I’ve definitely been slacking on the blog front, but I feel as if today is the perfect day to get back on track.
The literary world lost yet another great today, one of my absolute favorite writers. That being said, a moment must be taken to dedicate a few words to her.
When I heard of Maya Angelou’s passing this morning, I didn’t want to believe it. My first thoughts were something to the effect of “who will be our voice now? Who will tell the world of the strength of our race? Who will make them listen?”
Maya Angelou was more than a writer. She was an activist not only for African Americans, but
for women for all. She was the epitome of a “Phenomenal Woman” and her works, her voice, her strength, her passion taught us all a lesson on how to achieve such for ourselves. Her persistence, despite the constant oppression she endured, speaks volumes to and for African American women because as a whole we are still constantly kicked, pushed and spat upon by society. Her very existence, (along with that of the hundreds of thousands millions of powerful Black women) her perseverance, her determination, her presence demanded acknowledgement from the masses and, as a result, she commanded a new type of respect from all who had chosen to be dismissive of Black women.
a writer, a female writer of color, I have spent many nights engrossing myself in the work of authors that know my struggle. People that have worked tremendously hard to overcome the stereotypes placed upon them that tell them they will never amount to anything but a subservient being in a society that works so hard to ensure the dominance of a people that have stolen, raped, maimed, beaten and tortured to get where they are. Because of writers like Zora Neale Hurston, Chinua Achebe, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Juan Rulfo, Toni Morrison, Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, the illustrious Maya Angelou and so, so many more, people like me can write in a much more freeing capacity even though, yes, we do still have to face opposition; yes, our voices are still being overshadowed by the voices of those of a lighter complexion; yes, we do still have to fight to tell our stories; yes, friends, the struggle is real.
Despite all of this though, we still have to face the fact that the leaders of our past, those that stood in the face of opposition, those that fought for our freedom and who refused to be thought of and spoken about as property, as possessions, as less than human, those who refused to be silenced and who paved numerous paths for our advancement are indeed advancing in age and passing.
And so the question remains: Who will speak for us?
Who will make sure we are not passed over because of our color? Who will remind the world that we have a voice, that we deserve to be heard, that our thoughts, our opinions, our accomplishments, our struggles are relevant and worthy of acknowledgement, of praise, of respect.
The time has come for the 20 somethings of this era to realize that just because our ancestors fought for equality, just because America has an African American president, just because we are not in shackles that this does not mean we will always have the niceties currently in our possession. Socialized racism still exists. It always has and remnants of it will always exist. When, and only when, we have become fully cognizant of this will we truly be able to overcome these prejudices and succeed. Only when we really understand the struggles of our ancestors, of our parents and grandparents will we really be able to progress.
In short, put the blunts, the 4 Lokos, the Glocs, and the Photoshopped pictures of all the guap you’re not getting down. Pull up your pants and pull down your skirts. Have some respect about yourselves, read a book, learn about your past and the fine fight fought in your behalf. Work to make sure that the paths cleared by greats like Maya Angelou, Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcom X and your great-grandmother were not in vain. Don’t let the world continue to look at people of color as delinquents, insignificant, as flesh and bone, but less than human. Fight for the equality that you deserve because you are worthy, because you deserve it, but also because “[you] are the dream[s] and hope[s] of the slave” (“Still I Rise”).
So we’re a good week and a half into February and I’m totally behind schedule on my usual “Don’t be extra super nice to me in the month of February because I’m your only black friend” rant. And with videos and parodies of Samuel L. Jackson’s latest incident with a super uninformed reporter circulating around the interwebs and the fact that someone just told me that they couldn’t wait to share their knowledge of Black history with someone, I’ve decided that today is the day to talk about it. Look! I even made a list!
1) Please, please remember that while you’re learning facts about Black people that should have been taught in school EVERYDAY: This is not Hug a Negro Month! Sure, we’re friends. Sure, we see each other regularly. But if you’ve never hugged me before, please don’t start in February! This is suspicious activity and you will immediately render yourself untrustworthy.
2) Don’t try to impress me with all of the new things you’ve learned about Black people. I’m Black. I’ve been Black for twenty something years. I will always be Black. Just because you just found out that socialized racism still exists doesn’t mean I haven’t felt the repercussions of it my entire life, because guess what? I have! And it ain’t gonna stop just because it’s Black History Month.
