Blogging + Social Media + Dating As a Black Feminist

I had a turning point on my blog when I wrote in Feburary of 2010, How Dilla and Zora Helped Me Claim My Crush.

Not only was the post popular, but by and large on of the reasons what I wrote it is because a reader @mistermattnash chided me for being “so political” and asked me to “take the combat boots off and put on some heels”. Well,  I did not agree with his language around gender representations, and I told him. However, given the fact that he is one of my oldest readers (5 years?) I listened. And I wrote about dating.

Because I date and I write about my dating life on my blog I have a pretty stealth attitude about hollering at boo’s, on being attached to them on social media.

Why? Because I have to deliberate about how I interact with folks because when I come online I do not need to be triggered by 5011 racist, sexist things, nor do I need to see an old boo with a new boo, nor do I need to feel like I am censoring MY VOICE because a boo snack is reading. #AllCity is la femme libre.

Why? Because this is MY space. I create it, I cultivate it, I grow it, it is mine. Well, really it is both mine and ours because I share with you all.

Now this became clear to me when Filthy broke up with me nearly three years ago (time flies) and I wanted to call him and Sbot said, “don’t call.”

Me: I want to call.

Sbot: Don’t call. He broke up with you that means you leave him alone. He is in his space.

Me: Pouting. Then I said, “Well I am going to blog about it instead”.

Sbot: Okay, that is fine YOUR BLOG IS YOUR SPACE.

Me: OHHHH word? Ok, I get what you are saying now.

So, when I am dating someone, and I get the sense that we might be kicking it for a while, it always comes to that point where I have to tell them, for a few reasons.

First, they may find it on their own, and then I would have to back pedal and I would look out of pocket. #nobueno.

Second, I may write about them, and that is the kind of thing you tell someone about. Side bar. Good lawd, I was mortified when #aquemini read AND LEFT a comment on my blog post about him. It felt surreal.

Now, when it comes to Goldy, she ain’t really on social media like that but I made her a tumblr, because there are little links and things that I be wanting to send her throughout the day and I HATE when people send me e-mail spam so I try not to do it to others. She also don’t really mess around on my blog, because guess what, It’s My Space. And honestly, there are probably some things that she doesn’t WANT to read on here, so she doesn’t come around. When I write something I am proud of, she may read it, and then start editing it because that how she gets down. We are not on FB, she may look over my shoulder at my twitter, or at my tumblr, and I will say scoot back jack.

Now this brings me to a recent tumblr experience. You have to understand that after comps I am not really taking shit off of any one. Writing 49 pages in 72 hours with nearly, I don’t know, 80 citations taught me some things. Mainly that if someone ain’t coming correct, they need to sit down. Comps was like academic boot camp; for Marines.

So, while studying for comps I saw Filthy pop up on my tumblr, and I clicked on it, and was taken to a personal narrative. I was like wooooooah. Too much info. We haven’t spoke in almost two years and I am reading about him. o.O

Now he was my friend and I still consider him to be a friend. I stand by the idea of keeping the door cracked for folks who want to make amends; folks who have grown. I also know that there is an inappropriate way and an appropriate way to do things. So I waited, talked to Court Bear my dating coach about saying something to him, then I decided to wait until he did it again. Well, he did.

So I reached out via email and we had an exchange that was pretty cordial and benign until he said “Well your tumblr is public”.

I flipped out.

Just because a digital space is public doesn’t not mean that it is lawless.

In fact, I have had this conversation with men a few times on the internet, a few of whom I had to block.

The same thinking can be extended to analyzing a woman in public. Well “You did wear that short assed dress outside to go grocery shopping”. So? My body is mine.

My blog is both mine and public.

So let me say two things here.

I wrote anonymously for years. And now because my name is attached to my blog, I have to be prepared to answer for what I say online, in person. Trust me, it happens. It is fine, it forces me to keep it even because a blog post is a record.

