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Are You Blinded by Privilege?

Scott Woods Makes Lists

The Great Ani DiFranco Plantation Kerfuffle of 2013 has been something of a boon to people who debate and study race in America. In DiFranco, anyone who’s ever cared about race or Birkenstocks has had a light cast on the perception of just how far race matters have really progressed, which is to say, not as far as we thought. DiFranco is progressive and hip and down for the cause…and, as it turns out, completely full of white privilege. She rolled with booking a plantation for a retreat, then faux-apologized (poorly) for that decision, then a couple of other notable friends defended her abysmally, and finally she issued what most people consider a more genuine – if late – apology with all the appropriate feels (and 80% less foot in mouth). So while she isn’t Michael Fassbender from 12 Years a Slave, it turns out she might be kicking…

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Resolutions, affirmations and profound quotes are plentiful right now such as…

“Today is the first day of a 365 page book, write a good one.”

You will find none of those here however. What you will see are changes throughout the year – new layout, regular postings and FOCUS.

I created The Chocl8t Diaries over five years ago as a vehicle for my creative writing. None of my family nor close friends knew about it since it also served as a personal journal of sorts, but my how things change. About a year ago I began posting links to my blog on my Facebook page in an effort to marry my two identities. There are both pros and cons to that decision but once opened, Pandora’s Box cannot be closed.

In January 2013, I created a personal vision board which included very specific goals I wanted to achieve and the work began shortly thereafter. However, there is still more to do – much, much more.

It starts here with me, this blog and you – those 209 followers/subscribers to The Chocl8t Diaries!

Welcome aboard!! Let’s see how this journey unfolds!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 8,700 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Although the countdown widget on the right says otherwise, I did the Big Chop (BC) about six weeks ago. My natural hair journey is well underway! Wooo-Hooo!!

Unlike my first foray into the “Naturalista” world, I am committed to the process this time. I am no longer unnerved by my mother’s reflection staring back at me in the mirror. When I look in the mirror and see more of her than me, I just laugh it off and think ‘my mother is one cute, fly chick’.

In the six short weeks since my BC I have made a few observations.

TWA – OMFG!

Quicker than I thought, the TWA (teenie weenie afro) stage is staring me in the face! Goodness!! What eyes gone do with this hair now?!! An inch and a half of tightly coiled curls sits atop my head and I have a long way to go before I can rock an afro puff or big Diana Ross hair!

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When I looked in the mirror, it wasn’t my reflection that I saw, it was my mother’s and it was very disconcerting. I don’t think she knows how big of a shadow she casts with her fiery personality, nor how much of my adult life I have struggled to get from under it. For as long as I can remember, I have always been told how much I look and acted like her.

It was my third year of college when I called her feeling defeated. “Mom, I give up!”, I said when she answered the phone. “Baby, what’s wrong? What do you mean, ‘you give up’?”, she replied. I went on to tell that I was tired of fighting to try and not be like her that it was a losing battle, resisting the inevitable.  Mother got a very good laugh out of that, she still does whenever it comes up in conversation.

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The truest expression of a people is in its dance and in its music. Bodies never lie. ~Agnes de Mille

He leads, she follows. He controls the situation and she surrenders, totally. Through submission she feels the freedom. This is on the dance floor.

dance3She is an alpha female, fiercely independent and places no confidence nor trust in a man, any man. Anything a man can do she believes she can do better because she is his equal. In her life she finds it impossible, and stupid, to follow a man’s lead. To her, surrender and submission means a loss of control, dependence…subjection.

If there is any truth to the quote “Dance is the hidden language of the soul. ~Martha Graham”, the majority of women is living in direct contrast to our deepest, most natural desire and it is not a wonder why we are all the more miserable for it. We have fought against the very thing we yearn for most.

For all the good the feminist movement did in achieving social and political equality for women, I think it also did us a great disservice. Over the years this feminism, bra burning, girl power, Gloria Steinem, I am woman hear me roar bullshit has convinced women that we are “equal” to men and that submission/surrender equals oppression.

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“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

There was an interesting post in a Facebook group to which I am a member, “Expat Women of Color”. This is a group that is “designed to educate and provide resources for women of color who desire to or are currently living abroad”.

The post read as follows:

In your cities do other black folk that you meet give you a welcome smile or avert their eyes? I’m a born and raised Southerner whose parents passed at ages 77 and 89. That’s to let you in on how old school I was raised. It really hurts me when a sister or brother will look in every direction except at me when our paths meet. I see Filipinos embrace and travel in packs but sustahs gotta ‘pledge’ you before they befriend in many cases. After they do befriend, we are great pals, but the initial is a trip. i try to be the change that i wanna see but it gets old. Wow… Off my soapbox now.

176636455The responses were overwhelmingly supportive with the majority of women expressing sadness for her experience and sharing their own experiences. I have had similar experiences while travelling, most recently on a trip to Cancun with my mother.

I love seeing other people of color when I travel, especially black women. It makes me happy to know they are expanding their horizons and decided to venture outside of their little corners of the world. I try to make eye contact, smile and say hello but on more than one occasion, the responses were less than friendly and bordered on rude. Either they avert their eyes or give me the “why are you speaking to me” look, which sometimes presents itself as a disdainful grunt. It almost always leaves me puzzled.

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