Category: Gender


Reminder everyone! Black Witch livestream will be on Samhain/Halloween at 3 PM EST on the FB fan page, there may be another showing shortly after on Instagram (@thisblackwitch).

Blackhaven

Blackhaven is an indie game available for free on Steam about history and preservation and censorship. The story follows young museum intern Kendra Turner as she works at Blackhaven museum, a fictional colonial historical landmark in Virginia, to earn her archeology trip to Greece. What she learns is that the museum has been trying to hide the landmark’s plantation past – and silence anyone who was a descendant of those forced to work on the plantation. Especially when that descendant has a right to the estate’s money.

Here’s the trailer!

I really, really liked this game. I even nicknamed it Library Simulator because I literally work in this field. And live in Maryland (they mention several Maryland places and Virginia is not far). And am Black. And female. And – are they sure they didn’t watch me work at several museums and libraries? If Kendra Turner tested the water fountains for coolness I would have have demanded a line in the small credits. (Weird thing I do, I keep a mental “Best of Best” list of water fountains from libraries & museums I work at. Library of Congress currently tops the list but only for one (1) location, a staff only spot in the Adams building. Well, two (2) – any Blue Core water fountain in Jefferson on the bottom floors.) What also makes me really attach to the game is how accurate the micro-aggressions are, from the “I’m watching you” email to the annoying phone calls. I sincerely should just show a let’s play to everyone who ever asks me “why do you have several lawyers?” You would think people surrounded by information would be, y’know, smart but I have met many who are the living embodiment of “you can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.”

You, the player, discover how the museum is hiding the fact the fictional founding father, James Blackhaven, was actually a terrible slave owner (oh, wait, I said “slave owner” twice – they were all terrible). How he made his money wasn’t from being shrewd with his finances and forward thinking, it was by enslaving innocent people and putting them through tortuous, horrific conditions to turn a buck. And his wife was definitely an Angel in the House – but only to White people.  On top of that, the Blackhaven estate also hides and silences anyone who is a descendant of the Black people they enslaved, telling them “no one in Blackhaven history has ever engaged with slavery. You should check your facts, we won’t let you explore our private collections”. Double so if that descendant is also an heir to Blackhaven itself and thus, the Blackhaven money.

That was so on point I was flabbergasted. Remember, I’m in Maryland and I literally work in this field, it is bananas how much these institutions will fall over themselves to hide the extremely true and glaring facts of how they came to be. If you want a real kicker, you only have to wait around for maybe fifteen minutes before the same people who will say “We are Good White People – Get lost before we call the cops” will then slander China for “oh they have censorship like mad over there – hey, some Black person wants to interview us about the slaves the founder had. Tell them that never happened and threaten them with a lawsuit if they keep pressing. Lies, I tell you. They always like making things up, from ‘Karens’ to ‘police brutality’.” Hoo, the cognitive dissonance is neck-breaking.

I appreciate how accurate they made the documents (most likely pulled from real resources, most of it), the storytelling, the feel, everything. Even the rinky dinky scanning station, the sly enabling of problematic employees, the purposeful “It’s not because you’re Black, it’s because … uh … work” exclusion, and over surveillance.

The visuals are factually accurate but there’s nothing torture-porn gory. In other words, they don’t go super White-Dev-Explores-Painful-Black-History about it. I don’t even remember if I saw the n-word. They’re being that sensitive and accurate and I am 10000000000000000000% here for it. I should know about how accurate the texts are, I literally transcribe 17th-19th century documents for a living. Wow, I wish other devs could be the same.

Blackhaven is also a bit of a taster game for the next game from Historiated: Cassius. Which explores more of Blackhaven’s history, during the thriving hey day of Blackhaven manor. Cassius is available in 2022.

Check them out:
Historiated Games

Q Planet/ Queer Archive/ Rainbow Foundation

I always love keeping up on history, even when it is in the making. Q Planet is a Korean youtube channel about LGBTQIA history, culture and identity in South Korea. I learned about it from following Eun Ha-Sun, a queer feminist who originally was on the Korean talk show “Candid Men and Women” (hard to find and translated versions don’t exist as far as I know but here is the series – have on at least two adblockers. The site is in English, the show is not). She’s now on Q-Planet (큐플래닛) with livestreams and such. From Q-Planet, I learned about the Rainbow Foundation and Queer Archive. Both are Korean sites but they have English versions.

Queer Archive is a treasure trove of Korean queer history, focused on the nation of South Korea. From books to cartoons to historical documents.

Let me gush about the font package, Gilbeot, developed by the Rainbow Foundation. It is provided free for anyone to spread queer cheer in the Latin and Korean alphabet.

Behold!

Look at all the pretty colors! Throw in the ace colors and it would be golden

As explained on the website:

Hangul wears the colours of pride.
The first complete full-colour Hangul typefaces
representing the pride of sexual minorities.

The Gilbeot Typeface project was born out of the idea
of creating a Korean Hangul version of the Gilbert Typeface
which was created to honour the memory of Gilbert Baker (1951-2017),
a gay human rights activist and creator of the LGBTQ Rainbow Flag.

The typeface name “Gilbeot” is a play on words with the name Gilbert,
but also signifies the word “journey” or “path” (gil) towards a society
that respects diversity that is shared with a “friend” or “companion” (beot).

By the way, installing fonts are not hard, just unzip, look for the font settings on your computer and drop them in the drop box. These are so colorful and wonderful. It is part of a visual arts project to promote queer visibility. Rainbow Foundation talks about it at length in English but there is also a video. It is currently untranslated so no English subtitles, sorry!

If you feel like giving them your money (and are in Korea), they have cute stuff. If you feel like giving them your money (and are not in Korea), they have a donate page.

TransLives.Net

TransLives is currently undergoing censorship (gotta love global queerphobia) so it is not currently active. The site reads (in Chinese): “Due to the Ministry of Public Security’s notification that the website contains illegal and harmful information, it has been temporarily closed and ordered to be rectified.” (“因公安部通报,网站存在违法有害信息,暂已关闭责令整改.”) It is a load of bull, obviously. Especially for a nation with a long and expansive queer history – there’s the ever astounding Emperor Ai (one of my favorite people in history, next to Jing Ke, Ida B. Wells, King Sejong, Benjamin Banneker – it’s a sort of long list but he’s there). Then there’s the fact that bisexuality was the norm in China (mainly before the White people showed up. Yay imperialism and their nonsense offshoots of queerphobia, severe racism/colorism, etc etc.) for a very, very very long time. Was it always Pride in China? More like “no one cared until sniffy people got sniffy” … orrrr “We don’t care who you sleep with – as long as it isn’t with the Emperor. And you’re not amassing power from it.” Things like “Queer Pride” wasn’t really needed because it wasn’t considered any shade of abnormal. And there were bigger fishes to fry – like war, famine, and trying to run a really, really, really big country.

