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Saturday, May 19, 2018

Hoping To Kill Us: The Purposeful Usage Of Police As Lynching Tools By White America


Hint: black people frequently cope with trauma through humor


When Donald Trump became president, it was a dark day for everyone who wasn’t white, cisgendered and male.

Our collective social conscious holds memory of times when emboldened by similar racist leadership, white America felt no need to pretend to like black people. As individuals this may not be true but, collectively speaking, it seems pretty obvious the white social consciousness must be constantly reminded that black people are in fact … people and that #blacklivesmatter.

As we get into the meat of the second year of this racist free for all we call a presidency, we begin to notice a trend of white (usually women) doing what they do best; weaponizing their privilege against black people

hint: it wasn’t. But it was still dangerous for the black people when the police showed up


Last year 22% of the 987 people fatally dispatched by the American police were African American. This year, which we are only four months into, sees a number 387 people, dead at police hands. As of a week ago the count of those killed by police is up by 31 as compared to last year.

This begs the question: “what are the odds of dying while black during a police encounter?” 60/40? 80/20? A coin flip?

Police brutality, especially due to the efforts of black America, has been publicized in the greater American social conscious. As such it has filtered into the realm of common knowledge that black and white people have different perceptions of the police. When faced with police, people of color are disproportionately murdered with no proper cause.

At the same time this information becomes more widely known, we begin to see an uptick in white calls to the police. Contrary to popular belief this is not because white people do not understand what happens to people of color when the police are called. It is because they understand what happens to people of color when the police are called that more police are being called on people of color. It is not an accident it is a direct response to black people trying to claim larger safe spaces in the greater American social consciousness. Traditionally, as black people try to create more black spaces for themselves, white people push-back with their favorite tool since the civil war days; a good old fashioned southern lynching.

Lynching is defined as a pre-meditated extrajudicial killing by a group, most often used to characterize informal public executions to punish an alleged transgressor, or to intimidate a set of people. -Wikipedia


To call the police on innocent black people, doing nothing wrong, is to hope for a modern day American lynching. Shaun King speaks about it here.

Let’s mine 2018 for examples of this weaponized privilege.

Lolade Siyonbola, a Yale graduate student, took a nap in her dorms common room. She woke up to a 15-minute interrogation from Sarah, a white classmate, and the law enforcement officers Sarah felt the need to call because Ms. Siyonbola “looked out of place” in the building. Apparently sleeping while black warrants you a coin flip with death. Thanks, Sarah.


Remember Becky with the good hair? Say hello to Sarah with the cell phone. Maybe they’re cousins.



In April Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson was arrested for trespassing in Starbucks. Really, they were just early for a business meeting they were having and had the gall to wait for their third partner before ordering coffee. It seems taking your fellow network contacts out for coffee while black warrants you a coin-flip with death. Thanks, Starbucks.

A golf club owner called the police on the group of black women patronizing his establishment because they wouldn’t leave quickly enough. So, paying to golf while black can net you at risk of death.

Ms. Prendergast recently called the police, who came bearing seven backup vehicles and a helicopter. Why the heavy artillery? Four black filmmakers dared to stay at an Airbnb and didn’t wave to her during their stay. So not talking to creepy strangers watching you out of house windows puts you at risk for death, or an encounter with SEAL team 6. Thanks, Ms. P.


… are the guns microphones??


These incidents have a common theme; white people viewing black people as having transgressed their physical or mental space and responding by calling the police. A more commonly known to result in the arrest or lethal takedown of people of color in punishment.

Remember our definition of lynching? When an individual is publicly extrajudicially killed to intimidate a set of people based on an alleged transgression? It’s not extrajudicial killing if you call in the justice system to do your dirty work for you, is it? This smokescreen transforms the attack into the dirty, racially powered grey area white people love to feign ignorance from. It is the reason we aren’t calling Ms. Prendergast’s 911 call what it is: an attempted lynching for daring to be black in a white space.