3) Don’t feel sorry for me because of new things you’ve learned about Black History. Sure everyone knows about slavery, right? Discrimination is over, right? Black people have equal rights now, so what’s the big deal, right? There should be a White History Month too, right? Wrong. Referencing the beginning of this post, lets think about what Mr. Jackson’s interview really means to the Black community.
By now, I’m sure we all know what happened, however, some of you may not understand why this is such a big issue. It’s not because a national reporter didn’t do his research. It’s not because Samuel L. Jackson went off. Sure, these are major factors, but the real problem here is the alarming level of disrespect that a Black man still gets, regardless of the level of success he has reached in his lifetime. Samuel L. Jackson is one of the most famous and most wealthy actors ever. But, even still he is confused with another Black actor, because let’s just be honest, there are very few older African American male actors out there. That being said, he shouldn’t be confused with another because it’s not like there’s 500 to pick from. But I digress…
4) If you go out on the street and ask someone that is not of the American minority if racism still exists, they will immediately tell you that it does not. They may even take the time to “educate” you on the fact that slavery ended years ago and that all that ended with Civil Rights. But guess what, it didn’t. It hasn’t and it won’t. For the rest of my life I will more than likely have doors closed on me because I’m an African American woman and I’m okay with that. Why? Because those that are that simple minded are not the ones I want to surround myself with. But let’s face it, these people exist and constantly prove that no, racism is not a passing fad and yes, it is cross generational and cross racial.
Basically, what I’m trying to say is this: Don’t hate someone because of the color of their skin. Don’t try to impress someone with your knowledge of their culture because you think it’ll make you look smarter, tolerant even (trust me, it won’t). Instead take an interest in people because you really care. Take a constant interest because everyone deserves more than one month. History doesn’t just happen in a month, it happens over centuries. So instead of using this one month to learn about a culture different than yours, take every month to do so. In fact, take centuries.
photo from: blackandmarriedwithkids.com
So let’s get serious for a few, yes?
Today, there was a shooting at Purdue University, the same university where my mom just so happens to be attending/teaching. To say that I spent a large portion of my morning pretty scared for my mom, her friends, colleagues and all of the students in West Lafayette, is an understatement. These types of experiences make you sit and think about the
many millions of people that are going through so much more than you are. These are the people that have reached their breaking point and that see no other way out. These are the people that society will quickly label insane, disturbed, psychotic, manic, but really, these people are a lot like you and me.
There are so many stressors in the world today that it’s extremely hard to cope. Almost 25% of people will suffer with depression sometime in their lifetime, the same amount of people will suffer with mental illness. But we can’t assume that these are the same people that will pick up automatic weapons and kill innocents. We can’t assume that these are the people that will snap at any given moment.We can assume, though, that once anyone has reached their breaking point that they are capable of anything. That once we push a person too far out of their comfort zone that they very well may do something dangerous, disturbing, unpredictable, and unprecedented.
We don’t know
the name of the Purdue shooter, Cody Cousins, and we don’t know what caused him to pick up an automatic weapon and kill a man 21 year old Andrew Boldt, but we do know that something went terribly wrong for him. Something for Cody pushed him to his breaking point and that doesn’t make him insane. It doesn’t make him clinically ill (though he may be). What it does make him is alone. He very likely needed a friend and very likely didn’t have one to stop him. With that in mind, here are a few of my top ground rules to keep in the back of your mind:
1) It’s important to be kind to people. Be nice to friends,family, classmates, workmates, children, the elderly, strangers, etc. Why? Not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s the humane thing to do. You never know what a person is going through and sometimes, just a smile, holding a door open, saying hello, or offering to help someone when you see that they need assistance can change a person’s outlook on their entire day. I don’t just say this because I’m Southern and because we stereotypically have these traits instilled in us since the beginning of our existence, but because just doing these simple things can make you feel better too. Helping others is refreshing, even if it doesn’t take much effort to do so.
2) Be a
good great friend. Sometimes, I complain about being the friend that everyone goes to for advice, but you know what? I enjoy it too. I like being able to be there for people when they need me, not because I know that they will be there for me in return, but because by letting someone vent to you in their time of need you can be helping them so much more than you really know. What if you were the last person a friend called before doing something drastic planning to commit suicide? Or what if you were the last person called before your best friend decided whether or not they were gonna take a job that could change their entire life? Or what if they were just calling to take you to dinner, to go shopping, to take a walk in the park? Either way, you should definitely try to be there for the people you love.