There’s a lot of interesting history getting the king sharpie pen treatment, in other words. Before I continue, let’s point this one thing out – this mention of China censoring queer people & queer existence should not be taken as “Woo, America is better”. America is about as trash as China is when it comes to queer people being treated with any decency, and the decency super plummets when the queer person isn’t White. Is the US government currently censoring queer websites? Not currently to the level of China but whoo, is there a very not-great history of what it is to be Queer in America. For one, there’s the Pulse mass shooting. For two, literally pay attention to any PoC trans person ever for the quickest view. (Or watch Pose, which is a brilliant show filled with wonders – and painful accuracy) Or visit Texas. Or San Francisco, just don’t let the rainbow sidewalks fool you. In short, both countries are very trash when it comes to queer people being treated decent in general. China is getting fussed upon because TransLives.Net is a site for Chinese citizens in China to express and examine themselves and their identities. There are still some spots online, mainly in English, discussing queer existence in China. As well as pointing out the really not-awesome behavior of what is happening, which is striking mainly queer people and feminists in China.

Before the Beijing Ban Hammer dropped, this is what the site looked like, courtesy of the Wayback Machine. (Click to see full pic):

In Chinese

In English

It was a super informative site that, just like Queer Archive, was filled with info (that is thankfully still there due to the wayback machine) for people who are questioning their gender identity in China. The links can still be clicked on and the site traversed (with some lengthy maneuvering with the wayback machine) but it is currently censored, which is not great. However, I still think such a site should be noted! Hopefully it will be back up or the servers moved somewhere out of reach of political chicanery.

Double Feature today since The Arts! was supposed to be last week. So next up is Ask Black Witch in a few hours.

Let’s get into it!

These two creators have very good channels about academic and cultural discussions of race, gender and culture, especially the problematic parts. They go in to various topics, such as Cancel Culture (the history, why it exists, etc), the history of blackface and the current culture of digital blackface, even a discussing the major difference between African American Vernacular (AAVE for short, a cultural dialect) and Imagined Black English (to see quick examples of IBE, look up anything Lily Singh and Awkafina says. For an international flair, add RM from Korean idol group, BTS. Don’t feel like searching? Just go anywhere on the internet where White people are and you’ll see IBE and digital blackface in full spectrum).

Khadija Mbowe

She talks about various topics, including their researched histories, how they proliferate in modern society, why they can be helpful/harmful and more with a humorous flair.

Watch more on her channel

Tee Noir

She gives a very informative outlook from queer identity as a pansexual Black woman to how media treats Blackness, Queerness, Queer Blackness, and how Black Cultural media treats and perceives the Black identity and how limited the perception can be (also can be aptly name: You’re Black … Unless You’re Not Straight, Not Normal, Not Neurotypical, Not…). Sometimes she can bleep out words that I would suppose be bad for the algorhythm or trigger-prevention purposes and sometime that can make it hard to understand, especially if they are crucial words. I wish she wrote them on the screen or something so the viewer can play less “Fill in the Blanks” but you can still understand the entire point of what she is saying.

Watch more on her channel

Pseudo-Witchery and Pop Feminism

As I peruse the net for clothing and creative things, one thing I seem to run into most is “fake witchery”: clothing and other items that feature an overabundance of moons/moonphases, pentacles (preferably upside down), crosses (also preferably upside down) and always on black fabric.

I call this “fake witchery” because, while it carries the look of “oooh, spookeh. She’s very much a witch!”, the person wearing most likely is not one in actual practice – just because someone likes to burn sage and call it brujería doesn’t make them a witch, it makes them a tryhard that is attempting to be edgy. And doesn’t get that they are just saying “witchcraft” in Spanish, because what would magick be without the “dark otherness” appeal?

Here’s the thing for me: it is aggravating because it is very much a fad. As an actual practicing witch, it just bolsters stereotype: witches are broody women that wear black and are quite possibly nefarious. Basically, whatever American Horror Story was pitching in its PR run. Then you have the pseudo-feminism atop it, similar to when the movie Suckerpunch came out.

Pseudo-feminism is a mimic of feminism that looks like actual feminism on the surface but actually does not support most of the core beliefs of feminism once you so much as smear the surface. Usually, pseudo-feminism is structured to make various forms of misogyny appear “okay” or even “empowering” and make toxic masculinity pretty much untouched or bolstered because “that’s just how men are”. Many of the tropes that degrade or minimize women are modified to look appealing, especially to girls and women who don’t know much about what actual feminism is. Pseudo-feminism is the belief that bras were burned in the sixties (that never happened, male journalists thought that one up to paint feminists as crazy and wild. Yellow journalism at its finest) and that to be a “fierce” or “empowered” woman, you still have to look sexy and appealing to the male gaze – or else you’re letting misogyny win (somehow). Pseudo-feminism says that everything is feminism, including engaging in internalized misogyny, as long as a woman is doing it because “empowerment”. It ignores deep thought and history, frankly. It ignores various beliefs (and schools of thought) because that is not as cute or easy as listening to a single Beyonce album and buying a bunch of Killstar clothing.

Pseudo-feminism also has a somewhat close relative: pop feminism. This is the place of “I listened to a single Beyonce album and bought a bunch of showy Killstar clothing.” Pop feminism is condensed to very, very bite sized ideas (“hitting women is bad – but women hitting others (including women) is empowerment!”, “women should be seen and heard – preferably making sexy noises”, “women + guns/power = very empowering”). These bite-sized ideas makes feminism appear sexy and appealing – and does not disturb the male gaze very much. Nor does it really deconstruct toxic masculinity or misogyny. Pop feminism is whenever there is a modern depiction of Frida Kahlo, she has on make up, her unibrow is gone and there’s no lip fuzz – but will be raved about for “being herself” and a “woman painter” (instead of just a “painter”). Does not disrupt misogyny, just makes room for it while telling the world that “this is what feminism looks like” when really it isn’t. Pop feminism is based in Whiteness – it is pretty much White Feminism on a glitzy stage and injected all over media. It is BuffyCharmed (both reboot and original), American Horror StoryScream Queens, Suckerpunch, the list could go on and on. The White woman/girl is still centered in everything and if she isn’t, her beliefs certainly are. If the story centers anyone not White, she is pretty light and you can tell the writers are White because the character conducts herself like a White person: tone deaf to prejudice (unless to make White viewers feel some emotion), engages in culture vulture ideas like misusing AAVE to appear kitsch and “woke”(an AAVE term historically used to describe hoteps and their outlandishness), and cares about issues that are mainly marketed to White viewers.

The witch in Western pop culture tends to be female and somehow a cultural outcast. She’s usually White and “not human”. She is supposed to be fearsome, wearing expensive dark clothing that looks ripped from the runway and a face full of pricey makeup. She blandly and completely Hates All Men but in a “what if the SCUM manifesto was insultingly hyper-sexualized for male consumption” kind of way. If anything, the pop culture depicted witch is just another sexualized idea that looks feminist and empowering but isn’t. And that problematic idea is catching.

To those who don’t know better, the witch in pop culture looks completely appealing and empowering. Especially to those who feel helpless because of the current political climate. The act of spellcasting appears cathartic – a psychological placebo effect to make the person feel better – to them and thus they flock to the look and style of “witchiness”. That’s possibly why it seems I see so much “oh, I’m a bad witch”, “I’m a bruja”, or “we cast hexes on [awful men]”, “I only care for my coven”. Oh! Speaking of covens!

