A Soft Ratchet

Where the smartest Chickenheads roam

Posts tagged race

4 notes &

Gender Chicken

I have this thing against moving out the way for white men. Like, you know, when you are walking down a path and someone is coming towards you on the same path and there is like this game of chicken where one of you has to move to accommodate the other? This is a small enough occurrence that we do this without thinking about it or noticing it, however a while ago I read something by a trans-man who was discussing the small changes he noticed in how people interacted with him as a man versus before. One of the things he noted was that women move out of his way as he walked down the street.  After reading that I became very conscious of how often I was the one moving, particularly when the other person was a white man. So I tried an experiment, what I found was in a crowded mall full of mostly women, teens or children I could walk thru and part the sea of people… yeah it’s a dick move, but I needed a control. However, when I was walking somewhere and there is a white man they would not move.

That was a while ago, at this point I’ve been doing this for years and I can’t tell you how many dudebros I’ve bumped or flat out ran into. I work at a college so I’ve typically got good 10 or more years on the people around me so theoretically you would think the whole ‘elder’ thing would offset the entitlement, but nah I still have collisions pretty often.  This may seem really stupid to some people, like ‘just move out of people way, don’t fuck up the flow of traffic’, but, that, my dear is the point. I am expected to move. I am not saying this is some huge injustice that we need to start some movement about. To me it is more poignant, it shows how entrenched white male privilege and entitlement is in society and in the people it disadvantages. Without thought we make accommodations for the people in power and without thought they expect them. When this is disrupted, they are completely caught off guard. . I have got plenty of dirty looks after bumping or running into people, but no one has ever really said anything to me, but I don’t think there is much you can say. We both saw each other and neither person moved so we bumped each other. If one of us should say “why didn’t you move; watch where you are going!” the other could respond with the same.

 Men of color may not experience this as much since they are seen as dangerous so people may move for them, but if you are a woman, particularly a woman of color I suggest you try this. However, before you can stop doing it you have to be aware that you are, which is the hard part. It’s one of those low cognitive things you do without thinking, like getting so lost in thought in the shower you can’t remember if you actually washed your goodies or not. You have to be hyper aware or purposefully, i.e. go out on a busy day just to try this, but once you see it, it cannot be unseen.

I already know people are reading this as petty or trivial, but everyone needs a little act of resistance. I work at a school with a 91% white population and there are students who truly believe white folk are the new minority. They don’t have the critical thinking skills to simply look around them and see that that couldn’t be true (at least here) so trying to get them to understand privilege, entitlement or even racism on a micro level ain’t happening. Therefore, this is my act of resistance, my refusal to give up my space, shit fight me for it. We talk about the bus boycotts with an eye roll to the pass that we would be so silly to expect someone to give up their seat for a white person, but then it was natural, so natural lots of people rarely thought about it. Similar to the 1000s of things we do that upholds the status quo. How can we expect white men to fight with us when they can’t even see the war around them? If all I do in my life is make 2 white guys pause, in their dirty look in my direction, to ponder why they are upset I didn’t moved, why they didn’t move instead I’ll be happy. Till then I’mma be colliding with bros all across campus

Filed under gender the game of chicken white boys dudebros race women women of color

3 notes &

all the women are White; all the Blacks are men

All the women are white all the blacks are men

 I am a black woman.

 Actually I am a plus size, tall,  black, Libra, Detroiter…. But the most important identities for this story are the 1st 2

So I was out of town on business, but I, as most young professionals, enjoy a good ‘turn up’ now and again, so some colleagues and I ventured out and ended up at a semi dead spot. We were in the downtown area and most of the bars/ clubs seemed to be full of 2 things drunk white folk (mostly women) and thirsty black dudes looking for a drunk white girl.

Well, being one with no fucks to provide, I commenced to twerking, twirling and turning up in general. Some of the thirsty black dudes (let’s call em’ TBDs) danced with me, but I was all ‘whatever, I’mm freak this support beam in the middle of the floor.

