Reclaiming My Time 

I’m sitting with and processing emotions from interactions I’ve had over the past week. This has been forcing me to acknowledge my social conditioning : how I default in handling situations and the result that has on myself. 

I was raised heavily in Assimilation Culture and by Respectability Politics: that if I did mind my manners, speak properly, tamed my hair- then white people would not be an issue, and if they were, to avoid Any confrontation. I’ve never witnessed my parents prioritizing their blackness over whiteness. Without noticing, I began doing the same as I’ve gotten older- that is until recently. 

In the past year I’ve been spending more time in black and brown only spaces, spaces that center blackness and organizing with people of color collectives. In these spaces I’ve realized my conditioning and how it stems from systematic self preservation tactics pasted on generationally. Returning to work in a predominately white space has triggered how I see myself, my blackness in reference to how I handle whiteness. 

I didn’t realize the problem I had with prioritizing whiteness until fellow organizer and friend brought it to my attention in the wake of Charlottesville both in a conversation we had on it and later in an important piece on this topic.* 

I was telling her how I was avoiding going to places because I didn’t want to talk with white people about what had recently happened. She shifted the conversation and my view from avoidance to standing in myself and simultaneously refusing to talk about matters that made me uncomfortable. 
 

Friday I remembered her words after enduring a rant at work from a white man on Charlottesville, how it was staged, the manufacturing of a race war and how now isn’t the time to worry about race. Despite my attempts to end the conversation it didn’t stop until my boss intervened. I felt at the end of it exhausted from listening to him, exhausted from his entitlement to my time, and his ignorance of his privilege that has resulted in so much violence. 

As a black American woman, I felt insulted and triggered by his reduction of over 400 years of oppression and violence to singular moments of eruption of race relations when white supremacy feels threatened by our fight for liberation. 

I noticed in this moment how it felt to let my identity come second in an interaction that: 
1. Did not need to be had, 

2. Would not reflect negatively on my job performance, had I centered myself 

3. Would be more loving/ honoring to myself to center my identity.

White people have created and we’re raised in a society that has always put their ideas first, gave themselves room to be expressive without judgment which in turn resulted in them believing that they can encounter any interaction in that way. Where as black and brown people were not, we have always made space for whiteness. 

Now, however is optimal time to enact Auntie Maxine Waters words and Reclaim Our Time. 

I urge all my black, brown and all intersecting identities to stop, give yourself space and reclaim your time in the face of whiteness- supremacy and toxic masculinity. 
Stop yourself in interactions ask ‘ am I prioritizing self or whiteness?’ – if the latter, reclaim that time. 

To futher quote her words in the Just Resisting post “Are we actively in this moment, joining and working to build a world we want to live in? A world that centers us? Are we engaging in the work that prepares us for what we’re so obviously up against?” 

End that respectability/ assimilation mindset and reclaim your unapologetic blackness : in your interactions, in demanding our rights, justice and the continued fight for liberation. 
I’m still working on this – from my organizing to my own personal experiences and my hope is for you to do the same. 

*Please read the rest of  Just Resisting’s Post and if in the Buffalo area be sure to check out JR’s Political Education Kickoff!on the 21st! 

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Dirty Logan Association: Elyse Fox ‬X Dirty Logan presents The Rooftop BBQ – Brooklyn NYC [Sept 8th]

Come round out the Summer in NYC this weekend with Elyse Fox of Producedbygirls & Sad Girls Club as she cliques up with the boys of the Dirty Logan Gang, Fernandough the Poet & Kenzo this Friday 9/8 in Brooklyn, NY for The Rooftop BBQ!!!


Time: 9p EST

Music: DJ ELLAHU$$LE

Location:  613 Wilson Ave Brooklyn 

You saw how the #NeverDrinkingAgainBrunch went down this past weekend in Buffalo at Pasion! And if ya didn’t follow the Gang on IG: geist_mode @fernandoughthepoet @hollywood_coe @faceguevara! 
Also peep the recap photos below: 


 Don’t miss our next move in NYC this weekend with @dirtylogan716 x @elyse.fox x @ellahussle more details on @flagrantcity 🔥

About Marielle Smith

 

Marielle Smith is a Buffalo, New York native and single mother of two beautiful children. Marielle enjoys writing poetry and short stories that highlight her experiences as a queer black woman, both the joy and struggles that personhood entails.

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Over the past year Marielle has dedicated her time as a community organizer working with Just Resisting, a People of Color Community Organization that focuses its efforts on social justice, inclusion, and self- care / reflection. She was drawn to this organization when she experienced the centering of black femme voices and the validation of experiencing all emotions while also incorporating art into this movement.     Marielle feels that art, in all its different mediums, is not only important to be a part of activism, but is an act of activism in itself. Art serves as a way to heal, it expresses a narrative and point of view that needs to be seen in order to address and solve the issue within the community.

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Marielle also spends her time working with the Buffalo- Niagara LGBTQ+ Project, a local history project that conducts research and preserves the history of LGBTQ people. This history project is currently working on documentary style interview series composed of trans- activist and documenting their personal archives into Project’s archive base at Buffalo State College Library. Marielle is head of the POC Subcommittee, which focuses on the stories/history of people of color and preserving them for future generations.

In her spare time Marielle enjoys attending art shows/exhibits of various artists and brunching with friends where bottomless mimosas flow endlessly.

 

#AroundBuffaLowe: @BeauFleuveMusicArts Festival – @RiverWorksBFLO [AUG 19TH]

Beau Fleuve Music & Arts Festival is less than 4 days away from the highly anticipated event at Buffalo Riverworks on this Saturday August 19th , 2017. 
They are excited to debut their lineup for the inaugural festival which will feature over 50 musical acts of all genres on 6 sound stages, silent disco, speaker panels, custom car exhibit ,backyard games and more.


The festival has received press from several other local radio broadcasts , morning tv shows and publications!
Check out it this Commercial about this Saturday’s event! :


Website: www.BeauFleuveMusicArts.com

Facebook : Beau Fleuve Music & Arts Festival

Instagram: @BeauFleuveMusicArts
Join Flagrant City’s lastest team member, social justice advocate, Marielle Smith on the media row covering the event!