Author Archives: crystal

  • 0

Year Four Opening Thoughts – 30 Day Real Black History Challenge

The legacies of Black people in America have often hung in the balance between survival, environment and determination to thrive. This is not new and our circumstances have continued to be entangled in the systemic injustices created by systems of white supremacy, cultural intolerance, fear and power. The struggle continues into the 21st century and there are only small glimpses of success in terms of breaking the system that continues a legacy of disproportionate mass incarceration, police brutality, poverty, joblessness, homelessness, health and educational disparities in this country for Black people. So what now? How long do we fight? What is the impact of a historic lineage of oppression on our people? How do we heal our ancestors and how do we heal our children?

It is my belief that changing the trajectory of Black people’s opportunity to heal and thrive depends largely on the level of conversation, the quality of actions, the amount of awakening and our ability to mobilize for change.

This year’s 30 Day Real Black History Challenge is just that. It is another chance for us to decolonize our minds, our thoughts and our actions. It is another chance for us to focus on changing the trajectory and quality of our share with each other so that we can mobilize one another for the liberation of Black and Brown people in this country and within the world. I do not think any one website or conversation will change the world but each person has the ability to mobilize a movement. Collective accountability can move mountains.

Giving voice and creating space for the revolutionary voices and unspoken histories of our Black peoples gives us a chance to evaluate the future of our communities of color.

The 2016 30-Day Real Black History Challenge will have some more additions to it than previous years. I hope to incorporate some original pieces from other Black community members, some original interviews, and personal experiences. I hope to diversify some of the voices that come out of the challenge this year, and if I am successful that would mean some personal experiences and maybe original pieces from other people.

What can you expect from the challenge this year?

  • 3-5 Posts a day posted on the facebook and twitter accounts.
  • Posts will include research studies, pieces and perspectives from other Black people, articles that provoke thought about the Black experience, reflections of culture and Blackness, empowering photos and articles about the amazingness of my people, music and other arts that exemplify aspects of Black culture, snapshots of history, information and research on figures within Black history…..
  • Many moments of honor and reflection on the Black Panther Party because I have studied their work since my teenage years and it is the 50th Anniversary of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense.
  • Personal experiences of being Black in America, racism, systemic injustice, fears and love of my culture.
  • Lots of commentary and processing about the pieces we are reading collectively.
  • Weekly digests of posts on the website.

Tips for participating in this year’s challenge:

  • The 30 Day RBHC has several ways to get updates and information. It has it’s own twitter and facebook page, as well as it’s own website. You are welcome to participate in discussions on these pages, or on my own facebook pages if you are already connected to them.
  • Come with an open heart, ready to listen, open to participate and be a part of an unfolding dialogue about some of the most challenging pieces of our history and Black legacies.
  • Digests for every week will be posted on the website and circulated on Facebook.
  • Share posts and links to your own social media outlets and host conversations about the challenge.
  • Feel free to message or email links and information to the challenge if you feel it is something that the challenge might want to post.

Welcome to the 4th year of the 30-Day Real Black History Challenge!!!! Now let’s get to work……

  • 1

Week Four of 30 Day Real Black History Challenge 2015

Digest for week four of the 30 day Real Black History Challenge. This week is a little longer than the other ones because it includes two extra days of the challenge…. to make way for the encore. So this week’s digest includes 9 days of really fantastic information, from slavery to some incredible music. Make sure to listen to the song that Jay Cole wrote after Michael Brown’s murder in Ferguson, called “Be Free”. So many powerful moments in this week. So much to digest and think through.

With the South Carolina murders that happened in the AME, the funeral of the Senator Rev. Pinckney’s funeral, the burning of Black churches in the south…. this week captures some of the most recent moments of the trauma of Blackness in the current age, and contrasts that with historical examples of the same.

After this week’s digest… stay tuned for the encore/finale that was a 24 hour timeframe with about 50 links, resources, quotes, images and studies about our history and our present.


June 18th: 

When we deny the reality of racism, we deny the opportunity to change it. When we ignore the damage of racism, we deprive us of the chance to heal it. When we deny the harm of racism, we allow it to stay in place for our children. We all get to choose…..#30DayRBHC

Amazing, Brilliant…. emotional….. REAL.

“I am equal parts sick of your “go back to Africa” as I am “I just don’t see races”. Neither did the poplar tree. We did not build your boats, but we did leave a trail of kins to guide us home. We did not build your prisons… though we did, and we filled them too. We did not ask to be a part of your America, though are we not America? …. her bones brittle and dragging her ripped gown through Oakland. I will not stand your ground… I am sick of calling this recklessness the law.”

“Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.”

― Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed

“All we wanna do is take the chains off. All we wanna do is break the chains off”…… one of the most emotional and profound songs written as a result of the most recent pain of our community. As he says so clearly on his twitter page… Please “STOP FUCKIN KILLING US”.


Very good piece addressing one of the most frustrating and deceptive elements of racist culture… changing the subject and focus of what is happening when it comes to Black people. We see this all the time…. and it is how we get to discussions about “all lives matter” and “black on black crime”. It is a part of the deception and conditioning of how we deal with cognitive dissonance in our culture.

“The politics of respectability are, at their root, the politics of changing the subject—the last resort for those who can not bear the agony of looking their country in the eye. The policy of America has been, for most of its history, white supremacy. The high rates of violence in black neighborhoods do not exist outside of these facts—they evidence them.”#30DayRBHC

In preparation for Juneteenth tomorrow, and in the wake of one of the saddest tragedies to date, those of us who have breath are celebrating that today. Not all of us get to enjoy or live the freedom that we fight for… but Black people are always working to live their life like its “golden”.


Tonight we want to send our prayers and thoughts to those killed and the families hurting in Charleston and everywhere tonight. Racism continues to take away the lives of Black people….. and tonight the people of Charleston need our prayers and thoughts. #30DayRBHC

  • 1

Week Three of 30 Day Real Black History Challenge 2015

Week three of the 30 Day Real Black History Challenge was not as long as some of the others due to my own commencement ceremony and celebration, but there are also some really important things that happened in this week (including the Rachael Dolezal story).  There are some great videos and research information. Enjoy.

June 11th:

Every chance I get to share this video I do. It is one of my all time favorites. I first saw it at a trauma symposium where I attended a session on historical oppression. It took my breath away and still does today.

What happens to those who are left in the wake of mass incarceration and the disproportionate detaining of Black people in our distorted racial caste system. What happens to the children without a father? What happens to those who are searching for answers in a society that has none?

This. This right here.

“Everyone experiences trauma. Whether it’s natural trauma, such as the death of a loved one or a serious illness; interpersonal trauma, such as abuse or sexual violence; or insidious trauma, such as racism and sexism—we can all count ourselves as trauma survivors.

But some of us are more at risk for experiencing trauma than others, and very few are more at risk than Black women. Why? Simply put, oppression and abuse go hand in hand, and given that Black women wield less social and political power compared to other demographics, we’re more likely to experience all types of trauma.

We know by now that Black women suffer disproportionate rates of sexual violence, incarceration, interpersonal violence, and state violence. Black women are more likely to experience poverty, chronic illness, and reproductive and medical violence. We are also more likely to die younger than our white peers. Queer and trans Black women face even higher rates of life-threatening violence and poverty. Black women often must also cope with the high rates of incarceration and state violence experienced by their brothers, sons, and other Black men in their lives. The lingering social and political effects of slavery and Jim Crow segregation also arise in racist and sexist interpersonal interactions, such as microaggressions and abuse.

All of this—from “big T” traumas like sexual violence, to “little T” traumas like the continued vigilance borne of coping with anti-blackness—has real and measurable effects on our physical and emotional well-being. Besides the obvious physiological consequences such as chronic illnesses and shortened life spans, we often experience lasting psychological consequences from the constant stress of merely existing as Black women in a world hostile to our presence.”


“[Educated blacks] Society refuses to consider them genuine Negroes. The Negro is a savage, whereas the student is civilized. “You’re us,” and if anyone thinks you are a Negro he is mistaken, because you merely look like one.” ― Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks

A great historical glance at one of the reasons people should NOT refer to a Black person as “well spoken”. It is the aversively racist tone it takes that perpetuates the stereotype that it is a surprise when a Black person speaks intelligently. It is not a surprise when someone speaks with education, with presence, with purpose, with skill. People should not act like it is.

“This, then, is the great humanistic and historical task of the oppressed: to liberate themselves and their oppressors as well.”

― Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed

A real hard look on the role of allyship and the misguided attempts of allies that really miss the true understanding of what it means to support the people who are oppressed. You cannot be an ally for those you cannot trust.

Introspection is necessary in the struggle. All the time.

“…the fact that certain members of the oppressor class join the oppressed in their struggle for liberation, thus moving from one pole of the contradiction to the other… Theirs is a fundamental role, and has been throughout the history of this struggle. It happens, however, that as they cease to be exploiters or indifferent spectators or simply the heirs of exploitation and move to the side of the exploited, they almost always bring with them the marks of their origin: their prejudices and their deformations, which include a lack of confidence in the people’s ability to think, to want, and to know. Accordingly, these adherents to the people’s cause constantly run the risk of falling into a type of generosity as malefic as that of the oppressors. The generosity of the oppressors is nourished by an unjust order, which must be maintained in order to justify that generosity. Our converts, on the other hand, truly desire to transform the unjust order; but because of their background they believe that they must be the executors of the transformation. They talk about the people, but they do not trust them; and trusting the people is the indispensable precondition for revolutionary change. A real humanist can be identified more by his trust in the people, which engages him in their struggle, than by a thousand actions in their favor without that trust.” ― Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed

Oh my…. this is so my story in so many ways. And I had to deal with the alienation of by skinfolk in middle and high school (and after) because I embraced an alternative style and music choice….. and then religion.#30DayRBHC

“Alternative is not a word I would have ever used to describe myself at any point in life. Alternative is not a word I would have used to describe any Black woman or girl, no matter how closely she aligned with an “alternative” aesthetic. Like most people, I believed that alternative culture was the property of whiteness, so I either hid or denied all my alternative inclinations. I told no one that I loved groups like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Third Eye Blind, or that I fed myself on art house films.

This denial made it difficult for me to see that my attraction to artists such as Kelis and the late Lisa “Lefteye” Lopes lied in the fact that they presented themselves in the same way as many whites in the alternative scene. Black girls simply were not alternative. Being alternative in some way meant being white, so Black women and girls in these scenes were not only seen as embracing whiteness, but also eschewing their blackness.

There are many reasons I finally realized Black girls could indeed be alternative and were in fact catalysts behind many alternative trends and movements. One of them was that I realized a lot of the indicators for alternative lifestyles were taken from Black cultures and the cultures of other people of color: tattoos, piercings, scarification, and other forms of body modification, as well as alternative fashion and music almost always originate from Black and Brown people.”

“On June 18, 1964, black protesters jumped into a whites-only pool at the Monson Motor Lodge in St. Augustine, FL in an effort to combat segregation. The owner of the hotel combated this invasion of the “whites-only” space by people with a darker skin tone by pouring acid into the pool.

Fast Foward to 2015, on Friday, some residents in a Texas town decided that a number of African-American teenagers had no place in a pool in the 75% white neighborhood.

Police were called after white residents started a confrontation with some African-American guests at a pool party at the McKinney Community Pool. Party Organizers said…

“This lady was saying racial slurs to some friends that came to the cookout. She was saying such things as ‘black effer’ and ‘that’s why you live in Section 8 homes,” Tatiana Rhodes, who says she was attacked by two white women, explained. According to Rhodes, the African-American guests at the party were told by one neighbor to “go back to your Section 8 home.”

One police officer demonstrated how difficult it is to be black in America. While Texas copsbasically had a tea party with white bikers who engaged in a gang war that left nine people dead, McKinney Officer Eric Casebolt decided to go “full Rambo” on the crowd of unarmed African-Americans.”
June 12th:

So much this….. so much this! Tired does not begin to explain it.

