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The Whiteness Spectrum – Explained

***This blog is meant to educate, not offend.
If you you feel some kind of way, Remember, Hit Dogs Holler.***

During a conversation with one of my clients (who is African American), she was lamenting on the phenomenon of White people speaking to us (African American People) like we are idiots. Sometimes it’s overt other times subtle, but it happens all the damn time.  As I worked on trying to prevent her from punching this lady in the face, I offered her my theory on The Whiteness Spectrum.

“She’s a low functioning White Woman, you have to cut her some slack.”

As with any Spectrum, you have to make concessions at times for those who are lower functioning.  You can’t really be mad at them, because they often don’t know any better.  I present, to those of you who haven’t closed out the blog yet, The Whiteness Spectrum – Explained.


If life was a point system, White people start out about 100 points ahead. From birth. Based purely on the fact that they were born White. The point system might look something like this:

White: +100
Black: 0
Light skinned Black: +25
Born Racially Ambiguous: +40
Hispanic (in the US): +25
Caucasian Featured Hispanic (in the US): +50
Asian (in the US): +75

There are – of course – factors that can add to/subtract from, your overall point total.

Poverty (while White): -50
Poverty (while Person of Color): -100
White Male Privilege: +100
White Female Fragility: +150
Born Black Male: -50
Born Black Woman: -75
White LGBT: -25
LGBT Person of Color: -50
Born in to Wealth: +100
Physically Disabled: -50
Form of Mental Illness (while White): -10
Form of Mental Illness (while POC): -25
Developmental Disability (while White): -25
Developmental Disability (while POC): -50
Good Credit: +50
Bad Credit: -50
Single Parent Household: -25
Higher Education (while White): +100
Higher Education (while POC): +50
Higher Education (while Black): +35
Lives 200% above the the poverty line (while White): +75
Live 200% above the poverty line (while POC): +50
Exposure to other cultures (while White): +25
Exposure to other cultures (while POC): +50
Drug Addiction (while White): -25
Drug addiction (while POC): -75
Childhood Trauma (while White): – 50
Childhood Trauma (while POC): – 150

The math is important, because it will help you to understand this next part.  The lower your score, the higher you rate on The Whiteness Spectrum.  I’ve envisioned this spectrum ranging from Low to High Functioning, using the following explanations.

*This isn’t an exact Science, obviously.*


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Low Functioning:

Those people who have never had to work for anything. It’s simply been handed to them their whole lives. Born White, the term average is based on their life experience.  They are the litmus test for all national polls, survey’s, studies, etc. Life has been good to them for the most part.  The things that happen to some people, those events in life that build internal strength and fortitude, they passed these people right on by. They know nothing more than their own world. They have no real concept of need, barely ever want for anything. They’ve never went without life’s basic necessities.

These can also be people that use their Privilege as a weapon to attack others. The Racists, the Homophobes, the Xenophobes, the White Nationalists, etc. The people who cut in line or constantly scream, “But I was Told By Apple Care!!!” Those who refuse to see their status quo change.

They’ve never had to “do the work.”  They’ve never had to look at their child and explain why dinner is just Kraft Mac & Cheese.  They’ve never had to struggle in front of a classroom because they couldn’t read.  They’ve never had to step outside themselves and sacrifice for their younger siblings to have clothing/shoes. They are easily frustrated/annoyed when having to deal with something outside their scope of life experience.

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Mild to Moderate Functioning:

Those people who have stumbled in their life. Maybe labeled ADHD, or raised by a single parent after a divorce.  Maybe they were chubby/fat as a youth, or had a crush on someone who rejected them.  They’ve felt hurt/pain/disappointment on more than a few occasions.  Maybe they went to public school, and happened to make friends with a Person of Color. Maybe they saw Mississippi Burning in middle school, and thought to themselves, “Well, that’s fucked up!”

They’ve signed some petitions about Global Warming, they might even vote Democrat. They have a Black Friend. They still remember that one time in high school when everyone walked out because the new AP grading system wasn’t fair.  They have thoughts about how to change the world, but they usually keep them to themselves.

Stirring the pot isn’t really their style, but they will march if everyone else is going too. They converse with like minded friends/colleagues about the current state of the world, but they aren’t quite affected {yet}.