It appears the “coven” concept, which has been around authentically for a few centuries but is now watered down for pop culture, has almost completely replaced the “girl gang” concept. It seemed to have been born on Tumblr, honestly, but the “girl gang” concept is pretty much the “witch” concept but with false envisioning of intimidation and violence dreamed up by people who have never interacted with an actual gang in their life. Basically, the middle class on upward. I’m personally from the inner city so I find this concept completely ridiculous when carried out by women and girls who never even been in a fight before or are scared of even non-bladed weapons (or just as bad, simply don’t know how to use them, only have them for “cool” factor). As a rule of thumb, please don’t consider yourself a gang if you’re not actually one.

Back to what I was talking about: while caring for others is a valuable ability, calling your friend group a “coven” both cheapens the word and expresses the lack of understanding the woman or girl that uses it. You can have a group of female friends that you are close to and not call it a “coven” or a “girl gang” or whatever pop feminism phrase will be next. Adding such words can create a veneer of intimidation but it is a weak veneer that is unnecessary. It may be cathartic to the person who is saying it but phony all the same.

Again, what we are all seeing here is a fad. As soon as the political climates changes again, as soon as many of these women and girls get older, a lot of this “bruja” nonsense will most likely drop with many. There’s a reason why doing magick is seen as a fad and not an authentic practice. And that’s a problem for those who actually practice.

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It’s that time of year again for the Black Witches convention, Dawtas of the Moon. It’s the second year for the convention, last year was pretty decent. So if you missed it, here is your second chance!

Let it be noted, this is an event for Women of Color (WoC) only. As best described on the event’s ticket site:

“This event is for WOMEN OF COLOR ONLY! If you are not a woman or a woman of color and you decide to purchase a ticket, understand that you will NOT GET A REFUND AND YOU WILL BE TURNED AWAY AT THE DOOR WITH A THANK YOU FOR THE DONATION.

If you’re not of this intersection, please be mindful. Last year was only WoC, no other.

There will be plenty of workshops available for participants, such as elemental magick, astrology, Voodun, and more! I will be teaching a workshop on the first day, October 20, on cartomancy called “Cartomancy, Playing Card Divination”. Last year, I did a workshop on how to research and being in metaphysics/witchcraft. This time, I will be teaching playing card divination, cartomancy.

On the ticket site, there is a rundown of events and times per session. My workshop time is 11:30 AM-12:30 PM and there are three workshops per session (to give con goers variety and choices).

The game plan is that I’ll work with a small group (I haven’t a clue what capacity will be so I’m expecting 15 people or so for my workshop) and showing how to do cartomancy and a super basic spread. Afterwards, I will be available to talk to and suches. I’ll most likely be floating around the venue, particularly around the food areas. I am not sure if I’ll be at the Black Witch Masquerade Ball, however, though.

Check out the tickets on the eventbrite, most ticket sales end on Oct 19.

Menstruation and Misinformation

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I have noticed recently a wave of “guys telling women how to menstruate”. Basically, it’s a bunch of Hoteps (Black folks – usually guys – who are fake woke and real self-hateful) trying to tell Black women that, somehow, having a period is A) an eurocentric construct B) not natural and C) can be dispersed with removing “eurocentric” foods from diet. All three are incredibly wrong and actually quite harmful. That and I always wear this face when reading:

This is the closest capture to “accurate” I can provide

For example, one hotep vlogger named Yada pointed out how their daughter just got her first period and how it made him upset. Yes, periods are a bummer. They hurt, they make you sleepy, they make you irritable, nothing fun about it. But that’s part of having a uterus. However, they can be managed with Midol, Always pads, rest and access to competent women health laws.

Unfortunately, this is not how the Hotep responded to their daughter starting a period. He suggested cramps bark, which at first I balked but does relieve cramps. However, it is not declared safe for pregnant women to use. My rule of thumb about meds, especially natural meds: if it can not be used for pregnant women, it shouldn’t be used for children, which includes his daughter, who is around early middle school age. The reason why pregnant women shouldn’t use it: it could affect the child. Reason why breastfeeding women shouldn’t use it: it could affect the child. The dude was basically half right: yes, cramps bark can help alleviate cramps but for a young age, it could have adverse affects, especially if dosage is not monitored (and he’s probably not a whiz with that, given his lack o’ any medical knowledge). If anything, rose hip tea could be better. Not to mention, the initial reason why I thought cramp bark was inaccurate: black haw (Vibernum prunifolium) is also called “cramp bark”, but does not do the thing. This confusion could lead to complications. Rose hip tea is relatively safer, especially for young girls.

All in all, it would have been fine and dandy if the dude just looked up some teas and pads for his daughter to have but newp, he had to go waaaaaaaaay beyond that. And into the stream of thought that is pretty harmful to women. And, of course, it’s part of a pretty worldwide idea that treats periods like mysterious sicknesses…usually thought up by guys who seriously could use a briefing in basic anatomy and physiology that isn’t bathroom jokes or smut. The general, usually male-created, consensus about periods is that they’re unclean, unnatural and burdensome. I mean there’s the old internet joke of “I don’t trust anything that bleeds for 3 days and doesn’t die”. It derives from serious misunderstanding and actively pursued ignorance about a pretty normal function in women bodies. And I say “Actively pursued ignorance” because you can google “how do periods work” and the first thing that will pop up is this really thorough article from womenshealth.gov (still accurate despite having a moron in the White House). There’s even a menstrual cycle video on youtube from the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom as the second link. The third comes from pad brand, Always, who answer 10 common period questions. (I greatly suggest their Infinity Overnights line, so nice). Usually I’m skeevy about companies giving out medical info – because it basically becomes “Have problem? Solution: Our product, no matter what” – but Always’ page is very informative and geared to young girls.

This is simply googling “How do periods work”, no medical jargon or academic phrasing. Any dude looking up period info would have stumbled upon these sites. This includes Hoteps, members of Congress and any dude with a Reddit account.

If case anyone is still trying to understand or, worse, consistently going “menstruation is a curse from the White man and these sites primarily cater to White people so, of course, it’s still doesn’t apply to Black women”, let me break it down for you further. Let’s use the point I originally pointed out above:

A) periods are an eurocentric construct (False)
Yada, who seems to be leading the pack on “things I don’t get about women bodies: Black culture edition”, talks about “european doctrine” which primarily affects White women. Now, before I continue, I would like to say that he is talking in a video. And in this video, he’s wearing what I believe is a Gucci signature belt, which is a European brand (and a pricey one at that, at least $300 for a belt). For someone who is very anti-Eurocentrism, it doesn’t bleed over into how he spends. He could have gone with a regular belt buckle but I guess he wanted to jazz it up with name brand, particularly Italian. The least the dude could have done was go with Oscar de la Renta, who is Dominican. The very least. At most, look up Black-made fashion apparel and buy stuff there.

Moving away from fashion and back to what he’s saying, Yada is a very apt name person because frankly, all he does is “yadda yadda yadda”. He talks a lot but doesn’t really say anything. He states that our ancestors were “not running around, bleeding all over the place”. He’s partially right: the first anything resembling menstrual care was in Africa by using cloth and fibers and used similar to a tampon, if my memory serves me right. So our ancestors weren’t running around, bleeding on everything. Even though, guys then also thought the menstruating was full of teh evilllllllz (a part of that is thanks to Western imperialism). Because guys are pretty willfully ignorant about women’s health. Same reason why in the US, people have to march and petition to have contraception covered by healthcare but viagra, which is a cosmetic drug (not meant to cure any actual, life threatening or altering ailment), is covered just fine.

