Push The Button Hardcopies Now Available!! #PTBBook

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Due to popular demand, hardcopies of Push The Button are now available!!

You can pre-order your copy and save $2 off list price ($8) AND have it signed by ME!! (Use code: PrePTB when checking out)

All pre-orders will be shipped by December 10, just in time for the holidays. To ensure guaranteed shipping by 12.10, you *must* order your copy by 11/30/14. All orders placed after that will be regular price ($10) and will be shipping as ordered. Shipping is done two times per week, so allow 7-14 days for shipping and handling from New York, NY (longer if an international order).

Click HERE to order your copy today!!!

 

XOXO,

FJLOGO1

“This Is Not How Your Story Ends” – A Letter to My Younger Self

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The following is a guest blog. I welcome submissions, as I love featuring different voices in this space. If interested in being featured as a guest blogger, email me info@feministajones.com

Reflection is one of the most important parts of the growth process. We have to examine where we’ve been to have any idea of where we might go, and because hindsight is 20/20, it’s easy to look back at your former self and offer insight.

In 2011, I compiled a book of letters from alumnae of Florida A&M University to their freshman year selves. The project ultimately included over twenty letters from girls of varying socioeconomic backgrounds, life stories, and perspectives. The only regret I had about the project was that I didn’t offer my own.

What would I tell the self I was at eighteen? What could I say to me in 2001? And since it is impossible to turn back the hands of time, how could I structure my writing so that someone else might glean something valuable from my experience?

From that moment comes this piece, a letter written to the naïve, ambitious, unfocused, and determined self I was when I stepped on the highest of seven hills. It’s a look back at that girl, the one with the wild hair, face free of makeup, high school letterman jacket, and bubbly personality. This is for her, but it’s for you, too, my reader. I hope in my words a struggling freshman might find hope, a lost sophomore might find inspiration, an unfocused junior might find her place, a confused senior might find clarity, and an alumnus might find just a little bit of her or himself reflected in my words.

Though my experience is my own, I do believe I share it with so many other young men and women who have a taken a chance on using college to change the course of their lives.

Here’s my story. What’s yours?

 

20 November 2014

To my Dreezy baby,

 

Girl. Girlgirlgirlgirlgirlgirl.

Are you listening? You never listen to anyone, about anything, ever, but I need you to listen to me right now. You are smart. We both know this, but also know this: your intellect will not be enough to get you to graduation. Matter of fact, all of your “smarts” will eventually get you kicked out of school. Yes, you, the brilliant, all-knowing, gifted, genius child will be on academic suspension and have your financial aid rescinded, which means you won’t be able to enroll in classes, which means you’ll watch your friends go to class and graduate while you sit on the sidelines. And I’ll tell you the truth; you’re going to give up. You might not give up on your life, but you will give up on your goals and take on others that were never intended for you to fulfill.

But that won’t be the end of your story.

You’ll spend three years out of school, working for a little over minimum wage, and for a while, you won’t even be focused on returning to FAM. You’ll even lie to friends and tell them that you’re happy being out of school, happy working at your job, happy not doing what God purposed for you to do. You’ll spend time ignoring God’s plan because you just can’t see how it’s going to work. You’ll eventually forget that you were called to FAM according to God’s purpose working within you. You’ll forget because it’s easier to forget than to be a failure. Working will satisfy the part of you that’s focused on achievement. Working will pay the bills, but it won’t fill your heart with joy. You’ll always know, deep in the recesses of your heart, that you’re out of line with the master plan.

But that also won’t be the end of your story.

It’ll take a car accident (head-on collision at 3:30 in the morning) to get you back on the path to college graduation. It’ll take planning and prayer, promises and pleading, to get you enrolled in classes, forgiven of your debt (Yeah, you’ll owe FAMU about $2700), and re-awarded financial aid. You will have to go from office to office, even to the Leon County Clerk of Courts office, but in that moment you will learn how to work for your education and stop waiting for everything to be given to you, and this is a lesson you’ve needed to learn for a long time. Being the smartest girl in the class doesn’t matter if you can’t take classes. Running around the city of Tallahassee looking for former professors will be what you need to finally understand the value of an education and how precious of a gift it is. When you return to the university, you will embody excellence with caring.

But that also won’t be the end of your story.

