WHY I DON’T CELEBRATE THANKSGIVING

Today while most people celebrate thanksgiving, I am in mourning. During the past 5 years I chose to observe a different observance. It is called Middle Passage Commemoration. During this time (the fourth Thursday and Friday of November) those of us who participate in the observance enter into a state of sadness and mourning for our ancestors who were tortured, abused and murdered in the trip from our original homeland to America. During the observance, we wear all white clothing to signify out state of mourning. In many traditional societies inhabited by people of color, white, not black is the color that signifies death and the mourning of death. We also observe a liquid only, two day fast. During the two days, we consume no solid food at all. It is also a time of solemn contemplation and meditation on the trials and tribulations of our ancestors, known also as the Maafa, or in English, the great suffering. Friday evening, we will gather together for a ceremony in which we pay tribute to the horrible torture that the enslaved Afrikans endured. We will discuss their legacy and ways that we can honor their sacrifices. During the ceremony, we try to wear traditional Afrikan clothing, again, preferably of a white color. At the end of the ceremony is a symbolic breaking of our fast, as we put a temporary end to our looking back and begin to look forward.

Because I chose not to celebrate Thanksgiving does not mean I am ungrateful and/or thankful. I ask of you, why wait for one day out of the year to celebrate being thankful, shouldn’t this be demonstrated everyday? I do not criticize my family and friends that celebrate Thanksgiving, however I educate them on what this day is about. On this day I think about those men who resistance against their enslavement only to be beaten and have their testicles cut off. I contemplate on the men and boys who watched their wives, mothers, aunts, sisters and daughters being gang-raped by the evil men who had enslaved them. I think about the women who tried to fight but were hung and to have her unborn child aborted. I think about the women who watched their husbands, fathers and sons being lynched and castrated before their eyes. I also consider the men and women who tried to jump off the ship only to be caught and beaten severly for trying to escape. I often think about these atrocities not just for today but everyday. I leave with a few excerpts from Olaudah Equiano also known as Gustavas Vassa.

The Life of Gustavas Vassa
Chapter 2
The Atlantic Voyage

I now saw myself deprived of all chance of returning to my native country, or even the least glimpse of hope of gaining the shore, which I now considered as friendly; and I even wished for my former slavery in preference to my present situation, which was filled with horrors of every kind, still heightened by my ignorance of what I was to undergo. I was not long suffered to indulge my grief; I was soon put down under the decks, and there I received such a salutation in my nostrils as I had never experienced in my life: so that, with the loathsomeness of the stench, and crying together, I became so sick and low that I was not able to eat, nor had I the least desire to taste any thing. I now wished for the last friend, death, to relieve me; but soon, to my grief, two of the white men offered me eatables; and, on my refusing to eat, one of them held me fast by the hands, and laid me across, I think the windlass, and tied my feet, while the other flogged me severely. I had never experienced any thing of this kind before, and although not being used to the water, I naturally feared that element the first time I saw it, yet, nevertheless, could I have got over the nettings, I would have jumped over the side, but I could not; and besides, the crew used to watch us very closely who were not chained down to the decks, lest we should leap into the water; and I have seen some of these poor African prisoners most severely cut, for attempting to do so, and hourly whipped for not eating. This indeed was often the case with myself. In a little time after, amongst the poor chained men, I found some of my own nation, which in a small degree gave ease to my mind. I inquired of these what was to be done with us? They gave me to understand, we were to be carried to these white people’s country to work for them. I then was a little revived, and thought, if it were no worse than working, my situation was not so desperate; but still I feared I should be put to death, the white people looked and acted, as I thought, in so savage a manner; for I had never seen among any people such instances of brutal cruelty; and this not only shown towards us blacks, but also to some of the whites themselves. One white man in particular I saw, when we were permitted to be on deck, flogged so unmercifully with a large rope near the foremast, that he died in consequence of it; and they tossed him over the side as they would have done a brute. This made me fear these people the more; and I expected nothing less than to be treated in the same manner. I could not help expressing my fears and apprehensions to some of my countrymen; I asked them if these people had no country, but lived in this hollow place? (the ship) they told me they did not, but came from a distant one. ‘Then,’ said I, ‘how comes it in all our country we never heard of them?’ They told me because they lived so very far off. I then asked where were their women? had they any like themselves? I was told they had. ‘And why,’ said I, ‘do we not see them?’ They answered, because they were left behind. I asked how the vessel could go? They told me they could not tell; but that there was cloth put upon the masts by the help of the ropes I saw, and then the vessel went on; and the white men had some spell or magic they put in the water when they liked, in order to stop the vessel. I was exceedingly amazed at this account, and really thought they were spirits. I therefore wished much to be from amongst them, for I expected they would sacrifice me; but my wishes were vain, for we were so quartered that it was impossible for any of us to make our escape.