Like all lynchings, these 911 calls sink into the black consciousness, a poison designed to intimidate and weaken our development. They serve, as past lynchings did, to reinforce white control and keep black people in areas where whites think they belong. Much like in 2015 when Texas residents called police on black teenagers enjoying a swimming pool. They were reported as saying to the children “Go back to section 8! [housing]” The residents, after watching at least one child sustain an injury after being violently pinned to the ground, later posted signs around the pool thanking officers for ‘keeping them safe’.

Put together, these stories paint a very obvious picture of the continued systemic abuse of white power and the privileges therein. It’s not even new. Periodically, like a parasite defending itself from the separation of its host body, white society changes the sound of the conversation around racism. They do this while purposefully failing to identify themselves as its root cause.

So, within the white social consciousness, the killing of black people is fine but, as soon as we point out that the killers en-masse are white, obfuscation techniques are used to shift the conversation.

An example of one such conversation shifting smoke-screen is the #alllivesmatter movement that rose, not to champion the lives of everyone but, as a counter to the #blacklivesmatter movement. This oversaturated the American social conscious with an endless barrage of things that were currently mattering. #blacklivesmatter cannot matter if #animallivesmatter, #plantlivesmatter, #poorlivesmatter, #mylifematters. If all lives matter, your black life does not. The gentlest way to say that nothing is special is to say everything is special in its own way and we see that used here to dampen the effect of the original movement.

funny, but hurts the point.


The same can be seen of the phrase “white privilege” which is seen countered with thought pieces on “pretty privilege”, “skinny privilege”, “straight privilege” et cetera. These additional movements, while valid, serve to undermine the original point by inundating the conversation about white privilege with different types of privileges. This shifts the conversation around whiteness itself by pointing out other valuable problems, that when examined, add up to white privilege anyway.

At the height of pretty privilege is the pretty white ideal. At the height of straight privilege is the white nuclear family. At the height of skinny privilege, a sub-set of pretty privilege is the slender white ideal. Although other individual people in other ethnic groups can find themselves on the privileged side of some areas, the ideal is always whiteness.

The white ideal is white privilege.

White people systemically use this ideal as a reason to devalue black lives in America. It is so bad the black social consciousness felt the need to remind everyone that it is comprised of individual lives that matter, and shouldn’t be abused, profiled against or lynched.

The phrase “lynching” fell out of public favor for the same reason the phrase “white privilege” and #blacklivesmatter is being forced out of public opinion. They specifically point to white violence against black people.

We as a black society need to see through and obliterate these politically correct smokescreens. The Trumpian administration champions telling it like it is and black society needs to wake up and call a spade a spade. These 911 calls from white society on innocent black people are murder attempts and hopes for modern lynchings. They use the police department to murder black people because they have a sick desire to see these lynchings. They are using the same obfuscation techniques they have always used, to disguise this fact in plain sight. We should address that.




By Alisha Smith, Alisha is 24-year-old recent graduate, writer, blogger, gamer, and corporate drone by day and rampant blabbermouth by night. She currently writes for Ms. Vixen and on Medium and spends her free time shamelessly pursuing her interests and avoiding other humans

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Help! I want to wring my partner’s neck! PART 2 “The science of sticking it out”

Photo Credit: Nappy.co
“I feel like all of my relationships are doomed.”

“It’s all well and good until they do something to piss me off and then it’s all ‘you to wild for me ma.’ These dudes get their feelings hurt one good time and are ready to run for the hills.”


Is your relationship “smooth sailing” until you guys argue?
Did you recently have an argument with your partner and, at some point, in the argument, you realized that one of you done FREAKED up?


Welcome to the wonderful world of vaginas. A place where people with vaginas (namely me, so maybe just one person) talk inclusively about stuff that affects pretty much everyone. This edition? How to be in a relationship when HOPPING FREAKING MAD.