“Black America is tired. The liminal existence of Ellison’s invisible man; Cornel West’s brilliant meditation on “niggerization” as a state of existential fear, where black and brown people are unwanted, unprotected and unsafe in America; and the genius insights of Richard Wright’s “Native Son” speak to a stalwart resilience in the face of the racial absurdity that is white supremacy and the color line in America (and the world).

Black Americans are the moral conscience of the United States. In her book by the same title, political theorist and legal scholar Lani Guinier described black folks as a type of “miner’s canary” for a democracy that is still very much a work in progress: a country whose origins are in the twin crimes against humanity that were the genocide of First Nations people and the murder and enslavement of millions of blacks held as human chattel, and one that still struggles to perfect a “more perfect union” in the face of a resurgent White Right, a plundering plutocrat class and the terror of neoliberalism and the politics of human disposability.

Black America is strong. But “Black America” is more of a symbol and an idea than it is a place or a fact. Black Americans are not a monolith, the Borg, or a hive mind. They are individuals who have a shared experience of racialization in a society structured around both maintaining and protecting white privilege and white supremacy.” #30DayRBHC

Because one article is not enough when someone appropriates your whole culture and poses as one of you, runs a chapter of one of your historic organizations and then cannot understand a simple question…. “Are you African American?”


June 13th:

I found this particular piece very interesting because of the lobbying I recently did at the State Capital on SB23, the bill to repeal the family maximum grant. As I was doing the research it became increasingly clear how racist and classist the current bill is, and it is still in the law books. It has been the law for 20 years.

It amazes me that people would assume that there are “welfare queens” having children to collect an additional 122.00 a month.#30DayRBHC

If you know me at all, or have followed the 30 Day Real Black History Challenge in 2013 or 2014, you know how I feel about the Black Panthers and their contribution to the history of the Black Liberation struggle for freedom. So it is about timely that I post something from one of my personal inspirations, Co-Founder of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense.

This quote speaks volumes about what we know still happens today! The media controls the images that we have regarding Black people here in America. And as soon as something happens (especially with the police) the media makes sure to blast images the coincide with thugs, criminals and gangstas. And American culture buys it hook, line and sinker every time.

“People called me a hoodlum and a thug. But they didn’t tell you I was a carpenter, an architect, a stand-up comic–even a bartender. And a barbecue cook. But they didn’t tell you that.” – Bobby Seale, co-founder of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense.

June 14th:

“You need to clean that kitchen”… a statement my mom use to say to me when I had naps on the back of my neck. It is an old saying… one I have heard many times from many Black people with roots in the south. But where do phrases like that come from in Black culture? And what is the correlations with nappy hair and kitchens?

I can only think of some immediate associations that would relate to the unruly nature of our kinky hair and the association with labor and acceptability. I can only imagine the correlations with slave times and what was presentable and how “culture” creates folk tales and statements that we pass down to our children…… Dr. Joy DeGruy always says that this is not “culture” but it is trauma. I agree…. and see it as both. Our trauma becoming our cultural expression and connection to our present. How we express ourselves.

The history and story of our hair tells a lot about Black women, our culture and the state of our present here.

What is the damage of mass incarceration on those who are stuck in the racial caste system of America’s New Jim Crow? How easily we dismiss human beings as criminals and think no more about the damage that happens in these institutionalized systems. What happens to someone when they are released after years of existing like animals in a system that sees them as a number.

When we talk about criminality in our country, we cannot stop at the words criminal. We cannot separate out the understanding of intersectionality, oppression, lack of education, poverty, drug addiction, mental illness and racism. And then we think about the systems that exist around mass incarceration and our corrections systems…. the courts…. the biases within our police departments. How do we continue to justify our lack of accountability to justice and fairness when it often stops at ignoring the humanity of those we label as criminal? How do we ignore the trauma created by such systems?

We are beautiful. We are the beginning….. the Black woman is the beginning of all human kind. And so oppressive powers need to always keep us in “line” so we cannot remember our true nature. Our TRUE power.

What would happen if the destructive messages of our society did not exist and instead we were able to know our true histories, beauty, power, purpose and magic. That is something for the masses to be truly scared of.

We are beautiful period. Not for a dark skinned girl, or a light skinned girl, or a black girl, or a big girl or ……. We are Pretty PERIOD! We have all heard this shit far too much.

And we need to be reminded. We need to remember. We need to stop allowing the manipulation of white supremacist culture to condition us to think any differently about ourselves or one another.
#Pretty365, #Prettyperiod,#30DayRBHC

And then there is this…. and oldie but goodie. I remember when this came out and I remember how shocked, offended and hurt I was. #30DayRBHC

And then we see bull like this that tries to manipulate and use us against each other. Attempting to use the trauma and words of other Black women to push the agenda of capitalism and consumerism and keep us trapped in ideals of Eurocentric beauty standards that never applied to us. We are not white women, we will never be white women.

Like with any attempt to break the status quo, there are challenges and moments of insecurity that come with that. But to attempt to minimize the complexity of that and simplify that to what this “study” does… so they can sell more products… is unethical and criminal.

“According to research by cosmetic company Bountiful Hair, women with natural hair have lower self-esteem than women with treated hair.

According to, natural hair is “hair whose texture hasn’t been altered by chemical straighteners, including relaxers and texturizers.”

The most common natural hairstyle is an afro, which many black women consider an undesirable look. The hair is many times matted and coarse, and is not considered appropriate for a business environment. Many employers consider the look untidy, and ban individuals from wearing this style.

According to the study by Bountiful Hair, natural hair being viewed as a messy look is causing many women, who wear their hair in that manner, to feel inadequate and less desirable as their counterparts. Those feelings of inadequacy causes women with natural hair to lash out at women with treated or straightened hair, and in turn lowers their self-esteem.

Of the 3,000 women who participated in the study, 2,500 said they did not feel as pretty as women with straightened hair. Pilar Ciara Jones, who says she participated in the study, stated, “some days I just don’t know what to do with these naps — and on those days I just avoid the mirror altogether.”

What is the impact of our political and historical climate on Black women? This is something often ignored or glanced over since much of our culture focuses on Black men. (which is not always good either).

“African American women are a diverse group with respect to skin tone, social
class, mental health concerns, and coping mechanisms. However, African American
women share a common history, surviving in a country in which social and governmental policies have supported and perpetuated discrimination, sexual and economic exploitation, and relative powerlessness for women of African descent. The 1960s was one decade that produced marked social changes relevant to African American women.
Since the 1960s African American women have achieved some educational and
economic gains, have navigated the often difficult and uncharted terrain of integration, and have encountered additional stress from mobility and marginalization (Gibbs & Fuery, 1994). As Gibbs and Fuery (1994) note, comprehension of African American women’s mental health issues is complicated as it is unclear to researchers and clinicians how much of African American women’s mental health concerns are attributable to sexism, racism, or the dynamic interaction of the two.
Due to the intersection of sexism and racism, negative images of African American women have been present in society throughout the history of this country 6 (Gibbs & Fuery, 1994). Historically, negative beliefs regarding their inferiority have been the basis of policies that have limited African American women’s chances for
educational, employment and residential upward mobility (Williams & Williams-Morris, 2000). Stereotypes about African American women have been transmitted via mass media and centuries of literature, and subsequently reinforced through social policies (Gibbs & Fuery, 1994).”

Sociocultural, sociohistorical, and sociopolitical effects on African American women ‘s sense of self

This piece is incredibly relevant and right on point. The correlations between our systems of mass incarceration, racial caste systems, and mass incarceration in the participation of our economy cannot be ignored. And should not.

One of the largest issues with our attempts to change the systemic and institutionalized racism in this country often fall a bit short of diving into the ways that racism continues to benefit this country and certain people within in. How has America benefitted from racism and the continued systems of racism that we feed everyday? Those are some hard pills to swallow…. why?

Because Capitalism.
“Scholars and activists have plunged into an examination of the historical origins of racialized slavery as a coercive labor form and social system in an attempt to explain the huge increase in mass incarceration in the U.S. since the end of World War II. Drawing these links has been important in explaining the relationship between racism and criminalization after emancipation, and in connecting the rise of industrial and mechanized labor to the destructive effects of deindustrialization and globalization. The point of retracing this history is not to argue that prisons have been a direct outgrowth of slavery, but to interrogate the persistent connections between racism and the global economy. Mass imprisonment on the level seen in the U.S. in the 20th century occupies a phase along the spectrum of unfree labor related to, yet distinct from, chattel slavery. As many scholars of the punishment industry have shown, regardless of the labor prisoners do to service the larger economy (either private or public), prisons increasingly function in the U.S. economy as answers to the devastation unleashed by the dual forces of Reaganomics and the globalization of capital (Parenti, 1999; Gilmore, 1997; Manning, 1983). The immediate post-emancipation period is a key place to start in outlining the investment of the U.S. state in this trade in humanity….
June 15th:

So this comes out….. that she sued Howard for “reverse racism” when she claimed being white. The plot continues to thicken. And this just SMASHES the idea of tranracial with Rachel. Smashes it to pieces.


“Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are

presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new
evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is
extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it
is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize,
ignore and even deny anything that doesn’t fit in with the core belief.”
― Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks

Confused at the Black hair stuff? Black hair run through… 101 stuff. Let’s demystify the confusion around Black women and their natural hair.#30DayRBHC

“What’s crucial to understand, as Baltimore residents take to the streets in long-simmering frustration, is that their general grievances are valid regardless of how this case plays out. For as in Ferguson, where residents suffered through years of misconduct so egregious that most Americans could scarcely conceive of what was going on, the people of Baltimore are policed by an entity that perpetrates stunning abuses. The difference is that this time we needn’t wait for a DOJ report to tell us so. Harrowing evidence has been presented. Yet America hasn’t looked.

I include myself.

Despite actively reading and commenting on police misconduct for many years, I was unaware until yesterday that the Baltimore Sun published a searing 2014 article documenting recent abuses that are national scandals in their own rights.

A grandmother’s bones were broken. A pregnant woman was violently thrown to the ground. Millions of dollars were paid out to numerous victims of police brutality.

And almost none of us noticed!

So I join all who say that protests in Baltimore should remain peaceful, and I will continue to withhold judgment about Gray’s death until more facts are known.

But I also insist that Baltimore protests are appropriate regardless of what happened to Freddie Gray, as is more federal scrutiny and intervention. Although much was rightly made of Ferguson’s racially unrepresentative local leadership, the presence of a black mayor and a diverse city council has not solved Baltimore’s police problem, partly because the DOJ responded to revelations of epidemic brutality with less than the full-scale civil rights probe that some residents requested and because Maryland pols have thwarted reform bills urged by city leaders.

There are so many good reasons for locals to be outraged.”

Brilliant discussion among some educated and wonderful Black women about the politics and relevance of the Black woman’s hair. Incredible dialog about what our hair communicates and how our hair has often been a reflection of what was right… or wrong…. in our greater culture. I find it great… discussing the complexity of it all.

Here is part 2 of the incredible discussion of the Politics of Black Hair….. Melissa Harris Perry is dynamic and fantastic for always providing a platform for such complex discussions…..#30DayRBHC

June 16th: 

Because we forget too often what we are. Because we struggle in a society that continues to condition us to believe we are less than, inferior, not as gifted, not as capable…. and yet we are royal beyond our understanding much of the time.

Fantastic rewrite of a song by a gifted artist who makes sure to put the one two punch inside of the lyrics…. so listen closely. #30DayRBHC

Fantastic short video done about Black culture, appropriation and the complexity of that by the actress from the Hunger Games. Great, clear points about one of the most challenging topics to dissect.#30DayRBHC

There are lines of history documenting the abuse and dismissal of Black children at the hands of systemic and individual racism. We know that there were even laws in place so that a white person would not suffer legal issues if a slave was killed by a white person during “correction”. Dr. Joy Degruy talks about how this was largely put in place because of white women killing the black children during these discipline moments.