3) If there’s something wrong, get help. Admitting that there’s a problem is crazy hard, trust me I know. But guess what? It could save lives. Every now and then we all have some major hard times, but talking about what’s bothering you with an expert may really help. if you have a friend that you think needs some extra support, try helping them see it. Don’t try to force them, don’t be cruel, don’t be a pain in the butt, but do help in anyway you can. They might not see the love that you’re demonstrating in the beginning, but in the long run they will, and they’ll thank you for it.
Basically, show love to the people you spend your time with and even to strangers you meet on a day to day basis. You don’t have to run around like a love junkie and scream “I love you!” to everyone you meet, but you can show your appreciation for people and the things they do for you in subtle (and sometimes more obvious) ways every single day. You never know, you could save a life.
So, it’s the first day of winter across the Northern Hemisphere and down here good ol’ Georgia, it’s a whopping 73 degrees. Bone chilling,I know.
Anyone from the Southeast knows that winter weather is really…well, pre-summer with a few chilly days mixed in between. But let’s just talk about something pretty important for a moment, shall we? I need people to understand that just because the weather is a bit schizo, your wardrobe doesn’t have to be too. And with that being said, there are a few frequent fashion
problems, nightmares catastrophes that top my list every year and I think it’s past time that I get you all hip to them.
1) UGG boots and mini skirts. I know, I know. You don’t get to wear your UGGs often in the Deep South. It’s too flippin’ hot, right? But really, ladies. Why line your feet in soft, luscious lamb’s wool, but leave your behind subject to the elements? Does this REALLY make sense to you? I don’t think it does. And to be honest, I don’t think you think so either. Say it with me: This outfit does NOT make sense! Now, how about you go write that on the blackboard 500 times. I’m sorry it took me so long to teach this lesson to you.
2) Sweatshirts (or hoodies) and flip-flops. Now, this is a Southern phenomenon that I don’t think I’ll ever understand. In fact, I’m not even sure I’m meant to understand it. How about we all just vote to stop it altogether, yes? What? You were just running to the store? I thinks not, fine sir or madam! If you had the time to put on real pants and a hoodie, you clearly had time to lace up a pair of sneakers. You’re going to catch pneumonia and I’ll be the friend you call to make you hot tea and soup. But guess what, buddy. This girl ain’t havin’ it this year! Your bad decisions, your germs! Ain’t nobody got time for pneumonia!
These are for summer!
3) Shorts and T-shirts. Again, Southern weather is totally temperamental and can (and will) change from the time you’ve gone to work to the time you go out for a quick coffee break. But that doesn’t mean it’s okay to wear Chubbies and a tank top in 26 degree weather! This, my dear friends, is where the concept of
commonsense layers comes in. Instead of leaving your house half naked, why not put a jacket or sweatshirt on over that t-shirt and whip that sucker off when the thermometer hits 62 (which it inevitably will). That way you not only look like a well informed human being, you also won’t come begging me for the spare jacket I keep in my trunk and I won’t have to lie and say I took it out to wash it. Lookie there! No heinous diseases for you and no deception laden guilt for me. With layers, everybody wins!
This is not a winter outfit!
4) Pantyhose and peep toes (or sandals and, what the heck, you might as well throw flip flops and socks or Crocs [I’ll write about my Croc hatred later] in there too). Okay, so I’d just like to say that I hate,hate HATE this. Peep toes were invented to (omgosh, you won’t believe this) give the world a PEEP at your toes! And if that, dear readers, is the case, why, oh why, would you wear tights or pantyhose with them?! It was cold outside;Girl, my toes was freezin’!; [insert celebrity] wears them this way! No, no, and no! These are not valid excuses. If your toes are indeed cold, why not (by golly, I think she’s got it!) wear a closed toe shoe! I know, I know a revolutionary idea. I totally deserve a medal or something. But, no. Seriously, ladies. I know we’re Southern, and I’m quite sure your Southern grandmomma, told you the exact same thing mine has been for the past 23 years :Ladies wear pantyhose. But come on! It’s almost 2014 and we don’t need a pair of jet black ultra sheers to define us as women! The pencil skirts and 6 inch heels are surely enough. Besides,I’m not saying that you can’t wear them ever, just don’t do it with a shoe that’s meant to be open toe. It’s bad. Very, very bad. Offenders should be prosecuted.
