Not Your (Teacher) Bae: On Patrice Brown and the Policing of Black Women’s Bodies

patrice-tricey-brown-paris-monroe-ig-01In the early morning hours of September 12, 2016, several images of 4th grade Atlanta, GA teacher, Patrice “Tricey” Brown began circulating the internet causing a commotion. According to many (and most) people, she was too sexy for school and should not be wearing what some deemed “club attire” in the classroom. One mother insisted that Ms. Brown “would not be caught teaching their children.” I call BS! Let’s just keep it all the way real and get to the root of the issue. Let’s be honest and  say that it’s not the children who feel any particular way about Ms. Brown, it’s the parents- specifically mothers, trolling on the internet, upset with Patrice Brown’s body.

While this is a very silly situation, we can not afford to overlook and ignore it due to the very serious implications. The jealousy and anger from many parents (many of whom aren’t even remotely close to Atlanta, GA) have led them to begin seeking ways to have Ms. Brown fired or placed on administrative leave. In reality, here’s the issue: Black women’s bodies (historically, as well in the “urban”/modern context) are policed and scrutinized simply for being whatever they are. For centuries, the bodies of Black, femme identifying people have been viewed as undesirable and their natural curves imply an element that is simply… too much: Our hair was too nappy. Our skin was too dark. Our lips were too big. Our thighs and behinds were too… much. Now, big lips, thick thighs, and big behinds have been deemed attractive – and even celebrated – but only when attached to non-Black women’s bodies. That’s crap. Even when our body parts are commodified and supposedly desired, what is natural to us and on us is still always declared unacceptable.

As a “society”/ “community” we take immense concern with the natural way Patrice’s body curves more than we’re take concern with the non-Black teachers who resemble bad breeds of Matilda, Daria & Nanny McPhee that are actually interacting sexually with their extremely young students. Worry about them. Police them. Patrice’s professionalism and ability to educate 8/9 year old children is not somehow compromised because she wears stilettos and her dresses fit her form. No matter what she wears, she is a curvy, Black woman. Therefore, her figure is going to show, and while her figure is gorgeous it is not a mate calling.

Comments on the internet are evidence of how dangerous internalized misogynoir and anti-Blackness is. The hypersexualization of Black women’s bodies must stop and if Patrice’s plight isn’t enough for people to see that, I don’t know what it’ll take.

 

 

 

If y’all really want to be upset about something and you insist on calling the school board, consider calling about what her salary may be. Think about Patrice’s income and benefits in relation to what is should be considering that she has to deal with parents like the ones on the internet and their children. I’m sure she, like most teachers, isn’t paid nearly enough for the crap she experiences. I’m certain that a majority of the parents who commented against Patrice on the numerous sites that exploited her, have never even stepped foot inside a PTA meeting. It’s easier to be a concerned parent online than only a daily basis, within the walls of the schools.
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Patrice’s cyberbullying draws many comparisons to Saartjie “Sarah” Baartman’s experience as a Khoikhoi woman who underwent an unprecedented amount of abuse at the hands of ‘whiteness’ during the 19th century. 66b8cc9b045595bb9931b09f28a8edadShe was the most well known of at least two Khoikhoi women who, due to their large buttocks, were apart of freak show attractions in 19th-century Europe under the name Hottentot Venus. Two centuries ago, on December 29, 1815, Sarah Baartman died after years spent in these “freak shows”. The exhibition continued, “featuring” her remains. After the show ended, her brain, skeleton and sexual organs remained on display in a Paris museum until 1974. It wasn’t until 2002 when her remains were repatriated and buried. In reality, many people don’t believe that Patrice’s outfits are inappropriate, but are actually implying that her body itself is inappropriate.

 

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Another educator who is simply known as, “Jamel” has since went viral sparking conversations of double standards.

This has by far been one of the most annoying internet debates yet and the fact that so many Black women are spewing the hate is ridiculous.At the end of the day, Patrice is a beautiful, educated, Black woman and unfortunately, the deeply misogynoiristic and policing of body expression only applies to Black women. Class/social status, career aspirations, and poise don’t matter. Our community has failed yet another Black woman. Patrice was in fact “reprimanded” at her job after numerous phone calls were made to Atlanta Public Schools. It’s sad and utterly disgusting that Patrice has to experience that while she simply spent 99.9% of her time minding her own business, trying to teach our “next generation”. The principal at the school where she works released a statement stating that Patrice is being “guided” in how to dress appropriately and she is in fact not a teacher, but a paraprofessional. That also has elicited a flood of criticism with comments like “All this fuss over a bitch who isn’t even licensed or certified lol”. The Black community claims to love Black women so much, but refuses to offer them basic rights and privileges. Ms. Brown is a beautiful Black woman and that has been enough for her to be vilified by internet trolls, many of whom should be calling her “sister”.