The humanity of our children has always been questioned by the overculture of our society, conditioning people to bypass the discomfort of cognitive dissonance by disregarding the worth of our Black children. That has not stopped today. It is a historical issue we continue to face.

This is a powerful piece. I wanted to post this about Dolezal because so many people are confused right now about why this is as harmful and problematic as it is. And the oversimplification that is happening about the black existence in America is the point I want to highlight. I could care less about Rachel Dolezal, but I do care that she not perpetuate the divisive nature of racism, while those who do NOT understand the complexities of this all come to her rescue. Instead I hope it is used as a means to understand some critical things that are missing in the psyche of average American thought.

“If Rachel Dolezal really, truly cared about the black community, then she would have known (especially as a professor of African-American studies) how inappropriate it is as a white woman to try to speak for black people. She would have known that Blackness is more than skin-deep. She would have stayed in her Whiteness and done the hard and necessary work that white allies need to do. She would have used her privilege to make changes in the white community. She would have worked to dismantle the system of privilege that apparently had made Whiteness so unattractive to her.

She knows that if her Blackness gets too difficult, she can shed it as easily as she can flat-iron her hair.

But instead she fled. And in fleeing into Blackness and claiming it for her own, she did what so many defenders of white supremacy have done — she simplified Blackness to skin tone and hair texture. She divorced the best of black culture from the struggle that it was born from. She claimed the community, the platform, the music, the clothing, the hairstyle — all without a minute of the fear, oppression and discrimination that black Americans have faced for centuries, and still face to this day.”#30DayRBHC

Powerful, powerful talk about the history of the public displays of violence against Black men and how we are witnessing this sameness now. She talks about the “ferguson inside of us”. What are we going to do about it? How do we look within and be willing to change ourselves? How do we keep ourselves accountable for the images we uphold about young black men, that contribute to the continued killings happening?

Are we ready to look at the painful truths and the things that we hold inside that perpetuate these horrors? This is hard work. And those who are unwilling to do it are helping to hold the gun……. Those who are unwilling to explore their own biases and racist issues are literally killing us, doesn’t matter if they are holding the gun.#30DayRBHC

June 17th:

Fantastic book list for Black children to read…… they need stuff to read that helps them see themselves.#30DayRBHC

A well done video discussion the history of our “Hair” story.

“When, long ago, the gods created Earth

In Jove’s fair image Man was shaped at birth.
The beasts for lesser parts were next designed;
Yet were they too remote from humankind.
To fill the gap, and join the rest to Man,
Tåh’Olympian host conceiv’d a clever plan.
A beast they wrought, in semi-human figure,
Filled it with vice, and called the thing a Nigger.”
–H.P. Lovecraft, On the Creation of Niggers (1912)

So POWERFUL that I cried. I cried real tears of sadness, and pain, and historical memories, and fears, and reality when I listened to this poem. You see, so many people do not understand. White privilege in this country has divided so many from their experiences and the very empathy of ours. White privilege often confuses Black people as much as it confuses and cushions the white experience.

There is NO way to explain what this incredibly gifted woman, the poet Crystal Valentine, gave to us at the finals of the 2015 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational. Power beyond explanation.

A MUST listen…. with your ears and your heart. One of the treasures that rocked my 30 Day Real Black History world in 2015.

“Black privilege is being so unique that even God will not look like you…. Black privilege is still being the first in line to meet him….. Black privilege is having to have the same sense of humor as Jesus…. Remember how he smiled on the cross, the same way that Malcolm X laughed at his bullet… and there I go again, asserting my Black privilege using a dead man’s name without his permission…Black privilege is a myth, is a joke, is a punchline, is a time a teacher asks a little boy what he wanted to be when he grew up and he said alive.”

“Black privilege is me having already memorized my nephew’s eulogy, my brother’s eulogy, my father’s eulogy, my unconceived child’s eulogy,” she recited. “Black privilege is me thinking my sister’s name is safe from that list.”


  • 0

Grief: A Working of Love

fist-681847_1920I have not written any blessings or workings this year for the 30 Day Real Black History Challenge yet, and I am already nearing the end. (Thank goodness for encores). I have come to understand that my own blockage in doing this has to do with the intense amount of grief I am holding right now, for the loss of lives that continue to happen to Black people. It is hard to think of magic when death, sadness and hopelessness continues to circle around.

I then started to think about the power in the ability to speak to grief. Often times naming what is in the space helps us to heal. Sometimes we have to put a name to what we are experiencing so that we can fully bring it into the space.

So I offer this piece that I wrote, a short blessing or prayer that can be said as a part of a ritual or a simple energy and candle lighting working. With focused and consistent love and support directed at the pain, grieving and healing of the families affected and the grieving within our communities, we can support more healing and change.

There are so many reasons for us not to ignore the significance of this moment in time, the lives that have been lost and the need for us to push change into manifestation. We need healing, our ancestors need healing, our communities need to healing, our children need healing. Maybe our collective intersection of prayers, magic, work, rituals and love can manifest a road that actually leads to some justice, equity and protection for Black people (and all marginalized peoples) in this country.
candle pic

Loss of life leave a space that goes unfilled

Stories that are no longer told,

Yet in our grief we celebrate your life,

We speak of your stories, and call out your names.

Cynthia Marie Graham Hurd

Susie Jackson

Ethel Lee Lance

Depayne Middleton-Doctor

Clementa C. Pinckney

Tywanza Sanders

Daniel Simmons

Sharonda Coleman-Singleton

Myra Thompson

We give thanks for your place in our world and for the contributions that you didn’t even know you would make.

As we send comfort and love to your loved ones

We send remembrance and celebrate your lives.

We light a candle for your healing and transition

For your family who must heal in your absence

And for a nation who continues to grapple with the meaning of your lives, and your deaths.

Be at peace,

Rest in love,

Transition within faith,

Rise in Power

  • 1

The Rage of the Voiceless

It is no wonder why we rage.

We speak to a crowd that refuses to hear.

We sing to an audience that cannot dance.

We cry in a society that cannot relate with our tears.

We run in the marathon that has no ending… and no beginning.

We are the voiceless.

It is no wonder why we rage.

We are the keepers of sorrow for the last 400 years.

We are the grieving mothers without graves.

We are the forgotten bodies lifeless under the sea.

Erased out of the history books with society’s whiteout

Silenced by the muzzle of the privileged hand.

We are the voiceless.

It is no wonder why we rage

We are challenger;…tired of waiting for our turn to come up when the line still doesn’t move.

We are the hungry;… empty tummies growling from the lack of nourishment that injustice leaves behind.

We are the visionaries; … holding onto a vision of equity that we have never experienced or seen.

We are the faithful;… Continuing to walk in the darkness while anticipating that a change is gonna come.

We are the gifted;…. crafting life out of broken pieces and the scraps left behind.

We are still powerful.

It is no wonder why we survive….

-© Crystal Blanton 2015

Prayers work with Princess Wangui

Prayers work with Princess Wangui

  • 2

Week Two of 30 Day Real Black History Challenge 2015

Week two post for the 30 Day Real Black History Challenge are diverse, deep, and intense. From a few jokes to one of the most challenging Ted talk about “How to Raise A Black Son in America”, this week made me laugh and made me cry. The power of the experiences we are exploring give such depth to what many people dismiss as normal life.

*A special note. I have been trying to find the best way to transfer the posts from facebook to here. About midway through the posts for this week I changed methods and it would be too challenging to go back. So please forgive the switch but it is much easier to do, and therefore faster to get back out in digest format for later review. Thank you!


JUNE 4th

White Women’s Workout (could not embed, please click link to watch)Speaking of stereotypes, misconceptions and Black men (specifically)….. Things often feel so overwhelming that one has to laugh. And this video always makes me laugh. It is one of those horrible and yet funny videos that speak on a reality and truth that is terrible…. and yet do it with humor to help others reflect on it.

sigh…. ‪#‎30DayRBHC‬


Forcing Black Men Out of Society“An analysis in The Times — “1.5 Million Missing Black Men” — showed that more than one in every six black men in the 24-to-54 age group has disappeared from civic life, mainly because they died young or are locked away in prison. This means that there are only 83 black men living outside of jail for every 100 black women — in striking contrast to the white population, where men and women are about equal in numbers.

This astounding shortfall in black men translates into lower marriage rates, more out-of-wedlock births, a greater risk of poverty for families and, by extension, less stable communities. The missing men should be a source of concern to political leaders and policy makers everywhere.

While the 1.5 million number is startling, it actually understates the severity of the crisis that has befallen African-American men since the collapse of the manufacturing and industrial centers, which was quickly followed by the “war on drugs” and mass imprisonment, which drove up the national prison population more than sevenfold beginning in the 1970s.

In addition to the “missing,” millions more are shut out of society, or are functionally missing, because of the shrinking labor market for low-skilled workers, racial discrimination or sanctions that prevent millions who have criminal convictions from getting all kinds of jobs. At the same time, the surge in imprisonment has further stigmatized blackness itself, so that black men and boys who have never been near a jail now have to fight the presumption of criminality in many aspects of day-to-day life — in encounters with police, in schools, on the streets and on the job.

The data on missing African-American men is not particularly new. Every census for the last 50 years has shown the phenomenon.”



Racial Disparities in Incarceration:African Americans now constitute nearly 1 million of the total 2.3 million incarcerated population

African Americans are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of whites

Together, African American and Hispanics comprised 58% of all prisoners in 2008, even though African Americans and Hispanics make up approximately one quarter of the US population

According to Unlocking America, if African American and Hispanics were incarcerated at the same rates of whites, today’s prison and jail populations would decline by approximately 50%

One in six black men had been incarcerated as of 2001. If current trends continue, one in three black males born today can expect to spend time in prison during his lifetime

1 in 100 African American women are in prison

Nationwide, African-Americans represent 26% of juvenile arrests, 44% of youth who are detained, 46% of the youth who are judicially waived to criminal court, and 58% of the youth admitted to state prisons (Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice).
Drug Sentencing Disparities:

About 14 million Whites and 2.6 million African Americans report using an illicit drug

5 times as many Whites are using drugs as African Americans, yet African Americans are sent to prison for drug offenses at 10 times the rate of Whites

African Americans represent 12% of the total population of drug users, but 38% of those arrested for drug offenses, and 59% of those in state prison for a drug offense.

African Americans serve virtually as much time in prison for a drug offense (58.7 months) as whites do for a violent offense (61.7 months). (Sentencing Project)
Contributing Factors:

Inner city crime prompted by social and economic isolation

Crime/drug arrest rates: African Americans represent 12% of monthly drug users, but comprise 32% of persons arrested for drug possession

“Get tough on crime” and “war on drugs” policies

Mandatory minimum sentencing, especially disparities in sentencing for crack and powder…


More Than Cries For Freedom, Negro Spirituals Were Coded Messages For…The survival skills of Black people throughout time have been very strong and incredible, even in times of slavery and Jim Crow. Songs became messages to those around them.

“n song, lyrics about the Exodus were a metaphor for freedom from slavery. Songs like “Steal Away (to Jesus)”, or “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” raised unexpectedly in a dusty field, or sung softly in the dark of night, signaled that the coast was clear and the time to escape had come. The River Jordan became the Ohio River, or the Mississippi, or another body of water that had to be crossed on the journey to freedom. “Wade in the Water” contained explicit instructions to fugitive slaves on how to avoid capture and the route to take to successfully make their way to freedom. Leaving dry land and taking to the water was a common strategy to throw pursuing bloodhounds off one’s trail. “The Gospel Train”, and “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” all contained veiled references to the Underground Railroad, and “Follow the Drinking Gourd” contained a coded map to the Underground Railroad. The title itself was an Africanized reference to the Big Dipper, which pointed the way to the North Star and freedom.”



