The thing is, I’m trying to keep my New Year’s resolution to walk in the light—to evolve and grow and focus on what’s beautiful after a year of unrelenting, heartbreaking ugly. The ugly is still there, trust and believe: even more Black bodies have been irreparably broken by a criminal justice system that seems hellbent on using law, politics and trickery to decimate our children and community; Baltimore is still simmering, and; media coverage and dissection of our collective anger is both laughable and infuriating. But I’ve chosen to express my anger over Freddie Gray’s death on my personal Facebook page, and limit the coverage here on MyBrownBaby to writing about it from a distinctly Black parenting perspective. The rest of the time, well, I’m in the search for something new. Something beautiful.
Why, then, do folks insist on pushing dark, heavy rainclouds all up into my light? Why, in this age of social media and easy access, do people choose to buck rather than think before they (e)confront strangers? And sweet baby Jesus in a manger surrounded by wise men and little animals, why are there still white women stumbling onto this website—this Blackety Black website where we write unapologetically from a Blackety Black mom’s perspective about Blackety Black shit—to demand I write for their gaze, from their perspective, for their approval? Witness the foolishness that one Nicole Tongue deposited into my email inbox earlier this week after reading, “Parenting Through White Privilege: Mom Attacks Meddling Stranger Who Offers To “Help” Her With Her Crying Toddler,” a post that apparently had her feeling some kind of way:
* * *
I am raising two biracial boys. I thought it would be nice to have a perspective from BOTH spectrums – black and white. I understand that my sons will experience things that as a white mother I will not understand.
But being married to a black man and raising two gorgeous sons with him has been a roller coaster to say the least. He deals with discrimination everyday – and since falling in love and marrying a black man – so have I!
The discrimination of my own race – I totally get. What has BAFFLED me – is the constant discrimination from blacks. He is criticized by black women for marrying a white woman. I am criticized (by black females) for being a white woman who married a black man.
Stumbling across your blog – I see why this is still the case in 2015! For some reason, black women feel that white women “are taking all the good brothers”. Really? Because I have a lot of white females who have been in relationships with black men – who would HAPPILY have avoided the experience altogether. Heck – some black women should be THANKING white gals for ridding themselves of such a jerk from the dating pool.
My husband once told a black woman RUDE enough to say “what a damn shame” while shaking her head and looking at my pregnant belly – with my hubby standing there! My hubby is not one to avoid an altercation and he said to her “what the hell makes you think I would be dating YOU if I were not married to my wife anyway?”
Point being. There is NOTHING more hypercritical than a racist black person! And your article calling WHITE PRIVILEGE parenting was EXTREMLY offensive. Here I go to your blog expecting POSITIVE reinforcement about parenting and raising a minority child – and it is BANTER against white women!
Thanks for the disappointment.
PS WHITE WOMEN are minorities too! Last I checked, we qualified as “women” too! So tired of the hate. Makes us want to hate back.
* * *
Now, keep in mind, Nicole dropped this into my inbox first thing in the morning. I woke up to this mess. I mean, seriously? What in the what was all of that stuff about interracial marriage and white women and Black male losers and white women being minorities and disliking a blog post so much that you want to hate Black people even though your husband and children are black… for real, what WAS that? First inclination? Send her a link to that Big Sean song. You know the one. But I’m walking in my light, remember? So I tapped into Somewhat Tolerant Denene:
I don’t know you. I don’t know your husband. I don’t know your family, your friends, your life. I don’t care about any of it precisely because I DO NOT KNOW YOU.
See, while you’re rooting around my website looking for evidence that allows you to lump me into your stereotypical views of Black women, I’m actually living my life, raising my family, running a business and working hard to reserve my emotions, thought and energy for people I actually know. It is not so much as a thought in my mind to look at two strangers on the street and think—much less say out loud—disgusting things about their love/union because their skin color doesn’t match. I don’t care about who you choose to love/sleep with/make babies with. It’s your business. Not mine. As I’ve written time and again here on MyBrownBaby.