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High Functioning:

Raised in the worst neighborhoods, or even in the Foster Care System. Affected by abuse in it’s many forms, either done to them or seen as a child that was done to a parent. Bullied as a child, or even as an adult. Fought poverty to make something of themselves, had a mentor/coach/teacher who believed in them when no one else did. Maybe had a parent or parents who insisted they be involved in the Model UN.  Went to college on some kind of financial aid or scholarship, and fought to keep it.

Took classes that no one else was taking, joined clubs just to learn about new cultures.  Joined a Black Greek Letter Organization, and not just because they liked the “dancing.” Attends every march, and not just to spectate. Knew about the Dakota Access Pipeline protests BEFORE it was being covered on the news.  Unfriends people on Facebook for saying/posting/liking stupid, ignorant, racist shit. Fights with family members who voted for 45.

They put in the work.  They see injustice, and decide to use their Privilege in a positive way to help others.  Understands they even have Privilege in the first place. Asks the hard questions, and wants to have the hard conversations for the sake of understanding.  Helps others in their job or in their spare time, sometimes both. Strives to make the world a better place for everyone, not just them.


As stated, this isn’t an exact science.  It’s not based on anything but my observations throughout my life. This is how I am trying to figure out how to deal with my daily life experiences. I welcome feedback 🙂

Based on the point system, where do you range? Is it accurate?

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Put Me In Coach….I’m Ready to Play!

I’ve spent this year on the sidelines. Sometimes, because I was forced to be there. Other times because I’ve put myself there. I’m trying to figure out how and why this has become my permanent state of being all of a sudden. And what has kept me on the sidelines for this long? 

I started 2016 with so much hope and vigor. It was going to be the best year of my life, and I was going to live all my dreams to the fullest! I was going to be more active in Zeta, and go out on the weekends, and travel my ass off! I had everything planned out. Then, January 25th, God said ‘Girl, You THOUGHT!’ 

So okay, nothing went as planned. Everything was slowed down, and in some cases stopped completely. 

I’ve tried not to be angry about having this seizure. I’ve tried to accept that everything happens for a reason. I’ve tried to rationalize my frustration at how people treated me and/or ignored me after it happened. Sometimes, I’m really good at it. But today, I’m fucking pissed!

Because I feel like I’m starting all over again….AGAIN. I had my hopes set on weight loss surgery in 2017, only to find out my insurance doesn’t cover it. And I had started the process, the doctor’s visits, and the everything else. I had 2017 all planned. You would think I would have learned from this year. But alas….I didn’t. So now what….

Where do I go from here? My anxiety won’t let me just fly by the seat of my pants anymore. I need to have a plan to feel safe. But I’m also terrified of making yet another plan, only for that to fall apart too. I can’t take too many more disappointments. Let it also be known that the world in general is disappointing as fuck right now. 

Like, I’m 98.3% sure I’m going to spend the next 4 years high as a kite. Cuz just NO. I reject that man, that racists and ignorant people elected, with my whole entire being.  REJECT REJECT REJECT. TRY AGAIN, DO OVER! 

But whatever, back to my original point. (This is all over the place. Judge me not, it’s 4:30 in the morning, and I couldn’t sleep.) 

I want to stop feeling like I’ll never be a part of the crowd. I want to stop being terrified to put myself out there, and/or let other people in.  My life mantra of “No New Friends,” has really gone on long enough. [Well maybe, I’m still not sure, because there is that part of me that really doesn’t trust people. Because of that whole, no one is genuine or honest about who they are and what their motives are anymore.] 

See what I mean! Conflict. 2016 might have just ruined me. But yeah, I want to not be afraid to reach out. I really do.  But Anxiery/Depression is also a thing. 

Adulting is hard as FUCK. 

A Letter to My 17 Year Old Self

Dear MJ,

By now, you’ve been in college for 3 whole weeks.  Enjoy it, this is the best time of your life.  This is where you meet the people who change your life forever.  Savor the geographical closeness of friends, and take full advantage of every new experience.  Try everything at least once, take pictures of everything.  It doesn’t stay like this forever.  There are some very dark times ahead.  You will use the happiness of this year to get you through some of those times.  Be Glad I warned you.

On Friendship . . . 

The people you meet in these 4 years, are your family.  Not just friends in passing, but the shoulders you will cry on when life is falling apart.  You will leave college with Brothers would would fight a bear for you.  You will leave with Sisters who will fight that same bear, and probably send evil text messages to that bear’s whole family for years, just because they love you.  Some of the people you start this journey with, won’t make it until the end.  You will lose great friends, but find them again  . . . even if it takes 17 more years to reconnect. MJ, these friends are lifetime friends.  Don’t take them for granted.

