You are a writer, so write. I will never tire of saying this. What I will leave you with as this series closes is just that—write. Be willing to stand on what you believe in, what you know, what you want to know more about—and … Continue reading The Burden Of The Pen: “Here Is What I Have To Say…”
Note: This poem is from the collection Thoughts In A Pandemic, available on Amazon. Running and saving This is all which can Be done. The saving of time And lives and money All as tears of frustration come As sunrises do. Running and saving, This … Continue reading 30 DAYS OF JAYE: Running & Saving
When you begin any type of social justice work, activism or diversity training, you have to understand how often these words will come up! You have to understand that inclusion, equality and equity are going to mean different things to different people! As cliched as … Continue reading #BlackBlogsMatter Challenge-Week 6 (2021)
It is a hellified thing to go to work everyday knowing your managers think your existence is an issue!
At my current day job, I have actually heard the following phrases:
“I’m so sick of these protests.” My nurse manager said this. This woman hires and fires people.
“I’m tired of hearing about Black Lives Matter.” A nurse I work with said this.
Now, understand this. I am a proud Black woman, working in a White space, with White people whom have no idea what it is like to be either Black or female. They have no idea that when I get in my car to either drive to or from work, I am hyperaware of police. They have no idea the true reason why I don’t friend co-workers on social media!
The work answer: “I’m really not on social media like that.”
The real answer: “There is no way in God’s creation I will give you people they kind of access to me when I KNOW how you feel about my Blackness! You just want to spy on me!”
Look, I have children. I have rent. Car payments. And it is a global pandemic! I need my job…and yet I have to navigate these spaces as Black, woman and activist. I realize that my activism is a deterrent and target in spaces where I don’t have agency. Right now? I don’t have agency.
But, there’s a work around for that. I keep the Activist Self and Employed Self separate. Employed Jenn can’t say/do what Employed Jenn can! And I’m learning that. I can be both, do both…and still block everyone I work with on social media.
All opinions are my own and based on science as well as experience as a health care worker. If people don’t listen, this is about to be bad. No, it’s already bad! It’ll be worse…-JBHarris.
I admit it. When I first heard the phrase Flu Klux Klan, I screamed laughing. I was laughing right behind my N-95 rebreather mask. You know, the masks Orange Thanos believes US healthcare workers don’t need?
This situation is asinine.
I am convinced that America is the craziest place to live when shit is not actively on fire—but it is a dystopian novel when there is something actively on fire.
Octavia E. Butler tried to tell us! Did we listen?! Nooooo.
Only in the greatest nation in the world do people actively protest again their own self-interests, personal safety and health concerns. These folk are misinterpreting Bible verses, American history, and issues pertaining to women’s health and personhood.
If I wasn’t alive to see this, I would swear it was a book. It would have to be a book! We have an evil leader with sycophant supporters, a rebel base and are in the middle of multiple social crises! If we were burning books this would be Fahrenheit 451!
And legit? I’m scares something Orwellian like this will happen next!
But you know what? They are absolutely right! They have the right to feel how they want—even if that means endangering their own lives.
Their own lives.
Now, since these folk clearly have the brainwashing buckets on their heads the aquatic life in the Spongebob Squarepants move did, let me offer this.
If they do test positive for COVID-19, send them home. That’s right! Send them home. They should not have access to healthcare for a virus they said does not exist! These people are carrying assault weapons into government buildings while Black folk are being put out of Wal-Mart for wearing masks. Make this make sense!
You want to know why they don’t want to be in the house? The government told them they weren’t special! This is White supremacy having a tantrum. No more, no less. How does one make sense of insanity? Hint: you don’t. This folk are used to the government policing the behavior of other (read: Black, Brown, other people of color or Indigenous People) not them (read: White people). The government is supposed to let them do what they want, and oppress other people! This isn’t about health or “give me liberty or give me COVID-19.”
Side note: That is the stupidest effing sign one could make.
This is about whether or not people can trust their government and believe what they say! If there was ever a time to trust the government—or God forbid, pay attention, it’s now!
You have the right to die, yes! But you do not have the right to kill the rest of us because you don’t want to listen and you voted for Blackbeard the Pirate! GOH! As for me and mine, we will believe God and Dr. Fauci. And watch the world burn from inside the house. Go outside if you want to! Be around a whole lot of folk if you want to! The Death Industry is recession proof. And open graves are just the wide screams of the disbelieving.
Wash your hands. Avoid large groups of people. Wear masks. Don’t let the Wile E. Coyote, Super Genius win. He ain’t won’t come to your funeral or even notice you’re dead. He looks at the sun because he can’t believe anything is lighter or whiter than him.
[images taken from author’s social media]
There is something heinous dwelling in a person when they can take the life of someone they were once in a romantic relationship with.
