Chronicles of a Single Mom #16 – My Political Princess

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At some point the spirit of past feminists and political activists have taken over my 9-year-old’s body. She’s always felt some type of way about politics (blame her reporter mommy) but it seems to have come out even more so this presidential election.
Admittedly, my 9-year-old probably knows more about this upcoming presidential election, or the election process itself, than most adults my age. She’s often watched election outcomes, goes to the polling booth with me and has even watched her fair share of inaugurations.
However, this year something is different.
She seems to have channeled the spirits of Shirley Chisholm, Fannie Lou Hamer, Yuri Kochiyama and Septima Clark, using the experience and knowledge of all four to educate herself and others on the political candidates and their platforms with a little help from Zendaya and the Future President’s project.
I mean the girl is serious!!!
She even asked to go to kidsvoteforpresident.com so she could research the presidential candidates. She knows everything down to their grandchildren’s names and will gladly share this information with you. She pays attention to the Super PAC commercials that run every few minutes, knowing of course that they’re paid advertisements, but she also knows to look up the information to distinguish if it is indeed factual.
It’s nothing to catch her watching a debate, town hall or cable news network to try and catch up with someone on the campaign trail.
Of course she has determined who’d she like to see as the next president but I’ve also shared with her that it’s essentially every American citizen’s right to vote for whom they believe would do the best job running the country.
She’s cool with the whole process except for one thing.
As she was telling me who she’d vote for during KidsVote, I let her know that right now her vote would not be counted in the presidential election so stumping for a particular candidate in her group of friends would not benefit either party.
Why did I do that?!?!
Her immediate response was “What do you mean my vote doesn’t count?” The face she made was what you’d get if you’d told her that Santa, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny (Yes! They’re still real at my house!) was not real all at one time and in that order. For a minute I thought she’d cry or have the fleeting thought of slapping me for merely uttering those words.
After getting over her initial disgust, she politely informed me that things change and while she would vote for the candidate that she’d decided to go with, however, at some point someone needs to look at the voting laws that are in place.
“Why is that?” I asked her. Her response, which scared me a little, was that it was unfair for “politicians to make decisions for children without asking for their input. Yes, some people will come up with silly things like ice cream for lunch and unicorns on the playground but in order to have a successful world for us you have to ask us what makes us successful.”
As I’m picking my jaw off the floor, she crawls off my bed and heads out of my bedroom door. Before walking out, she throws back “that’s why when I’m President we’ll have a kid’s roundtable” and heads back to whatever episode that’s on Disney.
I don’t know whether to be extremely proud or extremely troubled for my fellow American citizens.
Just know that I did try early on to veto the ice-cream-for-any-meal-bill that may be introduced into law in 2041 from your Princess President.
Did I mention she’s heading to the state capitol on a field trip in November? I’m debating whether or not she needs to go with her very own special chaperone.
I’d hate for her to interrupt a session asking common sense questions. After all, she is my child.
I’m Just Saying.

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A Pro-Black Feminist? Maybe

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As I look at the current social climate of the United States I see a country being torn in two again behind many issues that were thought to be resolved years ago.
Racism is alive and we all know that. Not just racism against blacks but of any race that isn’t Caucasian. I can remember walking to the store as a little girl, maybe I was 9 or 10 years old, and seeing the Ku Klux Klan marching through the streets of Thomasville, North Carolina. As I watched the parade of white sheets march through the center of downtown what stuck out most was the black officer that was there as an escort. I can remember wondering why in the hell he would protect them. By that I don’t mean why he would protect the people marching, but how could he “protect and serve” the hatred that they stood for? So yes, racism and discrimination is still thriving and often our encounters with them shape who we are, what we will stand for and what we will fight against.
I ask that you take a deep breath in and out right here because this isn’t me attempting to pull the race card.
This is me attempting to explain why the card is still in play, along with others from the deck of Hatred.
I admit that I’m Pro-black and there is nothing wrong with that. It needs to be understood that being Pro-Black in America isn’t being anti-white.
Let me say that again….
BEING PRO-BLACK IN AMERICA ISN’T BEING ANTI-WHITE.
Being Pro-black is about appreciating your roots, your culture and your background. It’s about supporting your brothers and sisters in their endeavors and wanting to see them all achieve their dream in a system designed to prohibit them. It’s about honoring your heritage (the same way some feel like flying the Confederate flag does) and values it birthed before someone with a different skin tone came along. It’s about needing to see a race of people do and want better for themselves and their children.
It’s about strength within a culture that is often told it’s not strong enough, smart enough, wealthy enough, or mentally capable of competing and excelling on the same level as their Caucasian counterparts.
That’s being Pro-Black. Not Racist.
But I’m so much more than Pro-Black.
By definition, I’m a Feminist because I aim to break down barriers that women of both black and white skin face on a daily basis. I want myself, my daughter, and my neighbor to receive the same amount as our male co-worker’s for doing the same amount of work. I want us to be recognized as getting the job done in a pair of slacks and pumps. I don’t want our breasts and behinds to get us a promotion but the work that we submit is so damn good that we can’t be denied one.
By definition, I’m Anti-Police Brutality but that doesn’t mean I’m against the police or their profession. I have different relationships with law enforcement officers on different levels and I know that all of them are not bad or biased. I know that they aim to do their jobs and return home safely. I also know that there are some officers who give their brethren in blue a bad name by applying their biases to their job. I know that there are some officers who get off on exerting power over the powerless, using more force than necessary and harassing people as a form of intimidation.
By definition, I’m Pro-Motherhood/Pro-Choice. I want to be able to breastfeed in public. I want to be able to take sick days or work from home because my child has the flu without penalty. I want to not be afraid to ask to leave when my work is complete so I can catch the PTA program or be able to eat lunch with my kid at school without my boss thinking of a trade-off for me to do it. I want to not have to choose between my obligations as an employee and a mother. I also want to keep the right to choose between being a mother when I’m ready and having an abortion if I’m not.
So what exactly am I?
To me it sounds like I’m simply an advocate for a better life. I care enough about different social issues to pay attention to how others are treated and by whom. I care enough to try and leave a better world for my children, grandchildren and future generations. I care enough to not settle for the status quo and instead raise the bar.
If that makes me a fist-raising, bra-burning, injustice protester who pumps breast milk on lunch and has a few diapers in the car then so be it.
However, if I must be given a label I would prefer one that embodies all of the above. Something that could be universally recognized without being forced into the many silos of activism. Something that allows me to not be limited to one particular group or cause.
For now, I’ll go with Game Changer.
I’m Just Saying.