The first time I heard this little song was in high school. A rendition of this was sung in a documentary we watched in february, except the lyrics said “Run slave run, your master’s coming… run slave run, you better get away”. I laughed at the time because I thought it was so absurd, but it has stuck with me for over 20 years. Stuck with me in a hauntingly horrific way.‪#‎30DaysRBHC‬

June 5th

Why Race Conversations are like Crappy Auto-tune SongsJay Smooth makes such a great point here…… We keep repeating the same mistakes. Maybe they are not mistakes at all actually. It begins to make you wonder….



. “The promise of America is that those who play by the rules, who observe the norms of the “middle class,” will be treated as such. But this injunction is only half-enforced when it comes to black people, in large part because we were never meant to be part of the American story.” — Ta-Nehisi Coates‪#‎30DayRBHC‬


CHAPTER 1 – HIGH SCHOOLThe impact of racism (overt, covert, microaggressive and systemic) are huge on those Black kids watching systems of injustice happen right in front of them. This video is POWERFUL!! And part of the power that this video exudes comes from the fact that it is from the words and thoughts of Black boys. They are speaking for themselves…. telling us what it feels like to experience what they do every day. How this is normalized in their lives…. and they have to grapple with these injustices.. these judgements…..

The lack of empathy given to Black people, especially to Black boys, is astounding. They speak the truth in such a genuine, authentic and REAL way that it is hard not to hear them.

They hit respectability politics, colorism, racism in the classrooms, codeswitching….. amazing. I will post the other chapters of these videos as well as we move forward.



Maya Angelou – Because of Them, We Can | @AmFam®This year’s theme speaks on perseverance, understanding and healing. I want to focus a moment on perseverance. We are a beautiful people. We are strong, we are wise, we are resilient, we are powerful and we don’t stop. The pain of our history have added to an already powerful and incredible core of brilliance…..

I saw this video and thought….

“THAT!!! That right there….”. To see these beautiful little ladies, in all their natural hair brilliance, speaking the words of our great Maya Angelou (who we lost one year ago)… reminds us all that we cannot be stopped. We have always been incredible, and we still are….



Artist’s Nude Self-Portraits Explore Former Sites Of Slavery Throughout…There is something so beautiful and intriguing to me about researching and experiencing the places that held and sold our peoples. I have never been on the sites where slaves were sold. And in these photos, the simple white shoes on the Black queen, standing in the places of forgotten history…… it is an amazing contrast of beauty and horror together.



TX teachers mock special ed students with ‘ghetto awards’ – insist they…The horrific and enmeshed racism in this is blatant. And yet even without the racist addition it would be horrible. I don’t care WHAT kid is being picked out for this, it is wrong. And the added bonus of racism just adds salt to the wound.

No excuses… termination is the only answer.



. “Race holds a central place in our society’s deepest and most persistent patterns of social inequities, exclusion and divisions. Racial disparities, discrimination and segregation are widespread and continue to undermine our nation’s social fabric. Without equity, economic stratification and social instability will continue to increase and far too many families and children will continue to lag behind. Without inclusion, many are marginalized economically, politically and culturally, facing bias and barriers when seeking basic opportunities for security and advancement. Race continues to play a defining role in one’s life trajectory and outcomes.A complex system of racial bias and inequities is at play, deeply rooted in our country’s history, culture and institutions. This system of racialization — which routinely confers advantage and disadvantage based on skin color and other characteristics — must be clearly understood, directly challenged and fundamentally transformed. If our nation is to live up to its democratic ideals — that all people are created equal and treated fairly — then racial equity and inclusion must be at the forefront of how we shape our institutions, policies and culture. “ — Annie E. Casey Foundation‪#‎30DayRBHC‬

JUNE 6th

Unleash the Hounds! (Link Roundup) | The Wild HuntFor the first time (that I recall) the #30 Day Real Black History Channel got a shout out!! The Wild Hunt included us in the round up for last week. Very exciting!!



Fred_Hampton“You have to understand that people have to pay the price for peace. You dare to struggle, you dare to win. If you dare not struggle, then goddammit you don’t deserve to win.” – Fred Hampton


“I am…. a revolutionary!!!” The words of a true fighter for justice and liberation. Killed before he could see his child born. Killed at the hands of our government and law enforcement, in his bed while he slept with his pregnant wife. Killed because of the fear he instilled in White america by empowering Black people.‪#‎30DayRBHC‬


Moment of Reflection #1: When we think about the uprising that is happening all over the world, and especially in America today… the fight for liberation for Black people…. we are looking at a point in time where we are (once again) pushing beyond the false walls of the American dream and demanding equality and equity. We are saying… we will not stop until we too have the ability to thrive in this country. We are stepping back in time and pulling from the wisdom and fight of our ancestors that have fought this fight before us.And so those of you who have followed this challenge before know that I am, and will continue to, highlight some of the work of Black people fighting for liberation in our past that are often dismissed, glossed over, or discredited through lies and bigotry. We get very comfortable in this country when looking at Black history and discussing Martin Luther King Jr, and Rosa Parks. But we still buck at the idea of Huey P. Newton, George Jackson, Fred Hampton, Malcolm X, Mumia Abu Jamal, MOVE, and others that we are conditioned to see as divisive and “bad”.Some of the most powerful liberation and freedom fighters did so by sacrificing their reputations to the overculture and standing strong in opposition to the status quo. And so I continue to uplift information about some of the most demonized of our Black liberation ancestors and elders…. and even more so today since we are once again embarking on a journey that continues to do this to our freedom fighters today.

The media and government smear campaign has not changed.



Colorlines does another incredible segment giving voice to the struggle of Black people, this time in the area of employment. Guest appearance from Michelle Alexander, and lots of personal information from the voices of those who are suffering under the weight of injustice and inequality today.‪#‎30DayRBHC‬

JUNE 7th

“It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.” – Assata Shakur

McKinney Pool Party Teen InterviewThe 19 year old that was hit by the woman at the party speaks… and so does her other on this video. Why do I think this is so relevant? It isn’t just the cop being abusive to these young black kids, or the fact that it was a pool party gone wrong…. it is the amount of horror that comes up when kids cannot go anywhere without the threat of hearing racist stuff being said to them. That parents have to worry about people calling their children Black Bitches and telling them to go back to their section 8 housing. It is for those reasons that I think this situation relevant.

That people can put up signs thanking the police for “protecting them” from 14 year old children, a 19 year old sister and a mother. Horrible behavior is excused for reasons that are incomprehensible against ANY human being…. but because of racial caste systems here in America it is automatically believed that the kids must have been thugs and violent… in their two piece swim suits and shorts…. and that the white people at the party had the right to punch a 19 year old sister and tell children they should go back to where they came from. And that doesn’t even touch the behavior of the cop.

What does it say to these children and this community that kids can be verbally attacked, and then physically attacked by a bunch of adults and the cops come in and then attack them and treat them as criminals? The message is loud and clear.


Kalief Browder

Kalief Browder

Put in Rikers at 16 years old and left there with no trial, beaten and assaulted…. Commits suicide after released. How do these injustices continue to happen underneath the nose of America?


Teen Speaks Out About What Happened When Cops Broke Up A Texas Pool PartyFuck…… And check out the 23 second video of the woman attacking the teen. Sigh… No updates so far on if the older white woman was arrested for assault.
“When Miles Jai Thomas arrived at a party at the Craig Ranch North Community Pool in McKinney, Texas, on Friday night, the pool was open to everyone — until a security guard showed up and removed black partygoers from the area.
“Then he started making up rules to keep us out,” Thomas, 15, told The Huffington Post.
A white woman at the pool started making racist comments, Thomas said, such as telling black teens at the party to get used to the bars outside the pool because that’s all they were going to see.
Grace Stone, 14, who is white, told BuzzFeed News that she and friends objected to an adult woman making racist comments to other teens at the party and that the woman turned violent.

This is when, according to Thomas, a 19-year-old black woman told the belligerent white woman to stop fighting with the teenagers. The white woman called the black woman a “young bitch,” then walked up to her. After the young woman said her age out loud, the older woman punched her in the face. Another unidentified white woman jumped in as well before Thomas, who was recording the incident, and his friends went to break it up.
It was after this incident that the cops showed up and “started cursing and yelling at us,” Thomas said. He described an officer manhandling a young girl, as shown in this video embedded above.
“So a cop grabbed her arm and flipped her to the ground after she and him were arguing about him cursing at us,” Thomas said.
When two teens went toward the cop to help the girl, they were accused of sneaking up on the cop to attack.
“So a cop yelled ‘get those motherfuckers’ and they chased [us] with guns out. That’s why in the video I started running,” Thomas said.
“I was scared because all I could think was, ‘Don’t shoot me,'” he said.”



99-Year-Old Woman Who Graduated From College of the Canyons: ‘This Is My…Screenshot 2015-06-23 22.02.05

Brought tears to my eyes. How amazing is she!! 99 years old!!
““I accomplished what I wanted to do, and this is my dream come true,” she said after the ceremony.
Her grandchildren, who were working on masters’ degrees, inspired her, Daniels said.
Her son said she persevered through her education despite suffering a couple of strokes and losing her driver’s license.
Relatives shed tears of pride after the graduation ceremony where Daniels was awarded an associate’s degree in social sciences.
College officials said Daniels struggled sometimes — especially with computer literacy — at a campus where most students are 18 to 24 years old.
But she just worked harder, according to the college. Twice a week before class, she studied, did her homework and worked with tutors at the college’s tutoring center.
She was touted as “one of the most dedicated and hardworking students” in the statistics class, the college said in a news release.
“Doreetha is resilient. She demonstrates grit,” said counselor Liz Shaker. “She inspires students.”
Asked for advice to younger generations, Daniels said: “Don’t give up. Do it. Don’t let anybody discourage you. Say that, ‘I’m going to do it,’ and do it for yourself.”



. Bronx 6th Grader Wows NYC Poetry SceneWe are a magical people, I just need to keep saying that. And this young woman shows us just how much this is true. When we talk about perseverance we can see the incredible talent, beauty and passion… despite the challenges, histories and oppressions. This young girl reminds us that we are indeed magical and we are indeed powerful.

She is beautiful. She is a 12 year old prodigy of poetry, wise beyond her years and epic in her whisper. She is channeling the spirit of the Gods through her voice. Amazing she is.



Makes me sick…. And the message that this gives to Black people everywhere, after watching a blatant attack on our children is….. tragic.#30DayRBHC

And so let’s look at a little bit of what Nina Simone was talking about in Mississippi Goddamn.Cops called on a pool party in Texas…. it is reported that there were too many Black kids there, not sure what the reasoning was for the cops being called by the neighbors. The kids are not hostile, did not have any weapons and are in swimsuits and appropriate pool party attire. They are teens.
The cops tackle them, cuff them, attack them…. for speaking, for being there, and even for running when they got scared. The cop attacks a teen girl in a two peace bathing suit, who was doing nothing violent…. drags her to the ground and then another cop basically sits on her for some time. No parents present to help the kids…. they kept screaming at their friends and family members to call their parents.
“Why don’t you see it? Why don’t you feel it? I don’t know!!! I don’t know!!!”




And with that… let’s listen to a little Nina…… When I hear this song (and it is one of my favorites) I always hear the message coming through. I hear her speaking about the pain and devastation caused to our people, that we are tired of it, and that we are watching all the other people do nothing.
And then I think of what is happening right now. I think about the uprising, the Black Lives Matter movement, the demands for justice that fall on silent ears and go without support from some people in our communities. But “everybody knows about Mississippi Goddamn!”. Everyone knows what is happening…. everyone can turn on their television and see the fight of my skinfolk and yet we do what?
“Why don’t you see it? Why don’t you feel it? I don’t know!! I don’t know!!! You don’t have to live next to me… just give me my equality….”