There was bridal shower there that night of about 3-4 drunk white girls (DWG) and a guy. One DWG (DWG1) who was fairly drunk (a 6 on a scale of ‘designated driver’- ‘stomach pump) approached me and asked if I would teach her to twerk. I know, I know, a collective cultural eye roll, but  it was kinda dead and I figured we could entertain each other. So I began teaching her the basics of not shaking her whole body like a seizure just to move a handful of muscles (no really, her whole body) we are have a grand old time when a TBD who I danced with earlier comes up behind her and starts to grind on her. She turns to him and gives a very sound of mind, not coy, “No” and turns back to me. Dude continues to grind and she pushes him away and says “I’m dancing with her”, points to me and turns back. TBD (who may have been a little drunk) pauses then goes back to grinding. I then step in and say

hey, look, I don’t think she wants to dance with anyone, I’m just showing her something”

“Well look like she got it to me”

“Yea well she said no, so…. Yea” and I pull her to a different area.

At some point DWG1 disappears and a TBD who smells like a damn tobacco lobbyist starts dancing with me, we dance for a while until DWG1 comes back over and We continue our lesson. The guy who I was dancing with sees her hot new moves and comes up behind her. This time she forgoes the verbal warning and simply does a push slide away (this is a technique women sometimes use where you gently shoulder wiggles your way out and dance away from the humper) that most dudes pick up on as rejection. This dude did not, he follows her until we are in this uncomfortable thrusting sandwich with him gyrating, her squirm in the middle and me, the other slice of whole wheat, standing still. She says “I don’t wanna dance with you”, he continues, grabbing her hips to make them move with the beat. I peer over her should and say

ah, we just practicing, I’m showing her how to dance, she not trying to dance with no one”

“yea, I’m just trying to help out”

“naw we good” and her and I walk away from Marlboro man.

As we move in a different direction I pass by my friend who is sitting by us with the purses and I see DWG1’s friend holding my purse, open, with her hand in it… I mentioned I was a detroiter right?

Lord, an angel came down and held me back ‘cause all I did was politely approach her and say “oh no, oh hell naw. Da fuq are you doing with my purse” and snatched it from her

“what? Omg I thought this was my friend’s! my friend lost her phone and I was looking for it”

I responded with a strong side eye while clutching my purse close to my bosom like an offended republican might clutch her pearls

“omg, let… let me buy you a drink”

“no I’m good”

“no I’d be like so pissed, imma buy you a drink”

Then the bride to be (DWG2), appears, drunk as shit (like a 8.5-9 on my earlier likeret scale) “Where’s my phone.. where… I can’t find… where’s my phone?”

I walk away and sit by the purses next to one of the lone white guys in the joint. A TBD sits next to me. I’m still clutching my purse.

DWG2 comes over with a drink, sits it down and the seats herself for a minute. Then gets up and goes back to bar TBD says “man, that drunk bitch keeps spilling drinks”.  Apparently she spilled her drink (which I saw her do about 4 times that night… not always her drink) and sat in it leaving her with a soggy ass. She then approaches white guy and starts to dance in front of him. The TBD reaches out to grab her ass, I move his hand. He does it again and I move his hand again and say “don’t do that she’s drunk” he laughs and say “yea I know” and reaches out again. I say “look, you’re black, she is white  and drunk and there are police all over the place, you trying to get arrested cause all she got to say is a word” he lowers his hand and looks at me “damn that some real shit right there, you right tho”. DWG2 starts to make out with the white dude next to me. I do not stop her. When she is done she heads back to the bar.

White dude turns to me “I’m going home with her tonight”

“um really, she seems pretty drunk”

“yea, I came with one of the girls in the group…. You know I told her not to kiss me, but she made out with me anyway”


“yea I just trying to help her out cause I got this huge cold sore”

At the end of the night as we left I saw the girl who touched my muthafucking purse, she ended buying me a huge long island that was mostly sour and I couldn’t stomach it. I told her she needs to keep an eye on her friends… I didn’t add instead of in my purse. DWG1 stopped me and asked for my number cause I’m the ‘best person of the ever night’. I gave her the wrong number

Anyway… the long as story has a point. This hapened about a month ago and still on my mind now and I realized that night was an analogy of my struggles with these black conscious’ movements and feminism.

