Black Angry Women

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Black Natural Hair and Mental Slavery

The c.1967 journey to Black ‘natural’ hair freedom came by way of defiance and happenstance for BlackParentSpeaks. I was working as Secretary to Attorney Julian Dugas in DC – the nation’s capital – at the time. My employer was the Neighborhood Legal Services Project/Program (NLSP).

The morning BlackParentSpeaks went from ‘pressed’ hair to ‘Natural and Black’ hair is quite revealing. As was normal, I had gotten up for work and washed my hair with the intent of pressing same before leaving for work. Suddenly, there was an unexpected knock at my apartment door.

Quickly, I walked to the door and opened it to let in my sister who had recently moved to DC by way of California. We embraced and began sharing memories as I agreed to introduce her to ‘particular’ Blacks in the DC area.

Caught up in the excitement of my sister’s visit, time flew. After an hour or so of ‘talk’, my sister reminded me of my UNpressed hair and my job. She said words to the effect of ‘Oh, I had better leave now so that you will have time to press your hair before going to work…. There is no way that you can let ‘White’ folk see your nappy hair.’

Without missing a beat, I dismissively replied to my sister that she need not rush as I had no intention of pressing my hair. I told my sister that I was going to wear my hair ‘natural’ to work.

My sister became increasingly livid as she first urged and finally DEMANDED that I either press my hair or get a permanent! She expressed that one of the worse things I could do was to go to work with ‘nappy’ hair…. My sister spoke of my upbringing and told me that it would reflect on our family name if I were to show my ‘nappy’ hair to others.

Stunned by my sister’s assertions and words, I reacted telling her that I was NOT ashame of my ‘natural’ hair and that I would wear my hair however I chose to wear my hair.

My sister angrily made the decision to leave my apartment after acknowledging that she obviously could not change my mind.

Following my sister’s exit from my place, I hastily grabbed a blue strip of material and beautifully wrapped my natural hair before heading off to work. In my opinion, my ‘look’ was both refreshing and stunning and I had no reason to expect anything less than accolades.

The Director of NLSP was ‘Black’ attorney Julian Dugas. I was Mr. Dugas’ Personal Secretary – offered the job by him following his ‘questionable’ handling of my racial discrimination case against the Agency for International Development (AID). My work desk was directly outside Attorney Dugas’ office as information.

Roughly 30 minutes to an hour into the work day, Attorney Dugas rather loudly confronted me about my head wear. Simply put, Mr. Dugas shouted “What the hell is that on your head!???”

I responded that I was wearing a head wrap.

Mr. Dugas angrily ordered me to take my head wrap off as he went back into his office and slammed the door.

In accordance with Attorney Dugas’ orders, I UNwrapped my ‘natural’ hair and continued to do the business of the day.

Shortly after my removal of my head wrap, Attorney Dugas stood before my desk and demanded that I not report to work again with ‘natural’ hair or a head wrap. I responded in a firm and equally ‘loud’ voice the following:

“Mr. Dugas, you have two choices. Either you will see a head wrap every day that I work here or you will see my ‘natural’ hair. You decide….”

Mr. Dugas’ response – ‘Well, I’d rather see your ‘nappy’ hair than a head wrap.’

The negative outbursts and reactions BlackParentSpeaks received from fellow Blacks in response to my ‘natural’ hair helped me in my overstanding resolve. We — who are Black — must be defining in our purpose to both break and remove the shackles of mental enslavement.

‘Don’t forget our reparations’.

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Black Trumps Robert’s Rules – Part One

Black Trumps Robert’s Rules – Part One

We who are Black need to develop our own set of rules and procedures under which to organizationally function and operate.  The basic foundation should be the use of ‘Black’ common sense and ‘Black’ respect.

‘Black’ common sense entails an appreciation for the enthusiasm and emotions that can arise in an organization, group, meeting, conference or any other gathering.  It means using flexible procedures that fit the gathering and attendees as well as those who are actively participating.  ‘Black’ common sense calls for using overstanding whenever needed.  It means flexibility and the ability to calmly and satisfactorily resolve any dispute or disagreement that may warrant a resolution.

