Girl power, do you have it?

My intent today was to write a piece about Obama, but after an impromptu family outing, I decided to scrap that plan at least for today since there are more than enough folks out in the blogosphere commenting on Barry and his changing tide.

Today’s title comes from an incident with my girl aka mini-me today. On the way back from the beach today, mini-me wanted some ice cream, so we pulled into the parking lot of a local place, now the plan had been to get the ice cream and roll but mini-me wanted to sit out in the grass and eat her ice cream. However the menfolk, spousal unit and elder child aka the boy, didn’t initially want to go with the plan; so Mama being the goofball she is said well girls rule so we are eating outside because we have girl power… I know this is corny as hell but mini-me immediately liked that phrase and decided to run around screaming girl power.

Now, some of y’all might be groaning, day-um you are pretty corny up there in Maine, sista. True, I won’t lie but as I was thinking about it just a moment ago, it dawned on me that when I was growing up I never quite got the message that girls had power and I suspect I am not the only woman of a certain age whose folks talked about girls being able to do anything but truth is they didn’t walk the walk. Don’t get me wrong my folks did not explicitly say that I was limited by my gender but honestly, actions speak louder than words and while my little brother who I love dearly, was always supported in his endeavors by my folks, truth is that I was not. I suspect some of the choices I made earlier in life were a direct result of not quite believing that as a girl I had any power.

I have often heard how in Black families girls and boys are raised in different ways and I do believe there is some truth in that, I also think the ways we are are raised or perhaps conditioned by gender also plays a role in the angst that exists today between brothas and sistas.

For me in raising my daughter, my hopes for her are that hopefully she won’t make any of the silly ass mistakes I made like seeking love instead of seeking herself nor confusing lust for love. Instead I want her rooted and grounded in knowing who she is (I also hope she comes to know the Lord to) and having the faith to know she can accomplish anything and that she is not limited by her gender but that inherent in being a woman comes with power.

So, I say to all the ladies that read this, take a moment and look for your own inner girl power, if you are raising a girl, make sure she knows she has girl power. For the men, don’t be afraid to let the ladies in your life know that they have girl power and don’t feel threatned by that power.

Yes, there really are Black folks in Maine

I originally wrote this post in 2008, but considering the number of people who find my blog by searching for Black people in Maine, it’s still worth reading. Hope to have some new posts up soon, but work and life are kicking my butt!

I was recently surfing and reading other blogs as I do almost daily, and I posted a comment on another blog and some idiot actually questioned whether I was really in Maine, after all there are no Black folks in Maine or New Hampshire as the not so enlightened poster told me.

Anyway being that its Monday and I getting back into my weekday groove, I figure that I would let that comment launch me into a post for today.

Maine is geographically large but population wise its a small rural state, in the northeast corner of the United States, we border the ocean, Canada and New Hampshire and while it it is one of the whitest states in the US, there are Black folks here along with Asians, Latinos, Native Americans, and a host of other folks.

When I moved here 6 years ago from Chicago, it used to amuse me when I would either be back in Chicago or traveling someplace and somehow the fact that I lived in Maine would come up… honestly no matter the race of the person I was talking to, they would look at me like a space martian with what I call the does not compute look on their face. At first I used to get a kick out of that look but a certain point, it just started to irritate me. I mean really, what the hell is so unbelievable about a Black woman in Maine? Yes,its cold here and it snows a lot. Then again I am from the mid-west where it also gets cold, actually in winter its colder back in Chicago then here, that said Maine gets more snow hands down.

The next best question is what do you do in Maine? Um… I don’t know, what the fuck do you do anywhere? Seriously, I live life, I work, manage my home, tend to my kids, catch a movie occasionally, eat, you know shit you can do anyplace. Really life does not stop when you are Black and you cease to live in areas with large numbers of other Black folks. That said, I am also not the only Black person in Maine, I have Black friends here, most who have been here a lot longer than me. There are also generations of Black folks here, many whom are very involved in the Black community. Oddly enough I think living here makes us get involved in a way that I never would have done when I lived in Chicago.