All told, you’ll change your major to English (where you probably should have been all along), graduate with honors (raising your GPA from a 1.6 to a 3.17), go on to earn a master’s degree in Secondary Education with a concentration in English (3.84 G.P.A.!!!!!), and then apply and be accepted into a PhD program (where you’ll complete all of your coursework with straight As). So you see, everything that will happen to you happened for a reason because the question wasn’t whether or not you could do the work; the question was actually whether or not you were ready to do the work. Every person you thought was working against you was actually a part of the plan for your good, but you wouldn’t believe me if you hadn’t experienced it. You needed every disappointment, every failure, every tear, every long night, and every early morning. You needed to feel the sting of failure because it made the smell of success even sweeter. You needed the confusion in your life because it would ultimately lead to clarity of your purpose. You, the girl who never needed anybody or anything, will find that you need so much and so many people. You aren’t an island, little girl.

I’m sure you’re surprised by all that I’ve said, but remember this, my beautiful Black girl, you wouldn’t be the person you are today if you had not been the person you were yesterday. You wouldn’t have met the people you would one day meet if you hadn’t been a student at FAM three years after you should have graduated. You wouldn’t have traveled the places you’ve traveled, or even loved the people you’ve loved. I’m actually not quite sure where you would be—or what you would be doing—if college had been smooth sailing from the beginning to the end, but I do know this: you are wiser for the journey you traveled. Now, when you speak, you have authority in your voice. When you reflect, you have wisdom in your eyes. When you counsel, you have experience in your arsenal.

As I close this letter of reflection, I remind you again to trust the process, for the plan for your life is much bigger than you can see.

I love you like you are myself,

Rondrea Danielle

Sidebar: One day, you’re going to wake up, and you’ll have everything you’ve ever dreamed of. And you’ll have earned it. I’m so very proud of you.

 

Rondrea Danielle Mathis—a native of Miami, Florida—holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature (2008) and a master’s degree in Secondary Education with a concentration in English (2010). Currently, Rondrea is ABD at the University of South Florida, where she is pursuing a Ph.D. in English, and a college instructor, teaching composition and literature courses. Additionally, Rondrea is a minister at Heritage Christian Community Baptist Church, vice president of the Tampa Chapter of the FAMU National Alumni Association, and advisor to the USF Section of the National Council of Negro Women. She can be reached on Twitter at @iRondrea.

 

 

The #AntiFeministChecklist

On November 11, 2014, I posted a piece on Black Male Privilege and (shocker!) there was backlash. Most of the people responding didn’t read it and that is fine; I expect people to be intentionally obtuse and perpetually dense.

I received a lot of really ridiculous responses, so I decided to compile a list. I called on my followers to submit the responses, rebuttals, etc. to their feminist leanings. I wanted to know the kinds of things people hear when they openly identify as feminists and when they share their feminist ideas.

I provided this as an example:

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“Feminists just go too far, they don’t want equality, but rather to reverse the old gender roles. They would rather prefer an all out genocide on the male population or in less extreme case, believe they should be treated as queens everywhere they go. ”

 

“If women want to ‘Free the nipple’, we should be able to free the balls.”

 

“You can’t be a feminist. You like red lipstick and have curves. Ugly chicks need to fight that fight.”

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“Feminism is stupid. More men are raped every year compared to women, look it up.”

 

“Feminists reject logic and reason. There is logically only one way to make them stop, to dismantle and eliminate them.”

 

“They’re the greatest threat to gender equality and need to be eradicated. If you disagree then you have false hope.”

 

“Girls can like taller guys, but we can’t like thin girls.”

 

“How come when we don’t get up for you on the bus we’re assholes but when Rosa Parks doesn’t move its a movement?”

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“Women are a protected species in our culture. If a women gets assaulted by a male in public, every guy protects her. If a male gets assaulted by a woman, people usually laugh.”

 

“Men are just biologically superior. You can’t argue with science.”

 

“If you get to call us anti-choice, do we get to call you pro-abortion?”

 

“Because of feminism, women who are convicted of sexual assault do not get the same treatment that males get.”

 

“Divorce courts are swayed in the favor of women.”

 

“Bitch.”

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“Why don’t men get birth control? Feminism is stupid, girls are selfish.”

 

“It’s okay for women to call meninism a joke but we can’t call feminism a joke?”

 

“I have to make 6 figures, have 6 abs, have nice cars, a house, buy you stuff, listen to you, but it’s still bad to ask for a sandwich?”