Yada’s belief for why Black women ancestors did not bleed is because they “ate natural foods”. I really want to see the science on this. Yes, food and diet can alter your period. Certain foods, like tofu, can make it come sooner. Some can make it come later. Drinking lots of water can alleviate cramps. Drinking lots of soda can make them worse. A very poor and hyper restricted diet can make periods not come at all (because the body is having a hard time sustaining itself well). Ditto with intense athleticism, because the body is getting so lean – under 18% body fat – it can’t sustain a period. You can be the most Vegan vegan person to ever vegan and still have a period. Because it’s natural. It’s natural for the female body to get periods, regardless of race. Regardless, whether the uterus belongs to a Black woman, a Native woman or an Asian woman, it’s gonna work the same, more or less. Natural foods can’t rid of periods, at all. Having a period is not a result of “not clean eating” because periods are not dirty or a result of being a dirty, unkempt person. And trust, this Yada person is trying to make the connection “natural eating = clean eating”. It’s good to have a healthy diet, filled with lots of natural foods like fruits, nuts and vegetables but you’re going to have a period, no matter what.

Ok, this dingbat also brings up that he’s a vegetarian (not Vegan, still eats eggs and cheese, just not animals themselves). Good for him. I almost expected him to say “I’m a vegetarian and I don’t have periods!” Which would have been chuckle worthy…up to the point I would remind myself that there are other guys who are still this level of stupid, and several of them are elected to office. Then it’s frightening. Long story short, periods exist because of biology, not because White men want to oppress others. Menstruation is not a human-created construct, like race, money and gender. It’s a nature-created construct for procreation, meaning it’s going to exist, regardless what one believes, like sunshine, gravitational pull and electricity.

B) Periods are not natural (False)
They suck to have but periods are natural to have. They’re the basics of procreation, especially for mammals. Did you know that animals like elephant shrews and some bats menstruate the same way human women do? Other mammal species perform “covert menstruation”, meaning that menstruation is still occuring it but it’s not visible or as clear. The BBC has a long, science laden article about this. It’s a good read. However, the kit and kaboodle of the article is that menstruating is happening because pregnancy isn’t. If you’re pregnant, you’re not menstruating and vice versa.

C) periods can be dispersed with removing “eurocentric” foods from diet (false)
As mentioned prior, diet can effect periods but it’s healthy for the body to have a period, not the absence of one and there’s no baby nor birth control. You could have an all Zimbabwe diet, an all Korean diet, an all Australian diet, and you’re still gonna have a period. Because that’s how the female body works. A balanced diet would help regulate your flow and lessen cramps, which is always nice but still means you’re going to have a period.

This subject of how Hoteps are pretty much affecting people has been discussed on Oxygen and even BET. It’s really agitating because in these modern times where there is access to information and knowledge, still, it is being ignored. Men simply aren’t good at talking about women health for the simple fact that they tend to center themselves somehow and still manage to ignore the perspective of women. Women are already minimized so this is more of that. Of all the Hotep nonsense I have seen, I am harder pressed to find women who believe the same. Now, they do exist, but they definitely don’t exist in the numbers that these guys do. Most, if not all, of these guys can’t even name women’s genitalia properly. (Hint: not everything is ‘vagina’.)  If anything, these dudes probably would probably sound like the “journalist’s guide to guns” macro from years ago.

This, but with the word “vagina”

There’s enough hounding the literal lives and experiences of folks who get periods. It would be nice to hear less nonsense. Because none of this is necessary and all it does is breed more self-animosity and internalized misogyny that any young girl would have about their body.

Cherry Picked Politics

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Recently went to a Pagan space in Baltimore for solstice and they had a new sign on the door: “Leave your politics in the car”. Also known as “how you know you’re surrounded by White people”. This is mainly why I don’t really engage with the rituals there. I just chill inside with the air conditioner and work on Black Witch stuff and listen through the window. That and because they sometimes film their rituals and I’m not showing up so some moron can point to me on film and say “see, we’re diverse!” They’re not. Not interested in being the token, I just have one favorite person there and that’s pretty much why I show up. And free food. Basically, come for the favorite person, stay for the free food.

Choosing politics is moreso a sign of privilege than not. Usually it’s not really all politics, because then people would be stuck with talking strictly about the weather – wait, no, global warming is considered political as well. Ok, so basically nothing – Either way! There are some politics that are very, very okay, just not the ones that tend to make those with privilege emo.

The thing about saying “leave your politics at the door” is that this is pretty coded. Since it is at a Pagan spot and it is a extraordinarily White place, it’s pretty obvious which politics are gonna fly and which aren’t. And what started this “politics-free zone” thinking was because they made some major missteps with their last rituals in regards to race and general politics. Stuff like summoning Sacagawea and Harriet Tubman to share the same space with slaver Thomas Jefferson at recent rituals, among other things.

Usually in White Pagan circles, they kind of work almost in the same vein of White feminism: it’s a problem when it directly affects them, and when it doesn’t, it’s a “distraction” and an act of “being divisive”. Doesn’t help that most of mainstream White Paganism is pretty much ran by and loaded to the gills with White women so it’s no surprise that it would have the same gaze as White feminism. This creates cherry picking politics.

It’s “cherry picking” because, frankly, everything can be seen as political. A trans person trying to go to the bathroom is seen as political because transphobia and gender politics. A Black person wearing their hair in its natural state is seen as political because of anti-blackness and race politics. These are really simple acts, using the bathroom and picking a hair style. However, enough people get up in arms about it, it gets framed as “political” because all politics is, is debating human-involved issues. From whether we should chop down all the forests in the world to if it’s wrong to have a fur coat, these are issues that involve humans somehow and thus can fall under the banner of “politics”. Doesn’t make it a bad thing, just simply what it is.

This means that talking about merely being Pagan is also political because religious freedom – something that isn’t considered taboo in the Pagan group…because it’s a Pagan group. They’re also okay with basic feminism because this is a group ran by primarily women, which is also politics – gender politics. They also don’t try to separate the trans people from the rest of the group because according to their politics, that’s not cool. So, they don’t mind politics, as long as it blends with their politics. This is not an act of “leaving politics at the door”, it’s simply agreeing to abide by an already established set of politics, regardless how lopsided or prejudiced they are. This is cherry picking the politics. Some are okay (“support basic feminism, don’t be a jerk to trans people”), some are not (“don’t bring up racism in a way White folks feel bad and non-saviorist, don’t acknowledge that the “feminism” they subscribe to is blanche neige White feminism”). All of this is bullsh*t.

Usually I hear the, “I don’t like politics” chant mainly from White folks who simply don’t like the fact that their privilege may not be seen in a good light and for really strong, deeply historically grounded reasons. They don’t mind whinging about Trump (despite voting for him), fussing about how they can’t believe prejudice still exists (despite constantly enforcing it in both de jure and de facto ways), and how they love different cultures (as long as the people attached to them are preferably silent and invisible). However, start bringing up where their thinking is wayward and, all of a sudden, they have declared this area a “politics free zone”. Because your politics may not match up with theirs and that might cause thinking, which will induce bad feelz. Won’t someone plz think of the White feelz?!