Read: Help! I Want to Wring My Partner’s Neck!-PART 1: Communicating With Your Loved One Through The Veil Of Ange



Okay, so let’s delve into my experiences for a quick second. I have anger management issues. I sometimes see red. I get enraged. Things happen to me that feel out of my control when I get mad, upset, or frustrated. I have literally hopped with anger. This is not a joke for me and I assume it isn’t for any of you either. So, how is it that I manage to have a partner that gets on my nerves all the time, without sending him running for the hills when I’m aggravated with him? There are some things I had to realize about myself first, some tips and tricks I use to prep myself for ‘an episode’ and some things I try to do DURING my anger to try and head it off. So, I’m going to dish out the tips to you lovelies in a two-part series Help I want to wring my partner’s neck!  


Welcome to part 2! From start to finish, this segment contains some serious steps toward getting yourself under control. No wonder your parents always had such trouble with you. Now you’re the adult in your life and must deal with your own tantrums.  Remember, when going into situations where you feel triggered, a good rule of thumb is to approach the matter with the mindset of trying to find a resolution that works for everyone.


STEP 1: Stop and think
Let's stop and think



Step 1a: BREATHE BREATHE BREATHE. When I first become incredibly enraged, there was a half second where I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Take that second and use it to take 5 more deep breaths. I’m serious, do not stop at three, take five or even ten. Do what you must but, do to NOT say that first thing that comes to your mind. It’s bad! Don’t say it!

Goose fraba!


Do whatever you have to do to not say that first thing! Calm down. Take a second. Fully walk away if you need to. All of this is part of the stop and think process.


Step 2: Identify why you are angry.

Tell yourself that your anger isn’t necessarily wrong. Don’t try to bury your anger. Go into it. Feel it. Identify it. Thich Nhat Hanh says in his book ‘Anger Wisdom for Cooling the Flames’ that feelings of anger do not actually anger at all. He likens anger to a crying baby. Usually, there is something that we, on the inside, don’t feel is fair. We feel saddened at this unfairness (when our inner angry baby begins to cry) and we grow frustrated about our perceived lack of ability to address or remedy this imbalance. This mixture of emotions creates what we commonly identify as anger. The solution here is the more inner reflection to handle our inner crying child.

NOT like that!

Dealing with anger is, according to Hanh the ability to delve deep with meditation or Self-reflection and play the mother to our crying inner child. We can do this by identifying where we feel mistreated, by giving that feeling credence and solving that issue instead of our surface feelings of rage, which are usually misleading. So, for our step 2, concentrate on identifying what is the source of your feeling of mistreatment and dissect it.


Step 3: Address the issue with an eye toward resolution
You have become angry. You have addressed why you are angry. You have found the real reason fueling your feeling of mistreatment and it’s not something arbitrary, like their tone. Now, you need to articulate your displeasure and hurt to your partner. How can you do this without them becoming hyper-defensive and not hearing what you have to say?


3a. Always talk about the actual issue and not supplementary bull DONK.
We are going to stop calling them arguments here and now because that is a very contentious word and you should be going into the discourse with an eye toward resolution. There is nothing more annoying than getting into a disagreement with someone and instead of having them address what is hurting you, they veer off into something that you did, that hurt them. This is a defense mechanism.
Understand, as soon as this common defensive response happens, there is no logical reason to defend yourself, unless you are feeling attacked. Just like the age-old phrase goes, “the best defense, is a good offense.” If your partner begins attacking you during your discourse, they themselves are feeling attacked. Defensiveness is a key indicator of how your partner is feeling, something you should always keep an eye on.


No shields necessary


If your partner is defending themselves, take a step back and let them know in plain English that you are not attacking them and that you understand the action they are speaking about hurt them. However, that you are not focused on that right now and if they would like, you can pick up that discussion after you are finished having this one. Get verbal affirmation that this is the plan. Mutually agree to it and then continue to step 4 which tells us HOW to speak to our partner.


Step 4: The golden rule.
When you are angry, if all respect or human decency for your partner flies out of the window, that tells us all something about you, and more self- reflection on your part is needed. Make sure when your true colors show, they are pretty colors and to that end, MIND YOUR MOUTH. Don’t take the low blow unless you want one in return and treat your partner how you want to be treated during the disagreement. You can do this by learning to speak constructively while angry.
I can hear your thoughts, I swear it. “So, what do you mean by constructively here?”



Constructive people. I’ll explain.


