, here? With this one? I think she missed something. Too often in African American/Black communities, Black women and girls are prized and chosen, seated as wives or queens due to how much we can bare. How hard we can work. How much we can hide the depth of our pain, cover our own rage with make up, a clean house and healthy children.

This is a most curious type of auction block.

Everything that can be quantified to us as women. You must be esthetically pleasing. Tall, but not taller than him. You must be able to work as hard as a man, be satisfied with less, be able to clean house, have kids and have your breasts, your ass and belly look unaffected. Everything has to snatch back, and ready to still sate every ache in a phallus! Now, by no means am I, will I say, these attitudes are present solely in African-American homes and communities. They aren’t, I assure you. But I can attest is my personal experiences, failures and realizations. It is through those realizations, I make my case and give my empathy.

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There is something in Tameka that I have seen in myself in the grip of an abusive relationship. This breaking and holding together, is done in cycles. Where you believe so much in a man, so much, that it kills you. This is not an exaggeration! My girlfriends have a name for this:  struggle love. 

This is the love that we idolized, and told is inevitable as a women and girl-children. This type of love, we are told, is based on this scripture, 1 Corinthians 13:7:

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

It is this scripture that allows women to stay after it’s time to leave!

Those of you that follow me, know that I am a women of faith. This piece is not an assail or assault on Christianity. What I want you all to see is, struggle love–this love that prizes the ability to suffer greatly first and always–is not God. And I am tired of being told, or hearing women say that it is! There is no part in scripture that prizes the inflection of pain on another person as a way to prove that you love them. When pain is found is scripture it is due to, or a part of, a process which has an end!

Suffering is not supposed to be prized! It is a tool to reach, remind and instruct! It is not a prize!

My ability to endure the insufferable doesn’t make me a prize. It makes me a mammie! My ability to be consistently uncomfortable does not quantify me as a woman to be prized above all others! Can we stop doing this? Can we free our daughters from the chains of believing someone the love has to hurt them, that life, that relationships, have to try you with volcanic fire in order for to be considered as girl friend or wife? I understand that relationships have ebb and flow; relationships are constructed of and between two people trying to make a life together. Each valuing something different or wanting something more. The idea being that what they feel for one another should be support, strength and refuge. Suffering can be a part of that due to the fallen, selfish nature of human beings. However, my ability to suffer should not be the factor that makes me a desirable partner. Do not intentionally inflict harm upon me to see how fast I will heal!

I am worthy of love, of care, and of respect. I am worthy to be seen, to be valued and cared for. I deserve a relationship that will hold me to account, assure me of my safety and grant me space to grow and to become. I am worthy to be loved; that love is not proved through how badly I can be hurt.

Through the podcast Expeditiously, Tameka said something that startled me, and confirmed one reason as to why she may stay. She said an aunt once told her to “Marry for security, not for love.” When I heard this, I almost screamed. I understand the reason why her aunt said this. I get it:  men are taught to be protectors and providers. Money is a tool which allows both. Yet, with everything this man has done in the course of their relationship, can this protection and provision be so comfortable that she will endure it? Love that makes you suffer to attain it is manipulation. God loves you no matter what you do. In that relationship, love is first and love is paramount–and He is present no matter what and where you are.

Love is first. Healthy love is first!

There are things in this life which are more important than financial security. We have moved beyond the point in society where women need men for social acceptance, and financial security. Do I believe that relationships can become better, the people in them change for the better? I do. I believe people have the ability to do better, especially for the people they love. I believe that if two people are willing to make something broken work, it can. This comes from accountability, recognition of what was lost or broken. And that takes work.

Struggle love is greedy, one-sided and viciously selfish. It takes from you, and is enraged when there is no more to take; angry when the willing well is empty–having drank all from it. Struggle love is narcissistic, seeing and feeding all it wants. Even when Tameka spoke on the podcast, he cut her off. As a writer, she sounded what can only be described as ‘backed up.’ On the show, she vacillated between being over it, wishing her husband would be honest and accountable; to stoic–just letting him express himself.

When I told my first husband our relationship was over, he seemed shocked.  I had done all I could do to love him, honor him, and be the dutiful wife even while he refused to be a husband to me. It is not wisdom to say in these situations. He refused all avenues which would help us fix what was wrong and he refused. But yet, he still wanted to be with me: ‘I want my family’. he said. Yet, he was unwilling to anything which would care for it. I had no more, of me to give to him, to fix the us.

I had no more of me, to give to him, to fix the us. 

I refused to die with a man that would not build his life with me. 

I have been where Tameka has been, more than once. I have seen the people in my life–men and women!–having to sit where she did on the promise of ‘it’ll get better.’ Sometimes the better is the day you decide you can do no more. God hates divorce, yes. He also provides a way of escape to things which overwhelm, threatening to kill whom He loves.