Thing is, if someone is bringing up why what another person or group did is prejudiced out of it affecting them personally, it’s not “politics” to that someone. That’s their life. If a Black person is saying “Hey, these police murders aren’t cool. Summoning abolitionists and indigenous explorers with exploitative slave traders is also not cool,” that’s because race and historical identity is not an armchair topic for them. It’s not a fun topic to chat about with others until their coffee is done, it’s their life. It’s a cop out to respond with “Well, I think you’re getting political about this, I don’t wanna talk about it. [Despite the fact I knew that race was political and did it anyway]” And expecting that person to abide by those lopsided rules is also an act of prejudice in and of itself because the person with the privilege in the situation is trying to determine the rules of engagement to spare their feelings over another person’s experience.

If things only got “political” when the topic stopped being “oppressor/privilege friendly”, then what the person doesn’t want is for things to stop being “political” suddenly – they just want a free pass to be as much of an ignorant jerk as much they want and with no one to argue with them. Which isn’t how the real world works, not even in modern Paganism. By trying to subtly cherry pick what is ok and what is not, it just shows a cranberry bog of problems.

Not My Flag, Not a Chance

There’s been so much chatter since the election, mainly about how terrible Trump is going to be (usually said by practically everyone who isn’t White, Straight, cis, etc) and how we should still give him and his folks a chance (usually said by anyone White and usually Liberal (conservatives just froth at the mouth over admiring swastikas now, imagining the next four years in glee, I’m guessing)).

Frankly, anyone who says we as a nation should give Trump a chance is quite historically challenged and a total ditz. Trump’s troupe blew whatever chance they could have potentially had when they were on the campaign trail talking about walls and mocking disabled reporters…oh and doing covert sieg heils* at the RNC gathering.

Yeah, this happened

Yeah, this happened

Those were big opportunities to show that they simply wanted to repair the country from it’s economic sluggishness, dismissive political attitudes to rural Americans, etc etc. I mean, Trump did offer several solutions…it’s just practically all of them came from a book probably titled How To: Second Coming of the Third Reich, Special 14th edition with a teeny cover sticker that says “Now with 88% more hate! Ruin your country beyond repair or your money back! See inside for details”. Meaning: none of these solutions actually work. The only thing the Final Solution did the last time was give Germany a huge luggage crate full of baggage to cart about, because the first thing that comes to anyone’s mind about Germanic history is mainly the terrible stuff they did in the ’30s and ’40s. More like a final solution for murdering a good reputation, if anything. Going Nazi wasn’t a great payoff to them, just like it won’t be for us.

I, nor anyone who have been historically affected by messages of hate and mass disparagement, should give anyone a chance if that’s pretty much all they’ve came out the gate with. I even tried to research Trump’s stances on actual issues during the election season, and about all I got that was pretty solid was “I don’t know…but we will just pour in a chunk of hate and see where that gets us.” That’s basically it: build a wall, get rid of non-Whites and more police. This is not a solution to anything. It’s just a recipe to make America not “Great” again but to make America White again. And Trump’s people have actually said that, word for word: That they believe America should be White only and White succeeding, that they hate anyone not Christian, not White and not Male. They’ve done openly displayed sieg heils at Alt-Right/Neo-Nazis gatherings.

Yeah, this happened, too

Yeah, this happened, too

Give this a chance? For what? It’s been shown countless times in even the past one hundred years that just giving hate a chance doesn’t magically transform into peace, it just becomes more virulent hatred that’s just been given a head start. Granted, no one not on the business end of that would definitely say, “Let’s give them a chance.” Since they have nothing to lose, the idea of fighting or being actively despondent or even cracking someone’s elbow in the middle of their Nazi salute seems “violent” and “not how peace works”. Because Americans always have politely asked for things like rights and country and politely discussed things over. Totes exactly what we did with the British and the Native Americans**. We’re such a peaceful nation, we don’t even have mass shootings.

Unfortunately, this is not reality. My family members don’t remember our ancestors being able to walk up to the Overseer or Master and say, “Hey, I’ve already put in my eight hours so I’m heading out. I’ve even kept track of it on this here scrap of paper – oh! and we’re running low on ink, I like the iron blue one from that guy down the street, it’s really nice and last for pages – See? That’s 40 hours, I took an hour off for lunch and everything. Also, it’s, like, super hot in the middle of the day and you made us work…that’s not cool, you always do that. Everyone around here thinks you better shape up or we’re leaving. Especially since you don’t pay us…which, I’m preeeeeeeeeeeetty sure is illegal. Like, super illegal. And I cut myself on a sickle, where’s my employee healthcare? One of my friends a few rows over heard over in Korea, they have a king named Sejong and he – a king, mind you – put in stuff like maternity leave. We should try some of that, or we’re leaving for good! You can find some new pickers and they’ll say the same. What say you?”

Yeaaaaaaaaaah, that’s not what would have happened. Would have been nice but very much didn’t happen. Instead, slave rebellions happened. Fighting happened. Dying happened (by the payload). Lynchings happened. Escapes happened. Suicides happened. Talking is great for some things but not when the person you’re talking to doesn’t even think you’re human. Even Schindler didn’t say to his fellow Nazis, “Hey, about this ‘kill all Jews’ thing. Ever wonder how this will help our country – like, actually help Germany? I mean, I’m just saying! Just saying. Y’know, for kicks and giggles, think about it. I mean, this is a lot of work to murder useful people like doctors and teachers. Just seems a bit dumb – I’m just saying, though! Just saying. I mean, we even killed a gay carpenter and we’ve had a crappy chair and tilting table for weeks. No carpenter, but we stick with the sh*tty table. Yes, Aust handles carpentry but, c’mon, everyone knows he’s bad at it, that’s how we got the table. We had a master carpenter and just killed him. Does that scream ‘smart’ to you? Think about it.” That would have been nice, imagining Schindler doing thoughtful roundtables with fellow Nazis at night, even with a rabbi present, because representation. But that’s not what happened. You can’t talk people out of hate so easily. That would be totally awesome but, as shown by history, totally not realistic.

Hoping that the current batch of fascist douchebags are going to be somehow different and totally open to conversation is intensely delusional. And increasingly so with each and every new pick Trump makes for cabinet. Even the minorities (the extreme, token few) he eyes are poster definitions of “internalized racism”. Everyone in Trump’s camp plans to roll back the clock like mad. And that makes Americans such as myself very, very concerned. Because I’m Pagan, I’m Black, I’m female, I was raised poor and in the inner city and, frankly, this is not my flag:

This would be better used as kindling, not as a method to run a nation.

This would be better used as kindling, not as a method to run a nation.