Chapter 5
The Abuse of Slaves in the West Indies

Another negro man was half hanged, and then burnt, for attempting to poison a cruel overseer. Thus, by repeated cruelties, are the wretched first urged to despair, and then murdered, because they still retain so much of human nature about them as to wish to put an end to their misery, and retaliate on their tyrants. These overseers are indeed for the most part persons of the worst character of any denomination of men in the West Indies. Unfortunately, many humane gentlemen, but not residing on their estates, are obliged to leave the management of them in the hands of these human butchers, who cut and mangle the slaves in a shocking manner on the most trifling occasions, and altogether treat them in every respect like brutes, They pay no regard to the situation of pregnant women, nor the least attention to the lodging of the field negroes. Their huts, which ought to be well covered, and the place dry where they take their little repose, are often open sheds, built in damp places; so that when the poor creatures return tired from the toils of the field, they contract many disorders, from being exposed to the damp air in this uncomfortable state, while they are heated, and their pores are open.

This they frequently do. A negro man, on board a vessel of my master, while I belonged to her, having been put in irons for some trifling misdemeanor, and kept in that state for some days, being weary of life, took an opportunity of jumping overboard into the sea; however, he was picked up without being drowned. Another, whose life was also a burden to him, resolved to starve himself to death, and refused to eat any victuals. This procured him a severe flogging; and he also, on the first occasion which offered, jumped overboard at Charleston, but was saved.

Nor is there any greater regard shown to the little property, than there is to the persons and lives of the negroes. I have already related an instance or two of particular oppression out of many which I have witnessed; but the following is frequent in all the islands. The wretched field-slaves, after toiling all the day for an unfeeling owner, who gives then but little victuals, steal sometimes a few moments from rest or refreshment to gather some small portion of grass, according as their time will admit. This they commonly tie up in a parcel; either a bit’s worth (sixpence) or half a bit’s worth, and bring it to .town, or to the market, to sell. Nothing is more common than for the white people on this occasion to take the grass from them without paying for it; and not only so, but too often also, to my knowledge, our clerks, and many others, at the same time have committed acts of violence on the poor, wretched, and helpless females; whom I have seen for hours stand crying to no purpose, and get no redress or pay of any kind. Is not this one common and crying sin enough to bring down God’s judgment on the islands? He tells us the oppressor and the oppressed are both in his hands; and if these are not the poor, the broken-hearted, the blind, the captive, the bruised, which our Saviour speaks of, who are they? .

The Verdict That Changed My LIfe

 

On the night of July 13, 2013, my heart became cold. I was angry about the verdict. I could not understand the 6 jurors thinking. When I realized their ethnicity and race, I understood. I understood the jurors were peers of Zimmerman and not Trayvon Martin.  I am saddened we live in a world, in which this situation cannot be seen as racial profiling. This comes from the myth of “All Black people steal.” We have heard this before and it’s time to stop pretending these myths do not exist. This myth makes retail store sales persons bombard you within 5 minutes of walking into their store or just following you. This is the same myth that made John Henry Spooner to shoot and kill Darius Simmons in Milwaukee, WI. This is also racial profiling (something the jury failed to recognize).

 

 My anger was so deep; I think I did not talk for 48 hours. I was not a person of cheer and laughter. It got to the point my boyfriend asked me to stop watching YouTube on other cases that were/are similar to Trayvon Martin. I was also watching the comments to these videos that were filled with so much hate and rage. I have never felt so empty and cold in my life. I wondered if this is what my mother felt when Dr. King, Malcolm X and Medgar Evans died. I wonder was this the same feeling my grandmother had when she learned of Emit Till’s death. I eventually called my mother. My Mother said there was an empty feeling. She explained those 3 deaths were like family to her. Black people as a whole were very sad and angry. My mother has a way of soothing my heart. I asked my grandmother about Emmit Till, at the blessed age of 93 she could not remember. I got to the point I got sick of it and I just cried. I am scared something like this can and may happen in the future. I am also fearful of my nephews, uncles and cousins that might experience this. I am fearful of my friends that have sons and grandsons might experience this. For too long Black men have been labeled as a threat.  It does not matter how much money you make, how famous you are, how educated you are, the magnificence of your athletic ability. You are still a NIGGER. It does not matter how you speak, if you invented a new theory in science, won the Pulitzer Prize, won a Grammy, Emmy, Tony… In their eyes you are still a NIGGER. If Lavar Burton describes his actions in a CNN interview on the steps he takes when being pulled over y the police, WHAT DOES THAT TELL YOU. Lavar Burton. The man that played in Star Trek: Next Generation and Roots. He has to do this in fear he will be shot by police.

 

There are people in this world that want to pretend this does not happen but IT DOES. I am tired of being told by white people, Black people should forget about slavery, discrimination, prejudice etc….  YOU DO NOT LIVE IN MY WORLD. YOU WILL NOT AND WILL NEVER KNOW WHAT IT IS LIKE TO BE BLACK IN AMERICA. I am happy and thankful my elders told me their life story growing up in the rural south and industrialized north. Their experiences dealing with racism and Jim Crow have taught me how to survive. I am thankful; I did not live during a time when it was open season for Black men to be lynched. Well, let’s be real, it’s still open season for unarmed, non-threatening Black men and boys to be shot. My question is what the difference is. What has changed?