Speaking constructively during a disagreement is how you can de-escalate situations and put your partner into a problem-solving mood, as opposed to a defensive mood. Let’s check out this very fake example:


Example:
Person A: “Hey! You didn’t take out the trash. Again! Can you please actually take it out, instead of letting it sit or waiting for me to do it? You never do what I ask you to do.
Notice how Person A has chosen to phrase their displeasure. I promise, the nuances of Person A having asked Person B to take out the trash any number of times got lost behind the phrase “you” for Person B. “YOU” is the first and pretty much only thing your partner is going to hear in that sentence. The rest translates out into “I’M ANGRY AND IT’S YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUR FAULT! FIX IT NOW, YOU DONK-HEAD!” It doesn’t matter that isn’t what Person A said to Person B. The statement above is how it was translated.
People often don’t respond to what you are saying, but how you are saying it, and certain trigger phrases or words. “Always” is one of these trigger words. When having a discussion, it is bad to generalize, because the person you are having the discussion with will consciously or subconsciously start looking for individual instances that deviate from the generalization you made. As we all know, doing this during a disagreement is not conducive to problem-solving.


Instead of angrily saying “you didn’t take out the trash again” and “you never do what I ask you to do” Person A could try this:
Person A: “Sometimes when I ask you things, I feel like you blow me off. I asked for the trash to be taken out a few hours ago and it’s still here. But, it’s not just about the trash. I don’t ask you for things arbitrarily, I genuinely need help and I feel like I’m not being listened to. Can you see how this could upset me?”
This takes a completely different tone than the previous example and it’s because Person A was forced to change their phrasing by taking out accusatory “You” statements. Now, instead of coming from a place of needing to defend oneself, Person B might just approach the crux of Person A’s issue. A feeling of being ignored and unimportant, and not the surface issue of the stinky garbage. The true face of any disagreement is the desire and will to hash it out and reach some sort of compromise that works for everyone.


Step 5 COMPROMISE:



This article is not designed to show you how to manipulate your partner into always getting your way. It is designed to educate you on how to resolve conflict in your relationships. To that end, compromise is always the ultimate goal. When going into a disagreement, you should know the end goal is NOT to get your way. It’s to come away from an untenable situation with a happy medium you can both live with. I started this series by saying that we should always keep an eye toward resolution when heading into difficult situations with our partners and it’s with an eye toward a resolution that you should approach compromising as well.


You have now made the self-reflective shift, towards the things that upset you and have mastered the art of speaking properly during times of distress; Now, if you are doing all of these steps and are still encountering problems or frequent disagreements with your partner. Either because you feel unheard or things aren’t making a shift into the land of the better, consider that the problem isn’t you, but your partner. before doing anything drastic make sure to go through these steps with them and try the science behind sticking it out.





By Alisha Smith, Alisha is 24-year-old recent graduate, writer, blogger, gamer, and corporate drone by day and rampant blabbermouth by night. She currently writes for Ms. Vixen and on Medium and spends her free time shamelessly pursuing her interests and avoiding other humans. 










Sunday, March 18, 2018

40 Alternatives to These Ableist and Oppressive Words

Image via Shutterstock

There has been lots of conversation surrounding ableism and the language used to insult or describe faulty behavior to people. Before we move forward, let's define ableism-according to Dictionary.com is discrimination against disabled people. Ableism can take the form of ideas and assumptions, stereotypes, attitudes and practices, physical barriers in the environment, or larger scale oppression. 