We are too diverse for this bullsh*t. But frankly, not everyone feels this way. Especially those who felt “othered” when mentions of diversity are said. Even those who swear up and down they’re allies but are actually in it for the saviorism. Even those who say they don’t see color but get offended when a Person of Color gets ahead in real life or even introduced in a comic book, sputtering, “We’re all one race, the human race. Why is Spiderman Black? Like, isn’t that racist? Why can’t he be White? He has to be White!” Even those who reblogs the #noDAPL Water Protectors on Tumblr and goes to the tribal land – not because clean water means anything to them but because they want to have a winter Coachella, complete with disruptive drum circles and asking Natives insanely dumb questions like “What’s my indian name?” instead of “Where do I put the crate of Milk of Magnesia and portable heaters?” Apparently, to those folks, we’re just too diverse a country that doesn’t benefit them, period. And now they want everyone to give Trump a chance since Hillary Clinton didn’t get in. (Is Clinton perfect? Heck no. Just isn’t that level of hateful) That maybe everything will be all right with the Alt Right, if given the opportunity. Just like it was all right during the ’40s when Japanese Americans had to go to Manzanar, USA. Or when anyone Jewish, Black, disabled, whatever, had to go to the death camps (the holocaust killed more than Jews, remember that. The first to go were political opponents, actually. Germany was a diverse nation, too. Just like now). What absolute insanity.

Even media that tilts intensely liberal like Mother Jones, CNN and MSNBC now falls over itself in trying to romanticize the Alt Right and distance them from the Neo-Nazi rhetoric they constantly spew, even the triple parentheses that they use to signify anyone who is Jewish or “Anti-White”. Simply because hatred got a makeover, it’s time to play nice with them. That’s ridiculous. And these are some of the same folks who won’t shy from saying “Feminazi” or “Grammar Nazi” (even joke about the Soup Nazi from Seinfield!) but have a hard time calling an actual Nazi a “Nazi”. Or “White Nationalist”. Even if the bigot does the salute and all! What is needed? The Hugo Boss uniform, heel clicking and goose stepping?

I don’t think anyone needs a chance to get to that point. That’s much too far.

 

* Sieg Heils: The hand/arm motion that Hitler is commonly associated with. The Nazi salute

** We told the British where to shove their tea and massacred Natives (even now, American police are trying to literally freeze out (water cannons and everything) the Sioux over the tribe wanting to defend clean water. By the way, Flint, MI is still happening)

Yep, first post back and I’m down with a headcold. Been fighting a head cold all this week. However, even without a headcold, this week still sucked for a lot of folks. Trump won the election. The part that sucked the most for me is that I called it.

When folks would ask me who I thought would win, I would respond, “Unfortunately, I think it might be Trump. The country has gone too left so we’re due for a conservative snap – which this gump-faced, fake-haired cheeto is part of. In addition, he’s a great salesperson, he could sell water to a fish, it just would unfortunately be clear blue gel. In terms of dupin’ the stupid, he’s good at that. And Americans aren’t known to be the smartest people in the world. Far from it.”

I’m an Independent (meaning I am not part of any party, they all suck) and I identify as a socialist (meaning I strongly believe that institutions like healthcare, education and social/fiscal safety nets should not be for just the rich and wealthy but for everyone). But also as a Black, female, Pagan person, I was kinda looking forward to basking in all the folks who were going to say how wrong I was.

 

faceq1478879794217.png

So wrong, so nice

 

Instead, this was me when I checked Google for the Electoral vote count:

 

faceq1478880231321.png

You can’t be serious

The US has really elected a moron that is very much planning to be a grade-A fascist. Of course, only White folks (also known as, “the voter bloc that mainly voted Trump in”), don’t see how Trump could bring a lot of bad news to a lot of people. Granted, this is the same group that said tried to say racism was over when Obama was elected…then voted in Trump based on his super racist platform.

There are already protests against Trump winning because, frankly, folks who aren’t White, straight, etc. are pretty concerned. It isn’t that Hillary would have been the daughter of God superceding Obama in everything he’s ever done, but at least folks who generally are targeted by the Ku Klux Klan would have not been as worried. She would have screwed up the nation as well but without the potential reality of political camps and a major spike in hate crimes. Instead, a sexist, racist rapist got elected and will be taking all those disparaging beliefs (and near 100 of lawsuits, let’s hope one of them will get him impeached) to the oval office with him. If it were some other Republican besides Trump, I’d probably be ok. Buuuuuut it’s not.

In addition to protests, there are also folks online who want to assemble for future protests and disruptions using encrypted networks and short range communications, such as Tor and Signal. I wouldn’t recommend this because Tor, for example, was made by the government (no, really, it was) and Signal can be intercepted. It’s really difficult to find a good network to assemble and help folks organize but, trust, they exist.

This is a very unfortunate election. It was a long time coming but that doesn’t change how terrible things are about to be. I expect a lot of civil right laws getting rolled back extensively. We’re a nation that has put whole groups of people into camps and prisons out of fear, disdain and/or hate (why people think these things can’t happen is beyond me). There’s actually no telling what will happen with this upcoming presidency. I definitely know Trump has a vendetta list and media folks (just the ones that depicted him honestly, or as he considers it, “badly”) are very close to the top. And given how Bush was during 9/11, it’s not hard to imagine limitations to freedoms of the press because that’s exactly what happened.

If you’re going to protest, that’s fine and dandy. The more important thing you can do is inform yourself about government, how it works, how it doesn’t work and what you actually want to solve because simply getting Trump out won’t solve all the emotions and feelings that got him elected in the first place. Nor the problems that people thought the current administration ignored or were too slow to fix. He didn’t get elected in a vaccuum.

I was just perusing my social media and I came across this:

2016-05-31-20-54-30.png

This was me:

Nonono_cat

Alright, here’s why you shouldn’t be turning your punami into a humidifier. Actually, no, let’s start from the basics: what is vaginal steaming? Well, according to website naturalnews.com, penned by Lisa S. Lawless, Ph.D:

“For those not familiar with what vaginal steaming is, think of it like a medicinal, herbal, steam facial for the vagina.

Typically, they are done a day or two after a woman has had her period in order to detox and heal any imbalances in the vagina, cervix and uterus. Vaginal steaming has also been known to ease anxiety in women as well as tackle several other health issues-

• Irregular and painful periods
• Vaginal cysts
• Infertility
• Bladder and yeast infections
• Hemorrhoids
• Uterine fibroids
• Scarring from childbirth, hysterectomies and laparoscopies”

You don’t have to go far in this entry to find the Orientalism in the article:

“Vaginal steaming in Chinese medicine is used to relieve stagnation and coldness in the body, and in Eastern medicine in general it is used to dilate the blood vessels, increase blood circulation, provide oxygenation and relax the pelvic floor muscles. Other ways it improves health depends on the herbs that are used and the healing properties each herb brings to the table. The most commonly used herbs for vaginal steaming are mugwort, basil, calendula, oregano, marshmallow root, wormwood and rosemary.”

Ah, there it is! And notice, those are primarily Western herbs you see that are being used with a Chinese (funny, there’s no ethnic pinpoint because China’s a pretty big nation with a pretty extensive history and various groups, can’t lump them all together) method…that eventually switches to “Korean” later. Because somehow that’s not a recipe for disaster. This is why stealing cultural ideas is bad, women’s health addition. Especially if it didn’t come from the Far East…more like “Los Angeles in 2010” and as a bastardization of moxibustion, which is an authentic healing method.

