I Want to be With you Shooting in the Gym

Let’s get one thing out of the way, I can’t play basketball. So if you take that title seriously, you will be really disappointed when we actually go to the gym or basketball court and I suck. But I’ll go. We just won’t actually be playing. Anywho!

Let’s start here though. If someone, anyone, a fairy godmother or Jesus himself, had told me at any point in my life that I would one day be 30, single, and living with my parents I would have laughed hysterically in their face!! I don’t know anyone who grows up thinking yes, that’s the life I want. One of perpetual singleness and no one to share life’s highs and lows with. I feel like we are fed, from a very young age, wether it’s by Disney movies, our parents, friends, family, television, music, I don’t know, but the plan that is always handed out is, grow up, find a job, get a partner, get married, live happily ever after. Heck, even the old board game “Life” had a check point where you got married. You had to. There was no option to say “nah. I’ll pass. I’ll do this thing alone.” So clearly this was how things were supposed to go. At some point in time, somehow, somewhere, I was just supposed to be handed a husband and we would do this thing together.

Not.

And clearly I have done some things a little non traditional. I have a daughter. She’s amazing. I would not change the time that I had her for anything in the world. Even a husband. We are a package deal if anyone ever does show up. I may have made myself undateable by some men’s standards due to my education, my career, or my salary. Those men are clearly not for me. I don’t know. Whatever I’ve done to contribute to my perpetual singledom, I’ve done a tremendous job.

But still. I don’t think it’s just me. In my adventures into the land of dating I have come across this phenomenon at an alarming consistency. There are a group of people out there (my experience has only been with men but I imagine women are saying the same thing) that want to be 100% put together before they get into a serious committed relationship. They want to be settled in their career, financially stable, own a home and three cars, their own business and this whole list of other things, before they can consider adding a partner to that mix.

And here’s the thing. It makes sense, on paper. It looks good, in theory. But in reality not so much. It makes sense that you would need to be completely consumed by your work and career to get to that place and that a relationship may distract you. But the thing is. These people are still out there dating and running into unsuspecting women like me who want to do both. Who want to build this life but do it with someone. Not alone.

I am blessed in that my parents are still together. And today, they are pretty well off. Not wealthy by any means but the struggle is definitely over. My dad likes to leave his pay stubs laying around so that I “accidentally” see what he brings home every two weeks. Clearly I have chosen the wrong path in life! And my mom can channel her inner Ebenezer Scrooge and save some money pennies like a pro.

But it has not always been that way. They often tell me stories of supporting a family of 4 off of an $800 a month military salary. Buying a large pack of chicken and making it last a week. Eating out three times a year and one time going out with friends and ordering the cheapest thing they could find because they didn’t know how they were going to pay for it. My sister used to go with my dad to the car wash and go around picking up change off the ground so that she could get a piece of candy and he could get a drink at the gas station when they were done. The struggle was real people!!! But here’s the thing, as a young child during those days…you couldn’t tell me we weren’t living the good life! I was very much aware that the bouncy horse in my room came from the dumpster (which is part of the reason why I don’t understand all this hype about people being sad Toy-R-Us is closing. What is that place? It’s actually real?!?) I thought this was amazing. My toy box was a large moving box. But it was awesome because me and my sister could fit in it and have enough room to play with the toys. The struggle was real but life was good because we had each other. Now I know that’s a very glossed over version of the actual story but you get the point.

My parents relationship is by no means perfect. I have witnessed them fuss and fight and struggle first hand. But I’m truly convinced that it is in the struggle and the fight and working TOGETHER that builds the strength for a marriage, a relationship, a family to last.

So I fully get when drake said “You wasn’t with me shooting in the gym,” and when people reference this as a way to say don’t expect to live off my success if you weren’t there to help me build it. My question is, why are so many people afraid to even allow someone in the gym with them to shoot in the first place?

I think we create a very weird and fragile situation when we wait to be “perfect” or “good” before looking for a partner, because then at the slightest sign of trouble we are ready to let it all go because we don’t want them to mess up everything we’ve built. Because it’s all mine. Not there’s. Not ours. They didn’t help. They weren’t here in the beginning so I’m not going to allow them to benefit from or destroy the ending. And to me it just sounds lonely.