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Y’all Can Keep Lea Clark (And Melody Ellison, Too)

Lea Clark is just like us!

She lives in Lafayette Square, is a Cards fan, and loves Ted Drewes. She also loves photography and going on adventures. Her mom is renovating a house in North St. Louis and her dad teaches at Washington University.

imageBut Lea Clark is a doll. In fact, she’s the 2016 American Girl doll of the year.

Lea’s first two books are about her life-changing adventure to Brazil. The third is about her life right here in St. Louis.

Lea is a limited edition doll and will only be available through December of this year. The doll, the books, and accessories including a messenger bag, a rainforest house and matching outfits are all available at the American Girl doll store.

Lea Clark is not just like me. Nor is she like half of the girls who live in St. Louis. Continue reading “Y’all Can Keep Lea Clark (And Melody Ellison, Too)”

Beware of The Hotep

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If you’ve ever interacted with Black Twitter or in fact are a part of Black Twitter, chances are you’ve seen, you know or a you are a Hotep Nigga. Being a Hotep Nigga means you have a certain “fake deep” way of policing Black women while pretending to care about their well-being. See, many hoteps hate the word nigga (and love false etymology so they prefer to be called ‘Negus’) and by referring to them as a nigga, they feel attacked and belittled… you know, kind of how they treat everyone else. Hotep is the kemetic word for “peace”, so referring to their online community as “Hotep Niggas” completely makes a mockery of them and what they “stand for”, which is exactly what they deserve. [This is an “informal” post, maybe even a rant in some ways but alas: here it is. Beware of the Hotep.]

Continue reading “Beware of The Hotep”

All Tea, No Shade: White Feminists Don’t Care About Black Women (On The Topic of Sandra Bland)

WARNING: This is a rant. I will be grammatically incorrect. I’m not throwing shade. Just spilling the tea.

White Feminists! Are you all just as upset about the mysterious death of Sandra Bland as you were/are about the #BBHMM music video?

NEWS FLASH: THIS IS NOTHING NEW FOR THE BLACK COMMUNITY, NOTHING NEW FOR FEMALES IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY

I was on Twitter earlier and some girl tweeted about “Why can’t we just say woman?” in reference to headlines about Sandra being “A black woman died…”

Well, sweetheart. Here’s why we just can’t say “women” Because she’s black. She’s black. And police brutality and racism is a rampant issue in the BLACK community and this is a race issue so no, stop trying to do this lowkey “all lives…all people…all women” because it’s not about that. This is not happening to everyone, this is happening to PEOPLE OF COLOR. Contrary to what patriarchal, Hotep Black men and white women will tell you, Black women have always been aware of how shady white feminists are. Honey… I’m sorry that people in your community are not dying like this, and I’m SO SORRY that white females dying in police custody isn’t something that you have to deal with. *Please tell me you understood this sarcasm*. You know like I know that if this had been a white woman, CNN & Fox would be going CRAZY right now. White feminists do not care about the problems of women of color, trans-women, non-binary women, etc.

White feminism is all about Hilary Clinton, “Free The Nipple” , Body Hair, and other basic things that don’t matter in the grand scheme of things. Feminism is so much deeper than that and those faux Tumblr/Twitter white feminists that have made stupid things matter.

Y’all refuse to talk about trans issues, white females appropriating culture, the abuse women of color face etc. The list goes on. I’m angry, because I’m tired. Y’all don’t ride for us. Y’all don’t ride for anyone who can’t check the “white” “female” box. All white feminists think they’re doing something special for talking about Caitlyn Jenner. Y’all don’t care about her either! You all are riding for her because the media is but how much do y’all actually care about what Caitlyn is going through? You will get all in your feelings when people misgender Caitlyn but never speak on trans issues that run deeper than that. I’m disgusted by white feminism, I’m sick of white people acting like minorities call everything a race issue just because when 9/10, it IS a race issue. Get Out! Dylan Roof is alive and living life protected while Sandra is DEAD. It goes without saying (but I’m still going to because everyone loves getting upset) not every white person is like this and not every white feminist is aggravating, but people can’t act like the majority aren’t. I can’t change the way you all think though. It’s up to y’all. It’s up to white people. Because minorities can scream all day about their issues but y’all will not listen. It’s up to white people to educate other white people and that’s the only way this mess will start changing

If you call yourself a feminist, you can’t ignore trans women, black women, Mexican women, white women, or any women at all.