Thursday, June 26, 2014

Inequality in Political Consulting Contracts

Roland Martin had some excellent commentary on how the Democratic party does not award a satisfactory amount of contracts to minority political consulting firms.  By satisfactory, meaning less than 3% when their constituency is 40% minority.  Shameful.  Once again we're good enough to accept money from and pander to, but not good enough for a seat at the table when the steak is served.
Why do we allow ourselves to be pimped by either side?  At a debate between the Democratic candidates for Georgia School Superintendent I attended one candidate commented that the other 'sided with the Republicans against her own party' (shudder) as if that's all that need to be said about her stance on the issues.  Since that obstructionist attitude has spread I guess we know why nothing gets done these days.  Compromise is the name of the game isn't it?  No permanent friends or enemies, remember?  If you're so staunch in your party allegiance, regardless of the consequences I don't believe you can be an effective public servant.  You can't serve two masters at the same time.  
All the allegiance to the Democrats has netted the African-American community what exactly?  As Roland pointed out it definitely isn't equal treatment.
It will be so nice when our work is valued for the work...not for being from a woman's or ethnic minorities perspective.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Empathy, Prejudice and Baby Carriers or Lessons from Baby K'tan on Appearing to Care

This blog post about the Baby K'tan carrier "Is Baby-Sling Photo a Slight to Black Women?" has had my attention all day. If you don't have time to read the post, basically there's a twitter backlash over these two boxes.  One depicting a seemingly White couple and the other a Black mother with no partner.  I didn't notice until I read the company's reply that that box was also priced lower as well.

I won't rehash the twitter rants because it's nothing new to the usual bitter tone of discussions around race and culture in our country these days.  You know the, 'yeah you're offended but who cares because of crime and unwed mothers BS'.

What struck me is the tone of the response from Baby K'tan.  For a company that sells baby carriers, which are usually associated with nice 'crunchy' folks, there sure was plenty of intolerance and lack of empathy I'd associate with big out of touch corporations.  
"We wholeheartedly reject any false, unfounded and baseless claims of discrimination as depicted in the above misrepresentation. We here at Baby K’tan fully support exposing any unfair and inaccurate stereotypes, racism and/or discrimination wherever it may exist."
Damn those are strong words. Wholeheartedly reject???  Can you reject another person's feelings?  That's a little insensitive don't you think?  I thought that was basic communication 101. Wow, how about acknowledging that your marketing may have offended a segment of your customers then apologize and do better in the future?!! I just love how they are so final in their response as if the defendant is judge and jury.  Well I guess if deep down you believe in your superiority and another group doesn't have a right to an opinion, you can do that.  What racist person/company has ever policed themselves and said 'Oh that was racist let me reevaluate,' without pressure from an outside source?
Big lesson to Black consumers:  Yet another company that doesn't give a what about your feelings.  Take your money elsewhere.  End of story.
Stop going back and forth trying to prove a point on comment sections, just stop buying.  People that refuse to hear you don't want to understand.  Guess what, there are plenty of people that do care, why worry about the few who are so committed to their ignorance?  
Denial of racism is racism
The problem is not that this may have been a 'misrepresentation' as they put it, but they did not even bother to try and empathize.  Baby K'tan maybe you do think you're inclusive, diverse and supportive of exposing stereotypes (what does that even mean?) but that requires that when you're the one perpetuating a stereotype and said group points it out; you might need to take a step back before blasting out an ill-prepared defense.  A crisis PR company  probably could have helped.  I doubt a professional crafted that statement.  
And another thing! Someone with dark skin is not necessarily African-American, especially in a diverse area like south Florida.  They may be West Indian, Brazilian, French...any number of nationalities. Hispanic people can be White or Black also. So methinks you doth protest too much. Get some cultural sensitivity training.  Take a minute to climb off your liberal faux colorblind horse and try to understand WHY all of this started instead of being so quick to dismiss.
We can never fix this if we can't have free discussions.  I firmly believe one day the dream will be realized, but I don't feel we have to shut up to achieve it.

Side note:
I got one of the carriers free back when my little munchkin was in an ad, and I NEVER used it.  There are just too many choices to sweat one product that just pays lip service to being inclusive.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Can We Let Fathers Be Happy For One Day?

Every Father's Day I see a discussion bubble up about wishing single mothers a 'Happy Father's Day'. My mother was single for much of my childhood so I'm no stranger to the struggle, but I let Dads have their day.  When I was younger I felt differently, but ever since having a child of my own I've stopped robbing men of their day.  Role models of both genders are important for children.  Just about everyone has a man in their life that has stepped in to fill a father role at some point in their lives.  Acknowledging their role does not diminish the work of a single mother.  On the contrary, taking another day to rail on an ex or father who was not present just poisons the well. Deadbeats are easy to spot and your kids know who is there for them 100% whether they tell you or not.  Focus on the positive men around us and let their lives inspire others who have some work to do on themselves.  Whether that man is a coach, step parent, uncle, mentor, teacher etc., they deserve to be congratulated and celebrated for their positive influence on young people.  My husband and I have lots of those.  So while I did not speak to my biological father, I did have several people to call yesterday but my mom wasn't one of them.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Who are you and what is a Cultural Cloverleaf?

I started this blog for more space to talk about issues important to me related to race, class, gender, motherhood, marriage and all the other topics swirling around in my head.  My Facebook posts were getting too long for my poor friends, but I realized it's important to get all that out somewhere.  
I decided on cloverleaf because it so often feels like I'm at the intersection of so many positions but never quite fit just one.  The cloverleaf on a highway is where both directions of travel enter and exit, forming a clover shape.  Sometimes you may realize you're going the wrong way and need to exit and turn around, perhaps you need to stop at the exit to rest or meet someone coming from the other direction before continuing on.  That resonates so much with the way I see life.  I'm in the middle of working outside and stay at home parenting, somewhat liberal but conservative sometimes on political issues.  I'm outspoken but quiet; a feminist that believes wholeheartedly in marriage, a proud Black woman who sees the grace of God in everyone regardless of cultural background.  A somewhat crunchy person who still enjoys hot dogs and hamburgers.  (real ones not just vegan, soy, bean whatevers) I've started to see what we commonly refer to as race is really just a cultural identity. Biologically we're all more similar than different. Our country has become so polarized it's hard to talk about that kinda stuff in any one group I'm a part of, but I'm sure there are plenty of others just like me out there. There you have it!  Welcome to The Cultural Cloverleaf.