So again, here I sit, several months into the dreaded 30. It’s not been so bad. I got a new job. A pay raise. But I’m just seriously confused and frustrated by the fact that I am actually contemplating stepping out on my own, saving to a buy a home, having a solid career, being a decent woman with some pretty useful skills, and having all this love and support to give but no one wants it. I would not have believed anyone if they told me this 10 years, 5 years, even a year ago but alas here I am.

To all the men I’ve come across with this mentality, I hope it works out and I wish you the best. To the few people out there who may not have this mentality, if we cross paths, and it goes well and maybe it works out… let me in coach! I’m ready to play…but again… I suck at actual basketball so please be sure you fully understand this entire metaphor!

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The Oppressor can not be Oppressed…

This is the same as reverse racism. Sure, if defined in text, can be explained simply.  But this is simply NOT a simple issue.

Now, let me preface by saying this; You all know, I’m not the best writer, and I don’t speak much on social things because I’m just not that good at expressing my thoughts and how I feel completely.  I tend to have incomplete thoughts and also tend to not get my point across properly at times.  BUT! Know this. I know what side I stand on. And this here thing…I’m not standing with.

Look at the following image.  This image comes from some training material about workplace harassment. Note: This training was not generated from my company, but sourced out from another training resource.

reverseOpression

Now…

Being an African-American male, living in America, working in Corporate America.  My first response is exactly what the “contestants” in the image show.  TRUE TRUE TRUE MOTHERF**KING TRUE!

Why?

Because the oppressor cannot be oppressed.

What does this mean? Someone who benefits from racism cannot suffer from racism.

Now, being that this is a training resource, to be politically correct and whatnot about this, the answer to this question is False, by definition.

BY. DEFINITION.

But that’s just the problem with this image.  You cannot just simply paint a black and white picture for this.  In most cases, a non-minority would not face any type of racial harassment, due to the fact that he/she is white.  Putting it in perspective on a high level (we’ll get to a lower level, deeper conversation a little further down in this post), a non-minority person would never have an issue with this. I can never in my life recall any time any of my white friends suffered from ANY type of racial harassment, and I have a LOT of white friends.

Who in the HELL thought this was a good question to put in training information in the first place?

The company I work for, at the corporate level, is probably around 75% White.  Keep in mind that this is just an estimation, so I know I’m wrong on the actual percentage, but I’m probably close enough.  If you look at only my office within the company, and go deeper to my specific department, that percentage is even higher. With my team undoubtedly being >85% white, as I can count the total number of African-Americans on one hand. If I include other minorities, I think I may get up to 10 total, but not much higher.

So this image here, in all it’s glory assumes that white people are subjected to suffer from workplace racial harassment.  Which, sure they can, at a definition level.  But how? Tell me when this would most likely happen? This picture screams to me that “white people have it just as bad as black people when it comes to racism”, which that could not be any more wrong. As mentioned in a wonderfully created movie “Dear White People“, there was a line stated that Black people can’t be racist.  Why? Because black people can’t benefit from it.  White people, on the other hand has benefited from racism for CENTURIES.  Black people and other minorities are at a disadvantage EVEN BEFORE THEY ARE BORN, because of the color of their skin. Yet, I’m sitting here looking at a video of an African-American man, asking a question about if it’s True or False that a non-minority in the workplace can be a victim of racism.

Excuse me sir…Let’s not…

Even the white “contestants” has more sense than that.

And I can already hear the moans and groans of white people all over America right now because they speak words of how everyone is equal and racism isn’t a thing anymore and we won’t “let it go”.  I implore you to read my blog post from a while back about Growing up an “Oreo” in America.  This is a minority’s reality.

Resources like this perpetuate the idea that racism can be played on both sides, but that’s just not true.  And for this to be in training material for a pretty big corporation that hires thousands of people, It makes me sick.  Then I think about how many companies are using the same training resource.  This is just a form of institutionalized oppression, spreading the idea that you can be racist toward white people, and that’s just not true.

For years, black people have had to have shows like “Black-ish” and networks like “BET” and celebrate holidays such as “Black History Month” or “Juneteenth” to show our greatness. Why? Because of racism.  Because we needed somewhere to go to celebrate our culture, our greatness of who we are, because white people kept us from showing how great we were.   White people don’t have these things, because they already control all of it.  Their culture bleeds throughout every facet of life.

So I ask you to read the question again and if you think that someone can be racist towards white people.  I urge you to think outside of the black and white box.  Stand back, take a look at your life, and ask yourself, if you’ve ever suffered from or was ever at a disadvantage because of racism.