Second, I know that if I say something on the internet, that people may or may not respond. I get that. I can also speak back to what they say and do. My digital spaces are not lawless.

Black girls have to deal with enough micro and hyper aggressions in the material world (work, school, the train, the bar) to be subjected to them in the digital world (Tumblr, Facebook, Blogs) as well, and remain silent. Full stop.

So, I had been meaning to write this.

Do you friend boo snacks on social media?

What happens when you stop dealing with each other?

Do you have a social media policy for your boo snacks?

On Dating a Giver

^^^ #NomNomNominaction

For Josephine & For T.dot.

Oooh, Uh Ohhh Dropped your knot, scooped it up put in my sock… ~e. badu

I turned around and I realized that I am dating a giver.

Someone who never lets my IPA get too low,? who makes sure the waitress brings my water with no ice, who understands that I am a monster until I have that iced coffee in the morning, someone who sent me? a text message last week that said “groceries bought.” #ummp.

This was hard to do at first.

I enjoy my freedom.

As women we are socialized to get with the most affluent, attractive person that we meet.? So when all the niceness was getting thick, I was like wait, does this mean I am WITH this person now?

I thought about it, and I have decided to enjoy the attention AND maintain my autonomy.

For me to enjoy this kind of attention, at my own pace and keep my freedom is new and I often don’t know what I am doing. When I admit that though, I remind myself that I am a human being and that I don’t have to be perfect.

I mean, I spoke at the Black Arts Festival in Philly in May and the man came down to meet me and then coordinated his ticket so we could leave Philly together. Who does this? Really?

Him: Yeah, I’ll come see you. Let me know.

Me: You gone come all the way to Philly to marinate with me?

Him: Yeah, just let me know.

#Ummp.

A month ago, speaking to Court Bear, my dating coach and sister, about my desire to run she said, unlace the sneakers, stay still and enjoy it.

It felt good to hear her say that. I mean, the only reason to run from a person treating you nice is because you are scared they are going to leave.

And because I KNOW that I don’t control outcomes, me running would only hurt myself. Not very vulnerable or fearless either.

Speaking to Josephine about it, we were discussing what it means to be desired and just cared for on g.p. and how odd it can feel because as women in general and Black women specifically we are socialized to put everyone else first; Our momma’s, our children, our partners, our jobs.

Never us.

So to be on the receiving end of some care is both comforting and challenging.

Its comforting because its nice when someone makes a snack that YOU like, that YOU can’t wait to eat. Not eating on some obligatory steez, but on some, I REALLY LIKE THIS, nom, nom, nom, and MORE nom.

Its challenging because it has forced me to think about what kind of treatment I have accepted in the past, and the kind of treatment that I will require in the future. There is also the challenge of not comparing how one person treats me versus another, in terms of levels of consideration while dating. I can’t help it sometimes tho’.

You date a giver before?

Were you the giver?

You run? You stay?

How did it feel?

Musing on Steve Harvey and Black Women

^^Thowback For Colored Girls

Two things have me thinking about doing an oral history project on Black Women’s Sexuality/ Life Choices.

The first is reading this line today on sexuality and race in early Philadephia in Sex and the Rabble, An Intimate History of Gender and Power in the Age of? Revolution, Philadelphia 1730-1830.

“White Philadelphian’s racialized constructions of sexuality became important tools in reconstituting racial oppresion without slavery.”

In my mind I thought, wait, so chattel slavery is over, so ya’ll are going to regulate Black women and low income white women (the rabble) by hyper monitoring and regulating our sexuality. Word? word.

It was then that I began to think that? when this democracy gets fragile the hyper regulation of women in general and Black women specifically comes out. Word to the 1980’s.

The second was reading Fallon’s blog post on the Hill Harper + Steve Harvey + Black woman can’t find “no good men” meme…eh?

