I’m Black and I’m Proud

I am a black woman living in America. Therefore, my experience, whatever it might be, is a black experience.

It might not be your black experience…it might not mirror the experience of many or any black people in America, but it is a black experience … ‘cause I’m black.

Blackity, black, black…

Black.

“Say it loud! I’m black and I’m proud!” ~ James Brown and Alfred James Ellis, songwriters

Inhale Experience, Exhale Exclusion…
Inhale Similarities, Exhale Separation…
Inhale Differences, Exhale Division…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe

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Otherism

There is no universal black experience in America, no one way of being black, yet black people STAY tryna revoke folks’ black cards, trade those who have transgressed or deny other people’s blackness based on …
the familiarity of their lived experiences…
the amount of melanin in their skin…
the ingredients in their potato salad…
the political party with whom they identify…
how they speak English…
the race of their significant other …
their perceived level of “wokeness”… etc. etc.

My question…how does any one thing become the signifier of blackness?

“I am because we are.” ~ Ubuntu Philosophy

Inhale Experience, Exhale Exclusion…
Inhale Similarities, Exhale Separation…
Inhale Differences, Exhale Division…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe

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Bi-Racial

I have always understood that most black Americans have some European DNA but I recently read a study which reported essentially ALL black American descendants of enslaved Africans have European ancestry.

Hmmm … so, basically errbody.

That means whether the introduction of European genes in your black gene pool was limited to the rape of an enslaved ancestor by a white male (a frequent occurrence after the transatlantic slave trade was halted), or your DNA reflects a more recent and/or consensual ingress of white DNA…it’s in there.

And I think that is a good reason to dispense with the “blacker than thou” dismissal of our more obviously mixed race brothers and sisters who claim their blackness.

Inhale Inclusion, Exhale Exclusion…
Inhale Unity, Exhale Division…
Inhale Humanity, Exhale Separation…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe

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If She Can, I Can…

I usually describe my last military job as the city manager for a small city, in this case the 6th largest city…in South Dakota!

The selection for this group-level command position was a two-step process; first I had to be nominated, then selected for a specific open position. I was on the list of nominees but couldn’t think of one single black woman group commander and I felt discouraged about my chances to be selected.

Then I remembered Brigadier General Toreaser A. Steele, who as a Colonel commanded the 737th Training Group at Lackland Air Force Base in San AntonioTexas.

General Steel represented what was possible and gave me the confidence that what I thought was impossible was possible for me!

Inhale Representation, Exhale Rejection…
Inhale Participation, Exhale Exclusion…
Inhale Possibilities, Exhale Limiting Beliefs…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe

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Empathy Gap

Empathy: the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

Many Americans seem to only be capable of empathy toward family or people who look like them… like the anti-LGTBQ politician who softens his stance when his daughter reveals her homosexuality or the white suburban mom crusading against drug addiction who suddenly calls for treatment versus incarceration when the heroin addicts look like her kids.

Those Americans have been unable to empathize with the black and brown bodies videoed being brutalized so it was interesting to see their reaction to the violent arrest of a white nurse for upholding her hospital policy and protecting an unconscious patient.

Maybe they are waking up the realization that in a militarized police state, the brutality will eventually impact everyone…

“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.” ~ Martin Niemöller

Inhale Empathy, Exhale Exclusion…
Inhale Empathy, Exhale Judgment…
Inhale Empathy, Exhale Apathy…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe
Reflections With Renita

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Freedom Fighters

I was reminded, once again, while visiting the National Museum of African American History and Culture that Americans of color have fought just as hard and sacrificed just as much as those who would exclude us from claiming America as ours…

Off to War by William Johnson, depicts a young GI leaving his family to defend his country.

Inhale Service, Exhale Exclusion…
Inhale Sacrifice, Exhale Segregation…
Inhale Satisfaction, Exhale Disregard…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe
#MyAmerica
Reflections With Renita

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My America

It is endlessly fascinating to me that the descendants of those who would have destroyed the United States, are often the ones most eager to claim patriotism…to the exclusion of others.

Mainstream patriotism holds notions of equality, colorblindness, and meritocracy that are at odds with the lives of black Americans.” ~ Dr. Micah Johnson

Inhale Equality, Exhale Exclusion…
Inhale Freedom, Exhale Oppression…
Inhale Unity, Exhale Destruction…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe
#MyAmerica
Reflections With Renita

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