I sit in the middle of the two feeling like both are calling me to action to protect the other. Even writing this feels like betrayal as I paint black men in a certain way and white women in a certain way and I don’t want this story to be  evidence of that stereotypes are real, but this is simply a night I experienced. As a black woman I feel at a crossroads often with no place to go because neither path is for me. While I see the importance in them, I have a hard time focusing my efforts on things like slut walks, body shaming, and equal pay when women of color or getting raped, have their bodies used as products and cannot get decent employment. I also cannot focus all my attention or buy into this whole “black men have it harder” or ‘black men cannot get into higher paid positions because they are seen as a threat’ when women are left the charge of raising them and their off spring, too often alone when or how  often black men are a threat in terms of sexual and physical abuse for women of color in our homes and  communities, but we are asked to be silent about our concerns to protect black men.

When I moved the last TBD’s hand who was I protecting? the drunk white girl or the thirsty black dude? Who should I be protecting? I’ve had my ass grab SO MANY TIMES and my ass ain’t even that great, I’ve also learned to not out rightly reject a man’s advances as he may get violent. I learned that from seeing it multiple times. Did DWG1 enact privilege (unknowingly) when she told those guys no? Did I put myself at risk by supporting her?

Where the men looking at me to step back and let them do as they please with these women because I’m black?

Were these women looking to me to protect them because I was a woman?

Was no one expecting anything but I felt obligated because I am a who I am?

 I will say as a woman going into a club is often accepting that some shit that ain’t right will be happening around you. The white clubs often have a racist undertone and the black clubs are full of misogyny. So we (women of color but often all women) learn the art of bullshitting, chit chatting, knowing we’re not interested.

Ok this is getting long and I have no conclusion cause I can only present this story be honest about my feels…. Which is this is all fucked up , but id love to have a conversation bout it

Filed under poc woc drunk white girl thirsty black dude race gender feminism black power

2 notes &

23 Quotes That Perfectly Explain Racism (To People Who Don't "See Color")

Black and Third World people are expected to educate white people as to our humanity. Women are expected to educate men. Lesbians and gay men are expected to educate the heterosexual world. The oppressors maintain their position and evade their responsibility for their own actions. There is a constant drain of energy which might be better used in redefining ourselves and devising realistic scenarios for altering the present and constructing the future. Audre Lorde

Filed under race racism white privilege

6 notes &

the Power of Names

If you have ever seen roots… or if you are a person of color (cause I haven’t seen it, but I know so many references to it) you know that scene where Kunta Kentia is beat for rejecting his new name ‘Toby’; beat until he accepts it. In this long ass/ epic movie this scene means something, but not much in the grand scheme of things, but it illustrates a point I’ve been thinking about this week


I was at workshop and the leader paired us up and gave a simple but pointed instruction: introduce yourself to your partner with your REAL full name; if the name you go by was changed due to people’s inability to say pronounce it, it was changed because it was too long or it was lost to you for some reason. My partner then turned to me and told me his full name and pointed to his badge explaining that his last name had been shortened and changed because there were letters in his language that didn’t translate to English

The exercise hadn’t even begun and I was fucked up

I have been told I have a kinda ethnic name. My first name is a common name, but is also associated with black or Middle eastern folk and my 2 middles names connote latin@ *folk, but I had never considered how many people have chosen to (for access to jobs or to avoid outright violence) or been forced to (by a person of power without a choice) to change their names.

I’ve wrote about names before when seeing a video about ‘ghetto names’ and how there is little difference between acceptable/ normal names and unacceptable/ ghetto names, since we pick and choose which we are ok with.   A lot of ‘normal’ names are biblical, but there is no difference between Joseph and Jedidiah, and they come from the same source.