The fact these men, these recent murderous human beings, could take the lives of women they say they love is monstrous. It cannot be ignored. It cannot be glazed over or explained away.
It is deeper than a character flaw.
It it broader than being labeled abusive.
Women have the right to autonomy and self-preservation. We as women have the right to say, “This situation is toxic, harmful and detrimental to my well being and safety. I will not allow it to continue.”
It is beyond wanting a ring back. It is more than vouching for an evil person’s character when they know how to act in public. Every time this happens to a woman, there is a power that leaves the world. There is an essence, purely and beautifully female, that leaves the world. And for what? Only because a man could not trap, trick or own her? For that cause she must perish? And by his hand?
When will we as women matter?
When will our safety matter?
When will our cries, bruises and worries matter?
WHEN WILL THE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PERPETRATED AGAINST BLACK AND BROWN WOMEN MATTER?
It is beyond wanting a ring back and cannot be cheapened to that! The fact there are men and women that adhere to this logic have no respect or acknowledgement of their own power, autonomy or self-determination!
We must value women, Black women especially, when they say abuse is happening to them. We must not continue the lie that is toxic and hyper masculinity. It is killing us. They are killing us!
How long will blood be the demand for those whom cannot fathom they are not the chosen? Yet, in not being chosen, their maleness doesn’t die. Perhaps these perpetrators, these man-cloaked animals, will remember a “No,” will not kill you, nor define your worth as a man.
Only you as your own man will. The power of that determination solely marked and forged by your character. Perhaps it is a show of the fallen world where the one whom is to protect, love and shelter, in his twisted form, only kills steals and destroys.
At the time of this posting, Michael Brown, Sr. called for the current St. Louis County Prosecutor, Wesley Bell, to reopen this case. Read more about that here.
I have lived in St. Louis Metropolitan area for the greater part of my life. When Michael Brown, Jr. was murdered by Darren Wilson–five years ago yesterday–there was no part of me that questioned why he killed him. None!
I have seen first hand how and why the police departments in St. Louis City and County treat Black people, and people of color. I have seen how police officers were used, are used to intimidate, corral, and control Black people and people of color! I have seen White officers in Black neighborhoods, and never felt protected. I have seen the extent police officers in this region will reach to in order to protect their own. Or, when they must control the social narrative.
I have seen the farce that is Blue Lives Matter. The flag is toliet paper. Tell a friend.
When Wesley Bell won this election last year against Robert ‘Bob’ McColloch, my heart was overwhelmed. But, I had no peace. I had no peace because this is, still is, Missouri–or as some people refer to it as Mississippi North. There are still towns in this state I do not feel comfortable driving in, through or towards because of the general feeling of distrust, fear and unease! The fact is, this police officer killed this young man. He killed him because pro-police culture, city government indifference, and the fact Bob McCulloch’s father was supposedly killed on duty–by a Black man no less? Oh, why would Officer Darren Wilson of the Ferguson Police Department with White police chief Tom Jackson, with County Prosecutor McCulloch in office not think he would be protected?
As it was with the first chattel slaves beaten on whims; to slaves raped and murdered; to slave patrols and klansmen whom have day jobs as law enforcement, murder of Black men by nefarious men with social clout is not new! Police officers are not an endangered, as the token Black pundit, Candace Owens, is paid to say. The lies police officers tell to control the narrative are endangered! The worship of law enforcement as an unquestionable entity is endangered!
Police are being questioned, and people are not liking their answers. People are questioning the merit, skillsets and honor of those called to protect and serve: who do neither!
I am not shocked that Ferguson exploded. It was time. It has been time. I regret the circumstances. I regret the fires. I regret the loss of faith in the police. But I do not regret being angry! I do not regret being vocal, for marching or for being on the ground! I do not telling a White woman in Webster Groves, Missouri this:
“Wait until they kill your son! You have no problems, ma’am. You wake White ma’am! You wake White!”
I make no apologies for being angry.
This young man was old enough to be my brother. Or son! As a mother, I could never have sat in the house as this unfolded around me and my surrounding community. We have every right as a people to be enraged! We are no longer pleading for attention, and sometimes a riot is the best way to let people know you are no longer playing with them!
It is not longer okay to kill men, women and children whom are Black and think no one is going to say something! We are tired of seeing our children become ancestors due to the zeal and impunity of badged Reapers! The police are not the keepers of a city–the people are.
I want Wesley Bell to reopen this case. I want to know exactly what Bob McCulloch told the grand jury that made them think this was okay; why he never challenged Darren Wilson on the lies he told; I want him to slap Tom Jackson with the things he hates: facts. I want the lawyers that lied for McCulloch to be disbarred!