‘Black’ respect includes welcoming, listening to and hearing the input of all who are present.  It means allowing the participants to, in fact, participate.  ‘Black’ respect means paying attention to the speaker and speakers as well as acknowledging input as common sense leads US to do.  ‘Black’ respect means flexibility in allowing the time needed for the participants to express themselves.  It means showing patience and making accommodations as called for and whenever appropriate.

BlackParentSpeaks has chosen to blog on the subject of ‘Black’ organizational meetings and gatherings because we Blacks need to establish our own ’Black’ guidelines under which to operate.  We should not continue to blindly follow Robert’s Rules of Order or any other blueprint laid out for the use of others.  Instead, we need to glean that which is relevant and useful as we create and recreate our own set of rules and procedures — our BLACKprint — under which to function and operate.

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DISCLAIMER:  BlackParentSpeaks does appreciate and value the work put into Robert’s Rules of Order by ‘White’ Henry Robert, a military man and the son of Reverend Joseph Thomas Robert who was the first president of ‘Black’ Morehouse College.  However, it is more than obvious that much of Robert’s Rules of Order does not optimize or fit the needs of our Black community. 

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The workframe for any organization and group or official body should include both common sense and respect.  If a ‘successful’ meeting is the desired outcome, we can effectively run our meetings with overstanding enthusiasm and appreciation for the passion that may naturally ensue.  If a meeting for the sake of having a meeting is the desired outcome, however, there is no need to change current procedures that employ Robert’s Rules of Order or stringent timetables that permit little or no time for genuine participation.

Community meetings that are ‘intended’ to be successful should always allow time for getting together before the meeting begins.  There should be snacks and drinks whenever possible.  Drinks should include juices and water and possibly coffee, tea, cocoa and whatever else is decided upon by the meeting conveners.  If tea or coffee is available, both sugar and sugar substitutes should also be available.  Because of food allergies and more, peanuts should NEVER be included in the snacks.  Likewise, pork and pork products are ‘no-nos’ for obvious reasons.

Again, the NO SERVE list should include products containing peanut butter and pork ingredients as well as peanuts.

Whether this is a formal or informal meeting and whether it be a first meeting or not, there should always be time allowed for audience participation….  How much time, of course, will depend on time restraints and deadlines.  It is important that the audience know that they are more than observers and that they are truly welcomed to participate – even if audience participation is limited.

In terms of the meeting itself, there should be an agenda – ample supplies of the agenda should be available for the participants.  Extra copies of the agenda should also be available for audience members and observers.  Depending on the size of the organizational body and its capabilities, the agenda can also be made available on-line.

The agenda for the meeting should allow time for ‘new business’.  There should also be a place for general discussion items which allow for participation by all present.  Suggestions for future consideration and action should be listened to and discussed.

It is vital that the convener of the meeting NOT be so sensitive as to take the words exchanged in the meeting on a personal level.  The convener must be composed and flexible if the convener is to run an effective and successful meeting.

The convener sets the tone for the meeting and gathering.  The convener should always address Black men, Black women, and others with respect.  Men are adults and women are adults and the meeting convener should always be cognizant of– and a purveyor of — that fact.

The convener should NEVER refer to a woman as a “girl” – nor should the convener ever refer to a man as a “boy”.  Men and women are adults; they must be respectfully addressed and discussed as adults by the meeting convener.  Regardless of the words used by others in attendance, the meeting convener must always respectfully address men as men and women as women.

Once the meeting is called to order, folk should be thanked for coming out to the meeting and, if another meeting is already scheduled, folk should be told the time and place, etc. of the next meeting.  Note:  A supply of printed notices announcing the details of the next meeting should also be available.

During the opening of the meeting, the convener should point out the exit ways and the locations of the bathrooms.  The convener should introduce himself/herself; and, if there is a panel, the members of the panel as appropriate.  If ‘particular’ people are in the audience, they can be acknowledged.