 

“Girls can breastfeed in public, but I can’t masturbate in public?”

 

“Women don’t need equal pay because they’ll get husbands.”

 

“I’m gonna rape/murder you, you fucking cunt”

 

“You call yourself a feminist but you shave your armpits?”

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“If you’re a feminist, why do you try to look feminine?”

 

“If you don’t want to cook and clean then who is going to pay for the personal chefs/takeout and maids? Me? You’re enforcing gender roles.”

 

“Us men should also get a week out every month to complain and be taken care of, like girls do on their period.”

 

“Most, if not all feminists are die-hard advocates of abortion. Therefore, feminism is a disgusting, dehumanizing movement.”

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“New feminism is wrong. There are so many jobs that should be strictly gender based. Would you want a man to be a gynecologist?”

 

“There’s no such thing as male privilege.”

 

“Feminism is supported by the rape industry. Women get wimpy jail sentences for the same crime that a man commits.”

 

“Feminism is another form of segregation within our society. It creates division by throwing pity on a group who some people deem ‘weaker’.”

 

“Feminism is just women rebelling against their roles in nature.”

 

“Women don’t get equal pay because they take maternity leave.”

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“Women have more power than men because they control sex.”

 

“Women are oppressed because they allow men to oppress them.”

 

“You see misogyny everywhere because you have chronic anxiety. You get what you expect”

“Feminism is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children (abortions), destroy capitalism, and become more like men, or even lesbians.”

 

“Men are the ones who actually lack protection in society, we do the most dangerous jobs, have a higher suicide rate and die in wars… so women are the privileged ones”

 

“A man being sexually ignored by women is at the bottom of the social pyramid, because he is being denied manhood and status that only women can confer. This shows that women hold all the power”
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“The word ‘creep’ is a gendered slur against men who are deemed not attractive enough to approach women without censure. It is offensive to call a man a creep or accuse him of harassment, because that is gender discrimination against me.”

 

“The wage gap is a myth”

 

“New feminism is wrong. It’s a man’s job to protect his family and country. When you take away the duties like this by allowing women into certain fields like military special forces, you take away chivalry.”

 

“If feminists really wanted equality, they wouldn’t let me pay for them on dates”

“Before civilization all sex was rape, so rape is our evolutionary destiny.  Trying to deny it just makes men angrier.”
And of course

“Feminism doesn’t make women truly happy”

Thank you all for your submissions. If you have more you’d like to add, feel free to do so in the comment section. I’m sure this will be an oft-updated post, as the nonsense continues to pour forth.

Special thanks to @emilylouize @miyakalee @JessicaGoldstei @theripeness @jenninmotion @corgisaurus and several others who helped out with this list.

2014 Black Weblog Award Winner – Outstanding Online Activism

Thank you to everyone who voted for me this year and helped me win the Black Weblog Award for Outstanding Online Activism. Congratulations to all of this year’s winners and to those who were finalists. Continue to produce great content and represent our people’s diversity online.

I hope to bring more of my work to you in the coming year. I have a really awesome initiative in the pipeline and will be calling on YOU to help me make the dream a reality.

Activism is activism. I was an activist before I was ever online (I’m old). Social media, online publications, my blog… all of these are ways in which I can spread my messages and galvanize more people into action, even if their actions aren’t focused on the issues that I prioritize. They’ve all made it easier to get the work done, but that doesn’t mean online spaces are the only places where the work is done.

My primary goal with my online presence is to inspire and motivate people to be citizens who contribute their energies and resources to making the world a better place. Follow your passions, do whatever little bit you can. If we all did just a bit, we would have an amazingly huge impact on the world. You CAN be a change agent in your community, even though you may believe that your one voice, one dollar, one protest means little or nothing– it does!!

Don’t give up. Too many people need you to speak up, speak out, and speak truth to power.

You have a voice.

Use it.

 

 

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Does “Black Male Privilege” Exist? A Checklist

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Of course it does, silly!

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I found this piece and thought it was an interesting checklist of indicators that Black Male Privilege exists. Some of the points and examples aren’t sex-positive (Ex: 15. I can purchase pornography that typically shows men defile women by the common practice of the “money shot.” and 26. When I consume pornography, I can gain pleasure from images and sounds of men causing women pain.), but I don’t expect  as much from Blackademics. One of the most disappointing aspects of engaging in intellectual discourse about the lives of Black people is how many academics still find ways to condemn elements of sex and sexuality that don’t fit into an accepted, often cisgendered-heterosexual puritanical framing designed to maintain “respectability”. Black folks still cling to these notions of acceptable sexuality and continue to exclude women from embracing and enjoying sexual acts that are deemed “demeaning” to women.