I want the wrath of the law to be felt by the powerful! What better way to demonstrate that power than to confront a chief tenet of white supremacy: police officers. You cannot kill with impunity. You cannot serve at convenience. Protection does not make exemptions for race, and Blue lives don’t exist.
If your protection and service are steeped in racism, which dehumanizes me or invalidates my life along with those I love, a riot should be the least of your worries.
According to my mother, my maternal great grandfather, Dave George, was murdered by the Klu Klux Klan. Within this dark family lore, I was told he was murdered because he wouldn’t give up his land. I am aware that when one dons a MAGA hat, it is more convenient than wearing the white hood. It’s portable. Less messy. Then, you can tell people when you wear it you are a racist– you ‘just believe in what the POTUS is doing.’ In critiquing the current state of the country, in calling the POTUS to any accountability, your retort is ‘you hate America.’
However, whenever you see some of these ardent supporters, especially in careers of helping or influence, they always have sunglasses on with their hats. One interview which struck me was when a nurse, in the full MAGA regalia of cap and glasses, said that she supported the president because ‘he says what I think.’
This had me thinking.
With the addition of the Civil Rights Amendments to the Constitution, Title X, and the continued press for racial/gender equality, these archaic pre-antebellum notions have not gone anywhere. Just like the story of my Grandfather Dave, the story his killers told remained in their families as well! This is why you see these seemingly civil White folk relishing in this ideology!
Perhaps they, too, sat at the knees of their grandparents, or outside of locked doors and heard the stories. They heard the rumors. They heard the stories about the cutting off a left ears. Of lynch mobs. Perhaps they even heard the stories of these same grandparents–whom where once children–going to lynch parties, watching living, strong, Black bodies become strange fruit. With horror, then glee. The power is what they covet, what they believe is missing. What these generations previous and current believe they have to instill is the belief that to be White is to be powerful, and anything that is not White is to be removed, repressed, oppressed or subdued. This is one of the tenants of White supremacy.
What this election has done is expose the veneer of racial civility–completely. What we are left with now, which much be reconciled with is why do people of this seeming elite ethnicity believe they are superior to anyone else? Ergo, to ensure that power, this superiority, it has be reinforced generation, after generation. The adages have to be repeated, embellished, and ingrained. The rights of others, the equitable treatment of people of variant backgrounds have to be seen as an infringements to the right to do as you want. Infringements on power structure of a society they have to be indoctrinated to believe they are entitled to run!
White supremacy is a straw man for weak minded individuals with no sense of self outside of skin tone. It has to be reinforced: it is a legacy that demands ignorance at the cost of progress. At the cost of inclusion. At the cost of life, health and well-being. When that is exposed so that it can be dismantled, the layers of this fallacy are exposed! We see that is built on things that are not based in reality; quantifying everything unlike you as other, evil or foreign. That is not reality.
What must be addressed in this time of what can only be called MAGA fascism is no one wants to say it with their chest! You want to hide behind hats, glasses, fake accounts and bots and retweets! But you won’t go to the job that pays you and spout this lunacy! Why? There are parameters in place which you respect because there are consequences! There are are bigger things at stake than you calling your boss a slur because they got promoted and they don’t look like you!
Racism costs. It will always those whom cannot afford to pay. On and in the chances when the opportunity to confront those whom perpetuate this poison are called out and confronted–with tangible, economic repercussions–they feign ignorance. Suddenly everything was misconstrued, miscommunicated, and through the tears we hear the choruses of “that’s not what I meant!” are always heard.
The thing is, these things are meant. Anything that is taught, is a form of discipline. Memorization, a deposit to use for later. A weapon needed in specific situations. They meant it! They mean it every time they put this hat on–because their decedents meant it every time they gathered rope. Or raped mothers. Or took land. They mean what they say–racists don’t have the acumen to pay the cost because the world doesn’t, isn’t lily white anymore.
And if you hate me, at least do the dignity of your betters and say it to my face–and not behind a tweet. Or a hat. Or the hat-glasses combo. Say it with your chest.
“If you can only be tall, when someone is on their knees, you have a serious problem.” -Toni Morrison
When you see the world burn down,
should it not comfort you with exceeding joy?
(c) JBHarris, 2019
The march of feet, with the sound of thunder
are made more blessed than the missing church bells.
(c) JBHarris, 2019
We believe that life will change, so nevertheless
we continue–and so doing, scare the monsters away.
(c) JBHarris, 2019
May justice come swift to those
who are tired of running after it.
(c) JBHarris, 2019
Is it justice to serve,
and never be found to be at fault?
(c) JBHarris, 2019
It is in the pursuit of justice that I,
and those that run with me, cannot stop.
(c) JBHarris, 2019