She writes:

“Yep, I?m going to beat this drum . . . black men are the problems. Perhaps, someone who has a glimmer of common sense? <strike>Hill Harper, Steve Harvey, or Kevin Powell</strike> should write a how-to-book with colorful pictures teaching black men how to become unconventional/atypical black men . . . the kind of man who allows a black woman to be herself . . . the kind man who does not mentally masturbate with black feminist heterosexual women, but who wants a lifetime of memories with her (yep, that?s my personal gripe). . . the kind of black man who believes ?iron sharpens iron, she will make a better black man out of me? . . . the kind of man who will endure many years of psycho therapy to understand his emotions so that he can be an emotionally available father and husband . . . the kind of man who is proud to say I am the husband of such and such using her maiden name . . . the kind of man who will smile and at times grin at her witticism/arguments deeply respecting her thoughts . . . I could go on forever listing how black men can begin to challenge their male privilege, but, hey, Random House is not ain?t giving me no book deal they are too busy running behind the Steve Harvey?s and Tyler Perry?s of the world because clearly they speak for black women [pure sarcasm].”

This really hit me because it spoke to WHO gets to tell WHICH stories, and whose interests are being served by the stories being told.

Fallon goes on to say,

“Once again, I believe there is a political project afoot to make black women to feel woefully inadequate because they lack black hetero-male romantic partnership/marriage. And I think part of the political project is to cloak the dysfunctionality of capitalism and to warn other groups of women what will happen if they stray too far from appropriate feminine behaviors and identities?you will be blamed for the toxic social issues of your community and will be subjected to public ridicule on Nightline and other mainstream news shows?so be a good little girl . . . a ?well behaved? black girl.”

Be a good little Black girl or [Rabid US] Capitalism is coming for that ass, Word?

The voice and who has the right to speak for whom as been on my bird lately.

While doing research for my crack project, I was searching for articles on Friday on the psychology and how Black adolescent boys and girls made sense of the crime brought on by the crack epidemic, and all of the articles were about Black deviant boys and the code of the street. Im like the fuck? I knew dudes that hustled and were in college with good grades. Where is negro deviance in that situation? I was like wow…they really think our boys are animals.

Elijah Anderson’s work, in many ways, is the nucleus of this narrative. Elijah is an Awesome ethnographer, but this “Black boys are deviant” narrative is janky.? Has Anderson read Barry Michael Cooper’s “New Jack City Eats its Young?”

BMC provides both the conditions that allowed the crack epidemic to take root, but also historized it to show how violence works on a generational level and ties the crime commited by youth in the 80’s to the riots that happend in the 60’s in a really Martin Luther Kingian way.

Furthermore, BMC’s piece is the only thing I have seen that tells the story of the hood, on paper, from the ground up, with the voices of people who LIVED during the crack epidemic. But then again, I also just discovered In Search of Respect: Selling Crack in El Barrio, which I am looking forward to reading.

The issue with the pervasiveness of Andersons work is that the Department of Justice cosigns him as the truth and uses his theories to frame their polices on Black adolescent boys and violence.

But back to Steve and them.

Why are Black men on TV talking about WHO Black women are dating.

What does it mean that they are doing it on Nightline?

I am trying to wrap my head around what he is talking about and what I know about my life.

My crew is thorough.

One homie is a lawyer by day, an award winning filmmaker at night, who just completed her first? long form short that WE know will lead to her next deal.

Another runs a really popular blog,? with global reach, and is my writing/networking mentor.

Another homie is a photographer with The Post who is building her chops as a Black conceptual artist and getting ready to blow.

Another is working on teaching at a fancy liberal arts college and working on her dissertation in the north east.

Another is a doctoral student, heavily engaged in criminal justice and work rentry for Black women, church and archival work and a lecturer.

Another is in the throws of her dissertation, will be teaching in the fall and allways takes my phone calls, no matter what time (Love you.)

One more is a manager at a shelter for kids in NYC, who works from 10 to 10, is on call 24 hours a day 3 days a week, is exhausted AND LOVES her work.