On Your Hair . . . 

MJ, you are going natural in 1999.  A full 10 years before the Natural Revolution.  Good Job being a pioneer.  Going natural for you was a necessity, and not a protest of the white man’s wish that you assimilate to European standards of beauty.  You just don’t know how to do your hair, and that’s okay.   But your hair is beautiful, enjoy the texture.  You are Beautiful, MJ. Everything about you is Beautiful. Sadly, no one is going to recognize you need to hear that from time to time.  You won’t feel beautiful until your 20’s,  But I’m telling you now.

On Your Career . . .

Right now, you are probably sitting in your programming class, wondering how the hell you are going to program a damn computer to play Rock Paper Scissors with you.  You are going to get your first failing grade on a test.  Don’t worry, it’s going to get better!

You are going to find your calling, Children.  You are going to go through a few different phases.  Education, Tutoring, and you are going to land on Social Work.  God put you on this earth, MJ, to help children.  You are great at it.  You will make a lasting impact on hundreds of children.

Sadly, the profession you choose isn’t gonna keep them pockets fat.  You are going to end up being the poor friend.  Except, you won’t figure that out until you are 34.  You learn to survive with what you have.  Some years are going to be much worse than others, but as you get closer to your true purpose, you will figure out how be handle your money better.

Money is going to cause you to shed some tears, some ugly ass tears.  But MJ, you will survive it.  So keep going, even when you feel like you can’t.

On Love . . . 

People are going to break your heart.  Remember those dark times I was talking about . . . The first time is coming in about 10 months.  Don’t try to stop it.  He’s your soulmate.  That kind of love is going to stay with you for the rest of your life.  He’s going to stay with you the rest of your life.  But losing it, is going to break you.

I mean, devastate you, and no one around you will see it.  No one around you will recognize the signs of depression, because Black People Don’t Get Depressed.  It takes about 10 years, but he comes back, and he’s one of your best friends.

True Love is something you are going to look for in almost every person you meet, which is stupid.  Nora Roberts fucked you on that.  There is no such thing.  It’s just emotional connections that work out or not.  The other two guys, who will both break your heart by the way, they aren’t bad people.  They just couldn’t handle you, and how intense you can be.  Calm the fuck down, MJ. Take it slowly.  Stop trying to make every guy your future husband.  Calm the FUCK Down.

On Sex . . . 

You are going to waste your college years.  This is the time in life, when you should be whoring it up. But you won’t, because they told you men only marry the good girls.  THEY LIED. Men marry the Jump Offs.  You are going to be SO PISSED once you figure that out.  Sorry girl, you should have been a heaux. You had the PERFECT dating app, Greek Life. And what are you gonna do, MJ? Be friends with everyone.  Dumb Ass.

However, your greatest sexual encounters are going to be with people you’ve been friends with most of your life.  So that’s something, right MJ? You can hold out for that, you’ve only got like 13 more years to wait.

On Your Sexual Identity . . .

It’s okay that you like girls too.  It’s okay that you have crushes on girls in college.  Even though you grew up in church, and they told you something was wrong with you because you liked girls . . . It’s okay. Even though people in your family drop the F-Word with ease, and try to shame their male children for being sensitive . . . it’s OKAY.

It’s perfectly NORMAL to be BiSexual. You will be happier once you stop hiding it.  And you are going to meet some amazing people that help you get there.  Let Your Flag Fly MJ. It’s okay to be Queer.

Finally, MJ . . . 

These plans you have right now for your life, on who you are going to be, and where you are going to end up . . . WRONG. Stop trying to be like everyone else.  You aren’t.  You are so Different, and Special, and Beautiful, and Unique.  There is no one in this world like you. Your personal freedom will come, when you embrace yourself.

Stop comparing yourself to your friends, it won’t bode well for you.  Be Proud of who you are, in that moment.  Every single tear is going to be worth it.  The pain won’t last always, MJ. You are going to make it.  And it’s going to be Spectacular.