Don’t die with life still in you, believing better will come. Better sometimes, sometimes God shows up, the universe makes itself known when you listen to the inner self that tells you in the still small voice, ” I have done all I can, with all resources given and acquired. I will trust in what will come after this ends which will grant me what I deserve. This ain’t it. It cannot be it, and I must go.”

I simply must go.

In the words of my sister, the beloved Kelly Heflin, “Don’t tell me to struggle for love, and tell your daughter something different.”

 

[image from Facebook Watch]

 

 

 

 

 

No More Mammying: Give That B**ch A Brush!

 

 I really want Amber Guyger to prison forever.

I don’t want to hear about appeals, how her Mama feel about her being locked up, I don’t want to hear any defense to her indefensible shit.

Yesterday, after the year-held sigh of relief at her murder conviction was expelled, what followed next was unexpected. As with social situations like this, my social media was alight. My inbox my alerted, and what I saw was a Mammie in baliff’s uniform.

Now, for those of you that are new to this corner of the righteous, woke, well-read Black innanet, there are certain stereotypes which follow Black people:  Mammie (some people spell it Mammy), tragic mulatto, wench, Sapphire.  A Mammie/Mammy is this Black woman that lives to serve, cooking and cleaning and tending White children. They are seen as these superheroes without personal desires, depth or personhood independent of that which is given from a White gaze or narrative.

Yes, Hattie McDaniel in Gone With The Wind is a Mammy. That was her name in the credits. Scarlett O’Hara probably had a wet nurse who was probably a Mammy–and was probably in the personhood of Hattie McDaniel.

But let’s move on.

The fact that Amber Guyger is convicted of murder made me smile and cry. The fact that sis is smoothing her hair after she is convicted of murder or someone that could have really been this Black female balliff’s son? I was outraged. In seeing that, I cried out, “Get that bitch a brush!”

There aren’t enough surviving, ambitious reticent Mammies to coddle all the misbehaving White women in this nation that need release and relief! I refuse to believe that was an accident–and that 15 second clip has gone viral in the matter of 24 hours!

However, the thing that is not discussed, or scrutinized as heavily is the Black Dallas PD officer that defended what Amber Guyger did! As always, the brunt and blame fall to Black women. That is unfair, and is not right and we need to talk about this.

For the Black officer that vouched for Amber Guyger. You are trash, fam. You are so trash that you cannot even be sat out with the other trash! The fact of the matter is he testified as a token–I said what I said. I don’t take it back.

What needs to be discussed is the relationship some Black men have to power especially in the proximity and association to/with white supremacy. As the Urban Prophet TI said, “If the con is good, I ain’t supposed to see it!”

I see this con–I see this.

And I have seen it before! And over and over again!

What is not often discussed is the history of the Fraternal Order of Police. If you know your history, you know that modern policing (and its methods) are based in fugitive slave law practices–namely the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850. If you are a student of history, for every press towards the high mark towards equality, the police have done two things:  stymie and enforce. Stymie the progress of minorities (whomever they may be). Enforce the narrative and wishes of their masters–keep all the people that scare us, whom we have harmed, whom we stole from, whom make my wife nervous is public in check–by any (deadly) means necessary.

You need only look at recent history to see that–how the police are used as a mitigating force between the good white folk and the meddling, needy outsiders who trouble the ruling classes for freedom, justice and to the pursuit of happiness.

How dare they?!

This is deeper than any “Blue Wall.” This is deeper than just trying to be a comfort to this murdering police officer! This construct of serving and protecting has racist roots from a poisonous tree! As the prosecutor said before the jury came back yesterday, “Convicting her doesn’t mean that you hate the police.” Just as me giving observation and asking questions doesn’t mean I hate the police.

The fact is, police need policing! The current permutation of law enforcement still needs an overhaul. Is it better than it was a century ago? Yes. But there is still so much further to go. The fact that this bailiff mammied to her, and she is vilified for it is one thing. But the sole onus of the chaos of this trial is not to be carried by this 15 second action! What we will not do is make her carry all this water by herself! The Black officer that agreed to vouch for what she did–saying she did everything her training said she could–needs to be drug a little bit as well!

What we miss in times of upheaval like this is the real enemy is the institutional, systemic and oppressive racism steeped and held in place by white supremacy! Amber Guyger killed a man in his house while eating a bowl of ice cream he bought, while on his couch, minding his business! She gets on the stand and cries (what most basic White women do after they have been caught doing something) and says how sorry she is. And people are supposed to comfort her, because that is what society tells us to do!

No.

Amber stood flat-footed and shot him, so she can stand flat-footed and take these years the jury is about to give her. Don’t be distracted at Sis that smoothed her hair. Don’t be distracted at the turcoat fam on the stand. The game is afoot, Watson. And the con is exposed. You cannot help but see it now.

So since you see it, and I see it, and we see it, then let’s dismantle it.

Learn the game so you can play it better.