I could obviously go on forever about this, but I figure I’ll give you a bit of time to digest and hopefully spread the word about some of these wintertime nightmares. And if you have a few of your own, feel free to share in the comments section or shoot me an email. I’m sure you’re not alone! Until next time,
So, first off I’d like to acknowledge that it’s been
quite a while for friggin’ ever since I’ve been sharing any sticky situations with my wonderful readers here at The Buns.
So many of you have been asking about my blogging and why it all suddenly stopped; but needless to say, life (aka:college, work, two knee surgeries, a sick grams, the slender remains of my social life, blah, blah, blah) came in and shook me by the bloomers. Ultimately pulling me away from you all. But boy do I have
plenty bookoo stories to tell!
That being said, over the next few weeks I will be revamping The Buns. The who, what, where, when, and why so to speak (and I’ll also be recruiting some of my good friends to chime in from time to time) in order to reestablish the deliciousness that was once (and most certainly will be again) The Buns.
So be on the look out for a new look, new stories, and some more good times from me and my contributors. And until then, read through your old favorites, find some new favorites. And be sure to share The Buns with your friends and family.
peace, love and Sticky Bunsto you all!
So, as many of you may have noticed, it’s that time of the year again. No, not Christmas, not Ramadan, not my birthday, or any other special day you just might feel like celebrating. It’s the first day of Black History Month! A whole month to think about black people and their accomplishments (and maybe some failures). A whole month to remember “where ‘we’ came from”. A whole month to act like white people don’t exist! (Except when we’re highlighting slavery, white male privilege, discrimination, and so on and so on) So, I guess we really won’t be acting like Mr. White Man doesn’t exist, huh?
But anyway, as a sort of running tradition here at the Buns, I’d like to talk about what Black History Month really means to me. How it feels to be a black woman living in a still extremely (though subtly) racist South. How Black people have actually made more progress than anyone ever thought they would. How we STILL send ourselves back to the 18th century and in turn give truth to some of the ignorant stereotypes placed upon us. And, just some stuff that really cracks me up. But for now, I’ll just start with a basic list of thoughts, complaints, and conspiracy theories.
1) Am I the only one that noticed that Red Tails was released 11 days before Black History Month? What’s up with that? Why can’t black movies that AREN’T produced and directed by Tyler Perry be released in I don’t know, say, August? Are black people only relevant the last eleven days of January and the 28 (or 29) days of February? I need some answers.
2) Why, I repeat, WHY do we get the shortest month of the year? No offense to the lovely Hispanic people in the world, but they even get a longer month than us! (It’s October in case you didn’t know). I’m just still really upset about this. I know that all of the black people inAmerica didn’t agree on February for Black History Month. We can’t spell it! Nobody can spell it! Anyone remember those spelling tests Mr. White Man gave black people in order to vote? I do. I think history is cruelly repeating itself here. Think about it.
3) Don’t come up to me with your sob stories this month. I know that you don’t mean it. I even know that most of you don’t care what happened to Black people. (No, I don’t think we should dwell on slavery, but we most certainly shouldn’t forget it happened.) Despite the fact that my parents raised me to be accepting of everyone and to in general “not see color,” color exists and black is the most underappreciated of them all. I know it, you know it, and Mr. White Man knows it. So don’t come and tell me how much you’re sorry for what your people did to my people. Give a Negro a job for once and then MAYBE we can talk about racial inequalities.
4) Speaking of racial inequalities, I don’t want to hear one person say that “racism doesn’t exist” anymore. Cause guess what, IT DOES. I know that I’m not the only person that heard about Pepsi not hiring blacks because of criminal backgrounds. I’d bet a million bucks that those rats didn’t even do further investigations to see if said crimes were even more than a slew of traffic violations. Screw you too Pepsi! You know what, that’s why I only drink Coke products! Coca Cola loves Negroes! Anyway, haven’t heard of the scandal? Click here. (http://www.thenorthstarnews.com/Story/Pepsi-Bias-Settlement-Awards-3-point-13-million-to-Black-Job-Applicants)
5) Please, please, PLEASE, spare me your limited knowledge on black people as a whole this February, will ya? We don’t all have 5 “baby daddies”. We don’t all survive on welfare. We don’t all live “in the ghetto.” We don’t all live lives of crime. We don’t all lack proper English speaking skills. We don’t all spend all of our money on the newest pair ofJordan’s. We don’t all scream obscenities just ‘cause it’s “cool.” We don’t all smoke weed all day and all night. We don’t all “sag” our pants and walk with our hands on our balls because they have absolutely no support with our pants and boxers at our ankles. We don’t all drive CrownVictoria’s with 24’s and custom paint jobs advertising Cheetos, the Lakers, or Super Mario Brothers. These, my friends, are stereotypes that many, not all, of us have fallen victim to. So no, don’t share with me, your “surprise” when you find a black person that appreciates the opera or fine wines or BMWs. They do exist!