That you’re in my inbox with this foolishness this early on a Monday is… ugh.
Do me a favor. Get out my inbox with this craziness. Live your life. Go be happy with your family. And if you don’t like what you’re reading here on MyBrownBaby, if your disagreeing with my opinion on ONE post out of hundreds written over the course of seven years makes you feel some kind of way, baby go up to that little button on your browser bar and move it on along to another site. Somewhere that brings you immeasurable joy.
* * *
Not enough for ol’ Nicole. It seems that her point, whatever it was, wasn’t addressed to her satisfaction. So she hopped back into my inbox to tell me how I should have responded to her early morning rant:
To be expected. You addressed all but the point being made, you even failed to offer some sort of acknowledgement that maybe your article was a bit critical and written without knowing the back story.
Consider your suggestions duly noted and completed. I’ll be sure not to recommend your site.
Have a blessed day.
* * *
*insert image of Denene giving her inbox the gas face, then pounding out this*
Quite honestly, with all the rambling, I couldn’t quite figure out what, exactly, was your point. And then I reminded myself that what you think about my writing, my thoughts and my website is a non-factor in my equations. You don’t matter to me. *shrugs*
See, that’s the thing, love: I don’t need your validation, and I most certainly do not need to write so much as a single letter to please you. I am, however, slightly amused by your insistence that MyBrownBaby exists for your gaze.
Oh–and I STAY blessed.
* * *
And I say that with my chest. From deep down on the inside. With almost seven years and well over 1825 blog posts under my belt, the absolute last thing I’m doing when I write here at MyBrownBaby is thinking about how overly-sensitive white women with absolutely no ability to see beyond their own limited purview, will respond to my experiences, thoughts, opinions and truth. I spent a lifetime—20 years as a journalist, author and freelance writer—caring about this, mind you. I used to get upset, too, when people would send me racist tirades in the mail or, of late, try to deposit them into the MyBrownBaby comments section (thank goodness for keyword filters), on the fan page, in our Twitter mentions or, like good ol’ Nicole here, would take the extra effort to drop them in my inbox.
But no more. No more.
Calling me a nigger, coon, porch monkey, ugly black bitch and, yes, more subtle versions of these (nee: Black racist, you people, minority) and whatever other names and phrases you all shove in my (virtual) face don’t hurt dear. Not even a little bit. One whiff of it and I shove it into the darkness, and look toward the light.
My delete and block fingers are pimp hand strong.
I know, loves: it’s hard to digest. That a Black woman could be so passionate about her children, her man, her home, the health and well-being of her community, the education, safety and rearing of Black children and the unconditional support of the mothers raising them that she won’t stop the earth’s rotational axis to bow down to your perspective—to your insistence that a white woman’s opinion is the only one to be valued. The only one that matters. After all, white privilege—yes, Nicole, I said it, white privilege—apparently renders one completely incapable of understanding that not everything is about you, you do not control all things, and you have zero power over people who think freely, love their people deeply and don’t need your approval to… be.
But you will deal.
Start by leaning into your screen and reading this very carefully: the MyBrownBaby world does not revolve around you, dear. And if that’s a problem, you best get all up in that browser.
Run along and tell a friend.
Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.
- Web |
- More Posts
Perhaps being in awe of you and your talent, and the kind of young women you are raising with Nick, does not render me completely objective, but I read your blog every day, I have known you for 15 years, Iam a white woman. You don’t play, you are honest, and true. You amuse me, educate, and even make me rethink some of immediate reactions. That’s what great writers do. Cause us to chuckle, or think harder, or want to be better.
And like the wonderful Bertice Berry who taught me to educate by example every day, you send the same message. You inspire and any one who says otherwise has a problem with me aka your agent, large white woman, assistant to Totally Lila Chiles.
