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HBO’s Confirmation, Silence & Sexual Harassment

mommomvie-confirmation

[Note: I know this movie came out in April. But when I originally planned to publish it, Prince died. *cries purple tears* So you, know, there that went. But yesterday, I read this post on VSB and one of my Facebook friends mentioned that Clarence Thomas probably puts sugar on his grits. Since he seems to be trending this week, I figured there was no time like the present to post this.]

I have no love for Clarence Thomas. He’s Uncle Ruckus with a law degree. He’s also really bad at his really important job. If the racial draft were a real thing, the black delegation would gladly trade him for Gary Owen and the white half of Amber Rose. But the thing that people over 30 really know Uncle Thomas for is the confirmation hearings spurred by Anita Hill’s allegations that Thomas sexually harassed her during the time they worked together. If you’re not familiar you can learn more about all the nasty little details here.

Last night I watched Confirmation starring Kerry Washington (a.k.a. Olivia Pope a.k.a the GOAT of keeping her personal life a secret) and Wendell Pierce (a.k.a. Bunk Moreland a.k.a. sometimes violent Hillary Clinton supporter) on HBO, which tackles that topic head on. I was only about 6 years old when the hearings went down, but I was well informed for that age. I watched the news with my family every night and flipped through the newspaper every morning. But I was a kid, so I wasn’t exactly sure what sexual harassment was or what those hearings meant as a whole. What I remember well is the way Anita Hill was portrayed in the media. By the end of the whole thing, the narrative seemed to suggest she was a liar.

I thought the movie was pretty good. Wendell Pierce breathed a little life into the lethargic sack of potatoes that is Thomas. Washington turned out to be a great choice to play Hill. Joe Biden was very convincingly played by Greg Kinnear, though he wasn’t presented in such a favorable light. It makes me wonder if this movie is the reason he chose not to run for president. But I digress.

What really stuck out to me, which I didn’t know before was that Anita Hill did not want to go public with her accusations. She was subpoenaed and had no choice. By being forced to share her story, the very thing she did not want to deal with happened anyway. She was flat-out dragged in the news. Her testimony was dismissed by a male-dominated Congress that was going to make sure their boy Clarence would be nominated by any means necessary. I hadn’t really given it much thought whether she was actually telling the truth or just a bitter ex-employee trying to take a good black man down. Maybe I should have.

I have been sexually harassed more times than I can count. What I now am able to identify as harassment, I used to view as simple male-female interaction. It’s that common, that omnipresent. For me, it was as natural as breathing air to be judged by my appearance or be minimized because of my gender. And my race. Being a black woman in America is complicated and exhausting. There’s levels to this shit.

Early in my working life, a male superior thought it was appropriate to make questionable and unprofessional comments and insinuate that I could benefit from dating an older man (him). He would tell me how terrible I was at my job, but turn around and let me know how much he appreciated me, sometimes in the same day. He threatened my job if I ever said anything to anyone. He even told me that if I had the balls to tell anyone, no one would ever believe me.

He was probably right. That, my friends, is why women stay silent when they are harassed on the job. I was just an intern, an easy target for that type of manipulation. But Anita-she was and is an accomplished woman. At the time she was a law professor. She had accomplished so much. Her character was pristine and she was respected by her peers. And she was still dismissed.

Speaking out, especially against men with influence and power, often means jeopardizing your career. I haven’t spoken up in instances where I probably should have. Like Ms. Hill, I was fearful of the consequences and fallout. However, I want you to consider this quote and I will do the same if I am faced with this situation again. Zora Neale Hurston once said, “If you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it.”

What I know for sure is that no job is worth the value of your soul.

Mom Life Thoughts

I Tried the Master Cleanse and It Was a Spectacular Fail

mommomvie-lemonade-mastercleanse-graphic

Water. Lemons. Maple syrup. Cayenne pepper.

If you ever needed to lose weight quick, fast and in a hurry, you likely know what that means. For the uninitiated, these four ingredients are needed to make the infamous Master Cleanse lemonade. This diet has been around since 1940 and was created by Stanley Burroughs. It has also been dubbed the Lemonade Diet and also the Beyoncé Diet because Queen Bey herself made it popular again when she used it to lose weight for Dreamgirls.

Photo source: Maple Valley Syrup

Photo source: Maple Valley Syrup

 

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Thoughts

Gone Too Soon

ashley-gammon

“Shiny and sparkly
And splendidly bright
Here one day
Gone one night”

– Michael Jackson, “Goon Too Soon”

I wouldn’t say I was close with Ashley, but we crossed paths now and then. We were friendly. Acquaintances. We hadn’t talked regularly in years, but I remembered her fondly. It seems like just yesterday that we were in college, chatting in class.

She knew I did freelance design and web work and always thought of me when potential clients popped up. She emailed me a little over a month ago and I never responded to her email. I got caught up in the minutiae of my life and I figured I’d get to it eventually. I never did.

I was out with my sister on Saturday and we were getting much needed massages. Feeling relaxed and refreshed, I got dressed and picked up my phone and a friend texted me, “Just heard the news about Ashley Gammon”. I responded, “Wait, what???” But I already knew what that meant. When you get texts like that, you know it’s something tragic.

I can’t pretend to understand the grief her family or close friends are going through. We may not have kept in touch regularly, but Ashley’s death shook me to my core. I can’t stop thinking about it.

30 year olds aren’t supposed to die.

Especially those as beautiful, vibrant and successful as Ashley was. She still had so much life to live.

Sometimes it takes death to remind us that life is a finite gift. Make time for those who are important to you. Make an impact in the time you have, because you never know when this ride will end. Judging from the outpouring of memories and remarks on her Facebook page alone, Ashley did just that.

R.I.P.