Top 10 Posts of 2011

Hi everyone –

It’s been a crazy, but fulfilling year for me, and I hope for you. I’ll keep this short and sweet – below find the top ten posts (based on page views during the year) of 2011, along with an excerpt so you get a sense of what we’ve been talking about. Things have been quiet around her lately, I know, but as soon as I drop this baby, we’ll be back!!! Lot’s of love to our readers and most importantly, to my fellow CocoaMamas who have diligently and lovingly contributed to this blog over the past year.

10.Why Can’t We All Just Get Along

I’m working this summer for a large urban school district that ranks at the almost bottom for educational equity. The opportunity and achievement gaps in this district are shameful. So when I go to work every day, and when I interact with my fellow interns who are working at other educational institutions this summer, I’m not always smiling. I’m not agreeing to so-called “community agreements” on how I’m supposed to talk about race, class, and power. I’m not giving everyone the benefit of the doubt that folks have good intentions. I’m not assuming that no one in the room is a racist.

9. Private Parts

“Yes, children, you can touch your private parts, your penis and your vagina, when you are in your rooms, by yourselves. But remember, no one else is to touch your penis or your vagina, you understand? Not mommy or daddy or anyone, unless you say it’s okay. And no one should even be asking to touch you unless mommy or daddy is there, like when we go to the doctor, you understand? And if someone does, you yell and say NO as loud as you can, you hear me? And you come and tell mommy or daddy, okay?”

8. On Baldy Heads and Aliens

As I thought about this, I looked around the playground. As much as we lament what little black girls go through with regards to their hair, I never thought about the fact that little black boys face their own hair issue when surrounded by boys who are not black like them.

7. Crunchy Like Me

So what does this all mean? It means that some practices that used to just be considered ‘old-fashioned’ are now known as granola. My grandma uses vinegar and baking soda for cleaning, but would I call her crunchy? She’s been doing her cleaning that way for over 50 years. I don’t think Blacks are crunchy, but maybe I’m wrong. I’m sure a variety of ‘crunchy’ habits are used by lots of Black families. I’ve seen many breastfeeding Black mamas. What’s old is new again and all that.

6. “for colored girls”? Nope.

Without “giving away” the movie, in typical Tyler Perry style, he wants colored girls to “take responsibility” for their condition, understand the men in their lives and why they do the things they do, to explain some of the complexity of black relationships. And that’s al well and good. But that’s not what “for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow was enuf” was about. Because understanding the complexity of colored girls and their pain is enuf. Its enuf to say that I’m in pain because

i stood by beau in the window/ with naomi reachin
for me/ & kwame screamin mommy mommy from the fifth
story/ but i cd only whisper/ & he dropped em

without having to also “consider” beau’s pain and why as an abused partner and mother she didn’t leave him before. Its enuf to be in pain because I was date raped in my home without also visually suggesting that my clothing was actually suggestive. Its enuf to be in pain because my husband sleeps with men without having to also understand the “plight” of black men on the DL.

5. Can Fathers Walk Away From Their Children?

As a single divorced mother whose ex-husband walked away from his children for years because he claimed I was “too difficult” to deal with, I am a bit torn.  On the one hand, I understand why my friend’s family is telling him to cut his losses and move on.  On the other hand, as a mother, and having witnessed the beauty of his relationship with his child, I am loath to see that come to an end.  It feels wrong to me for a father to have to lose everything just to fight for the right to see his child.  But it feels equally wrong to me for a father to abandon his relationship with his child, no matter the price.

4. Do Black Mothers Raise Daughters, Love Sons?

Because my daughter is more responsible than her brother, I expect her to be responsible all the time. When she’s irresponsible, I get angry because “she should know better!” When my son is irresponsible, I chalk it up to his immaturity. When my daughter is petulant, whiny, tantrum-prone and defiant, I can’t stand it. When my son acts that way – well, he’s still a little boy. My daughter feels and deeply resents the difference.

I don’t know if it rises to the level of an epidemic, but lately I’ve seen a number of little girls – as in, girls under the age of 12 – wearing hair weaves, wigs and lacefronts.

As black women, our hair issues begin at birth. We black mothers study our girls’ hair texture, waiting to see if those fine baby curls are going to “nap up.” Some of us start putting that baby hair into plaits, cornrows and ponytails as soon as our baby girls are able to sit up. If there’s not enough hair to comb, we brush it as best we can and put a headband on our girls’ heads, so everyone will know the baby is a girl and not a boy (strangers still get it confused, though).

2. “No One Can Say Anything To Me…”

Let’s put out the disclaimer from the start: I’m not saying that Meredith Gray Ellen Pompeo does not have the right to speak an opinion on HBCUs or the NAACP. We live in a country of free speech, and I love a healthy debate. But what she did was try to pull our her “race-by-association card” – oh, yes, yes, she did – and THAT is unacceptable.

I’m sorry (actually, I’m not), but when will white people learn that no matter how many black kids, husbands, wives, girlfriends, boyfriends, coworkers, pastors, lovers or neighbors they have that does NOT give them an honorary black card?

When will they learn that their social and familial relationships with black people does NOT automatically remove their prejudices and biases or prove that they don’t have them?

1. Putting A Whooping On Spanking Statistics

I know I am opening up a huge can of worms (or whoop-ass, however you want to see it), but I came across this article while studying for finals last week and finally had a moment to read it today. It is fascinating….ALL parents should read it. Specifically, it shows how spanking studies over the past 40 decades have been skewed toward the researchers’ philosophical bias*, but against actual statistical results: while many researchers are philosophically opposed to spanking, methodologically sound research does not make the case. When meta-analyses of spanking research that meets high methods standards are performed, spanking has not been shown to be any more “harmful” to a child than any other tool of punishment, including time out.

That’s it. To end 2011, love your family, kiss your children, hug your friends. We’ll see you on the other side.

Much Love,

LaToya

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