As a white woman, who by virtue of being a white woman, gets to hear the racist tangents of other white women on the daily without so much as an apology or disclaimer… I feel you. White privilege has gotten very old, but even worse is the fact that so many fail to acknowledge that it exists and use their black friends/spouse/kids to cloak their ignorance. It makes my head hurt. So sorry you had to wake up to this, but thank you for addressing it.
What Dene ne said and then some!!!!! “My Delete and Block fingers are Pimp Hand Strong!” An absolute CLASSIC! I LOVE it!
Good for you.
Are you familiar with the internet term “sea lioning?” I read it for the first time a few weeks ago and was so delighted. It captures this “but I’m being POLITE and YOU OWE ME” attitude so well.
But now she won’t recommend you! How will you liiiiiiiiiiiiive???
It’s shit like this that make me happy my blog reaches like 300 people.
I love your response though.
She all but called you “uppity Negress.” She’s the one that all off topic but felt the need to share her “plight.”
So sorry that some Black ladies pissed in her cereal. She needs to get her life and realize that those random incidents though upsetting, pale (pun intended) in comparison to what Black America is facing. Some lady hurt her feelings and all of a sudden she GETS it?! Sorry Nicole, but your blues ain’t like mine.
Really I feel a little sorry for her. It is likely that her Black husband and children are going to slapped hard one day by racism and maybe she’ll think of her missives to you and weep a little bit for her naivete. Naw Nicole, Ms. Millner ain’t racist, she’s realist and you ain’t ready.
I am a multi-ethnic woman: black father & white mother. Both were university professors and active in the civil rights movement. My white mother got it and was equip to deal with the hardships I would face. She was my biggest supporter when I really began the struggles with race issues back in high school. And she was my shoulder to cry on during my “I hate white people” days. She, like many other white people, understood and acknowledged “white privilege” and was extremely empathetic.
My father… I’ll sum him up quickly or this will take hours to write…. He was my hero. The greatest father and man in the world. A father figure to so many people. An educator, a college basketball coach, an activist… He was my best friend. And my parents were married until the day my dad passed at 91 yrs old. ♡
With all that being said, one of my “white” girl friends turned me on to you FB page yesterday. And I am so glad she did. Your posts are REAL. They are well written. They give me hope and inspire. Thank you for posting the Washington Post article about the “Hero Mom”. I will be re-posting that today.
More importantly and more on topic. I hate to sound judgmental. HOWEVER on this blog topic I feel I have an excellent perspective as a child of a black father & white mother. (And Ohhh how I wish this I could magically get what I’m about to say to the Nicole who in-boxed you on Monday.)
#1 Thank you Denene for writing this blog!!! You pulled the thoughts right out of my head. You are a brilliant writer! You are correct about everything you wrote.
#2 As for Nicole, the white woman raising her black boys. Oh no. I’m so sad about her reaction to your blog. It shows that she is so very ill-equip to be raising two black children. From her comments about the things her husband says & her comments about her feelings of wanting to hate black people, it appears that there is a high chance of those two parents raising two more black men who will be confused, ashamed and full of self-hatred.
There is hope however. Here’s what it takes: She (and her husband apparently) need to read blogs like yours and look inward instead of feeling defensive and acting as if having bi-racial children somehow gives her a pass into the “black community”. She needs to recognize that until she can acknowledged and own the fact that white privilege exists, she can’t even have an authentic conversation. She needs to hear the frustration and complaints of so many people in the black community and ask herself “why?” & “how would I feel if that had been my historical experience?” She needs to hear what some black women are saying when they complain about black men being with white women. She needs to own it and feel it with an empathetic heart.
She should start with the movie Selma and work her way back through the MANY other movies that show the Historical struggles of her sons’ ancestors. She needs to take the 8 hrs to watch “African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross” by Henry Lewis Gates on PBS (which my white mother recommended and watched with me recently). She should even throw in Django and get a glimpse of where some of the blk men / wht women issues started.
