My lastest HuffPo piece, “I’m Not the Nanny – Darker Mom, Lighter Baby” has received many responses, generated some interesting dialogue and been highlighted in two HuffPo Live segments (The Problem With Calling Mixed Kids More Beautiful http://huff.lv/16Cgjag  and Darker-Skinned Women With Lighter-Skinned Kids http://huff.lv/19LltRx).  I wanted to share some people’s experiences and comments.  Please feel free to check out the different feedback left here on my site as well.

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/angela-gray/im-not-the-nanny-darker-m_b_3777717.html

I knew that my life would be forever changed once I became a mother, but I had no idea of how deep it would be. Being a parent has changed me and expanded my whole perspective on life due to this new role. I am black and race is a part of my everyday life whether it is by my state of being me or stemming from someone else bringing my blackness to the forefront. I knew that I would have to address race, ethnicity and class with my son throughout his life but I did not foresee new issues arising for myself. Yes, I guess it was short-sighted to think that I would have seen the majority of significant racial conflicts that would have crossed my path after 35 years of living but I have experienced a lot.

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I have recently learned about SHMILY Coins and the SHMILY story that inspired the coins.  What a wonderful showing of a deep and continued love. Please take a look at the SHMILY story:

http://www.shmilycoins.com/SHMILY-story.html

My grandparents were married for over half a century, and played their own special game from the time they had met each other. The goal of their game was to write the word “SHMILY” in a surprise place for the other to find. 

They took turns leaving “SHMILY” around the house, and as soon as one of them discovered it, it was their turn to hide it once more. They dragged “SHMILY” with their fingers through the sugar and flour containers to await whoever was preparing the next meal. They smeared it in the dew on the windows overlooking the patio where my grandma always fed us warm, homemade pudding with blue food coloring. “SHMILY” was written in the steam left on the mirror after a hot shower, where it would reappear bath after bath. 

At one point, my grandmother even unrolled an entire roll of toilet paper to leave “SHMILY” on the very last sheet. There was no end to the places “SHMILY” would pop up. Little notes with “SHMILY” scribbled hurriedly were found on dashboards and car seats, or taped to steering wheels. The notes were stuffed inside shoes and left under pillows. “SHMILY” was written in the dust upon the mantel and traced in the ashes of the fireplace.   Read the rest of this entry »

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/angela-gray/crazy-flag_b_1663067.html

When do you show your crazy flag to the person you are dating? Timing is key, especially considering what brand of crazy you are working with. At the beginning of my relationship, my strategy was to throw all of my awesome at my new man. I figured I needed to build up a big reserve of goodness before I hit him with the flip side. I have these OCD-esque eccentricities, which are my “customs.” Starting with my strengths seemed to be the smart approach, since I knew I needed some cushion for when my customs started to leak out.

Basically, I am a dude in a lady package. My dude-ness really won Boyfriend over. We enjoyed a host of activities: watching cartoons, debating over Superman vs. Batman, discussing comics, playing video games, watching sports, having push-up competitions and wrestling. Now, the wrestling could turn into tussling, which could go the fun way or it could take a different turn, since there are times when I do not know when to stop and there’s the fact that I am… freakishly strong. But everything was really good between us and we were enjoying that newness stage. That newness feeling is just amazing and it’s during this time that we just liked looking into each other’s eyes, just because. The only “bad” thing about that ooey-gooey stage is that your man really pays attention to you.

One day we’re eating some M&Ms and he gives me three. I asked him if there are any more and he says, “No.” So, I proceed to put one on the right side of my mouth, one on the left side of my mouth and then bite the third in half, equally distributing the last one. It was yummy and even! Boyfriend says, “I think I’ve seen you do that before with Cheez-Its and Sour Patch Kids. Have you?” I fess up that this is my “evens” custom and say, “I like evens.” I do: Evens make me feel good. Now I was on his radar and there was no going back.

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/angela-gray/no-pressure_b_1657169.html

I am black. I am a woman. I am a black woman. Those are three different things. Truly. Plus they are all things that you can see on sight. They bring different responsibilities and varied challenges. I’m okay with that. Well of course it’s permanent, but I am still really okay with that.

I do not speak for all black women, I do not speak for all black people or all women, athletes, Brooklynites, those under 5’6″, right-handers, etc.

It’s tiring to always represent your race or gender, but I have been successful at it and am happy to do it well, which I hope is most of the time.

Sometimes, I am the first black woman that someone has interacted with, dated or developed a friendship with. At times, I am that “one” that surprised you. And there are times where it doesn’t matter who or what I am, because you knew who I was the instant you saw me.

I love me for all that I have experienced. I wanted to be as tough and strong as my dad and show that I was cut from the same cloth. I wanted to show some that I can do as much as they can and surpass them (I am competitive — very). I wanted to suffocate the hate and doubt that I saw in people’s eyes by my performance and fair conduct with others. I wanted the hateful doubters to either learn from me or be vexed.

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Chivalry is Dead

Posted: July 6, 2012 in Subway Series
Tags: , , ,

I know that as a woman I should want to be considered equal to a man or have the same value as a man. In the end, I guess it all comes down to presentation and the ordering of your words. I am a valuable person, have value; have attributes, opinions, and knowledge to offer to people, society, and the world (mwah ahh ahh). I am serious though. I want to be viewed as a valuable individual and I want the person next to me to be treated the same regardless of race, class, ethnicity, age, etc. But! But, we know how our society loves distinction, divisions, and rankings. How else could one let others know, not only I am better than you, but I am by this much. I hope to see a day when we are what we bring to the table and not what people think we should be based on stereotypes and prejudice, but that’s just me.

Okay, okay, what does all that have to do with subways, etiquette, and chivalry you say? First of all, see (disclaimers section), because I’m long-winded and I digress/segue a lot. Anywho, I am a lady- most of the time (I’m talking figuratively- not literally…because I’m a real girl. Pinocchio I feel your pain). I do enjoy being treated as a lady. I think that I can be a lady and accept gestures and whatnot and still maintain equal individual status- make sense? Gents be good to me and proper, but do not think that you are smarter or better because you have twigs and berries, m’kay? Danke.  Read the rest of this entry »

Technology – I use it, I love it and cannot live without it.  You too right?  Words – love them, use them daily and cannot live without them.  These are two things that are essential and they go together.  However, how they pair and what we do with them is what can lead to the death of our language. 

Yesterday, I was typing an informal e-mail at work and had to stop myself from using text shorthand. Just now, I almost wrote txt instead of text, because that’s what I do when sending my SMS messages.  While texting, I could surely type out full words, like text or next, which become “txt” and ‘nxt.”  Was the subtraction of the “e” really going to save me that much time? Besides shorthanding our words within texts, instant messages and e-mails; we are simply negating the use of words for symbols.  Will words lose their power when we cannot express ourselves through their use and we just emote through emoticons?  Read the rest of this entry »