One way to change ableist behavior is to start with the language we use. We often use words that are ableist that we aren't aware of because sadly it is everyday language. Words such as stupid, crazy, lame etc. There are many words we can replace these with to stop contributing to ableist behavior, check them out below. 

via: Care2.com

If you mean frustrating or perplexing – ”This is so stupid!” or “That’s retarded!” –consider:

1. Frustrating
2. Pointless
3. Annoying
4. Irritating
5. Obnoxious

If you mean intense – ”Woah, crazy!” — consider:

6. Intense
7. Awesome
. Amazing
9. Wild
10. Fascinating

If you mean bad or unpleasant – ”Wow, that’s lame!” — consider:

11. Bad
12. Awful
13. Uncool
14. Gross
15. The pits

If you mean it as an intensifier, positive or negative – ”She’s a crazy good artist!” or “This is insanely difficult!” — consider:

16. Really
17. Very
18. Intensely
19. Wicked
20. Considerably

If you mean unreasonable or absurd – ”That’s crazy!” — consider:

21. Unreasonable
22. Absurd
23. Outrageous
24. Unacceptable
25. Ridiculous

If you mean to describe someone with a bad, dangerous character – ”She’s psychotic!” or “He’s a sociopath!” — consider:

26. Dangerous
27. Menacing
28. Threatening
29. Evil
30. Murderous

If you mean to describe someone who’s doing something a little dorky – ”They’re such a spaz!” or “Are you retarded or something?” — consider:

31. Silly
32. Dorky
33. Cheesy
34. Nonsensical
35. Illogical

If you mean to describe something that’s difficult to understand, or totally bizarre – ”These mass shootings are just crazy.” — consider:

36. Fathomless
37. Daunting
38. Overwhelming
39. Bizarre
40. Bottomless

What are some words you use instead of popular ableist language? let us know in the comment section below!





By: Naima "Queen" Muhammad 
Queen is a 30 something from the Bronx, NY. She created Ms. Vixen to spread her thoughts on feminism, Black pride, it's the first stop on her quest to be a media mogul. 

Follow Queen 
Twitter @TheQueenSpeaks_
Instagram @TheQueenSpeaks_


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Help! I Want to Wring My Partner’s Neck!-PART 1: Communicating With Your Loved One Through The Veil Of Anger


“I feel like all of my relationships are doomed.”

“It’s all well and good until they do something to piss me off and then it’s all ‘you to wild for me ma.’ These dudes get their feelings hurt one good time and are ready to run for the hills.”


Is your relationship “smooth sailing” until you guys argue?
Did you recently have an argument with your partner and, at some point, in the argument, you realized that one of you done FREAked up?


Welcome to the wonderful world of vaginas. A place where people with vaginas (namely me, so maybe just one person) talk inclusively about stuff that affects pretty much everyone. This edition? How to be in a relationship when HOPPING FREAKING MAD.


Okay, so let’s delve into my experiences for a quick second. I have anger management issues. I sometimes see red. I get enraged. Things happen to me that feel out of my control when I get mad, upset, or frustrated. I have literally hopped with anger. This is not a joke for me and I assume it isn’t for any of you either. So, how is it that I manage to have a partner that gets on my nerves all the time, without sending him running for the hills when I’m aggravated with him? There are some things I had to realize about myself first, some tips and tricks I use to prep myself for ‘an episode’ and some things I try to do DURING my anger to try and head it off. So, I’m going to dish out the tips to you lovelies in a two-part series Help I want to wring my partner’s neck!  


The first part in this duo will make you take a hard look at yourself and your expressions of anger. To do this, we will be identifying what are some common expressions of anger, their triggers, and expressing them to our partners.




Okay, so first of all, anger is a cycle and you need to get to know it. You can hop into these tips wherever you are IN the cycle. However, you need to know that there are things that will upset you, triggering anger, which then needs to be addressed or you will enter that loop you always hear from people. “Didn’t I ask you not to do X, Y, and Z?! You always do it and you KNOW it makes me mad! So, WHY do you do it!?”


Step 1: Learn how your anger manifests itself.

This step requires some internal troubleshooting. You need to look inwardly to make changes outwardly. Okay, people!



Image result for he lives in you gif
Like Simba’s dad, your anger lives in you. And also probably frowns like that.

Everyone is different, therefore everyone’s anger manifests itself differently. Here are some common expressions of anger. Figure out which set sounds like you and let’s get to work.


Verbal bashing: This includes yelling, arguing, put downs, insults, and threats.

CAPTION: “WE’LL BRING YOU STRAIGHT HOME.”