Most importantly she should take the time to equip herself with knowledge, understanding, empathy and REALITY in order to be able to raise 2 black men who will be proud of their heritage, understanding of what they may face and who love their color, their people and their communities (both black and white).
Being defensive about white privilege, pretending it doesn’t exist and being surrounded by 3 black men while saying you want to hate black women/black people is a HUGE problem!!!! She also needs to understand that black mothers aren’t here on earth to comfort her and “Yeah Girl” her about the fact that she gave birth to 2 black boys. And every time she complains about black women to feel better about herself and reinforce her assumed superiority she is shaming her children and disgracing their black grandmothers and great grandmothers.
For now I will continue to be an optimist. I am holding out hope for that “situation” over at Nicole’s house.
From a person that can identify with the feelings and experiences her children will have better than she can. (And that’s simply stating facts with love attached. ♡)
(written on cell phone. please excuse typos and auto-corrects)
Well said. Run along tell a friend. Telling a person how they should respond to a misguided rant is crazy.
GO OFF!! The audacity of a white woman a)telling a Black woman what she should think and say and b)telling you the type of response you should have given is mind-blowing! There is SO much there to unpack, but I can’t be bothered. And called herself a minority?! Chile! Them poor babies.
On something of an aside, it infuriates me the way that so many white people go out of their way to insert themselves into Black online spaces for the EXPRESS PURPOSE of “correcting”, chastising, and degrading us. Almost everywhere I go they are there. It’s madness.
Girl. A THOUSAND co-signs for this….
Yes, Denene!!! Thank you. White privilege is old and OMG you’re not going to be recommended *shrugs* the rest of us can’t fathom life without your real. On the flip side, her sons are going to be the kids on the news not knowing how to deal with the issues “her race” created, praying for the babes born to that ignorance.
Wow I can’t even reply as I’m in shock. Thanks for handling it so well
I went back and read the old post twice and I still can’t figure out WHAT Ms. Nicole saw so offensive about it. Did she not raise her eyebrows when she saw that the “Good Samaritan” SAT DOWN at the table, as I did? Not when she hit the mama, but just when she sat down. What gave her the right? Privilege, as you said. Look, I am so light skinned that I am always getting looks from folks who don’t think I should be with my much browner husband. I understand her pain on that one because it was my mother’s pain. But her rationale is nothing but childish foolishness and ignorance. Keep bringing love and light into this world for us. You need answer to no one but your beautiful brown babies.
I will pray for your future!!!! Apparently, Nicole, her white privilege AND her power to (gasps) not recommend your site (gasps again) are bound to destroy you.
WOW! I’m not really sure I understood her point after reading that either. #1 it’s your blog, you pay for, and write what you want on. Since I can’t pass judgment on her, what I will do is pray for her ignorant self centered view points.
Love this! I like your blog because it is about being a black mom raising black children and all the in betweens in this parenting journey. I think our country has just so many entitled people who feel you should include them. But, you don’t have to. This is America and instead of complaining about what you didn’t do, she could have said, your blog has inspired me to start one from my perspective. Apparently, that would have been too difficult.
Soul Clap and a bucket of hot grits to you girll! My face warmed up while reading that mess, I was so livid. You keep it classy but real. Nicole – didn’t your Momma tell you to hush when grown folks were talking?
Dear Denene: I stumbled upon your blog this morning and…after reading this particular post, you have given me much to think about. Thanks for writing about this incident with clarity, power, purpose and intelligence. It is quite amazing to me (as I have been watching news events unfold these past many years…Black children, men and women being gunned down in numerous ways)…how White privilege (yeah…it’s a real THING) dominates news/media/judicial process etc as TRUTH when it’s really…privilege and perspective. I am a woman of color but Canadian (not American) and I see things from an outsider perspective somewhat (outsider to American society) Love how social media has allowed others to have a voice. Thanks for being a strong, articulate VOICE!!! xxx