Nina Simone Was Asked If She’s Inspired by Anger; Her Answer Is…The incredible Nina Simone speaking on her music as a “political weapon”. And when asked if she sings from anger, she says no….. that she sings from intelligence. Tell em Nina!!

June 8th

The week one digest of posts is being put together now and will be available for those who want to go back and find some of the links and videos that have been referenced. Stay tuned!! ‪#‎30DayRBHC‬


Accused of Stealing a Backpack, High School Student Jailed for Nearly…Did I mention it was a backpack he supposedly stole???? Three years in Rikers with no trial at 16 years old for a backpack….. ‪#‎hisnamewasKaliefBrowder‬, ‪#‎30DayRBHC‬,‪#‎justiceforkalief‬, ‪#‎blacklivesmatter‬


Watch: Explosive Footage from Inside Rikers Jail Shows Guard Beating…I posted last night about Kalief, the young man who was arrested at 16 years old and sat in Rikers for three years with no trial (two of which were in solitary confinement) and killed himself upon release. Here is a segment on Democracy now that shows some footage of him being beat in prison, and some interview time with him prior to his suicide.

May he finally find peace after the destruction of his life by the hands of racism and institutionalized injustice.‪#‎30DayRBHC‬


Music has always been the language of the oppressed, reminding us to have faith, to persevere, to stand up and to fight….. ‪#‎30DayRBHC‬


SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) has a pretty great handout on historical trauma and some facts on the impacts to different ethnic groups. Great resource and some good articles to use for reference.It identifies three categories that historical trauma can manifest itself within; historical unresolved grief, disenfranchised grief and internalized oppression. I would say that Black people have manifested the results of historical oppression in all three areas. Sounds like a makings of a good literature review.



Sexual Violence in the Lives of African American Women: Risk, Response,…

A hard and harsh read… but has lots of good information and context about the relationship between black women and the transgenerational trauma of rape. #30DayRBHC

:Historians estimate that at least 58% of all enslaved women between the ages of 15 and 30 had been sexually assaulted by White men (Hine, 1989).

When the importation of Africans was banned in 1808, the systematic sexual exploitation of Black women was used to produce a perpetual labor force. Some slaveholders paired healthy slaves, a practice known as “slave breeding,” with the goal of producing children who were suitable for heavy labor. Considered chattel property, similar to other farm animals, Black women’s children could be sold to other slaveholders, which separated families and created unimaginable grief (for an audio description of slave breeding see Berlin, Miller, & Favreau, 1998).

The Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 did not liberate African American women from sexual terrorism. For instance, White vigilante groups, such as the Ku Klux Klan, whipped African Americans, destroyed their property, and savagely gang raped Black women (Sommerville, 2005). Sexual harassment also frequently occurred in the workplace. Well into the twentieth century, Black women were employed primarily as servants and domestic workers. Desperate to support their families, African American women were coerced into providing sexual favors to their employers (Hine, 1989).

Rape laws did not provide equal protection for all women. 3 In fact, during the 1800s some rape laws were race-specific. For example, an 1867 Kentucky law defined a rapist as one who “unlawfully and carnally know any white woman, against her will or consent” (Sommerville, 2004, p. 148). Lynching, castration, and incarceration were possible penalties for Black men who were accused or convicted of raping a White woman. In contrast, White men faced no legal sanctions for sexually assaulting Black women. Nor did the criminal legal system…


“The function, the very serious function of racism is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work. It keeps you explaining, over and over again, your reason for being. Somebody says you have no language and you spend twenty years proving that you do. Somebody says your head isn’t shaped properly so you have scientists working on the fact that it is. Somebody says you have no art, so you dredge that up. Somebody says you have no kingdoms, so you dredge that up. None of this is necessary. There will always be one more thing.” Toni Morrison

June 9th  

We are still trying to escape……

There are times during my research and work on the 30 Day Real Black History Challenge when it feels really heavy on my spirit. The weight of the context of our past and present. Watching things happening today and knowing not much has changed…. wondering why some people ignore what is happening right in front of us.

Tonight is one of those such times. Tomorrows posts are already lined up and ready to go….. and for now I am gonna go rest to face it again tomorrow. #30DayRBHC


“Caucasians experience depression more often, but African American and Caribbean women experience greater severity and persistence.

The National Survey of American Life: a study of racial, ethnic and cultural influences on mental disorders and mental health, provided evidence of communities holding on to long legacies of secrets, lies and shame originating from slavery. Avoiding emotions was a survival technique which has now become a cultural habit……

Societal issues also factor into a higher percentage of African American women experiencing depression. Being both female and African American can make a person more vulnerable to negative attitudes and behavior. This gender crisis is important in pinpointing depression among the African American population. To serve others in the community, family and others often leaves these women unable to relax or sleep.

Body image also affects women of color, creating a cascade of events: Others may believe the stereotype portrayed by the media of African Americans as curvaceous and sensual. However, for every curvaceous celebrity there are millions of women who do not match this body profile. For some, food then acts as a comfort, serves as protection and results in overeating and sometimes, eating disorders. ”

We need to HEAR the stories of these women. We need to understand the roles we are conditioned to play often acts as a mask for a whole group of people trying to codeswitch in a society that devalues the at every turn. This is my story… it was my mother’s story…. it is a lot of black women’s stories. #30DayRBHC

“The reality is, however, that there’s sometimes no such thing as overcoming—not wholly, not forever. Overcoming is daily work, and we often fail miserably at it. Many days we are doing our best to survive, and some of those days we may not be 100% sure that surviving is what we truly even desire.

And we are dying…

Masking up as superwomen is killing us—whether we meet that death as a result of suicide or the stresses that lead to heart disease and other serious, life-threatening illnesses. According to Lottie Joiner’s recent post at The Root, stress accelerates the aging of Black female bodies, and Black women between the ages of 45 and 55 are “biologically 7.5 years older than White women” of the same age.
I don’t know Karyn’s personal story enough to comment on why she possibly chose to commit suicide. But I know for certain my own story. I’ve battled depression and anxiety much of my adult life, with some bouts making me feel like I was stuck in a cave-sized hole that I was unable to climb out of.
A most recent period of depression came as I was building a name for myself as a writer, particularly a writer who’d struggled through many of the difficulties Black women face and had come out on the other end. A bit bruised, but smiling. What my readers may not have known was that, upon moving back to my hometown due to some legal and child custody issues, I was struggling daily to get out of bed, to eat, to sleep, and to care for my daughter.

I honestly believe we’re so accustomed to delivering the strong Black woman speech to ourselves and everyone else that we lose our ability to connect to our humanness, and thus our frailty.”…

In all the horror of the Texas pool party situation…. Jon Stewart finds a way to make some good points through laughter. #30DayRBHC

Very powerful dialog happening in some areas about stigma of mental health services within the African American culture and communities. There is a general mistrust within the overculture of our community towards mental health treatment and medical issues in general. (We explored some of that last week).

And yet that is what we need so desperately. We need access to supportive and healing modalities of culturally empathetic services so that we can stop putting bandaids on the knife wounds of our experiences.
“In many ways, I do think that there is a greater stigma among African American culture than among white cultures. I live in southern California, and many white people will freely reference “seeing a therapist” in normal conversation. Black people don’t do that. Seeing a therapist is generally seen as a sign of weakness or a lack of faith. There is still an active mythos of “the strong black woman,” who is supposed to be strong and present and capable for everyone in her family – and neglects her own needs. In the midst of a depressive episode, I had a friend say to me, “We are the descendants of those who survived the Middle Passage and slavery. Whatever you’re going through cannot be that bad.” I was so hurt and angry by that statement. No, depression isn’t human trafficking, genocide or slavery, but it is real death-threatening pain to me. And of course, there are those who did not survive those travesties. But that comment just made me feel small and selfish and far worse than before. It made me wish I had never said anything at all.”

It is up!!! The digest for the first week of the 30 Day Real Black History Challenge. And after looking over it in one document…. it is a power packed week of information, stories, reflections and videos.

I have already started formatting week two (what part has passed so far) and hopefully that digest will get out faster as a result.
Enjoy, share…. read again, save for later, study……. Thank you.

After the last few days this song is once again put into perspective…. here in the US (after hundreds of years) we are still the motherless children, fighting for a home. Where a man sleeping in a car in Oakland can be shot to death, a group of Black teens can be attacked at a pool party by the police, and a young kid can sit in Prison for 3 years (two of which in solitary confinement) for being accused of stealing a backpack…. without a trial. And his experience and the beatings in prison, on his young psyche, contributed to a psychological break that led to his suicide.

When will Black people be able to call this place home? When will we have the rights that others do, and not be the continual victim of a society that makes sure we know we STILL don’t belong? How hard to we have to fight? How many do we have to sacrifice to the spirit of a place built on blood?

What does systemic racism look like in the category of infant death and care for mothers? Let’s take a quick look.#30DayRBHC


June 10th:

Because in America Black people can go to jail for yelling the named of a loved one in celebration at a graduation….. but cops can kill and assault unarmed Black people.#30DayRBHC

“When you’re straight, white, Christian, and male, even horrific crimes can be forgiven. When you’re a black teenager who has been accused of shoplifting, you’re a thug—your life has no value. White privilege is being a sexual abuser and finding more support than a 12-year-old shot by police while playing in a park.”


Amazing song by a talented woman… exploring what I would refer to as the intersectionality of our society…. socioeconomic, mass incarceration, injustice, racism, hunger, crime….. beauty.

Beautiful and powerful piece of music.#30DayRBHC

Thank you to everyone so far who have joined us on our page!! We made it to over 500 likes today!!

We have plenty of examples of Black people doing seemingly normal things and having consequences as a result. Waiting for for an advisor in college even becomes problematic. So the question becomes…. what can Black people do without the assumption of criminal behavior? How do we thrive when we cannot wait for a college advisor or yell in celebration for our family members who graduate from school?

We must understand that all of these various incidents continue to reinforce that Black people are problematic in this country, and at every turn there is a reminder waiting. How do we thrive when we live within a society that breeds fear into us and towards us for hundreds of years?

Originally published in December of 1962, one of the most powerful pieces ever to be written. Baldwin’s words still have so much meaning to this day, in this time.


“Please try to be clear, dear James, through the storm which rages about your youthful head today, about the reality which lies behind the words “acceptance” and “integration.” There is no reason for you to try to become like white men and there is no basis whatever for their impertinent assumption that they must accept you. The really terrible thing, old buddy, is that you must accept them, and I mean that very seriously. You must accept them and accept them with love, for these innocent people have no other hope. They are in effect still trapped in a history which they do not understand and until they understand it, they cannot be released from it. They have had to believe for many years, and for innumerable reasons, that black men are inferior to white men.” – James Baldwin


[“People of color] are expected to educate white people as to our humanity. Women are expected to educate men. Lesbians and gay men are expected to educate the heterosexual world. The oppressors maintain their position and evade their responsibility for their own actions”. —Audre Lorde


I can barely express my emotions about this video. Every year I am lucky enough to find a couple to take my breath away. This is one of the ones for 2015, and I am still finding my words.

He speaks the horrible, sad, overwhelming, fearful and scary truth of what it means to be a parent of a Black kid today, especially a boy….. and the horror that it means for Black kids to always have to live in fear in order to survive and live.
PEOPLE NEED TO LISTEN!!! PEOPLE NEED TO UNDERSTAND THE DAMAGE THAT THIS RACIAL CASTE SYSTEM HAS ON THE PSYCHE OF OUR CHILDREN…. of our people. And until that can be heard… all other things mean nothing. You cannot fight for justice if you cannot understand the severity of the injustice. We have to know who we are fighting for and WHY.

I am sad in my spirit but grateful to this man for verbalizing something in such a emotional and authentic way that it hits home so real. And that he touched the resilience that we have…. and that we can push for the society we want. That we deserve.

