Why asking Black people to forgive whiteness won’t ‘heal this country’

It’s time we have a serious conversation about what it means when white people offer disingenuous apologies to Black people they have harmed while expecting absolution and exoneration from those very same people.

Last week, news broke that a 79-year-old Trump supporter named John Franklin McGraw, who was seen on video elbowing a young Black anti-Trump protester named Rakeem Jones in the face at a Trump rally, was sentenced to probation. It was McGraw’s own words during that sentencing that draw attention to the ways that white supremacy operates to protect whiteness at all costs while demanding emotional labor from Black people in the form of forgiveness.

U.S. To Forgive $108 Billion In Student Loan Debt

Most, millennials in the United States are constantly dealing with the crushing weight of living in a country that encourages higher education, but forces them to take out thousands of dollars in loans to do so. Something clearly isn’t working in that equation.

To help ease the brunt of the dilemma, the U.S. government plans to forgive at least $108 billion in student loan debt over the next 10 to 20 years, according to Fortune.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness and Domestic Violence Awareness: But Are We Truly Aware of Both??

So, I am sitting here trying to understand why during the month of October Breast Cancer Awareness gets more media attention and corporate sponsorship than Domestic Violence Awareness which is also remembered during the month of October. I know that most women have breast irrespective of their size, pigmentation, and function. And, I also know 1 of 8 women will be diagnosed with some form of breast cancer. However, what I am having a hard time trying to understand is why it seems to be favored, if one could favor one personal disaster over another, over domestic violence especially when 1 of 4 women will experience some form of domestic violence in their lifetime meaning women are more likely to be exposed to domestic violence than breast cancer.

This acknowledgement is not to reduce the level of attention Breast Cancer Awareness’ initiatives receive because it is important. And, evermore important to me because a couple of months ago my “beloved” godmother was diagnosed with it which caused me to become a consumer of all things related to curing Breast Cancer. However, as a survivor of domestic violence—lived through my mother’s daily beatings—and goddaughter of a breast cancer survivor, I see the interconnections and similarities between both issues and why they must be addressed simultaneously.

“Ooh, I’m gonna tell My Daddy what you did”: My Father my Imagined Black Superhero, The Black Texan

What happened this week that made me imagine my father a superhero:

This week, I went to the doctor to check on my blood pressure. A couple of weeks ago it was a tad bit above the normal rate and so my doctor wanted to monitor it. So, I scheduled an appointment to come in this week. So, I go in and the nurse takes my blood pressure and it’s perfectly normal. So, upon hearing this I thought I could leave, but the nurse said I still had to see the doctor. To make a long story short, I saw a white male doctor who I had have never met before and instead of checking on my heart, he felt it “appropriate” to discuss my sexuality, to make racial innuendos about black women’s hypersexuality and STD rates, to discuss my “pear” shape of a black derrière, and to slide his ungloved hand under my shirt to touch my belly without cause or provocation.

Yep, this is what happened to me this week. And, of course, I felt silenced throughout the entire ordeal trying to figure out how my sexuality and the need to touch my belly had anything to do with my perfectly normal blood pressure reading. Nothing it had nothing to do with it. This older white male doctor, who appeared to be congenial, in a matter of moments, stole my ability to breathe, and, honestly, after it happened all that I could think about was, “If my father was here, he would whoop his ass.” Yes, in that moment, I wished my recovering alcoholic father who I know can fight (i.e. Evidenced by my mothers’ many blackened eyes growing up), was present to punch the white doctor in his eye Superhero style with BAM, WHAM, and a Whoosh.

Forgiving Michael Vick

Last week in my hodgepodge, I mentioned that I needed Michael Vick to score at least 33 points to win my fantasy match-up (because I know you care).  Otherwise, I would look like an idiot for benching Tom Brady, who had already had an impressive day against the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Well, Vick came through for me, scoring 54 points in what will probably always be known as “The Michael Vick Game.”  Vick threw four touchdowns and ran for 2 more, finishing the day with 333 yards passing and another 80 yards rushing.   The performance drew comparisons to Steve Young, engendered some MVP talk for Vick, and even warranted a patronizing-ass “I’m prouder of his work off the field,” comment from NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell:

“There is a big message in what Michael is doing,” Goodell told the newspaper. “He’s a superstar athlete who everyone thought had everything in the world. He fell from grace tragically by making some horrific mistakes, paid a significant price, worked his way back in and now he’s being successful. It demonstrates to me to get to these young men earlier and work with them and make them understand their responsibility making decisions that will define them for a period of time.”