I’m Proud of You MJ,

34 Year Old You.

White Picket Dreams or TAMC Part 2a

I’m sitting here looking at this old canvas
And the picture looks so different from you
Yes it does, yes it does
Maybe it’s time to go back to the drawing board
Cause it’s likely that the man I drew is fictional

Here’s the thing . . . I haven’t listened to this album in a while.  I can’t tell you why, I just haven’t.  But thanks to my Spotify Discover Weekly, this song popped up, and Solange changed my life again.  Cuz I’ve been painting over the same canvas for years.  That image of the perfect family, the perfect life, the perfect relationship.  I continue to try to make people (men and women) I meet fit on one of the canvases I created in college, that was supposed to represent what my life should be.  Even while knowing the canvas is bullshit.  Because it is.

For five long years
I thought you were my man
But I found out
I’m just a link in your chain

It took me 10 years to get over my first love (TBTLINY). Through mostly no fault of his own, I was just holding on to the hope that we could make it work.  Because the connection was so deep, and the love was so strong. It just HAD to work. But in real life, he was just meant to be my friend (I think). {I might still be holding out hope that he will come to his senses, so sue me.  You don’t know my life.} But he’s been the prototype, for everyone that has come afterward.  They have to make me feel like I did when I first heard his voice, I have to want to be with them like I wanted to be with TBTLINY. The connection had to be that strong. Repainting on the same canvas.

If I could… could forget him, I would… please believe me
And I know that I should throw the towel in
But baby it’s not… not that easy
You treat me so much better than him, And if I was sane there’d be no competition

But… but I’m in love with someone else (ooh)
And I’m so sorry hey hey
I’m in love with another man
And I know it ain’t right

Instead of trying to heal, you tried to move on.  Even though you weren’t ready.  You might have even found a good guy/girl.  But you were still staring at that old canvas.  Longing for the life you had created in your head and your heart.  It’s so hard to let go of the image, once it’s been solidified in your mind.  That painting is stuck to the walls, and it’s not coming down until it wants to.

I used to cry myself to sleep at night
But that was all before he came
I thought love had to hurt to turn out right
But now he’s here
It’s not the same, it’s not the same

So then you meet this new person, and they can do all the things.  They make you smile all day, and you feel all the feelings, and they fit the mold.  Finally, you can take that portrait off the wall, and start making a new one.  But instead of starting over, you use the outline of the last painting to create this one.At first, it works perfectly.  Slowly but surely, it’s the little things that don’t quite fit.  The painting starts to go outside the lines. They don’t quite seem so perfect, you start to see the flaws, the colors start changing, lines get blurred.  Once again, the picture in your head was wrong.

Some of you know what it feels like
Caught up just in his life
Don’t wanna try again, thinking what’s the difference?
Why am I not interested?
Cause when you’ve been broken, you feel like no one can fix it

I’ve decided to stop painting.  I just . . . Quit. And I’m okay with that. Clearly, me trying to control every bit of this isn’t working. So I’m done now.  I just needed to say that.  Cuz yeah.  That’s the conclusion I reached yesterday. Just stop trying, cuz Adulting is hard enough without trying to be a master painter.

My need to control every little part of my life is driving me crazy.  I can say that now, probably because when this blog is published, not that many people will read it.  I wrote this a few months ago, but then I didn’t publish it.  At the time, it was because I couldn’t get the Spotify links to work right . . . But you know, everything in time.  So I’ll post it now, and let this be another part of Confession #2.

 

 

 

Truth Is . . . . I’m Tired

I used to tell everyone what was going on with me.  My Facebook used to be a minute by minute detailing of every emotion, action, and life event.  I didn’t expect people to wonder where I was, I told them . . .often.

Slowly, I’ve become the opposite.  With every Black Child/Man/Woman who has been killed at the hands of the “authorities,” I’ve slowly shut down. I’ve kept my problems to myself, because they seem quite trivial in the face of Systematic Racism and Murder.  No one told me to stop talking, I just don’t.

With every new hashtag, and every new addition to the “Dangerous to do While Black” list, I’ve become more and more reclusive.  I seem to have collapsed inside myself, and I’m not even sure if I want to come out at this point.  It’s hard at this point, when every single time I open my FB or my Twitter, I’m seeing pictures of people being killed by police, or videos of the aftermath of someone being killed.  Or watching a press conference where a family member breaks down.

Black Pain has become fodder for all to consume.  Even when you try to ignore it, someone is tagging you in a post, or sending you a link.  I tried to escape to Instagram today, and all the Black Celebs that were a day late, and several dollars were posting the videos, or even still pics of crime scenes.  That shit HURTS.  It causes my body to cease up in pain, because I feel every bullet.  I can feel the pain of every mother crying out for their lost child.