But in this moment the importance and power of names set in; how names are used as a means to control people who lack power in so many ways:

  • Women given a new name so we know who she belongs to- not just in marriage,  random places like reality tv (see Flavor of Love)

I don’t wanna spend 5 pages going over the history of each so I’ve added a link that explains each one. However, my overall point is that by renaming or refusing to acknowledge someone’s name you are making a conscious choice to establish dominance, take away their power and in ways dehumanize them. More so, under some circumstances, place them in danger (i.e. outing a trans person in public). It may seem like I’m making a huge jump between something like using the wrong name and dehumanizing a person, but anyone who has been called the wrong name by a person in power, or even someone you like knows how off putting that is, enough that doing it in an interview can cost you a job. Furthermore, ITS NOT THAT HARD, ask someone how to pronounce their name, what they would like to be called, don’t nickname people because it is easier for you.

One of the most powerful moments for me in this workshop was during a video an Asian American student with a traditional name explained how she changed her name because people couldn’t pronounce it. The leader of the discussion asked her real name, she said it, he asked that everyone there repeat it, they did and finally he said “Now there. You have 11 people who could pronounce your name. Don’t let anyone tell you that people cannot”

There is a reason why when we want to disrespect someone. Or show a lack of concern for which they are, we misuse their name or give them a new one (i.e. Ole girl, THOT, Felicia, Tyrone)

Words are powerful, names are powerful. In an interview with bell hooks in Still: The Journal she summed a lot of this up

Silas House:  One of my favorite quotes is by Erica Jong:  “To change one’s name is both the act of the poet and the revolutionary.”  Now you changed your name—and I also go by a different name than I went by growing up—and I think it’s very fair to say that you are both a poet and a revolutionary.  How do you respond to that?

bell hooks: I respond to that quote by recognizing that names have powers.  The name I was born with really does—Gloria Jean—reflect how much my parents wanted me to be a very feminine, Southern bell type girl, and in order to find my voice and use it, I had to use the name of my great-grandmother…in order to bring a self into being that my parents and my home weren’t nurturing. 

House:Why don’t you capitalize it?

hooks:  Well, people forget that early on in the late 60s and early 70s, especially among people engaged with feminism, there was all this talk about getting rid of the ego.  We weren’t just engaged in feminism, we were also engaged in Eastern religions, sexual liberation, and divorcing one’s self from the ego.  Paying attention to who is speaking was politically incorrect; the point was to listen to what people were saying.  So…a lot of people used pseudonyms or different names.  It also had to do with how many of us were not able to name the female lineage we came from.


We get so caught up on the name, anticipating who we will be talking to (is this a person of color, a woman, a man?), what we think their world is like (do they come with a lot of drama, is their work ethic good, do they have a bunch of kids, poor, on assistance?); who we think they are (ghetto, slutty, smart, dumb?)  that we can’t get past it. Therefore, some people chose to change it, so they can have a chance to be heard, just as some people strip folks of their name to silence them. This isn’t obvious, but it is evident. In room full of cis-gendered** white, Susans, Marys, Katies, Brookes, Sams, Johns, Billys, and Joes there is no need to be concerned with what all this really means. The evidence, however, is in all the above articles, the policing of names and when a trans-person or POC enters this space. It is then when you start to see the box we force people in for our comfort,  with some thing as “simple” as a name


*for an explanation of what latin@ is please see http://reclaimingthelatinatag.tumblr.com/post/35869235107/on-the-term-latin

** For an explanation of what cisgendered is please see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cisgender

Filed under trans race ghetto POC Immagration names ghetto names gender racsim trans violence sexism cis privilege white privilege

6 notes &

I think the whole Angry Black woman stereotype has less to do with actual black female anger and more to do with polite politics (simply bringing up certain topic or concerns infers you are angry) and other’s discomfort with a silenced  group speaking up

When you are silenced for so long when you do speak you may become irate

When you feel you are not heard you may begin to yell

And sometimes, often times, it’s not how you say it, but what you say. People tend to place their own emotions on the interaction. Similar to the student who reports tension between themselves and their roommate, only to discover, when they finally sit down to talk, that the other person was unaware there was a problem at all. Their discomfort becomes your anger; they need someone to blame for their feelings. Though sometimes the disconnect is that what is said violates polite politics- meaning  you must be angry to breach a social code- As if these topics cannot be discussed civilly by the group it effects the most or that the anger that has been seen is not justified .