Of course, this response to Vick’s amazing performance was not entirely positive.  The creator of a fantasy football blog I frequent, for instance, acknowledged the awesomeness of Vick’s (fantasy) performance, but not without noting that she would never have Michael Vick on any of her fantasy teams.  As if, I suppose, one might express one’s moral fiber by what one decides to do within the confines of a game that a bunch of nerds such as myself obsess over.  Interestingly, I’ve never heard mention of the morally deleterious rhetoric of fantasy.  Fantasy players love to talk about the athletes they “own.”  Because, you know, it’s ethically acceptable to pretend that you own a person, especially when considering his trade value, but not hardly moral to own a player who supported dog fighting in real life.  (For the record, I do not claim to own players.  That’s wack.)  Such acts seem akin to folks who play anti-Monopoly…with a Monopoly board game…that they purchased.

What does it mean to articulate that one hates Michael Vick?  What does it mean to find it necessary to hold that opinion still?  To be sure, I was not a Michael Vick defender.  I am, by all accounts, a dog person.  I often find dogs more tolerable than people.  I was alarmed and saddened upon hearing the details of what Vick and his associates did those dogs.  Yet, I don’t hate Michael Vick, and I don’t believe–as many do–that he should have never been allowed to play professional football again.  In my mind, there aren’t many instances where I would think that a person, as abominable as their actions may be, should as a result no longer be allowed to do a thing she is really good at and presumably loves if the crime is unrelated to that vocation.  Vick, according to the way this culture runs, paid his debt to society.  Vick served his time in prison, declared bankruptcy, was conditionally reinstated, and by all accounts both adequately acknowledges his past mistakes and has worked to ameliorate them.  Even St. Tony Dungy (he’s a saint because he never cusses and because he led my Colts to a Super Bowl victory.) has become a vocal proponent for this new Michael Vick.  Yet there were vehement protests when the Philadelphia Eagles signed Michael Vick as a back-up quarterback, because, I suppose no one should be given a second chance, or allowed to work after they’ve done a bid.  Some of those protesters have yet to give up the fight.

What, in this Christ-loving culture of ours makes some believe that they have the right to “hate” and/or withhold forgiveness, the latter of which implicitly suggests that they have the right to grant it?  How asinine is our earnestness when we think our moral compass is pointing in the right direction when we say things like, “I’ll never cheer for Michael Vick”?  I suppose it’s a lot easier to sleep at night when we think about our moral stance on a rich athlete who put dogs to death than it is to examine the ways that our daily actions may endanger the lives of people we’ll never know.  What would justice for those dogs have looked like?  Vick never playing football again?  Why?  I suppose he could have worked for a company like Dell while in jail, gained some employable skills so we never again had to watch him on Sunday afternoons.

The moral vitriol spewed at Vick, two years after he served his 21-month jail sentence, ensured his position atop Forbes’ list of most disliked athletes yet again this year.  Meanwhile, Ben Roethlisberger (who looks like Jeff Daniels to me) has settled in at number 3.  He was accused of sexual assault–twice.

On Chris Brown–or Something

It’s a federal holiday.  Which probably means most of you have not just settled into your cubicle to read my Monday morning message.  Not that anyone would actually be reading this if they were at work this morning, but at least I have a legitimate reason–and a federally recognized one–to be ignored.  Initially, I had planned on using this morning’s blog to declare my independence from a variety of things: the NBA free agency conversation, graduate school, Blizzards.  But I realized that recently I’ve been taking this space to list things.  And frankly, I’d be back in line at the Dairy Queen before you could say Benedict Arnold.  So why bother using holiday blog time to reset some of my New Year’s resolutions?