This . . . situation . . . has been weighing on me since the Trayvon Martin Trial (We don’t say his killer’s name). I thought about all the children I’ve taught, and the smiles on their faces, and just felt lost. Because I can’t save them.  I can’t hold them close, and make sure they are going to live forever.  I can’t even guarantee that a trip to the pool won’t end in abuse.  I can’t tell them walking to the store won’t end their death.  My crew is driving now, I can’t guarantee they won’t get pulled over and killed during a “routine” traffic stop.

That existence, the fact that I live in a world where this is the Norm, TERRIFIES me.  Since my seizure, my emotions have started to work differently.  I don’t understand them.  In addition to that, and I know this sounds crazy, I’ve been having prophetic dreams.  Nothing normal like, “so and so is pregnant,” or “you should play these numbers tomorrow.”  No, I wake up in tears, trying to stop screams from escaping my mouth so my mom doesn’t hear me.

On  the morning of June 12th, I had the scariest dream to date.  My mom and I had gone to a club to see someone perform, and we were having a great time.  All of a sudden people were running and screaming, “There is an Arabic Guy coming to kill us!” We guided everyone into the bathroom, and we were all huddled in one stall.  As he walked in the bathroom, I turned to my mom and told her I loved her, because I knew we were going to die.  Then I woke up.

I checked my phone to see news of the Pulse nightclub shooting.  I haven’t been right since.  Because, What the FUCK?!?! If that’s a Gift from God, I’m not sure how he expects me to use it.  Since that dream, I’ve only been able to remember parts of.  But I’m still afraid of where my mind will take me some nights. This World . . . This World is stressing me OUT.

I haven’t even talked about what’s been going on in my LIFE this year.  I probably won’t. Because my burdens are small compared to those of others.  Problems have come up, I’ve solved them, the best way I know how.  Maybe, when I’m famous, I’ll talk about how my life changed in 2016.  ‘Cuz it surely has.

This post is all over the place. It’s not very coherent (in my opinion). But I promised my Therapist (yes, I have one of those now) I would take at least 15 minutes to write. And I try to keep my promises, especially when they are basically homework toward healing.

The Moment My Musical Childhood Died . . .

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Michael Jackson was the voice of my youth.  I distinctly remember how each of his songs made me feel the first time I heard them.  I remember going to see him in concert. { More on that experience in My MJ is Gone Blog} When he died . . . I was completely inconsolable for DAYS. Like, I sat on the couch, and just stared at the TV and the Computer screen.

Whitney Houston was the voice of my adolescence.   I sang The  Bodyguard in the car listening to my DiscMan.  The Preacher’s Wife Soundtrack is STILL my favorite Gospel Album. I stood outside my house, and cried while talking to my best friend.   When Whitney died, so did the last vestigaes of my childhood.

Prince was the Voice of my Womanhood.  When I was 23, I saw him in concert, when he did the Musicology Tour.  I remember being at awe of him, on stage, with just 4 guitars, a piano, and his amazing band.  I knew I was seeing a genius at work. 

The first time I heard Purple Rain as an adult, was the day my soulmate broke my heart.  The words struck me in a way they never had before.  I’d seen the movie all my life, loved it and the soundtrack.  But something about him singing about the failure of that relationship, when all he had was the best of intentions . . . It tore my soul. I curled up in a ball, in my walk-in closet of my first apartment in Tucson, and cried for HOURS. I listened to Purple Rain, the song, not the album, until my phone died . . . About 5 hours. 

Music has always defined how I felt about life.  It’s always been the background to major  life events and crisis’. April 21, 2016 . . . The day all my music was finally dead.  I feel like I’ve lost a part of me, that still hadn’t healed from losing MJ and Whitney. I might never be able to listen to Purple Rain again without crying . Just like I can’t listen to Man in the Mirror anymore, or The Greatest Love of All.

Today, when I’ve heard people talk or read about this loss, those three people are held in the same stature.  “This is worse than when MJ Died,” or “This is just like when I found out about Whitney.” Or “He’s the last on the list of my childhood musical heros.” I feel like we are a generation lost at this point. I was 2 years old when Purple Rain come out, yet its in my top Five movies that define the 80’s for me.

My musical heart is broken.  And there is nothing, and no one who can fix it. Ever.