If you are not Black, you have not had the experience of being followed in a store just because you are Black. Being followed by a police officer out of a period time while he runs your tags. Being spoken to in a manner of disrespect just because of the color of your skin. Being passed over for employment opportunities for which you are qualified and over qualified for a person of another race with less experience and do not meet the qualifications.

 

I refuse to argue with white people about THE BLACK EXPERIENCE. If you are interested in topics such as white privilege, I would advise you to read “White Like Me” by Tim Wise. (I am not being paid by Mr. Wise to make the above statement.) I have read the book and it was informative. I would say it is a must read in order to make changes in people’s attitudes and behaviors toward people of color. These are my personal feelings and thoughts. This is not the only blog I will talk about race. I think this is my first one and I will assure you it will not be the last.

 

THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES

WEIRD NIGGA ROLL CALL

There are numerous times that I have been labeled as weird or a weird nigga. I wondered what that meant. Especially during the high school years. As an adult, I finally get it.  This is a list my boyfriend and I talked about. It comes from both life experiences and observations. If this is you, accept it. ATTENTION WHITE PEOPLE:  WEIRD NIGGAS ARE EVEN MORE DANGEROUS THAN YOUR AVERAGE NIGGA.

 

You DO NOT use Ebonics when communicating with other people. This does include text messaging, instant messaging and  e-mailing.

You ARE able to do math (algebra, geometry, trigonometry and maybe some calculus).

Your history of historical Black people goes beyond Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, Harriet Tubman and Rev. Jessie Jackson

You have read or are familiar with Black authors and philosophers outside the United States.

You are able to discuss scientific theories such as Hubbles Theory of scientific expansion, law of periods and The String Theory.

You do not listen to your local hip hop/r&b radio station.

You DID NOT watch Martin, The Cosby Show and Different World

You are familiar with Black authors such as  Neely Fuller, Frances Cress Welsing, Haki  Madhubuti, John Henrik Clarke, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker and belle hooks

You are familiar with economic concepts such as the stock exchange, trickle down theory etc…

You research your own history and stop letting other people of different races and ethnicities define your Black Experience.

You read in public.

You have a Bachelors, Masters of Ph.D

You have researched other religions and spiritual philosophies besides Christianity and Islam.

You are aware of and the difference between such as Black Conservtive, Pan-Africanist and Black Nationalist.

You are a Black Nerd.

You are a sidity Black person.

You are an atheist, agnostic and or study eastern religions and philosophies.

You choose to eat health, vegetarian, vegan and/or raw foodist.

You are aware of other entertainers and athletes that are Black outside the United States.

Last but not least,  you know who your true enemy is.

DeDeDeRenne’s opulence

I’m speechless

Fat Curvy Stories

Screen Shot 2013-06-06 at 12.45.14 AM

(image is (c) DeDe_DeRenne)

DeDeDeRenne, allow me to say you are very beautiful.
Your stare is what gives intensity
to a fire of opulence
the hint of a smile on a hot
kiss
lips that can give life
I’d love to be hugged by you
the cuddly arms and generous breast pressed on my chest
all the buttery softness
that’s what keeps a man alive
day after day
how can men not lust about you?
it doesn’t matter if it’s a sin
I will always desire to bow
my head into the center of one breast
and suckle the creamy flesh
into my mouth

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Anthony Sewell Murders

This was written on November 13, 2009. I wrote this in response of the Anthony Sewell Murders. This is the first time I posted this.

 

 

 

I thought of numerous titles to call this note. I know all of you have heard about this article due to its coverage on CNN. I will admit I have seen posters of these women through out Cleveland’s eastside. I will also tell you I use to live in the area were the women were found. The 4th Precinct of the Cleveland Police Department is less than a minute from where I use to live. When I read this it made me scared. I think the article represents a pure example of racism, sexism and discrimination of a person’s social economic status. The social activities of the women were questionable, however they were mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts etc… It makes me angry to think these women were ignored because of what lifestyle they led. Who are we to judge? Did anyone ever try to help them? Are we as Black people suppose to embrace them regardless of what lifestyle they led? Some say the 6 women deserve what happened to them. I think what happened to these women is heartbreaking.  I am blessed to say I have not gone to the police station where I had to report a crime and have officers respond like nothing is wrong. During the past 72 hours, I am experiencing Being Black in America. I am experiencing an injustice; however I am going to fight it the correct way. I am even considering protesting in front of the place of business. This experience has made me realize no matter how much education, you have how much money you make or how many degrees you have you are still Black and a Woman. Many people of other ethnicities and races still have the stereotype of a Black woman as angry, trash talking and on welfare with 6 children.  It is 2009 and this is still happening. The sad part is I see why other people look at us in this manner. Everyday I see my sisters doing something to destroy themselves or their loved ones. I see the backbiting (hating) that we do to each other. I see how some of us choose to engage out time in meaningless activities instead of educating and/or improving ourselves. Some of us spend more time on our outside appearance instead of focusing on what’s inside (mind, body soul). I use US because I have contributed to this matter also and I am not ashamed to admit that I have traveled down the same road. If this makes you mad and/or upset then, suck it up and get over it. I wrote this to inform and encourage.

 

From The Heart and Mind

DeDe DeRenne