When black women bring up injustice, they are not ‘angry people’ as if simply acknowledging social ills places you in permanently enraged state. Really, they are upset by the act, it cause stress and anxiety. More than anything we are Tried Black women. I post a lot of shit about social issues and had more than one person tell me that I’m angry all the time, because of this act alone, when I reality could not possible maintain the amount of anger it would take to react to all the things that affect me.  I am simply reflecting my lived experience, and as a person who experiences oppression, I learn to live in it, I learn to find happiness DESPITE it. Hell I’m more joyful than half of the Christian, str8 white males I work with. Your perception that i am angry all the time is a reflection of how you would react in my world; those

tl;dr when someone labels you an angry black women for pointing something out, speaking up, or just acknowledging a problem and rocking the boat  just ask the question yourself “am you angry or are they just  uncomfortable”

Filed under race gende rangry black woman polite politics

12 notes &

It bothers me that white folk complain about minority scholarships as if the school is giving away free money and doing us a favor. Fuck a GPA, sports and all the rest of that, our presence is power, there is money in diversity and we are wanted to support the learning for white students, our scholarships are assistantships.

Being a person of color on a PWC is akin to being an adjunct professor, without the parameters of when and where you must teach. We are an experience. When you pay to get in Disney world, you expect those people in the Goofy and Donald Duck costumes are being paid correct? Well for white students universities are like their educational amusement park and students of color are the interchangeable actors in the Mickey costumes

This is not to say there aren’t valuable relationships formed at PWC between white students and students of color or that POC do not graduate with happy memories, but we aren’t at the same Disney world; we are working.

We are answering your questions about hair, language, our bodies

We are called upon to teach in the classes we are supposed to be learning in.

We are providing customer service when you make a racist joke and we bite back our 1st thought and go with respectable politics.

We offer you ‘diversity programing’ where you can taste our food and watch us dance.

We show you what’s outside your bubble.

We are the black roommate answer to your interview question for that 1st job.

This is why it pains me when I hear complaints about minority student orgs. Do other jobs not provide break rooms so the staff can sit together and eat lunch, take off their “professional” and be themselves? You have the space, it is your amusement park; we are here for your amusement

But I guess what they are really saying is they want be voyeurs, free of charge in our habitat, that’s what those mission trips and inner city volunteer project are for right?

Filed under POC pwc race scholarships Affirmative Action students of color college

26 notes &

I’m not watching the awards but apparently Rihanna decided to keep it extra easy brezzy sunday and not unwrap her hair
the amount of funcakes i give doesn’t even register in weight watchers points
but the thing that makes me laugh is black folks is passing out in the street
and everyone else is riffling through their drawers for bobby pins to try this edgy new look
the only folk who see this shit as an indoor hair do is black folk, cause no one else has seen it before, bish is genius, there are 432432 other races who seeing this for the first time and ret to hit up the salons for the Riri wrap (well except for those equal opportunity daters who have dated black women… if you are one of those, hmu B)
Rihanna has released you from your umbrella of shame, she has granted you freedom to run to the store in joggin pants and not have to bother unwrapping your hair, she done brought laziness to a new level
now if some celeb could just hit up the red carpet in a slept on, smashed fro and/ or silk bonnet i can jump on this bandwagon

Filed under rihanna natural hair hairstyles black people race amas awards Relaxers

3 notes &

am i the only one who sometimes gets confused when white people hit on me and say “i’ve always liked…. your type”

do you mean black or fat
i just wanna know what fetish I’m working so i know what to accentuate to get in ur pants
should i use some slang or should i just take this girdle off? u want rolls or YO!s… let me know son…

Filed under race fetishism phat bbw

2 notes &

Why isn't New Orleans Mother's Day parade shooting a 'national tragedy'?

Filed under race terrorism new orleans poverty privilege whiteness