Recognizing the serious nature of the Minutes, a recording secretary can be a person already on staff or the recording secretary can be someone who is hired or contracted for that purpose alone.  Whatever the situation employed, the recording secretary must be allowed the time and space to do the job required to produce both the unofficial ‘draft’ Minutes and the finalized ‘approved’ official Minutes.

The unofficial ‘draft’ Minutes of the meeting should be prepared and available for review and editing within 1 to 2 weeks following the gathering.  The recording secretary should use both the written notes taken at the event and the audio recording to prepare the unofficial ‘draft’ Minutes that are submitted for review and editing.  The audio recording will help in verifying and clarifying possible confusion or uncertainties.

The finalized and ‘approved’ official Minutes of the meeting should always contain the date of the meeting, the beginning and ending time of the meeting, the names of the convener(s) and Board members ‘officially’ present, and other identifying information as appropriate.  ‘Official’ decisions and approved and adopted resolutions should be easily identifiable and clearly stated in the finalized and ‘approved’ official Minutes.  Whether the decisions made are unanimous, majority, or by general consensus should be spelled out in the finalized ‘approved’ official Minutes.

The above ‘BLACKprint’ is Part One of “Black Trumps Robert’s Rules”.

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But I Don’t Want To Be White!

But I don’t want to be White!

While I was a young child, my mother was approached and she agreed to allow our family home to be used for the training of ‘selected’ Black females in the Portland, Oregon area.  The ‘trainers’ were Black women who knew the ways, dress, styles, etc. of White women as a result of working in the homes of White folk.  The training provided was to make us young Black females ‘White like’ in our ways, tastes, and more.

The Black women who provided the training sessions were ‘pillars’ of Portland’s Black community.  The young Black females who had been ‘selected’ for such trainings were carefully hand-selected by the trainers.  These identified young Black females were expected to grow in refinement, etc. so as to enhance the uplifting of Blacks specifically in the Portland area.  I, the youngest of all, was expected to be included in the sessions only because the sessions were to take place in our family’s relatively large and spacious home located in the Irvington district of northeast Portland.

The day of the first session at our home soon arrived – as did the ladies and the ‘selected’ young Black females.  The ladies wore hats and long gloves signifying refinement and culture and the seriousness and importance of the sessions.  We, the trainees, were ushered to our seats around my family’s long dining room table.  My mother – a fabulous cook by heart — had prepared a meal for all to indulge in following the session.

The ladies proceeded to explain to us the reasons for the trainings and what they expected our futures to look like.  My mother stood by and listened with appreciative anticipation.  She felt privileged that her home had been chosen for the sessions. Mom had never been a part of the Black social scene or so-called upper-crust happenings in Black Portland, therefore, to have been asked for the use of our home was a privilege in her eyes.

Following the talk session, the actual training began.  As I listened and observed the training routines, I knew that what was happening was not something I wanted to be a part of.  I was directed to stand up and began; however, I refused to get up from my chair at the table.  A couple of the women inquired as to whether I felt ill; I responded with a simple “no”.  My mother appeared puzzled and stepped forth as she asked me what was wrong.  In panic mode I responded with “But I don’t want to be White”.

The ladies laughed and chuckled before imploring me, again, to do the routines the other young Black females before me had done.  Again, I responded with the words “But I don’t want to be White”.  The ladies looked back and forth at each other and then back and forth at me.  They again expressed that it was important that I and the other young Black females learn to be White-like in order to uplift ourselves in the eyes of White folk.  They again explained that our futures would be greatly enhanced because we would be acting like White women….

In my young mind, although I knew why the Black women felt such a need, the why did not override my refusal.  I repeated my infamous words “But I don’t want to be White”.

Finally, my mother – who was very angry as a result of my refusal to participate — ordered me to get up from the table and to sit on the floor.  My mother explained that the seats at the table were for the young women who were participating in the training.

