Updated: Jan 29, 2020
It's so rough out here for the black community. Every time I turn on the television, I see some of my people either being fatally shot or arrested. It's like we are at war with no end in sight.
But do you know what really grinds my gears more then the oppression we as a community are suffering through? When we are doing it to ourselves. I in no shape or form am giving "The Others" a pass on what they are doing to us, but I am saying there are things we are doing to ourselves that really make us look bad that we need to stop doing RIGHT NOW! Here are five things we need to fix like today!
Stop Turning Your Children Into...You (or your Baby's Daddy)
Oh but the little boys! If you women do not stop dressing your little baby boys like thugs in training, I'm personally going to start popping you all in the mouth. No more of this walking around Wal-Mart in a wifebeater, earrings and gold chains hanging from his neck with his Gucci shorts sagging for me to see what brand of diaper he's rocking. Put him in an Elmo shirt and Target shorts! Do not tell him he has "swag" when he can barely stand up to pee!
Our black women need to understand your son is not your baby's daddy! He. Is. Not. Your. Man! Stop telling him he's the man of the house at five! DO NOT put that responsibility on a child! Teach our young black boys how to grow into being strong and inspiring men one day but let them be a child for as long as they can be. So no more of this! Allow him the possibility of becoming better than what the world expects of him.
Oh and the little girls! I don't know about you, but I am sick and tired of seeing videos of little black girls in the middle of the room popping their saggy diapers while their uncles, cousins, grandpa, and grandma stand around and they mamma record it as they all cheer her on, "Go Pookie! Go Pookie!"
What the f**k are you thinking?! The only thing missing from this situation is a pole and a fist full of dollar bills. The ish really isn't cute and there are a couple problems here. The biggest issue for me, why do they know how to do these things? Your child is a product of their environment and you are their environment. Stop popping your ass in front of your children. Instead, read her a book! Stop allowing her to think that wiggling her backside is going to give her that attention she's going to be craving when she gets older because of all the attention she got as a child for doing the same thing. Teach her to love herself inside and out. Don't feel some kind of way when she's pregnant at 16. You can only blame yourself. This one isn't on poor pregnant Pookie.
Stop Arguing With The Police, PLEASE!
Now listen, I am all for the "Black Lives Matter" movement. So don't come for me. BUT stop arguing with the police. I know they are wrong for pulling you over. I know that you probably did nothing to justify the stop. Or even if you did something but you don't feel as if it is right. Stop yelling at them and being hostile! You are giving them more reason to shoot if black wasn't reason enough.
"What the hell did you pull me over for!?!" "Don't you pigs got something better to do?!" responses will only get you a fatter ticket, put in jail or a bed in intensive care. I know it is a scary situation and with our recent history with the boys in blue you really do not know how they will react. You have to stay calm or you will possibly put yourself in a worst situation. I personally try to make them feel comfortable when they approach my car by putting my hands on the wheel after rolling down all four of my car windows. I'm making sure they know "there are no AK-47s in my car so put your gat back on safety" and that I am not a threat. It is sad we have to do these things but you have to understand they don't know who they are pulling over "some" of the time and they are just as afraid as you are. There is a better way to respond if you feel you are wronged. Just see how Florida's first black elected state attorney, Aramis Ayala, handled it in a different way as she too was profiled and pulled over. Wrong or not, stop arguing with them and putting it on your IG live for people like Pookie to heart it! Can't count your views from a coffin.
Stop Leaving The House Wearing Hair Bonnets
"But Tyierra, bonnets help preserve the moister in my hair as I do my daily task and to be honest I should be able to wear what I want to wear!"
No... No you cannot. First, hair bonnets are meant to preserve moister while you sleep! I'm not making this up! It literally says in the description for the Stay On Satin Edge Bonnet that the "hair bonnet is made of a silk like material which is very smooth and breathable for long and durable use on pillow." PILLOW! And not to call y'all out or anything but what moister are you preserving? Most of the people I know aren't preserving anything but their laziness to comb through that mess they call hair. And I get it. You and Pookie just need to run into the store real quick because she is about to start on those Poetic Justice braids you been asking her to do. But why didn't you get all that before taking your last sew-in down? I am 100% with you expressing yourself how you want but wearing your PJs to the store (because I mean they are pretty much apart of your night attire) is not acceptable. There is a negative stigma attached to bonnets. Let's not continue it. Plus, it's just tacky looking.
STOP. BEING. LOUD.
Michelle Obama stated at the 2015 Black Girls Rock Awards "I wasn't loud. I was a young woman with something to say." Mrs. Obama is speaking for all the women who are standing up for our rights or being the voices of the culture. She is NOT referring to those who are smacking gum and talking loud on their phones in the back of the line at Popeyes. Do you know what other people see when you act like that? They see Sheneneh Jenkins from the 90s sitcom Martin. Why? Why must you want to be loud every where you go? I've found over the years that the louder you are, the less people listen to what you have to say. They may hear your loud ass but they aren't listening. So if someone messes up your order in a restaurant, it doesn't matter if its McDonald's or Ruth's Chris, do not show out. It's easier to get your messed up meal paid for if you whisper to your waiter you would like to speak to the manager then it is if you are disturbing all of their other guests telling them what they better do or you and your homegirl Pookie are going to do a 187 on them. Leave Pookie out of this!
Stop Letting Them People (Family) Stress You Out
I'm going to say this loud for the people in the back:
FAMILY ISN'T EVERYTHING!
If you have one of those loving and supporting families who encourage you to succeed, this is not for you. But if you have one of those families who stump on your dreams and literally tell you what you not gonna become, you need to keep on reading. In the black community family is the number one thing that has the power to break you or make you. That's only if you let them. First things first. If they don't support you, leave! It is a whole world out there. There is no rule saying that you have to stay near family just because they are family. Go build your dreams in another city or even another country. I know this may be scary to leave behind the only place and people you've ever known, but you're stronger than you think. Don't let people who only share DNA with you keep a pause on the greatness you can become.
Second, once you leave and come back to visit in your decked out Range Rover wearing a pair of Christian Louboutin, you have to remember you are just visiting. You are not required to hand out stacks of cash because you "made it." You do not have to fill up your cousin's cabinets with food. There's no laws saying that you must take Pookie shopping for baby clothes because her baby's daddy won't do it. No you do not have to let your auntie hold $200 until she get her tax return. They are not your responsibility and you should not let them stress you to no return. Family is one of those words with blurred lines. They are great to have but they are not required to be the best version of yourself. Stop allowing people to rip you down just because you are related.
There's so much we can do for ourselves to make our community stronger. We need to help ourselves first before fighting a bigger battle against "The Others." Let's not continue turning our baby girls and boys into stereotypes and posting them on social media. Always keep in the back of your head that arguing with the police as a black person is either going to get you put in the back of their patrol car or put in a plush casket. Bonnets are not meant to be worn no further then your mailbox and that's pushing it. Take pride in how you leave your homes and stop wearing your PJs to the grocery stores. Being loud only stops people from listening to you. All people see is some ratchet girl with no home training. To them you are no longer a person but an animal that got loose. Finally, family is like an accessory, they are like a cute bracelet or pair of earrings; they're nice to have but you gonna be alright if you don't have it on every day. Some families are awesome and love to see your growth but the families that aren't you should never limit yourself to. Let's try to make us great for the first time!