This is a TED talk by Harvard University doctoral candidate Clint Smith…..”He said “son I’m sorry, but you can’t act the same as your white friends. You can’t pretend to shoot guns. You can’t run around in the dark. You can’t hide behind anything other than your own teeth.” I know now how scared he must have been…How easy I could have fallen into the empty of the night. That some man would mistake this water for a good reason to wash ALL of this away.” (an article about the piece)

“How to raise a black son in America” is one of the truest, saddest TED…

  • 1

I Can Hear Her Calling Me, Her Motherless Child

“Sometimes I feel like a motherless child, a long way… a long way from home”

I have often talked about the dilemmas of being Black in America and not knowing exactly what that meant when it came to my lineage. Like many African American people, I was told varying stories of my ancestors that trickled in from family member to family member, with an absence of information about anything before slavery. Much of the stories of my family that were passed down to me start at a certain point…..Jim Crow. I have been told several stories about rape on the plantation but they were limited to pieces of a picture that most of us are never able to truly see; pieces of a big picture outside of our reach.

The bits of the stories that I heard probably sound a lot like many other Black people’s family stories. The summary of my mine sounded a little like this:

  • Raped by the master
  • Great, Great, Great grandmother was a Black Indian
  • Segregated parades
  • The day Martin Luther King Jr was killed
  • Kennedy shot
  • Being bused to the school across town
  • Washing the floors of the White woman’s house

Not much lineage, not much information about our African…. not much at all. This is not a unique story to me, I know it is a story that many of us have, and it is a part of the continued disconnect and forced assimilation of the Black person in America. We don’t always feel like we belong here, but we are disconnected from there too. I am making a sweeping generalization, I know… but this is the experience of many Black people throughout years of trying to thrive here in the post slavery, post Jim Crow, new Jim Crow eras. It is hard to know where we belong when we don’t know who we are.

So I took a first step in figuring this out for myself. I know I am Black but what exactly am I? My fears about this caused so much anxiety, the fear that I might not be as “Black” as I thought I was, or had been told. I even had conversations with my husband and family about how I would feel if it came back that I was not Black, or less Black than I believed. What if…..

I paid the money and had a DNA test sent to my home. Within 10 days of ordering my test, I spit into a container and sent it away to find out exact what I am. The weeks of waiting felt horrifically long, and yet the day the email came in I felt a surge of feelings I was not prepared for at all.

I found out I was Black (of course), but I walked away with much more than that. I knew that a single email could not replace the thousands of stories at the bottom of the ocean from the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade, nor would it replace the records whitewashed in Chattel slavery. A pie chart of my ancestral make up would not tell me what plantation we were bought by or who forced his seed in the womb of the mothers in my lineage, but it would tell me something great. What is in my blood? Where are my people from?

Monument in Benin depicting the lines of slaves in chains

Monument in Benin depicting the lines of slaves in chains

66% African…..West Africa….. From Benin/Togo, Mali and Cameroon.

33 % European from West Europe and Great Britain.

Benin women

Benin women

Mami Wata Priestesses in Benin

Mami Wata Priestesses in Benin

I can only imagine the stories. I can only imagine all that was lost in the history of my people and yet I know more about what “my people” means today. I told a close friend of mine that it almost felt like I found out who my parents were after being without them my whole life. I don’t have another comparison to make besides that of coming home.

I immediately found myself becoming fascinated to see what the people of Benin, Togo, Mali and Cameroon look like. I am still fascinated by that. There was a moment when I found myself unconsciously looking for resemblance in the faces of the people of these areas, looking for a moment where I was the standard. I am still researching, and looking, and fascinated, and overwhelmed by it, and grateful to know where my people once were.

Mali woman

Mali woman

There are a lot of things wrong with these DNA like tests, and I am not trying to do an infomercial about why everyone should have one. I, instead, have been thinking about what it has meant to hold a bit of information about our beginnings, a little bit of direction to do the research in. The fact that Benin/Togo (Kingdom of Dahomey) had several million slaves come from this area, the land of Mami Wata and one of the capitals of Voudon is extremely interesting to me and gives me a lot to explore and think on.

I have joked with my husband that I feel like the United States should pay for every Black person to get their DNA test done, we all deserve to know something about where we come from. It has been the business of the US for so long to separate Black people from the pride and culture of their heritage, this is a small step in a long jog towards healing our old wounds. (So I guess it wasn’t really a joke after all).

Women of Congo

Women of Congo

How powerful it is to know who we are. How often other cultures have taken this privilege for granted. How beneficial it could be to us rooting ourselves in a place of knowingness, a place that leads to an even larger sense of self and purpose.


I look forward to where this new information will take me.

Crystal Blanton

  • 1

Week One of 30 Day Real Black History Challenge 2015

Thank you to everyone that has been participating and reading through the posts of week one. We are looking at some of the many different areas of the Black experience from our past to the present. Here is the week one digest of posts from this year’s challenge. I hope you continue to go through the posts, read and reread the information… and share it with others. The collective learning process is one that does not stop at one post, or one article.

28 MAY

It’s that time of year again….. where the 30 Day Real Black History Challenge will start in 3….. 2…… 1……. go!!!!!


Suicide rate rising among black kids in US | Al Jazeera America

Understanding the impact of society’s illness on Black people and the trauma it causes is essential to many of the studies that are happening today. And for the first time we are seeing a dramatic rise in the suicide rate among Black people, especially among young Black males. Our society has been in crisis for a long time and now we see the shifts happening in numbers.

“However, the suicide rate nearly doubled among black children during that time while it fell among white children, the researchers found.

The increase in suicides among black children was isolated to boys, among whom the rate grew from about 1.8 to about 3.5 for every million children.

For white boys, the suicide rate declined from about 2 to about 1.3 suicides per one million children over the 20 years.

“Many factors – including increased exposure to violence and traumatic stress; early onset of puberty; and lower likelihood to seek help for depression, suicidal thoughts, and suicide attempts – may be contributing to the disparity, but the specific impact of each of these factors is unclear,” Bridge said.

“Along the same lines, for many years black youth have used mental health services less than white children and youth,” said Stacey Freedenthal of the University of Denver, who was not part of the new study. “This could be a factor in suicide rates, but why now when the differences in service use have existed for so long?”

Suicide rates are also on the rise for black adolescents and adults, particularly among black males, Freedenthal told Reuters Health by email. “It’s possible that this increase in black children’s suicides is part of the same phenomenon.”



Elaine Brown – The End of Silence

“Well believe it my friends, that the silence can end, we just have to get guns and be men!”

Let’s start this party off right. There is too much at stake to pretend that we are living in a world of equity and justice…. and that our history is not really our present. It is exactly that….. we are living and breathing a history of hundreds of years in this present moment of oppression, challenge, racism and confusion. We are fighting the same fight as we were in the 60’s….. we are demanding liberation from an oppression that is so cunning it is beyond comprehension. We are still striving for the same sense of equity in this country that we hoped to achieve in the Civil Rights Era.

We are still BLACK in America.

So let’s start with some Elaine Brown…. singing songs of Black liberation and Panther spirit. ‪#‎30DayRBHC‬

May 29th

Police forcefully wrestle pregnant black woman onto belly for not showing ID (VIDEO)

It is painful to watch such things and yet we MUST understand why these conversations are critical to the humanity of our nation. We cannot ignore such things and call ourselves moral people that live in integrity.

This video is heartbreaking, frustrating and horrid. And it is the very reason that we should watch it. It is why we are angry, it is why we fight, it is why we must continue to fight……

Opening Thoughts….. “Perseverance, Understanding and Healing” (#30DayRBHC) | 30 Day Real Black…

“Every breath is an act of revolution for the Black person in America. Every moment is a chance to show our beautiful spirits and live the life of generations of our lost ancestors. We are a powerful people. We are fashioned by time that has often been unkind, and yet we still shine.

Thank you for joining me on this journey again. Thank you for embracing the gift of collective learning so that we may be individually and collectively responsive to the needs of Black people in our country. So that we may walk the road of healing, compassion, understanding and radical acceptance. We cannot do that with outdated information built on the lies of systemic racism, stereotypes and ignorance. We must take the time to invest in our own education about the systems of privilege that we support, that continue to thrive at our own hands, so we can change them.

This journey is my life’s work. I am learning and exploring along side of all of those who engage in this work with me, and in this challenge every year.

Together we are mighty.”



When You ‘Don’t See Color,’ You’re Contributing to the Everyday Racism Around You

Many people do not really understand the damage and impact of microaggressions on the ethnically marginalized. Here is a good cartoon that shows a bit of a glimpse of the complexity.



Song from a Cotton Field – Bessie Brown

Not much to say…. just something to watch and imagine….‪#‎30DayRBHC‬


. “Acting White”: The Most Insidious Myth About Black Kids and Achievement

How do we continue to perpetuate racist elements into society when we are supposedly more aware and conscious? We continue to do this by attempting to reinforce stereotypes that are laced with aversively racist stereotypes of mainstream and marginalized culture. I have been told more times than I could possibly quantify that I “talk white”, “act white”…… which means that I talk proper and with intelligence, or that I am not acting like a criminal or thug.

Kids do not associate success with whiteness… we have to start asking the right questions. What is smart? What is success? Are those definitions colored by cultural dynamics and experiences?

Without context we are just categorizing white as right and good… and Black as the opposite…. reinforcing the conscious and unconscious messages that push Black kids into thinking that academics are not for them.

“You’ve probably heard it before: too many black students don’t do well in school because they think being smart means “acting white.”

It’s a popular thing to say, but it’s not true. At best, it’s a very creative interpretation of inadequate research and anecdotal evidence. At worst, it’s a messy attempt to transform the near-universal stigma attached to adolescent nerdiness into an indictment of black culture, while often ignoring the systemic inequality that contributes to the country’s racial achievement gap.”


May 30th

Every year during the 30 Day Real Black History Challenge I lose a couple of “friends”. it is hard to prepare for this, I am not good with such things to begin with. It never gets easy, but it gets easier…

Understanding the intersections of oppression, privilege, race, and our relationships to one another is not as important to everyone. I get that… even if I will never understand it. And to watch the painful process of defensiveness and cognitive dissonance become the determining factor in how people respond to these hard topics can be even more challenging.

So this year I have attempted to prepare myself to deal with the painful process of shedding those who would rather assume racism (which is ridiculous in definition) on my part rather than challenging their perceptions and understandings of the world around race and privilege.

For those who may leave along the way, I send you blessings on your journey.



“One day our descendants will think it incredible that we paid so much attention to things like the amount of melanin in our skin or the shape of our eyes or our gender instead of the unique identities of each of us as complex human beings.” — Franklin Thomas


“I was born a slave; but I never knew it till six years of happy childhood had passed away. My father was a carpenter and considered so intelligent and skillful in his trade, that, when buildings out of the common line were to be erected, he was sent for from long distances, to be head workman. On condition of paying his mistress two hundred dollars a year, and supporting himself, he was allowed to work at his trade, and manage his own affairs. Hs strongest wish was to purchase his children; but, though he several times offered his hard earnings for that purpose, he never succeeded. In complexion my parents were a light shade of brownish yellow, and were termed mulattoes. they lived together in a comfortable home; and , though we were all slaves, I was fondly shielded that I never dreamed I was a piece of merchandise, trusted to them for safe keeping, and liable to be demanded of them at any moment. I had one brother, William, who was two years younger than myself – a right, affectionate child. I had also a great treasure in my maternal grandmother, who was a remarkable woman in many respects. She was the daughter of a planter in South Carolina, who, at his death, left her mother and his three children free, with money to go to St. Augustine, where they had relatives. It was during the Revolutionary War; and they were captured on their passage, carried back, and sold to different purchasers. Such was the story my grandmother use to tell me; but I do not remember all the particulars. She was a little girl when she was captured and sold to the keeper of a large hotel. I have often heard her tell how hard she fared during childhood…….”- From “Childhood” in the book Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Linda Brent


Cruel Medical Experiments Performed On Slaves Were Widespread In The…

Dr. Joy Degruy often talks about how what many think of as “Black culture” is actually trauma response to conditions of slavery that have been passed down. Here is a good example of this concept.