So friends, this is all I’d like to share for the moment. Ponder over these things and realize that Black History Month is more than learning about the Civil Rights Movement or MLK or Langston Hughes. I firmly believe that black people should be appreciated for an entire year just like our Caucasian counterparts. What makes white people so great anyway? Dockers? Ray Bans? Ugly Sweater parties?! I think not! We can wear ugly sweaters just as well as Mr. White Man. Watch last week’s episode of T.I & Tiny! Ask Kanye West! Heck! Watch the Cosby Show for crying out loud! Even though there are few, no many, who have fallen victim to the stereotypes placed upon us by Mr. White Man, there are many more of us that do not. Take your 19th century constructed glasses of and watch it smack you in the face.
Oh and fyi:
A few of the things that we’ll be talking about this month will be:
Rap Music: Degrading or Inspiring?
Not So Popular Black People
The Tyler Perry Project
and many, many more.
There are some things in life that we as mere humans can’t control. The weather for example. We can’t stop hurricanes. We can only move out of their way. The sex of a child is another example. (Don’t get all IVF on me either people. NATURALLY, we can’t decide if our little bundles of joy are going to be baby boys or baby girls. And before the 20th century we could only buy unisex onsies for the little buggers too). We can however determine how we smell. Soap is a vital tool for survival in the modern world. More important than updating your Facebook status or tweeting about your rancid tuna fish sandwich or annoying people on Voxer. Yes children. Soap, right after food and water, should be the most important thing in your life. Unfortunately, though, I’ve recently discovered individuals that are oblivious to this fact. So, I decided to do a little research on the stuff we call soap.
1) Did you know that the Babylonians were the first to use soap? It’s true! They had a formula for the stuff written on a clay tablet consisting of water, alkali, and cassia oil. I’m not too sure what this alkali stuff is, but it makes me think of batteries and if the Babylonians were washing in a primitive form of battery acid, I’m pretty sure of how they died off now.
2) The Roman’s used soap too! But unfortunately they didn’t get it quite right. They used urine. Pee and oils and fats from wool. Maybe I’m missing something here, but that doesn’t sound like a variation of soap. It sounds more like a sheep in need of a diaper. Anyway, they had guys that would walk around and collect urine from the many Roman inhabitants and then they sold it to soapmakers. (Now that I think about it, “Pee Collector” could be a very lucrative business. I can just imagine it, “The Pee Collectors: Here to satisfy all of your spilled urine needs!”)
3) Soap in the 1600s was a little more risque than that of the Romans mind you. The Europeans started using lye to make the stuff causing many of the soap makers to suffer serious burns or even go blind. (I think I would’ve just had to dip in the local river had I lived back then. Semi dirty skin is a lot better than severely burned off skin in my opinion.)
4) Let’s bring a little up to date now though, shall we? Before WWI, things like animal fats, ashes, and oils were all used to make soap. Shortages on supplies made people a bit anxious though and so ENTER ARTIFICIAL PRODUCTS!! Guess what kind they used kiddies. Guess! Okay, fine. Don’t guess. A lof of the stuff they used to clean clothes back then were put into soap to clean people. (I’m sorry, but I don’t think I’m a piece of cotton. I know my ancestors were forced to pick the stuff, but I’m pretty sure we didn’t morph into big cotton plants during the process, jus’ sayin’).
5) Have you ever thought of why we have to use lotion? SOAP! Soap takes out many of the vital nutrients our skin needs, kiddies. And so without applying lotion after using soap, our skin gets that super tight, dry feeling. Hence why we have lotion. I don’t know about anybody else, but I smell big business. Think about it. People buy soap to not stink, but then their skin is so dry that they have to have some type of salve to make it feel better! Enter lotion! They’re keeping each other in business people! This is one business I don’t support protesting though. We NEED soap in our lives! But I’m sure you all already knew that.
So now that we’ve reviewed a brief history of soap and it’s various makings, let’s take a moment to appreciate the effort our ancestors put into keeping clean. You can have the best personality in the world, but no one really and truly wants to bring the stinky kid home with them. BATHE PEOPLE! Bathe so that someone will want to take you home!