  • Non-verbal bashing: This falls into the category of giving someone the ‘cold shoulder’ withdrawal of affection, dismissiveness, hostility, and contempt. (Contempt is the funeral bells of all relationships, so especially watch your non-verbal indicators people!)
  • Suppression: When you feel anger and try to push it down internally (please note that your anger is AN ENERGY. According to the Law of Conservation of Energy in physics, energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be transformed from one form into another. Suppressing your anger usually transforms itself into stress, which can lead to digestive problems, heart disease, chronic tension, fatigue, and high blood pressure for you. Just keep that in mind.



CAPTION: This is hades. Don’t be hades.


  • Displacement: When you are angry at someone you feel you can’t express it to (like your boss) so, you take it out on someone else (like your spouse). Unfortunately, this is how many people consciously or unconsciously release some of the negative energy that they build up.
  • Passive aggression: This one has become famous for television shows, but it is usually characterized by activities that have plausible deniability of angry feelings. This can range from things like sarcasm, to pettiness which could sound a little something like “oh they want that new Chanel perfume? I wanted sex last night, so regardless of any previously made promises they are still going to smell like feet.”  or “I know I said that I would do X thing for my partner, but they can suck it because I didn’t like the way they talked to me last week.” Ect.
Aggression: Throwing things, punching walls, pushing, slapping, punching, or anything involving weapons or turning household items into any sort of weapon.






CAPTION: Princess?


Step 2: If you see something, SAY something.

When you encounter something that has the potential of making you angry, try to head it off in conversation before it happens. This is called “identifying a trigger.”

“But, how can I do that Alisha?” This is when the idea of hanging out with your partner can really help come in handy. You can come across many anger inducing situations while watching television, reading the news, surfing social media for other couple’s drama, etc. When you see something that you just KNOW would get you angry, bring it up to your partner in conversation. Looking at YOU ‘She’s Gotta Have It”! Seriously though, if Nola’s rampant disrespect of her partners would irk you, pause the show. Tell your partner that it’s not about the fact that she is polyamorous and needs her space. The problem is, she is unwilling to give herself in any arena but the sexual one, which makes it an unhealthy partnership regardless of how many partners she tries to juggle. Emphasize that, because healthy partnerships are the way by which you run your life. In YOUR relationship you will need to give and take, because should you might wake up one day and find that you’re the ONLY one giving. This will set off a serious bout of passive aggression that both of you will want to avoid. See how easy that was?



CAPTION: Enough said

Step 3: Trigger trends

Once you identify the things that make you angry and you’ve pointed them out to your partner, you will begin to see trends in the things that make you angry. If you get angry at similar situations on a consistent basis, it’s time to buckle down into yourself, and learn WHY these things make you flip your wig.


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CAPTION: Do elaborate sideburns count?

This way you can start to backpedal before the trigger becomes an issue that makes your face change color. Let your partner know what your coping mechanisms are for anger and tell your partner to watch out for them. If you really need to leave the room to compose yourself when you’re angry, you don’t need a partner that is going to follow you around arguing with you while you’re trying to remain calm. Let them know what your needs are and expect them to follow through. The flipside of this, is that you are helping your partner, not giving them another task. When you feel yourself being triggered, or becoming reactionary, take a moment, and try to step away from it while it still isn’t a huge issue. If you identify yourself as someone who is naturally aggressive, when you catch yourself clenching your fists, take a deep breath, unclench, and go do something that actively makes you happy. Let your mind clear out. The key to anger management is addressing your core triggers and doing your best to head them off.

The one takeaway from this series, is that at every single point in your interaction with your partner, especially when you’re angry, you should take the situation dissect WHY exactly you are angry, talk about what that means for you, how your anger will manifest itself, and tell your partner to steer clear. This process is all about giving your partner a roadmap to helping themselves and you. Our emotions aren’t things we can or should weather on their own.








By Alisha Smith, Alisha is 24-year-old recent graduate, writer, blogger, gamer, and corporate drone by day and rampant blabbermouth by night. She currently writes for Ms. Vixen and on Medium and spends her free time shamelessly pursuing her interests and avoiding other humans. 

 
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