It is commonly known within Black culture that there is a general mistrust of the medical profession. While we don’t all still feel that way, this thread is something that has been woven in our culture for generations. And even for me… I still carry some of that, many of my family do as well.

Why though? Why was there such a fear of doctors, generation after generation of black people, who may not have even had a bad experience themselves? What is this connected to? Let’s explore that a little… and then think about how the experiences of slavery still live with us today within our conditioned responses, thoughts and cultural context.

“Previous work by historians had uncovered a handful of rogue physicians conducting medical experiments on slaves. But the new report, published in the latest issue of the journal Endeavour, suggests that a widespread network of medical colleges and doctors across the American South carried out and published slave experiments for decades.

“The physicians and colleges saw an opportunity in the institution of slavery to elevate themselves, and they took it,” historian Stephen Kenny of the University of Liverpool in the U.K., who wrote the report, told BuzzFeed News. “It was commonplace.”

Medical journals that no longer exist, such as the Baltimore Medical and Surgical Journal and the Western and Southern Medical Recorder, overflow with reports of surgical experiments to treat injuries, birth defects, and tumors, all pioneered on slaves. Doctors often performed the experiments “apparently without pain relief,” according to the study, in an era before anesthesia or sterile surgery.

The study details four surgical experiments in particular, dating from 1833 to 1858, that doctors performed on slaves.”



The future of race in America: Michelle Alexander at TEDxColumbus

Understanding the concept of the New Jim Crow is another aspect of racism that is crucial for us today. We see the protests and we know about the deaths of unarmed Black people in America by the hands of a militarized police… but what happens to all the people who are not killed. The ones that don’t make the news….. It doesn’t stop there.

Millions are incarcerated, many poor, disproportionately black and brown…. and then relegated to second class citizenship for the rest of their lives.. stripped of rights and the ability to vote. Monitored by the system, unable to live freely, unable to get employment because of their status…..

How do we use the system to keep people disenfranchised? Unable to fully participate in the political and economic systems in this country? We put them in prison, give them a number, take away their right to vote, hamper their ability to get public assistance, and create a racial caste system that categorizes these individuals as parasites on society….. without reform, without options, without adequate support, they become the forgotten.

And when we think about how they are targeted and conditioned from the youngest of ages… we should be sick.

These are the very kids I work with…….

Michelle Alexander, author of the New Jim Crow; Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, speaks candidly about these issues on this TEDx. She is a gem. And she is one of the leading researchers and lawyers fighting this systemic issue of racism and institutionalized injustice in our country today. Listen….. we all need to listen.



”When some people are asked to examine their privilege in the same way that people of colour are forced to do on a daily basis – they instantly become the victim. It very quickly becomes an emotionally driven experience in which the privileged feel hurt and thus they fall into a pattern of blame and accusations – of ‘reverse discrimination’ and self-aggrandizing behaviors – as opposed to stepping back and stepping up to a real dialogue.” -Dianne Bondy



About | 30 Day Real Black History Challenge

Someone just asked a really good and important question. Not everyone is aware of what this challenge is, or how it started. To be honest, it started as a big fuck you…. and grew to something I didn’t anticipate.

It is a challenge I started 3 years ago… well, a challenge I accepted by some guy who didn’t have his facts together. And so I posted about 3-7 posts a day for 30 days… facts, data, information and experiences of racism and black history/culture….. I then archived the posts on Daughters of Eve for the first two years so people could find them later. I also wrote some original pieces, rituals and poems as well.

This year it has it’s own website, facebook page and twitter. 30 days of intense posts and conversations about the stuff society wishes we would ignore or forget. So that we can promote real understanding, facts, and fight ignorance that we are taught.

The original posts are still available on Daughters of Eve on the Patheos site. (I was pretty pissed off in week one of year one…). I will also be slowly moving the posts to the new website as well. 2014 is already on there…. 2013 isn’t yet.

Here is the about page on the new site… for context.



We treat racism like it’s going extinct. It’s not.

Many people get very confused about this very topic. Racism looks different today than the white hoods and fiery crosses. And our inability to understand the face of racism makes it almost impossible to identify and to correct. We are lost…. without the tools to even see what is right in front of us. As Dr. Joy Degruy says, “hidden in plain sight”.

“Recent polling data also indicate that white Millennials are nearly as likely as their parents (61 percent to 64 percent respectively) to believe that white people are harder working and more intelligent than African-Americans. The paradox of progress, as historian Jelani Cobb calls it, is that these negative racial attitudes persist among young white Americans even though they are the same generation that played a pivotal role in the election of Barack Obama to the presidency. But it is important to recognize that mainstream acceptance of exceptionally accomplished black people is not an accurate indicator of the racial attitudes of the general populace.”


May 31st

A special thank you to everyone for all the support that you have given in the first few days of the challenge. So many people have been sharing the page and the posts, commenting, sending me messages….. I am very appreciative and grateful.

I was talking to my husband just Friday about how I started this thing in 2013 because of one conversation… not having any idea of where this would lead. And if no one else has learned anything, I have learned more than I could have imagined.

I am grateful for this process. I am grateful for the support and the great words of encouragement. I am grateful for those who want to learn too. I am grateful for those who share their knowledge. I am grateful to be learning too.

We have much to explore this month!!!!

Thank you,




Pregnant 9/11 survivors transmitted trauma to their children

Understanding the impact of our past on the lives and experiences of Black people means also understanding what science is now actively working to prove. A large majority of the average person does not really understand what Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) does to the body, and therefore cannot understand a concept like Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome. There are multiple aspects of this but let’s look at the study of Epigenetics.

From holocaust survivors to World Trade Center survivors, science has shown that trauma not only alters the functioning of the brain, but that it also changes what the genes pass down to the next generation. This newest study shows that the babies that were in the womb of mothers at the World Trade Center suffered altered cortisol levels and shared the nightmares of their mothers.

We have studies showing this in different capacities, but we struggle to apply the same information to Black people post slavery and the trauma of Jim Crow, Racism and continued injustice in this country. Our inability to see this is a form of racism itself.

“Among the tens of thousands of people directly exposed to the World Trade Centre attack were approximately 1,700 pregnant women. Some of these women went on to develop symptoms of PTSD, and some of the children have inherited the nightmare that their mothers experienced on that day. ”



“I had no idea that history was being made. I was just tired of giving up.” — Rosa Parks

rosa parksRosaParks-BillClinton#‎30DayRBHC‬


. The U.S. Wants to Care About Black Boys but Doesn’t Try as Hard With…

There are increasing interventions being created for Black boys within the education system, acknowledging the huge disparities in the ways that education interacts with them versus their white counterparts, but black girls are often excluded from the scenario. But studies are now showing that Black girls are facing many of the same disparities and disproportionately ignored in the educational systems.

Their behaviors instead are categorized as sexualized when their counterparts like behaviors are considered age appropriate. Programming ignores their experiences and needs within the marginalized systems.

“A mounting body of evidence suggests that black students across the country face daunting odds in their quest for an equitable education. Federal statistics show that black students in the U.S. are suspended and expelled three times as often than white students. Research on racial discrepancies in discipline underscores that the higher rates of punishment among black students don’t correlate with a greater tendency to violate school policies—rather, the data suggests they’re disciplined more harshly than whites and other students for identical infractions. A number of studies also suggest that racial stereotyping by teachers is a key reason black students are often stigmatized as both troublemakers prone to misbehavior and underachievers incapable of academic excellence.

Given the growing recognition that race and poverty hinder educational opportunity and outcomes, leaders ranging from policymakers to businesspeople have committed to tackling this crisis. Yet their interventions and solutions are centered on boys of color. This often renders black girls all but invisible.”



“Black people have always been America’s wilderness in search of a promised land.” — Cornel West



Confirmed: 39 women illegally sterilized in California prisons

Following our conversations yesterday regarding mistrust of medical professionals and the history of inhumane medical treatment of slaves, amazing how this continues today. And illegal sterilization in the prison population, or even within the regular doctor rooms, is not exclusive to Black people. This was also done on Native women in this country…. legally.

In California the governor JUST banned such sterilizations in 2014……


June 1st

What Is Systemic Racism? – Wealth GapRace Forward and Colorlines have sponsored a series of short videos exploring the different impacts of systemic racism. All of the videos are about a minute long and straight to the point. This one focuses on the Wealth Gap.



Aamer Rahman (Fear of a Brown Planet) – Reverse Racism

I post this video every year and will continue to do so. First of all, it makes me laugh. Secondly… the whole “reverse racism” thing always seems to come up. Many people bring up this reverse racism thing when thinking that anger, frustration, and trauma response of the Black culture and people towards the culture of White Supremacy and people is somehow… Racism. They obviously do not have a full understanding of what racism is and the difference between that and prejudice. They also seem to miss the whole piece about trauma response and cultural context.

So this video gets a highlight every year… and throughout the year actually.



It is that time again… for the Tri-Annual Announcement… (I have upped it to 3 times a year now).
I do NOT hate White people. Doing the work of anti-racism is about truth and healing, it is about justice and love. It is not about hate and blame.I am not interested in anyone’s White guilt and I am not looking for your apology. I am looking for truth and understanding… a means for the facts of our history and our stories to become known, to break the myths that institutionalized racism has implanted in the minds and hearts of the average American, to dismantle power structures that historically harm Black people and disenfranchise us.
Looking at the privilege and the foundation of white supremacy that still operates in our laws, policies, communities and systems are essential to understanding what we are dealing with. If you take that personal then I am sorry. I support you in reflecting on what is making you feel so defensive and challenged with this information.In order to dismantle injustice we have to start with ourselves. This is hard work…..
The work of true justice is going to take a much larger group of people having a much wider understanding of the state of our emergency and how we got here. That means looking at things that are uncomfortable and calling out things that are inaccurate and harmful. That isn’t hate or prejudice against White people… it is the uncomfortable truth of the choices that have been made along the way.In truth….


What Is Systemic Racism? – Employment

Here is the next part of the series… Systemic racism and employment. Such a short film…. backed with information.



5 Truths About Colorism That I’ve Learned As a Black Woman In NYC

A personal piece about colorism and it is a really good one. She breaks down several elements of this within Black culture, within other cultures of color, within the media and in the dating community. A great reflection on the damage of colorism and how we perpetuate this.

As a “light” skinned person in the community, I get it from both sides. I am glad she mentions this dynamic in the piece.



The Color of Division |

The issue of colorism is definitely a post slavery issue…. the after effects of white supremacist culture. It is important to explore the ways that Black culture has been shaped by the damage of slavery on the way we view and see ourselves. The damage of the “house nigger” vs the “field nigger” dynamic has an impact on us today.



30dayrealblackhistorychallenge2015Why is this information so important? Why spend so much time reading, studying and talking about Black people? Because of this right here…. the faces of the young that we owe a better world to. We can do like the generations of society before us and allow cognitive dissonance to dictate our response to the ongoing injustices and traumas that shape the lives of our children, or we can embrace it and change it.

In order to fully embrace a future that gives our kids the ability to thrive, we have to engage in the process of educating ourselves…. and identifying and assessing the nature of the wounds. We cannot begin the process of healing what we refuse to see.
The face of this young man shows the brilliance and beauty inherent in the faces and minds of our kids…. The very kids waiting for us to get it right.


June 2nd

40 Acres and a Mule Would Be at Least $6.4 Trillion Today—What the U.S….

There are a lot of feelings about the idea of reparations. I am for them, even though I am conflicted as well. The reality is that America was built on the backs of slave labor, building an economy that would generate old money they would not benefit from. If we are looking at how this one aspect of slavery….. a legal workforce that reaped no financial benefit of their labor, we could see how slavery created the backbone of America’s economy and the White wealth that continues to rule this country.