Even though I wanted to leave the dining area, my mother said that I would sit on the floor during each and every session unless I agreed to participate in the training.  I sat my buns on the floor and leaned my back against the French doors which separated the dining area from the entry-waiting area in our home.  As I sat there, I listened and observed while thinking thoughts that I dare not put to print in this blog.

A couple of the women implored my mother to not be angry with me.  They told my mother that I was probably too young to fully understand….’  One of the ladies continued to look back and forth at me as she spoke lovingly about ‘Little Lulu’s stubbornness’.  My mother, however, was quite upset with me and I knew that I would be in ‘real’ trouble once the ladies and the other young Black females left our house.

To my mother’s angst, I repeatedly sat on the floor in the dining area and I consistently refused to participate each and every time the training sessions were held at our house.  Always, the ladies gave me opportunity to participate and always I responded with the words “But I don’t want to be White”.

Many years later, I learned that my ‘young’ refusal to participate and my words “But I don’t want to be White” became the never-ending ‘talk’ amongst our Black adults of the time.  And, I was accorded special respect and admiration and made privy to much as a result of my wisdom and refusal to become White-like….

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A Black Woman’s Strength

Looking back at the 1960s – 1970s Black ‘Movement’ from my most-intimate and involved vantage point, I am now comfortable in stating that there were sacrifices – great sacrifices.

My Oregon parents and their neighbors were questioned regarding me.  There were threats from America’s law enforcement community to my livelihood, my life, etc.  I was offered money, a leadership position, and ‘protection’ to sell-out.  My home was entered while I was away.  At least one attempt was made on my life.  I was relentlessly followed.  And, yes, there was more.

It was not uncommon for me to look up from my paid job with the Neighborhood Legal Services Program and see FBI agents coming to take me into custody.  At times, I was placed in handcuffs.  At other times, I was not handcuffed.

I was often escorted from my job, driven away in a car, and questioned at a different location – usually in a downtown DC building.  There were sometimes veiled threats.  At other times, I was told outright that I could or would be harmed if I did not cooperate.  Needless to say, I NEVER knew anything.  Therefore, I was NEVER able to give any information to the FBI or any of the other law enforcement ‘agents’ assigned to follow and monitor me.

I recall one occasion when I was taken away by two FBI agents and interrogated relative to an ‘alleged’ relationship between Muhammad Ali and a ‘Chicken Man’….  Although I responded that I had never personally met Brother Muhammad Ali and I had no idea who ‘Chicken Man’ was, the futile questioning continued.  Finally, after repeated questions, I was told that my life was in danger ‘because of my refusal to cooperate’ with law enforcement.

My position in the ‘Movement’ commanded a keen sense of awareness.  I was trusted with ‘sensitive’ information.   At times, I had to make split-second decisions.  I can truthfully say that never did I waver nor have I ever regretted any of the decisions I made with respect to the ‘Movement’.

Encouragement – for me – came from a c.93+ year old Black woman who mailed us (Stokely ‘Black Power’ Carmichael and me) a note with two dollars to help in the ‘Movement’.  Her note expressed her gratitude and faith in us to keep up the struggle.  She wrote that she could ‘die in peace’ knowing that we were continuing the fight for our Black people….  Letters and sentiments like that brought heaviness to my heart and tears to my eyes.  Our elder sister’s words-on-paper reinforced my commitment to righteousness.  Indeed, I was privileged and ‘chosen’ by a power beyond man….

Because our lives were intertwined with the ‘Movement’, caution and awareness were employed.  I became an intimate confidant of Stokely’s and Martin’s (Martin Luther King) and David’s (Rev. David Eaton) and others’.

I recall being driven around DC by the son of the Ambassador from Pakistan.  I recall dinners in New York and at the home of Tanzanian Ambassador Gosbert Rutabanzibwa.  I recall dancing with Charles Diggs.  I recall contemplating a move to Cuba and changing my mind.  I recall reading Chairman Mao’s ‘Little Red Book’ and the passage regarding men and oral sex.