Alright, we got the basics, now let’s get back to why you shouldn’t be turning your punami into a humidifier.

The vagina is self-cleaning
Doctors (smart ones) would usually tell women to not shove, spurt or steam anything up main street for cleaning purposes because the vaginal canal is actually self cleaning. Douching is bad. Very bad. Like, “there’s a reason why it’s an insult” bad. The vagina naturally regulates itself and pushes out any bad bacteria, germs, dead cells, etc etc. What douching of any sort does is forces all that back in. It’s like the natural fluids in the vagina are showing bad elements the door, and the human it’s connected to just wants to shove everyone back in the house. Which causes infections.
Actually, let me let a real doctor talk, Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., clinical professor of ob-gyn at Yale School of Medicine. She was interviewed by Women’s Health magazine and this is what she had to say:

1. It Burns

“My first concern is that someone would burn themselves because steam is hot,” says Minkin. “And I certainly wouldn’t want someone to get a burn in their vagina.” Fun fact: Your hoo­ha sits right next to the bladder and rectum, so a bad burn could damage the lining between the two of them and cause a lot of issues. “That would be a worst­case scenario,” says Minkin”

Remember, if you’re getting worked done on the vaginal region by steaming it, it is most likely not being done by a someone with a medicinal background. And with so many how-to home guides floating around on the internet, it’s a recipe for trouble. During steaming, the whole area (the vulva) is getting steamed, the major and minor labias, the urethral entrance, the vaginal opening. That means the herbal concoction is going to affect everywhere. Then there’s the rectum, as the doctor has mentioned. Basically, these are sensitive parts that you do not want to damage through poor research and misguided health suggestions.

2. It Can Mess With Your Vagina’s Good Bacteria

Just like regular douching, trying to “cleanse” your vag with steam can be drying and disrupt the natural bacteria that lives up in there, says Minkin. And since the vagina is a self ­cleaning machine, you don’t need to take any action to keep it that way, she says. However, one thing you could do to boost your vagina’s natural cleaning abilities is to eat more yogurt, which contains the good bacteria that keep your vag fresh yeast infection ­free.

The doctor also wonders in the article if the steam can even go up that far. The vaginal canal isn’t Route 66 but it’s not a cavernous hall, either. Either way, steaming could mess with your body’s natural ability to keep and maintain its own defenses because it’s a super delicate ecosystem down there. I mean, if you’re not wearing the right underoos and if you under enough stress, then you may risk getting a yeast infection. It already has an ability to get rid of the germs that grow in and around the body, the vagina. There’s no need to modify that.

3. It Won’t Balance Any Hormones

First off, Minkin says, there are no hormones produced by the uterus or the vagina. “The hormone factory is in the ovaries, and there’s no reason why steam would affect the hormones produced there,” she says. And again, it’s hard to say if the steam even makes it that far.

Welp, usually I would add something here but there you have it. And no, you can directly inject steam into your vaginal canal (please don’t do that) and still, it probably won’t even slip past the cervix, at best.

Frankly, steam cleaning is great for drapes and clothing. Steamers are great for when you’re suffering from head colds. Saunas are nice. Herbal saunas are nice. Steam can be used to power machines. These are all nice things. Steam treatments on the body can be great, up the vaginal canal is not one of them.

Basically, don’t do it.

And it’s almost a week away from the Black Witch live stream, June 9th. I think I should update the time to 7 PM EST if I haven’t already. The reason for this livestream is because Black Witch will be in its sixth year, it’s the Black Witch 6th Anniversary. W00t. The livestream will be via the Black Witch Fan Page on Facebook, so get in on that.

Alrighty then, let’s talk about a subject that I don’t usually broach: hair. I don’t really care about it but as it has come up a lot in recent days, let’s get down to it and all its nonsense politics.

As of recent, Beyonce put out a visual album called “Lemonade”. It definitely seems the whole world wound up watching it. I usually don’t care for anything Beyonce since I grew up with Destiny’s Child, as well as countless other acts such as 702 and Total, therefore it’s all just background sounds but I definitely saw the artistic visuals (I’m a sucker for short films) so I gave it a go. I never thought people would hyperfocus on the phrase “better call Becky with the good hair”…but then again, I’m Black and I forgot that Beyonce has a multitude of White fans, who took this and ran with it like a Klansman with a people-hunting license.

Ok, if you’re White (mainly White girls) and you’re saying “I’m Becky with the good hair”, to a Black person’s ears, you just said, “Segregation now, intergration never. Trump for president. Why don’t Black people bleach their skin and straighten their hair if they want to be accepted? Ugh, dirty porch monkeys.”

No, seriously, all that in one teeny phrase. This is why blindly stealing cultural terminology, idioms and phrases are a bad idea.

If you’re thinking, “Beyonce said all this about herself! I thought she liked being Black!” She does. When a Black person talks about a “Becky with the good hair”, she’s saying: “I am culturally disrespected time and time again because my skin is dark, my hair is nappy. I’m forever devalued, regardless what I do because I have ‘bad’ hair. Everyone likes you more if you have that ‘good’, straight hair like White girls do. What bullsh*t.” It’s mainly racist when a White person says it, an expression of the existence of racism when a Black person says it, and I’ll be going into the why below.

Let’s break it down in two compartments: “Becky” and “Good Hair” because I think if you’re going to be a mentally dense White girl (a ‘Becky’), you may want to get it straight, especially if you’re the feminist type – doubly so if you have a Tumblr because frankly, this is really stupid.

“Becky”
We’re going to start here with some history. Actually, no, we’re going to start here with a reference from the extremely well-written column from Damon Young of Very Smart Brothas, titled “Where ‘Becky’ Comes From, and Why It’s Not Racist, Explained“:

“For years, ‘Becky’ has been used as a general reference for a particular type of White woman….It’s actually easier for me to say whether a White woman would be considered a Becky than it is to explain the criteria. Hillary Clinton? Not a Becky. Natalie Portman? Not really a Becky. Taylor Swift? The Beckiest. Iggy Azelea? Darth Becky. There are several theories on its etymology, but the one that makes the most sense is that it stems from the first line of ‘Baby Got Back.’

“Oh, my, god. Becky, look at her butt”

And cue to the video in reference! “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix ALot, everyone. Pay suuuuuuuuuuuper close attention to the intro.

In the intro, the unnamed girl is talking to her friend Becky and this is what she says:

“Oh. My. God. Becky, look at her butt. It is so big. She looks like one of those rap guys’ girlfriends. Who understands those rap guys, ugh? They only talk to her because she looks like a total prostitute, okay? I mean, her butt. It’s just so…big…ugh, I can’t believe it’s so round – it’s like, out there – I mean, ugh, gross. Look! She’s just so…Black.”

And then we go into the song that is worth its own race x gender deconstruction but here ya have it, the whole kit and kaboodle. This name, Becky, is what stuck. (I can already hear some apologist going, “technically, Becky never said any of that, so it isn’t her to blame so [blah blah blah bs]”, dude…no one cares. Also, it isn’t like Becky ever says, “Chill it, Sarah. She’s ok the way she is, gawd. You’re, like, so racist. No wonder Chad cheated on you at the Spring Formal.”) Now, this first line was an ear catcher then and, trust, it is now. Nicki Minaj sampled that exact line “Oh. My. God. Becky, look at her butt,” for her pop song “Anaconda”. Actually, I believe Sir Mix ALot added to it with the hook “My anaconda don’t/My anaconda don’t/My anaconda don’t want none unless you got buns, hon.”