6a00e54ee061708834019aff2664da970b-500wiA panel on how the “Black Church” influences the current state of the “Black Family”.
What’s missing here?

Overall, though, this is worth a read, if only for the fact that it does provide solid examples of ways in which Black men can navigate society that differ from how Black women can. It even begins by explaining how hard it may be for Black men believe they have any privilege, given how harshly they’ve been treated by Whites. Yet, it finds a way to exemplify how being men still gives them the edge in the privilege realm.  When poor White people ask “Privilege? What privilege? I’ve never been given anything in my life! I’m struggling too!”, we respond with “You’re White. You still have that advantage.”  I kinda need brothers to acknowledge and accept that being men gives them a similar advantage.

Many recent online discussions about feminism in the Black community center around Black women not needing the help of a movement that would liberate women (45. I have the privilege of believing that feminism is anti-black.). I find that troubling, to say the least. It suggests that either Black women are afforded the same rights and social equity within our communities and don’t have to worry about gender-based discrimination (there’s not a single statistic that would validate that claim, by the way) or that Black women are not granted these things… and don’t need to be. The tendency to accuse Black women who believe in women’s rights as being agents planted to work for the government to destroy the Black community is 1. contender for the stupidest idea to ever come from a Black person’s mind and 2. paranoid, conspiracy theory-based mumbo jumbo likely inspired by a life of eating lead paint chips and snorting asbestos.

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Either way of thinking is completely wrong and completely detrimental to Black girls and women and to the community as a whole. Black women continue to be blamed for the majority of the social problems in the Black community, and that is very much related to the male privilege Black men benefit from (78. My “strength” as a man is never connected with the failure of the black family, whereas the strength of black women is routinely associated with the failure of the black family). I cringe whenever I hear brothers go on and on about how Black women are destroying our community by spreading HIV, having too many kids out-of-wedlock, and being “hoes”. Then, the same people whine and lament that Black women are more successful than Black men, again skewing data to fit an agenda that makes them out to be victims or some White supremacy plot created by the “Willie Lynch Letter“.

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Black Male Privilege means believing that Black women are responsible for the sexual harassment and assault they receive because they are somehow helping men treat them poorly.

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Oh yes, brothers, you have male privilege and included in it is the privilege of believing that because YOU don’t behave a certain way, that women’s claims of mistreatment must be wrong, exaggerated, or intentional lies to bring men down. You can believe that because it is the gift that society has given all men– having your word be respected as your bond and bearing more weight than that of a woman’s.

Black Male Privilege is still earning more money than Black women, despite Black women obtaining more college degrees than Black men.

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Via NPR

Black Male Privilege is being made the face of victims of fatal police brutality against unarmed Black people when Black girls andwomen are killed to the same degree.BW-girls innocent-t

I’ll wait while you count the numbers… carry the one… and oh! lightbulb!!

I mean… Someone is going to read this as me bashing Black men because that’s the boring, predictable way to go about absorbing the truth, right? It’s hard to accept that such a beleaguered man would ever be in a position to be oppressive, however passively (is “passive oppression” a thing? I say yes!). It’s true though, and when people have privilege, they tend to not want to confront it and accept that it gives them certain advantages because that might suggest that their accomplishments are not completely achieved by “merit”, right? Right.

Black people have faced the harshest treatment, globally, of any group because every other group has conspired and worked together to subjugate Black people and keep us at the bottom. While non-Black people of color have experienced colonialism and exploitation, racism and discrimination, they still rely on anti-Blackness to get ahead; the common denominator is anti-Blackness. But for Black men to suggest that there is no difference in how Black women are treated, by others and by Black men themselves, is a Black ass lie that needs to die. Today. Let’s end this nonsense and move forward with finding healing so we can rebuild our communities together, honestly and with a strong conviction that we need each other and cannot do this without each other.

Note: If you’ve ever used any of the responses below when a sista has spoken about some experience she has had at the hands of a Black man, you might wanna check your privilege, famalam.

 

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Street Harassment Bingo created by Trudy at Gradient Lair in response to the vitriol received
during our campaign to help victims of street harassment.

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