Many of society’s roles and traditions that govern the male/female relationship have their roots in a single biological imperative: to procreate. We long understood that in order to keep our species from going extinct, certain rules and guidelines must be put in place to help men and women get along and keep it together long enough to produce offspring. So belief systems and institutions were created to reinforce the importance of mating and pairing like gender roles, chivalry, dating and marriage.
That was before technology came about and completely changed the game. Society has already witnessed the great impact birth control like condoms, the pill, shots and other contraceptives which have revolutionized the ways men and women interact and the societal rules that govern those interactions. Gender norms that were once rigid and unchangeable have been transformed in ways unimaginable. Without the constant of pregnancy, women and men can more freely express their sexuality and desires. Keep reading »
When riots broke out after citizens of Ferguson took to the streets to protest the murder of Mike Brown by a police officer, the media was littered with imagery and stories of violent and savage Black people destroying the city. To a large extent, those images overshadowed the reason for the protests and even gave some the reason to excuse the mistreatment, oppression and brutality faced by African-American people struggling against an often unfair judicial and legal system. The painting of the African-American population as violent is a common tactic used to derail and misdirect necessary conversations about the racism and discrimination that still plagues the nation. This is especially evident after witnessing how the media treats “Black” riots vs “White” ones. While there is no “good” reason for a riot, some are most certainly better than others. To combat these stereotypes, let’s explore some reasons why Americans, both black and white, riot.
Last week, I had a stalker experience that left me feeling very uneasy. I frequent a Starbucks about a mile away from my house and sometimes just spend the entire day there writing. On one particular afternoon, a young man came into the cafe. I just happened to look up at that same exact moment and we made eye contact. I politely smiled, then returned to my work.
The following day, I was walking my dog on my street, when a very familiar guy approached me.
“Hey, what’s your dog’s name?” he questioned.
“Um, it’s Sam,” I responded casually then noticed his face look very familiar.
“Hey, didn’t I see you yesterday at Starbucks?” I asked the stranger. He haphazardly nodded, responded, “Yeah, I think so.” Then we both said goodbye and parted ways.
I didn’t think too much of it at first. I figured the guy just happened to live on my street. A coincidence, right? That was until I got home and checked my Facebook inbox and noticed one unread message in my “other” folder. Keep reading »
In case you are unaware, there is something called “The Whiteness Project.” Per the website, the project, from documentary director Whitney Dow, is “a multiplatform investigation into how Americans who identify as ‘white’ experience their ethnicity.” The first installment, titled “Inside the White Caucasian Box,” was released a few days ago and is an assemblage of interviews of 24 Buffalo, New York, residents who identify as “White.” To further explain the aims of the project, the website provides an “Artistic Statement” that poses some of the poignant questions that are explored in the interviews:
While many media projects have investigated the history, culture, and experiences of various American ethnic minorities, there has been much less examination of how white Americans think about and experience their whiteness and how white culture shapes our society. Most people take for granted that there is a “white” race in America, but rarely is the concept of whiteness itself investigated. What does it mean to be a “white”? Can it be genetically defined? Is it a cultural construct? A state of mind? How does one come to be deemed “white” in America and what privileges does being perceived as white bestow?
Keep reading »
This piece does not target all men. It is geared towards the demographic of Peter Pans among the male population who, regardless of age just refuse to grow up. They are the dudes who believe they are working towards a gig that will be extremely lucrative in the long run, but in the interim they are 30+ year-old living on sofas, in a basement, unemployed and broke playing video games day in and day out or producing something mediocre that more than likely will never take off.
They are the men who aspire to be “music producers,” “paid gamers,” “actors”, “rappers,” who have yet to make it in the business, but believe they are right on the brink of a huge break through. And who knows, one out of every couple million of these dudes, perhaps, will do something great. But many simply will not and they do not have a back-up plan to fall back on in the case of failure because they just know that they are going to be successful. Keep reading »
Before the movement to end street harassment really gained steam, I penned an essay about my childhood experiences as a poor, Black girl. In the piece, I detailed an interaction I had, at 11 years old with a group of men more than two times my age, where they publicly sexually harassed me while on my neighborhood street. The piece expressed the hurt, anger and rage that is buried so deep within me after decades of feeling unsafe in this world just because I am woman. This was the story of how I learned that my entire being was defined, in this society, by my sexuality. Not my intelligence, not my humor, not my wit, but access to my body.
I looked back on that piece and felt all the fears and anxiety that I have so long tried to cast aside and dismiss. Fears that resurfaced because of stories that two women were brutally attacked within the past couple of days (one of whom lost her life and the other who thankfully is expected to survive), by men who sought to gain access to their sexuality but were denied. Men who invaded the personal physical and emotional space of those women, without any permission or invitation, and murdered them simply because they were made aware of the fact that their advances were not welcomed. Keep reading »