Tag Archive | Society

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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Shut Up and Make that Man a Sandwich . . . or My Slow Journey into Feminism

…Black Feminist?

fem·i·nist

adjective Sometimes, fem·i·nis·tic.

1. advocating social, political, legal, and economic rights for women equal to those of men.

Now, before you go judging me based on the Title of this Blog alone (which is totally why I choose the title, because I knew some people would read it and get angry) let me at least try to explain my point of view. I was raised by a Strong Independent Black Woman.  My views on the world were hugely impacted by my mother’s struggles as well as her accomplishments.

I was taught that I was going to have to work twice as hard to get half as much, and that is just how the world is.  So when the concept of Feminism entered my life, I was very much set in my ways.  I fought attaching the title of Feminist to my person, because everything I had ever learned made Feminism quite unappealing.  There are several different Feminist viewpoints I’ve used to try to figure out where I stand.  I’ll use 3 of them to support my ‘argument’ as it were. So please, follow me on my journey into Feminism.

1) Black Twitter Feminists vs. Black Twitter Misogynists

According to Black Twitter . . . anyone who uses that statement in any way – who isn’t completely trying to DISPROVE or DEBUNK what ever follows it – shouldn’t be trusted.  Point. Blank. Period. Black Twitter is usually a HORRIBLE representation of Black Group Think.  Sadly, the majority of the people who have been made most famous by Black Twitter are complete idiots.  But then, that’s my opinion.  For all you know I could just be saying that because I’m not part of the Black Twitter Elite.

Anyway, back to my point.  The first time I read anything that had to do with the Black Feminist Movement, it was on Twitter.  So I started following certain people, because their viewpoints were intriguing and different from anything I had ever seen.  However, after week Three of the $200 date debate, I realized that the loudest people were the ones that seemed to not even understand what Feminism was.

Male Black Twitter: All women should be glad we are even paying attention. They are flawed from the jump. From their thighs that touch in every picture to their nappy ass natural hair. Be grateful for this attention. I don’t have to give it to you. Also, if you are talking during any major sporting event, it better be to ask me what I want for dinner, or tell me it’s already done.  Your place is serving me.  My allowing you to serve me is giving you power.  Embrace that shit, and smile.

Black Feminist Twitter: Men are useless. We are strong enough to impregnate ourselves if we just put our minds to it. Men hate women, and because they make negative remarks they are clearly gay and wish they were women. Also, every time a woman is attacked, all men resort to calling her a whore/ugly/fat.  This is because these men secretly want to date these same women.  However, do to their massive inferiority complex, they would never approach these women.  In private, all men cry at night for the wrongs they have done women.  Lastly, Black Men date White Women because they are afraid of the strength the Black Woman holds.

Honestly, I really had never really thought about Feminism and it’s effect on my everyday life.  I was too worried about being Black and Fat.  Being a woman came in a distant third as something that was holding me back in society.  So what people thought my place was, in the long run was irrelevant.  I was much more concerned about my next paycheck.  But then, I got a job that shoved me RIGHT SMACK DAB into the Feminist Movement.

Oh . . . . okay.

2) Married White Feminists with Long Straight Hair and Good Jobs

Nothing says Feminist like a White Woman.  Whenever I think Feminism, I ALWAYS see two images.

1) An angry white woman yelling holding a NOW sign.

2) Gloria Steinem in a Playboy Bunny Outfit.

It always seemed to me, when you don’t have to worry about the major in things in life (food, clothing, shelter) you have much more free time to focus on societal issues.  Having to hear a white woman tell me she is sorry for how my life has gone is just . . . Take your White/Liberal Guilt and ease on down the road.  Heffa, you don’t know my struggle.  And watching The Help has not made you an expert on the Black Experience.  Your Great Grandfather making his fortune on the Backs of Slaves just means that’s what he did.  You aren’t obligated to fight for me.  Don’t become flustered or uncomfortable when I decide to fight for myself. Precious Lord Take My Hand, and help these women STOP thinking that apologizing makes my struggle go away.  It doesn’t.