This, in academia, is what you actually would call “cultural intertexuality”. It’s nifty and all over the place in hip hop…because it’s a creative art form, like any other art form.

Alright, back to the racist duo, featuring Jank and Silent Becky. This is what White girls unknowingly are refering to, time and time over when they’re referencing Beyonce in “Lemonade”. Not smart. Actually, Young references what a “Becky” stereotype is:

“Admittedly, referring to White women as “Becky” isn’t particularly nice, but it’s ultimately a reaction to a certain type of privileged young White woman who exists in a state of racial obliviousness that shifts from intentionally clueless to intentionally condescending. “

I agree. And if any White girl thinks “Becky” is a slur…uhhhhhh, and “Shaniqua/Pedro/Ping-Ping/Ahmed” isn’t? White folks have been dragging us by our names for centuries. The difference is, “Becky” can still get hired, “Shaniqua” has to work twice as hard to get half as much as “Becky”. If anything at all. “Becky” doesn’t make people talk down to you like “Shaniqua” does, even if you’re decorated with degrees. “Becky” doesn’t get the worst assume of her, “Shaniqua” is treated like a criminal from the start. “Becky” isn’t a slur because it’s literally just a name to the rest of society, no baggage. “Shaniqua” has the opposite effect. And if a White girl thinks “Becky” is still a slur, how come it isn’t used against her in common media? How come no one asks her “Why did your parents name you that?” or told “I can’t pronounce that”? “Becky” isn’t a slur, “Becky” is how Black folks, primarily Black women, can commiserate with other Black folks, primarily Black women, about the fact that dealing with Whiteness as the ideal, especially gendered Whiteness, is a real downer.

Even when White girls think that they’re being tongue-in-cheek cute by calling themselves “Becky”, they’re kinda saying “I’m White and proud of it” without throwing up the “Heil Hitler” salute. (Same for “basic”, they’re just saying they’re “worthless, White and proud of it”. That’s just pathetic.) Basically, to the ears and eyes of Black folks – primarily Black women – this is how it comes off:

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But hey, they do have what is culturally defined as “good hair”. And there’s a chance one of them may actually be named “Becky”. They’re just *really* proud of that fact.

Remember, Black girls have a massive hill to climb because of misogynoir (the combo hatred of race and gender). We’re always ragged on by everyone, from mainstream society to even in Black culture, about Whiteness and how we don’t add up. Bottom of the totem pole, last one picked, you get the idea. In Black culture, there’s even an idea of “marrying up” when you have a White partner, especially for a Black guy. Because of that ideal, that means the most basic Becky can show up, and she’s a hot commodity (think about the rise of Iggy Azelea) but a Black girl means nothing until she does something about her skin, body features and that hair….Oooh, that nappy, headed hair has got to go! ‘Cuz she ain’t gonna find herself no man until she got some good hair he can run his fingers through.

Speaking of ingrained cultural bullsh*t, let’s get to the second part:

“Good Hair”
Ahh, the hair debacle. If you’re a White girl, you’ll never have to go through this. Black? It’s a load of misery, regardless of texture.

It was an absolute pain for me when I went natural (stopped straightening my hair) because, maaaaaan, is Black hair politicized to the point I felt like I needed a Post Doc just to buy shampoo and a comb. It’s the first thing everyone will pick on in regards to success in life for a Black woman/girl. Wanna get a job? “You’re not gonna straighten your hair? They won’t hire you.” Wanna get a date? “No one is gonna love you with that Angela Davis nonsense you got on your head. Men don’t care about that, they like straight hair.” Wanna be seen as not threatening? “You look like a Black Panther. Lolz, why do you hate White people? All I said was it was ‘All Lives Matter’ makes more sense than ‘Black Lives Matter’.” Wanna have your humanity respected? “I just had to pet you, you remind me of my dog! So fluffeh! I just wanna shave it all off, stuff it all in my pillow and sleep on it” Wanna buy shampoo that’s for your hair texture? “Try the ‘ethnic’ aisle. It will be an arm and a leg. But there are perm kits there, too! Get all that ‘jungle’ out your hair and look cute.”

Now, let’s get into the Bad Hair/Good Hair debate.

Thankfully, there’s India Arie “I Am Not My Hair” music video to give us all a great starting point.

To pinpoint, her description is “Good hair means curls and waves/Bad hair means you look like a slave”.

Y’see, “good” hair emulates mainly European hair, which is a “nice” curly to an “ideal” straight. “Bad” hair basically means you have African ancestry because no one has hair like us. In its natural state, Black hair can break combs, be absolutely huge, and – when not cared for correctly – be a big pain in the rear for the person who decided to go natural.

Good hair/Blac- I mean, Bad hair has been ingrained in Black folks since we were first dragged here. Ditto with skin bleaches and “fixing” your nose. To get straight hair, you have to chemically alter it or use plain fire-like heat. You’ll have chemical burns on your scalp (just google the ingredients on a Black hair perm kit…try the brand “African Pride”. (Yes, the name. The internalized racism)) or third degree burns on your ears and scalp. But society will like you better for it, though! Just yells “Less dangerous” and “not angry” and “totes believe racism died when Obama went into office.” Don’t like using harsh science to fry your scalp? How about shelling out major cheddar for weaves, wigs and braids? Think you won’t need it? Fine, go see if you can land a job.

Actually, T-Pain said it best (yes, guys got their hair conked as well. What, you thought European ideals of beauty only affected Black Women?):

At this point in history, the present, Black girls are kiiiiiiiiinda tired of the “straight hair is good hair” chicanery. Especially with the waves of women going natural, the prejudice is still buried deep. Good hair should mean “hair that is well cared for, regardless of texture”, not “hair similar to White girls”. But still, it doesn’t. And it still can make Black women and girls feel like crap about themselves. Even Beyonce. Her hair is not naturally straight. If you’ve seen a picture of Solange Knowles, her sister, then you basically have a pretty accurate picture of what Beyonce’s hair would look like in a totally natural state. Why it isn’t in the natural state is perfectly up to Beyonce. Because it’s her hair. Because that’s how personhood works.

Luckily for everyone, there’s a documentary about this, called “Good Hair”, made by comedian Chris Rock. That’s where the T-Pain and co. clip came from. Here’s some more!

That’s a playlist of varied snippets. I really recommend watching the whole documentary. It is as comedic as it is informative.

And here’s a last bit from Tatyana Ali in her interview with VladTv, it’s really good.

Basically, considering yourself a “Becky with the good hair” is pretty insulting to Black people because of all the issue it’s brought us. Oh, and if you think you’re clever, Nivea thought the same with this ad:

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Yeah, not cool. It’s ok to say, “I have nice hair”, but don’t recite Beyonce on a socio-cultural and racially gendered struggle you literally have no idea about. It just sounds so…basic.

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