In last week’s Mommie Dearest column, I wrote about Debra Harrell, a South Carolina mother who was arrested for “abandoning” her nine-year-old daughter at a park while she worked at a nearby McDonald’s. (Just yesterday we learned that Harrell has been let go from her job.) I had mentioned in my post that Harrell is Black, prompting a few folks to ask why I needed to note her race. Instead of penning my own response, I thought it would be a good idea to hear from women of color who are mothers. We gathered for a virtual roundtable to discuss Harrell’s situation and explorehow race impacts motherhood in the United States today. Meet:
Our conversation begins after the jump: Keep reading »
A world without abortion is unsustainable for Black women. The barriers that exist to basic healthcare make it a fundamental necessity to have the constitutional right and unobstructed access to terminate a pregnancy we cannot carry to term. If you hold the belief that a person should not exercise their constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy under any circumstances, I challenge you to read to the last paragraph. Open yourself up to the possibility that there is more room for discussion, more opportunities for compassion, and that a world can exists where allowing Black women to choose for themselves, devoid of judgment, when to be pregnant.
Every day we make dozens of decisions: what to wear, what to eat, and with whom to spend our precious time, among other things. Some of us are privileged to have more decision-making power than others. And all decisions are made in the context of our everyday lives; where we live, what we look like, into which circumstances we were born, etc. One consequence of decision-making is being given the benefit of the doubt by the people around you; that is, being trusted that you are deciding for yourself the best thing to do. Unfortunately, this value isn’t extended to everyone, especially not Black women who still bear the burden of genuine mistrust. Keep reading »
I previously wrote a piece for The Frisky that briefly detailed the racism I discovered while working on a research thesis on prostitution in New York City. I explained to readers that in the sex work industry, White, Asian and Hispanic women receive higher payments than their Black counterparts and often times, many Black women are blatantly discriminated against. I also stated that the racist reality Black women face in sex work simply offers a glimpse into the world of racism that women of color face daily, in mainstream society. Many rushed to criticize that piece, claiming that such disparities in pay are as a result of “individual preference,” not because of racism, since we are after-all, “post-racial.”
However, as I stated previously, sometimes racism rears its head in such an ugly way that it can no longer be denied. Such an instant arose recently when Sande Alessi, a White female casting director posted this casting call (which has since been removed) or a new upcoming film “Straight Outta Compton.” The ad read:
SAG OR NON UNION CASTING NOTICE FOR FEMALES-ALL ETHNICITIES- from the late 80′s. Shoots on “Straight Outta Compton”. Shoot date TBD. We are pulling photos for the director of featured extras. VERY IMPORTANT – You MUST live in the Los Angeles area (Orange County is fine too) to work on this show. DO NOT SUBMIT if you live out of the area. Nobody is going to be flying into LA to do extra work on this show – and don’t tell me you are willing to fly in. Keep reading »
Saturday evening on her Instagram profile, R&B singer Ciara debuted a new hairstyle: waist-skimming loc extensions. The style, a temporary version of the loc-ed hair many Black people of all genders sport, sparked discussion both among fans and style outlets.
One in particular, People magazine’s StyleWatch section, posted a story Tuesday about Ciara’s newest mane and stirred a dialogue about far more than trendy summer hair colors. Associate Style Editor Brittany Talarico noted that Ciara is set to wed fiancé Future in a “very elegant affair,” then said immediately afterward in parentheses that the wedding was “another reason [People thinks] she’ll ditch the dreads.”
While the phrase has since been removed, the undertones of Talarico’s words were not lost on some Black readers. YouTube comedienne, natural hair guru and Upworthy curator Franchesca Ramsey pointed out People’s words on her blog shortly after the article was posted. A Black woman with dreadlocks herself, Ramsey noted that the article suggests Ciara could not possibly want to keep her loc extensions for an “elegant” wedding—meaning the locs extensions themselves cannot be elegant. Keep reading »
“You guys know about vampires? … You know, vampires have no reflections in a mirror? There’s this idea that monsters don’t have reflections in a mirror. And what I’ve always thought isn’t that monsters don’t have reflections in a mirror. It’s that if you want to make a human being into a monster, deny them, at the cultural level, any reflection of themselves. And growing up, I felt like a monster in some ways. I didn’t see myself reflected at all.” — Junot Díaz
As a kid, I never tried to sneak out of the house. It’s not that I was a stickler for the rules (sorry, Mom) — it’s just that all the wonders I could ever want to explore didn’t exist outside the confines of my home. They were waiting for me when I woke up each morning, tucked neatly into the hallway bookshelves whose ever-expanding ranks housed J.K. Rowling, Leo Tolstoy, Judy Blume, and Sarah Dessen. Keep reading »
I understand that an employee at the Louis Vuitton Townhouse in London’s Selfridges department store, after being subjected to many of your humiliating, infuriating, racist rants, recorded one of your many outbursts. In your recently outed diatribe, you allegedly state: “Black people are slaves who eat dirt off the floor.” I’m hopeful you’ve come to realize the gravity of your predicament, considering your actions on behalf of Louis Vuitton will be tried in court on the grounds of racial discrimination and harassment; restitution for which could cost your employer millions of dollars. It’s hard to imagine you’ll work in the industry again, but my concern for your future work-placement is less pressing at this particular moment. Your hate and ignorance is also of lesser importance.What is more deeply troubling is the prevalent racism found in the high fashion industry of which you are a representative — well, were, anyways. Keep reading »
New York City has reached a $40 million settlement with the five wrongfully convicted men who as teenagers were falsely accused and imprisoned for an attack on a jogger.
In 1989, a white female investment banker named Trisha Meili was brutally beaten and raped while jogging in Central Park at nighttime. Meili fell into a coma and remembers nothing about the attack. The NYPD pinned the brutality on five Black and Latino teenaged boys, despite the fact that some of the evidence didn’t add up. Keep reading »