You get my point. We thick.

And as I said to @Moyazb earlier today (which was really the genisis of this post,”

“The angst around dating is not at the center of our lives.”

We Live. Love. Work to pay the rent/mortgages. Take care of our nieces and nephews, little brothers and sisters. Make Art. Party. Pray. And try and make all of the people who invested in us over the years proud.

Yes we do trip off of our dating and Love lives,? if we are having a dry spell or a relationship is breaking our heart into hella little pieces, or if a Lover is janky, or we got stood up, or if the person on Match dot come was hot for two weeks then kinda fizzled out, but daggumit.

We human.

But we we ain’t as pressed as Steve and them make it seem. And when we do get that pressed, we feel it (we may marinate in some sorrows) and move on. Or hold on to it UNTIL can move on.

We human.

All this being said.

I am thinking of doing a Black Woman’s Sexuality/ Life choices oral history project.

In talking to @moyazb today,? she brought up how some Black feminists write about dating, but in many ways don’t do it personally which leaves some of what they are saying removed from readers in many ways.

Whereas, I’m trying to do some scholarly Zane shit. And that makes sense you know why? Because my grad school writing sample was based on this blog post. #ummhmm #getithowyoulive

Thoughts?

The Nightline meme as punishment for not being feminine enough in the throws of rabid global capitalism?

Why are Black men talking about Black women’s dating habits?

Rather than be up in our dating lives, why not write about creating healthy Black men?

This N*gga said I couldn’t call him a N*gga.





So I am newly single. I got a lil e-date jawn poppin off. So me and this cat are talking, exchanging info, via email last Thursday morning, in between my evidence assignment. Peep the interaction.

Me: So are you seperated as in she has a drawer fulla pannies in your bedroom and a toothbrush in the bathroom.

Him:No, I am seperated as in you should come over and check and see.

Me: N*ggas allways want to come overy they house when they don’t know you
but when the DO know you, th
ey ain’t want you around.

Him: Please don’t call me a n*gga… blah blah blah.

Me: First of all some of my friends like it, some of them don’t.
b. I ain’t gonna lie like imma change,
b/c I am probably not.
c. My language is connected to my humanity. Therefore in the name
of Zora, short of being @ work or in a professional setting, I am going to

speak the way I see fit.

Thats too bad, because you are cute and smart.

Him:
Yeah, you are sexy too.

Later sweetheart.


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I mention this because I came across the “N” word conference in Alabama.

Clarence Sutton Sr., president of the Tuscaloosa chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, said he’s taken deep offense to the slur since a 1960 incident when a knife-wielding white youth slapped him and said “Nigger, you wanna fight?”

“From that time on in my life, the word nigger was personal. I associated it with the hate and the very deep disdain that this gentleman had perpetrated on me at the time,” he said.

These days, Sutton said, it’s mostly other blacks he finds using the word.

“I’m fighting now because we have lost a generation of young people who don’t know the history associated with that word,” Sutton said.

No. You there are SOME kids in this generations who don’t KNOW a LOT of sh*t about a lot of shit.
Ensuring that they have Critical thinking skills is more effective than some kockamamie conference on N*ggas.

First of all, don’t you think that our resources could be used for better things:

a. Like addressing the sh*t that Bill Cosby keeps ranting about.

b. Revising the Rockefeller mandatory sentencing laws.

c. Holding public school superintendents and Black Mommas and Daddies accountable for being complicit in under education of Black children.

d. Making sure that Black families don’t lose their homes to forclosure as a result of taking a predatory loan.

e. The REBUILDING OF NEW ORLEANS WITH BLACK PEOPLE.

And.

How you gonna have a discussion about the word N*gga w/o the Analysis of and Presence of White people.

For trill.

The word says just as much about us, as it does about them and our history together in this country.

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========= I came in on the slunder w/ a lil Saturday morning post.

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