Now I will admit that I did not willingly move to Maine, there were a lot of pressing reasons that I had to move here but after 6 years, one house and one more kid, I can’t say that I am rushing to leave at the moment. Yes, I do occasionally deal with racism but the reality is when you are Black in America you deal with racism, no matter where you live. In some ways what I deal with here bothers me less than when I was in Chicago, to some degree I can excuse someone who don’t kniw better over the many liberal white folks I used to know back in Chicago who did racist and thoughtless shit on a daily basis.

In the end, I wonder why is it that folks both Black and White continue to see Black folks as this monolithic group steeped in stereotypes hence when they see someone not in the Black box, they can’t figure it out. Maybe its because we are all individuals in the 21st century so really Black folks in Maine, Black folks playing golf or tennis or hell Black folks running for POTUS should cease to be seen as exotic but as part of being individuals doing their thing. After all I know now that not all white folks are rich nor do they all smell like wet dogs (see those are also some silly stereotypes). Its this type of thinking that just keeps us focused on the shit that divides rather on the things that might make us realize we share a lot more in common, especially in the age of financial struggle.

All that said, at the moment I am cool with life in Maine, after all when you live a few minutes from the ocean how can you not dig on that?

Race card… whose really playing it?

Can I just saying I am starting to get really bored by the current election season, its like damn lets just get to November and vote already. Seriously, it seems like this shit has just being going on and on, so much that honestly I have lost a bit of my enthusiasm especially once my man Obama got the nomination and started acting a little strange. That said, I sure as hell ain’t voting for crazy ass McGrampy so unless some real nasty shit comes out about my man Obama, he’s got my vote.

That said, I woke up this morning as I do most mornings listening to NPR and heard the latest in this long crazy trip known as an election season, seems McGramps said Obama played the race card from the bottom of the deck… dayum, he played it from the bottom? For real? Thankfully being NPR, they then played a snippet of what Obama said and well in quick paraphrasing he essentially said that there are some who would tell you I am scary because I don’t look like the other cats who have ran for president, my name is funny, yada, yada.. Um, tell me something I don’t know… shit, how many emails have gone out this year basically saying because the man’s name is Barack Hussein Obama he is a Muslim and ya know them Muslims are scary. Come on, didn’t Hillary herself use coded racial language, like hard working folks aka white folks.

I must admit that after I heard the story, I laughed, shit was funny until I stopped to think about something that I went through last year where I was accused of playing the race card. Long story short, I was teaching at a school where I was only 1 of 2 teachers with an advanced degree, I was the only person of color and after being promised a ft gig with benefits after being worked like a Hebrew slave, I was let go, given some bullshit ass reason. Well turned out a sista was the lowest paid instructor at that joint despite having more education than only one other person, well as you can imagine, my Chicago side came out when I was being let go and I called bullshit. Anyway I was told I was playing the race card, former boss lady got all red in the face and huffy when I said basically I had been screwed and was pissed, of course by throwing in the ole race card, she threw me off my game for a minute. The end is not really relevant since I have been blessed since leaving that shit-hole ass job.

My point though is that incident coupled with many others have revealed to me that it seems when white folks get uncomfortable with Black folks especially us loud mouth ones who won’t back the fuck down, we are accused of using the ole race card. However it seems to me if anything its them using the race card, seems when you are white, you can tell a person of color especially a Black person they are using the race card and it will prevent said white person from taking a look at themselves and taking personal responsibility about a situation.

Call me crazy, but by the rules many whites seem to live under that is definitely playing the race card and playing it from the bottom. No, McCain is feeling bitter and clinging to outdated ideas, so its better to attack Obama on bullshit than to create his own real platform.

McGrampy, shame on you for playing the race card, by the way is that the Amex Black card you have?