In looking at the idea of equity, it is easy to see how that is not attainable with the economic head start that one faction of our society has gotten. It is like starting a race over 200 years after the starter gun went off. There is no way to catch up…. the divide is to large.

So are the people’s of African decent and slaves in this country due some of the economic wealth that they worked for hundreds of years ago? Even the Luxembourg Agreement entitled jewish descendants of the holocaust to receive reparations….. Why are Black people still denied this? And what would change if we were able to have access to some of the wealth that our ancestors actually generated?

That question scares the hell out of a system based on privilege for those who are White in this country, wealthy in this country, and who do not want to lose those very privileges by way of giving proper due to those who deserve it.

Systemic and institutionalized racism my friends….. it is real.



This Is What White Supremacy Looks Like In Black Middle-Class Communities –

Powerful piece that highlights some of the complexities of respectability politics, gentrification and the pressure to demonize our own Black people…..

“But to my parents, and many other Black people in the metro area, Detroit represents paradise lost: a Black majority city with leafy neighborhoods free of litter or crime. When the city couldn’t promise that anymore, they packed their bags and never looked back. And in leaving behind our roots in the inner city, we were taught to demonize those who couldn’t.

Respectability politics persists among Black people because it gives them the illusion of power. If you can escape the stifling conditions that a white supremacist and patriarchal society has destined for you—and maybe even flourish despite them—you can deny they exist. You can delude yourself into thinking that the bootstraps of white imperialists could ever be used to uplift the people they were meant to oppress.

But I didn’t realize all of this until college, when I was taking classes at Wayne State. It’s smack dab in the middle of Detroit. Disabled and coming of age in a recession, I wanted familiarity, and despite all its “problems,” Detroit promised that.

It turned out to be familiar for the wrong reasons. In every honors class I took there, I was the only Black person… at a school that was 20% Black and a city that was over 80%.

In one of those whitewashed rooms, a professor lectured on white flight, gentrification, and race riots. He ripped the lid off of white supremacy and the lies it had infested Metro Detroit’s best and brightest with. There, I learned what it meant to be in a constant state of rage. In turn, my non-black classmates gave a presentation profiling a high achieving, majority black high school nearby. They tripped over their words, visibly struggling to explain why these ‘good’ Blacks existed. Why I existed.”



What Is Systemic Racism? – Drug Arrests

Systemic Racism….. Drug Arrests. ‪#‎30DayRBHC‬


U.S. study finds teacher bias in discipline toward black students

“Teachers in the United States were more likely to feel troubled when a black student misbehaved for a second time than when a white student did, highlighting a bias that shows why African-American children are more often disciplined than schoolmates, Stanford University researchers said on Wednesday.

The federal government has found black students are three times more likely than whites to be suspended or expelled, a disparity experts say contributes to lower academic achievement among African-American students caught in the discipline system.

But the Stanford University team said few experiments have examined the biases among teachers that play a role in disproportionate discipline.

For their study published this month in the journal Psychological Science, “Two Strikes: Race and the Disciplining of Young Students”, they gave elementary and secondary school teachers school records describing instances of misbehavior.

The researchers then randomly assigned names to those records, using both names more often given to African-Americans, such as DeShawn and Darnell, and others more often associated with white people, such as Jake.

The study found the teachers exhibited no difference in their emotional response when faced with a pupil who committed a first infraction, regardless of the student’s perceived race.

But when a student believed to be black committed a second infraction, they felt troubled at a level of about five and a half on a scale of one to seven, compared with less than four and a half for students seen as white, it found.

Students perceived as black who committed two infractions were judged by teachers to deserve discipline at a severity level of just over five on a scale of seven, compared with just under four for students seen as white.”



What Is Systemic Racism? – Incarceration

Systemic Racism and incarceration….. The reality of our criminal justice system and the mass incarceration epidemic of Black and Brown faces is horrendous. Here in America we KNOW that this is happening in our prison systems and in our courts but we also largely ignore it. It is one of the glaringly obvious issues of injustice happening in plain sight, and we continue to appease our feelings of cognitive dissonance by ignoring this and acting as if all “criminals” are getting due justice.

It is one of the many ways that we as a society perpetuate the injustices happening… by doing nothing. ‪#‎30DayRBHC‬


ARE Blacks A Criminal Race? Surprising Statistics

“African American Youth Are Treated Differently By the Juvenile Justice System

Drugs. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, among youths aged 12 to 17, the rate of current illicit drug use was 11.1 % among whites, and 9.3% among African Americans. [5] In a previous year, the same survey found that white youth aged 12 to17 are more than a third more likely to have sold drugs than African American youth. [6] The Monitoring the Future Survey of high school seniors shows that white students annually use cocaine at 4.6 times the rate of African Americans students, use crack cocaine at 1.5 times the rate of African Americans students, and use heroin at the same rate of African Americans students, and that white youth report annual use of marijuana at a rate 46% higher than African American youth. [7] However African American youth are arrested for drug offenses at about twice the rate (African American 314 per 100,000, white 175 per 100,000) times that of whites, [8] and African American youth represent nearly half (48%) of all the youth incarcerated for a drug offense in the juvenile justice system. [9]

Weapons. According to the Center on Disease Control’s annual Youth Risk Behavior Survey, in 2001 whites and African Americans reported similar rates of carrying a weapon (whites 17.9%, African Americans 15.2%), and similar rates of carrying a gun (whites 5.5%, and African Americans, 6.5%). [10] African American youth represent 32% of all weapons arrests, and were arrested for weapons offenses at a rate twice that of whites (69 per 100,000, versus 30 per 100,000). [11]

Assault. According to the Center on Disease Control’s annual Youth Risk Behavior Survey, African Americans report being in a physical fight at a similar rate (36.5%, versus 32.5% for whites), but were arrested for aggravated assault at a rate nearly three times that of whites (137 per 100,000, versus 48 per 100,000).”


 June 3rd

RESOUND’S Negro National Anthem

Written as a poem by James Weldon Johnson, Lift Every Voice and Sing was first performed in 1900 for a celebration of Lincoln’s birthday. His brother John Rosamond Johnson then put it to music, where it was adopted in 1919 by the NAACP as the Negro National Anthem. One of the most meaningful songs of our culture… still sung today.

The lyrics are a haunting image of the need and fight for Black liberation….. and one of the many cultural things we have kept for the last 100+ years.

Here is a powerful and moving rendition of the song. Take the time to let this sink in.

“Lift every voice and sing

Till earth and heaven ring,

Ring with the harmonies of Liberty;

Let our rejoicing rise

High as the listening skies,

Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.

Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,

Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us,

Facing the rising sun of our new day begun

Let us march on till victory is won.

Stony the road we trod,

Bitter the chastening rod,

Felt in the days when hope unborn had died;

Yet with a steady beat,

Have not our weary feet

Come to the place for which our fathers sighed?

We have come over a way that with tears has been watered,

We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered,

Out from the gloomy past,

Till now we stand at last

Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.

God of our weary years,

God of our silent tears,

Thou who has brought us thus far on the way;

Thou who has by Thy might Led us into the light,

Keep us forever in the path, we pray.

Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee,

Lest, our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee;

Shadowed beneath Thy hand,

May we forever stand.

True to our God,

True to our native land. ”″>


Legal Scholar: Jim Crow Still Exists In America

“People are swept into the criminal justice system — particularly in poor communities of color — at very early ages … typically for fairly minor, nonviolent crimes,” she tells Fresh Air’s Dave Davies. “[The young black males are] shuttled into prisons, branded as criminals and felons, and then when they’re released, they’re relegated to a permanent second-class status, stripped of the very rights supposedly won in the civil rights movement — like the right to vote, the right to serve on juries, the right to be free of legal discrimination and employment, and access to education and public benefits. Many of the old forms of discrimination that we supposedly left behind during the Jim Crow era are suddenly legal again, once you’ve been branded a felon.” ‪#‎30DayRBHC‬


. Negro Spiritual Medley

I have posted this before…. but it is so amazing. The songs of our people are powerful. You can hear the depth of their pain… and the prayers vibrate through the words.



He Cries Alone: Black Men and PTSD

There are many levels of distrust within the African American community when it comes to medical interventions, mental health is no different. The result of this is a lack of access of mental health services within the community and the increased criminalization of Black people WITH mental health issues. They are less likely to get help and more likely to be in jail or dead…. or suffering with mental health concerns that are debilitating.



What Is Systemic Racism? – Housing Discrimination

The racial and economic segregation of our housing options are clear examples of the impact of systemic racism in America. Where we live will dictate the quality of education for our kids, the access to healthy foods, job opportunities…… Pretty easy to disenfranchise a group of people by relegating them to unfit and unfair housing options.


  • 0

Opening Thoughts….. “Perseverance, Understanding and Healing” (#30DayRBHC)

30dayboyWelcome to my official opening of this year’s 30 Day Real Black History Challenge! Since last year’s challenge, we have been faced with a lot of adversity within our society, and specifically within the Black community, bringing much of the last two years worth of research, postings and conversations to life on the TV screens around the world. What is often ignored and minimized has become primetime viewing and a national conversation.

The spotlight on the killing of unarmed Black men and women by police has become intense and hard to ignore. The killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson in 2014 ignited an increase in conversations about the relationship between Black men and women within this country, and the systems meant to provide protection and support. This disrupted relationship is not anything new to us People of Color, and yet for the first time in a long time the nation got to see it in live action. As if all the other deaths and injustices against Black people were not enough, the rash of killings have been enlightening for some and heartbreakingly traumatic within our own communities.

The uprising in Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray has joined the demand for attention to these issues. This uprising is happening all over the United States, reminding us that #BlackLivesMatter, and that the time is now. Indeed…

So as we embark on the journey of the 30 Day Real Black History Challenge for 2015, it is important for us to bring a lot of what we are studying, learning and exploring into the realm of today’s pain. Our past is our present, our future CANNOT repeat our past.

In order to make that a reality, we must continue to strive and understand how the actions, pain, experiences and lessons of our collective histories have impact the lives of Black people then and now. We must remember that we cannot escape our foundation, and we must work to understand the importance of it. This is how we change the future, by not ignoring the impact of the past…. and today.

The theme this year represents something I find to be really important… acknowledging the incredible brilliance of the legacy of our past within our present context. Black people have endured some of the most painful and horrific examples of oppression, violence and colonization and yet… we rise.

We are still fighting to thrive in a society that has not gotten on board with the liberation of our people and we are still continuing to fight to live. We are an amazing people.

Every breath is an act of revolution for the Black person in America. Every moment is a chance to show our beautiful spirits and live the life of generations of our lost ancestors. We are a powerful people. We are fashioned by time that has often been unkind, and yet we still shine.

Thank you for joining me on this journey again. Thank you for embracing the gift of collective learning so that we may be individually and collectively responsive to the needs of Black people in our country. So that we may walk the road of healing, compassion, understanding and radical acceptance. We cannot do that with outdated information built on the lies of systemic racism, stereotypes and ignorance. We must take the time to invest in our own education about the systems of privilege that we support, that continue to thrive at our own hands, so we can change them.

This journey is my life’s work. I am learning and exploring along side of all of those who engage in this work with me, and in this challenge every year.

Together we are mighty.

Crystal Blanton


How can YOU participate in #30DayRBHC?

  • Join the facebook or twitter pages to follow the posts
  • Read the posts and respond to the conversations happening on the page
  • Share the posts
  • Ask questions
  • Engage and be present
  • Open your mind

  • 1

Year Three Is Here

In less than 15 days, the third year of the Real Black History Challenge will be underway. In preparation for this year’s challenge, I have been saving links and lots of information to share. This year is full of a lot of the information from reflections of history, to the current uprisings that are happening in the streets.

This year promises to be a good one.