I recall being ‘almost’ raped by a well-known ‘Black’ man (deemed a “leader” by the White media) who I fought and struggled with to the point of sweat-ridden exhaustion.  The man finally stopped his vicious assault on my person only after I managed to say that if he stuck his ‘thing’ in my vagina, I would tell the ‘world’….

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Black and Natural

I am Black.  I am angry.  I am a woman.  And, you – you are at the ‘blog ‘website of BlackAngryWomen.  I am one of the writers featured on this blog site.  My blog name is BlackParentSpeaks.

There are countless reasons for my anger – most, if not all, stem from slavery.  That said, it is now time to get down.

Black women have always been the mainstay of our Black world and we have always remained faithful, loyal, forgiving, and self-sacrificing when it came to our Black men especially.  We have loved unconditionally and we have bargained ourselves in our quest to help lift-up our Black men, our children, and ourselves.    Our journey, borne out of love, has been fraught with pain, sacrifice, and more sacrifice.

On the ‘Black’ side, Black Women have serious issues and problems relating to self.

We have bought in to the objectification of ourselves by others and we are today characteristically confused.  Well, it is past time to brush off the images and the facade and to get real.  Black women, get rid of the weaves and other forms of fake hair worn atop your heads.  Show your Natural hair and stop altering your hair’s natural color.  I overstand that you truly believe you look ‘better’ when you are so adorned.  But, please believe me – you do not.  You are beautiful in your natural state, not in a made-up and phony state.  It is your ‘white’ mentality that is leading you to think of your Natural hair as less than….   Be real and project that realness!  Feel worthy and good about the hair you were born with, whether it be coarse, silky or anything in between.  And, if you do not have hair, feel good about that as well.  For, whatever is natural to you is, in fact, beautiful and worthy.  Love yourself unconditionally as you travel through life’s journey.  As you practice and continue to apply the art of self-love, you will grow strong and stronger in the process.

Know that other Black women, Whites, and fear-controlled Blacks will be taken aback because of the Natural strength you begin to show as you wear and display your Natural hair.  However, be advised that many — and possibly most — will do whatever they can to turn you back around.  Some will ask ‘dumb’ questions like ‘How did you get your hair that way?’  Some will ask if they can ‘touch’ your hair.  Others will ask ‘What is going on?’ or ‘Are you okay?’  The questions and comments will be endless.  In some cases, some of the folk you thought of as ‘friends’ will move to separate themselves from you.  And, some of the more vocal folk will question whether you are turning into a ‘militant’!  Believe it or not, some among the more ignorant will joke about your Natural hair and urge you to return to the day when you wore non-Natural hair.  You will be told that you looked better yesterday, when you wore fake hair; and you will be the subject of inquiring stares and unfriendly looks.

Black women, be advised that your journey with Natural hair will not be an easy one.  Employers – both White and Black — will be caught off-guard and co-workers may become nervous and uncomfortable working around you.  You could be called in to HR (Human Resources) and questioned relative to your Natural hair.  Employers who lack integrity and scruples may falsify complaints and reasons to discipline and/or fire you.   Some co-workers and employers could even stoop so low as to alter your work in order to make it look like you are mistake-prone, underproductive, and/or nonproductive.   You could be labeled as lazy.  You could be written up as a difficult-to-manage employee.

It is well-known that many many many White men – and some White women — are sexually attracted to Black women.  Well, a Black woman wearing a Natural will experience even more ‘hit-ons’ from Whites.  Fact is fact and no matter how many folk feign denial and/or state otherwise, it is what it is.  Forewarned is forearmed so be prepared and have your stuff in order….  Stories have been told about most stern and focused White men and White women who lose direction and become overbearing and, sometimes, dangerous in their lust for ‘Natural’ Black women.  Please be aware.

Black women must forever be cognizant of who we are and those around us.  We who are Black women must lift each other up as we journey forward.  We must encourage one another as we embrace ourselves.

Feel free to share this BlackAngryWomen blog with others.  We are all works in progress.  Do YOU know what time it is?  https://blackangrywomen.com/

Undying love for Black people!

https://blackangrywomen.com/