Diary of A Mad, Interesting Woman

Welcome to the random (and sometimes ratchet) ramblings in my head about life, love and pop culture.

Tag: election

When Will #BlackLivesMatter

Protesters take to the streets to bring attention to the push for justice in the Trayvon Martin case as they take over Rodeo Drive on July  17, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jose Lopez)

Protesters take to the streets to bring attention to the push for justice in the Trayvon Martin case as they take over Rodeo Drive on July 17, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jose Lopez)

#truthtime

I live in an affluent, suburban neighborhood. I’m a model citizen. I drive a luxury vehicle and my clothing reflects my executive level professional position. I am a Christian woman. I am Black. Remember that.

Last year, I ran out of gas. I saw the reminder, but was busy trying to be my own version of Super Woman. I thought I had time. I thought I could make it home. My car shut down while I was on a conference call, at a red light, at a busy intersection. I was just across the street (albeit a four lane busy intersection) from the gas station.

I called Mercedes roadside assistance because they give you just enough gas to make it to the gas station. I started to get out of the car and go across the street to try to get gas. A man screamed to “get my f*cking car out of the way”. It spooked me so I got back in and decided to wait it out with my flashers on. Police arrived. I was THRILLED. Help is here!

The police officer (a woman) came to the driver’s side of my car.

She asked, “Ma’am. Why are you stopped in the middle of traffic?” (note: I was in the lane next to the right hand turn lane with ample space for folks to pass me on either side. It was inconvenient to traffic, but not in the middle of traffic.)

I responded, “Thank God you’re here. I ran out of gas! I’m so embarrassed. Can you help me?? The gas station is right there, but I’m a little afraid to leave my car. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to. I don’t know what to do.”

She said (clearly exasperated and annoyed), “Did you call police? You can’t just block traffic like this.”

I said, “No. I called my dealer car service. They are on the way with gas, but with traffic, I figured I could beat them to it. I just need help. Can you help me get over there and get gas?”

She said, “Ma’am. It’s against the law for you to leave your car and you’re breaking the law by blocking traffic. I’m calling a tow truck. If your fancy car service arrives before my tow, I’ll cite you a warning and you can be on your way. If not, I’ll have you towed. You can figure out the rest.”

I stopped talking and looked at her. Here I am. A woman. Clearly shaken. Looking for a solution. Asking for help. It hit me in that moment that she didn’t see any of that. She saw a Black woman. Someone who had the nerve to disrupt her day with something stupid like running out of gas. Someone she could care less about “protecting and serving”.  She saw a nuisance. Something that fed her prejudice. My husband even called to help (because he’s law enforcement and they usually have a code of helping each other in these scenarios). Nothing worked. She wanted to hurt me. Wanted to show me she was in power and I was … nothing.

The tow truck arrived. Just as they were about to link to my car, the Mercedes rep pulls up.

I said, “Thank God! You’re here!”

I look over to the policewoman and the tow truck guys to say, “Ok. There’s no need to tow me. He’s here. He can give me enough gas to make it across the street.”

The policewoman said, “I don’t care that he’s here. I told you if he arrived before my tow, I’d let you off the hook. But he didn’t. STEP! BACK! NOW!”

Yes, she screamed at me. Like … I’d offended her. Like … we’ve known each other in the past and I did something to her that required retaliation.

I became ENRAGED. And I thought to myself … today might be the day that I die.

It’s the first time something like that has ever occurred to me.

I turned to her and said, “I don’t have time for this foolishness. I have to pick up my children. The gas station is RIGHT. ACROSS. THE. STREET. You want to give me a citation. Fine. I’ll see you in court. But these people are NOT towing my car. Sir, please put gas in it.

She places her hand on her gun and starts to shout.

She said, “You’re going to do what I said do! I don’t give a f*ck about your kids! I don’t give a f*ck about you, ignorant b*tch. You think you can talk to me like this?!”

The Mercedes rep stepped in and began to explain to her why she should calm down. The tow guy walked over to me and said, “She wants me to tow you. How about you pay me a dollar and I’ll tow you across the street to the gas station. Sound fair?” His associate handed me his dirty handkerchief. It hadn’t even registered to me that I was crying.

I began to sob. I’d never felt so stripped of my dignity. Ever. In life. I’d never felt so worthless. So helpless.