When your skin is black, all other labels are pushed to the back burner.  Plus, what school textbook was going to teach me about Audre Lorde, Angela Davis, Nina Simone, and Bell Hooks? I know about them because I watch Netflix and random Documentaries. Feminism has always presented itself to me as a White Person’s Movement. One amazing example of this was the #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen treading topic on Twitter created by Mikki Kendall. So many ‘famous Feminists’ were so upset that Black Women were blatantly saying they weren’t (and had never really been) a prominent part of the Feminist Movement.

Google the word Feminist.  The first 40 pictures are of white women or white men.  I didn’t even know there were African American women from the beginning of the Feminist Movement.  Because these women didn’t identify as Feminists.  They identified as women who were trying to make a better life for themselves and those who were going to follow them.  They were fighting for Civil Rights, or Voting Rights, or Gay Rights. But first and foremost they were seen as Black Women.

3) The Feminists I’ve met in the last 9 months

9 Months ago, I began working for a domestic violence organization.  It was a job I took because I wanted to work with the children in the shelter.  I have several people very close to me who were affected by DV as children, and they most of them have said the trauma is still with them today.  Imagine my surprise when my job wasn’t just about working with the children, but their mothers as well.  The organization I work for stresses Empowerment over Enabling.  I spent the first 6 months trying to figure out what that meant.

We live in a society that devalues women every day.  In the media, in songs, in movies, on television.  Women have to fight for an inch while most men are 1000’s of miles ahead of them.  At 31, I had accepted that fact, but didn’t understand the root of the issue.  It’s not angry white men, or angry black men . . . It’s privilege. As long as ANYONE has a perceived advantage over someone, there will never be a real change in society.  In August of this year, I attended the Forging Justice Conference held in Detroit, and met same of the most amazing people! They all embraced the title of Feminist, and they were completely different in every way.

One of the speakers was Melissa McEwan of Shakesville.com. Listening to her speak showed me, even though it seems every person who attached the moniker Feminist to their name is worried about self, there are some people out there who get it.  Who understand that Feminism isn’t JUST Equal Pay for Equal Work, or getting more women jobs in large corporations.  It’s educating the masses about every problem/concern/barrier every woman has.

Another Feminist who continued to challenge my idea of what Feminism looks like was Marc Grimmett.  He presented his documentary, My Masculinity Helps.  In a very realistic way, his movie explores the many avenues by which we can help young black males become an integral part of the Movement.

I also met Ashon Crawley, a contributor for the Crunk Feminist Collective. Besides being one of the most eloquent people I’ve ever met, his message was something I had never encountered. Talking about how the Church and ‘Sacred Texts’ played a huge part in the creation of such a misogynistic society was like . . . Mind = Blown.

Feminism became something different for me.  It’s wasn’t marching and protesting, it was honest discussion about why there need to be changes, and how to go about it in a way that will actually make a difference.  Not just #WhiteGirlProblems or #MuslimGirlProblems, but society’s view of women as a whole.  From Rape Culture to The Pornification of Today’s Youth to why Blurred Lines is the world’s most Rapey Song of 2013. Feminism can be about education, and health, and relationships, and everyday life.  So where does this leave me?

Awareness comes with a cost. Once you are aware of an injustice, ignoring it is like committing that act, or perpetuating that problem yourself.  So I can’t blast Blurred Lines, without thinking of my clients who heard those same words while their significant other violated them.  It means: I can’t support an artist who objectifies themselves, and markets that objectification to young girls. It means: I feel some kind of way when Chris Brown says he “lost his virginity” at the age of 8.  It means: I have to question my support for certain people based on their actions. It means: I don’t have the stomach for certain behaviors anymore.  Labeling myself a Feminist is a difficult transition and responsibility.  Embracing the Feminist that lies dormant inside of me means letting go of some of my ideals.

So yes, when I grow up, I want to be a Feminist. But until then, the Journey continues.