She hears the tow guys and shouts, “FINE. Here’s your f*cking license. Do whatever you want.”

She throws my license into oncoming traffic, hops into her car and speeds away.

Thankfully, the men there (both the tow guys and the Mercedes rep) helped to retrieve my license. They got me across the street and even offered to be a witness if I wanted to file a complaint. I declined. I just wanted to get home.

Each time a black person is wrongfully shot and killed in this country, I think of this moment. I wasn’t breaking the law. I simply needed help … while black. And it almost got me killed.

I don’t know what the answer is. I don’t even know how to help this madness stop. All I know is …

I foolishly thought that picking the affluent neighborhood, getting the executive level job and wearing the prescribed “I’m not a criminal” uniform would somehow reduce the likelihood of this happening to me. To my children. But it didn’t. Because I’m black. Because we’re black.

We must find a way to stop this. I don’t have the answer, but it first begins with planting the seed. So, I’m planting it. Petitioning that you and I figure out how we can begin to create a culture of accountability. We must vote. We must speak out. We must serve and protect. We must be the change we want to see. Together.

And in the still of the night when hope wanes, we pray. Pray and believe. Know that He is there.

#RIPAltonSterling #ISpeakYourName

Love you. Mean it.

AskThePRGirl

I Applaud Chris Rock (and You Should Too)

oscars-2016-chris-rock

 

Let’s just put the sh*t out there so that I can say my piece and be done with it.

I think Chris Rock did a phenomenal job hosting this year’s Oscars. It was racially charged, awkward and poignant. It was direct and uncomfortable. It sparked every single solitary feeling you need to have about racial injustice, discrimination and lack of diversity in this country. And for those of you who thought, “It was a little too much” or “he should have quit after the monologue” or “I don’t get the Stacy Dash thing”, please find the nearest chair, church pew and / or bench and have several seats.

You know what’s too much? Oh, I don’t know, selectively removing a WHOLE RACE OF PEOPLE from consideration for great work. Killing unarmed black men and women unjustly. Systemic corporate racism that promotes the less talented and requires literal rock science from minorities to be considered for a job they could probably do with their eyes shut (considering we’ve been working twice as hard for YEARS to achieve the same corporate visibility). Sitting through a monologue in which you have to uncomfortably feel the result of your complicity isn’t too much. I dare say it’s the least you should receive for turning a blind eye and saying its “no big deal”. You do realize that racism and discrimination are not always blatant offenses, right? You DO get that complicity still holds offense?? Please tell me I’m not saying this to you for the first time?? And while you might want to argue, just look at the TONS of people that are willing to shout, chant and support Donald Trump as the Republican nominee for PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Are. You. Serious?! So you can’t sit through a monologue in which Chris Rock definitively points at the freaking dancing, neon-colored elephant in the room, but when Donald Trump talks about building walls, minimizing women and “taking back our country”, it’s just politics?? Am I missing something??

Oh. I see. So because you’re not related to Sandra Bland and Tamir Rice and Trayvon Martin and the Eric Garners of the world, you’ll sit comfortably on your sofa and watch black people die. And you’ll say, “That’s a shame.” But you won’t talk about it. You’ll watch us work hard to show our talents and when given a chance to acknowledge the work, you turn a blind eye. It’s semantics, right? Perhaps ALL of the films brown folks worked in / worked on just weren’t as good, right? Right? And when asked, you’ll simply shake your head and say, “the world needs to change”, but won’t lift a hand to create that change. You wouldn’t dare open your mouth to facilitate the conversation that will shift us towards that change.

Get this straight. If you are not a part of the solution, you are part of the problem. Instead of finding reasons to tear apart Chris Rock’s performance last night, applaud him. Champion him. Put him on your shoulders and parade him triumphantly through the streets for having the balls to go on one of the world’s largest stage and “tell it like it T.I. IS” (as they used to say back in my hood). Don’t run from it. AND, if ANY part of what Chris Rock did or said made you uncomfortable, run towards the solution of it. Dig it out and get to the root of it. Otherwise, you’re complicit … and you might as well metaphorically grab a rope, gasoline and pitchfork because you’re no better than those that did once upon a time.

In the words of Spike Lee, “WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAKE UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUP!”

Change starts with you. And when given the chance, you ought to be as brave as Chris Rock. As least he was able to add in a little comedy for levity.

Love you. Mean it.

AskThePRGirl