Archive for May, 2009

Street Fight: Sotomayor’s Nomination

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

Why, Mr President, you sly fox. Nominating Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court bench. Impressive candidate. Smart move. But what’s this? Women as scapegoat for power struggles between political parties.What am I saying? That’s nothing new. It’s been happening for centuries. Before we were being passed back and forth as daughters,  wive, and concubines of powerful men. Now powerful men are nominating us for the political offices themselves. We’ve come a long way baby. sotomayor

Sotomayor has been hailed as “a role model of aspiration, discipline, commitment, intellectual prowess and integrity” for her ascent to the federal bench from an upbringing in a South Bronx housing project, and as “one of the ablest federal judges currently sitting” for her thoughtful opinions. Everything you need to know about the new Supreme Court nominee can be found here and here.  I’m getting teary-eyed just reading  the story of her “rags-to-riches” journey out of the South Bronx to a federal judgeship. On first glance she looks like a great nominee for the highest court of the land.

But it seems that the GOPs are not having it. What they’re saying is nasty, and it sounds as though they’re going for blood. I can barely watch the ads. I won’t dignify the ugly things said about Judge Sotomayor’s intellect by repeating them here on this blog. Rove. Limbaugh. Turley. Pitbulls. Vicious. Ugly. Disgusting. Meanspirted. Racist. Sexist. Elitist.

Beige people (and brown and black people) unite! Seems like latinos are about to get a r-e-a-l taste of racism in America (not that you haven’t experienced racism before now).  You’re about to see what happens when beige people start wanting to trespass on country club lawns without a weed eater in their hands or a towel on their arms! The Old Guard ain’t playing!  They are fighting to preserve power in their hands.  I just don’t believe that what’s being said about Judge Sotomayor’s intellect and person is anything we’d likely hear said against a male candidate, latino or otherwise. You’re right: discrimination is discrimination. But, sweetheart,  Sotomayor is a woman, and if this last Presidential campaign taught us anything, it taught that women are fair game. And, of course, the GOP is counting on the fact that women are so divided by their racial and physical differences you don’t have to worry about women coming together to launch a counteroffensive.

I’m dying to hear what everyone else thinks about Sotomayor’s nomination. (I’m especially interested in hearing from those of you who are not feminists and up to now have not been able to perceive when rank sexism is at play and are clueless as to how to combat sexism when it rears its ugly head.)

Get Thee Fitted

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

Suggestion to my loyal male readers: this blogpost is intended for the women in your life.

Come closer, sister. Let’s be honest. Perhaps the reason you can’t keep your mind on the sermon on Sunday morning and the reason you’re in a bad mood all the time is because –your bra doesn’t fit. A well-fitted bra will improve not only your posture and body image. A well fitted bra will improve your personality and spiritual outlook.

I hear better when I have on the right bra.

right bra

A friend gave me permission to post here on the blog her email from last week.

Renita, today I decided to do something for myself. I have, for quite a while, needed bras. A couple of days ago I saw an ad on the television that said a famous “bra fitter” was coming from NYC to a little bra store here (Bra-vo) and that, but appointment only, she would be professionally fitting bras. I jumped on it and actually arrived 30 minutes early for my appointment.

The little skinny (elfin actually) white lady seemed to suppress a scream when I pulled off my shirt. “My goodness,” she said. “Where do you buy those?” What she seemed to be referring to were the pull over the head bras I had been fond of wearing for the last six or eight years. They were light and comfortable. Sure, there was not a lot of support involved here but…….I tried to always move slowly and deliberately.

Somewhere over the last decade or so some very odd things have occurred. I have somehow gone from a nice C cup to a genormous F or double G cup! What is that about? She tried to tell me that something called “breast tissue” is now under my arms and has to be pushed forward and wrapped into the cup in the front. Where did that come from? Is this something else that age brings. Again, I was not informed. Breast tissue growing under my arms, almost around my back. Odd. Anyway, she showed me how to pick it up and put it where it needed to be. It took a while though.

Two hours, 40 bras, and 11 brands later I walked out of the store with three new bras! They cost me $199.32. I had no idea bras were so expensive! Still, that is a small price to pay for my new look. I am now walking taller and my head is held higher because I have reached down, around and under and finally gotten it all back to where I guess it used to be naturally.

Ask yourself these questions:

• After a few hours on, is my bra uncomfortable?
• Does the back of my bra ride up?
• Do my shoulder straps dig in and leave impressions?
• Do the straps fall off my shoulders?
• Do I have pain in my shoulders, neck and back?
• Am I bulging out of the top of the cups or is breast tissue pushed under my arm?
• Do I need support, but find underwires uncomfortable?

For years I wore bras that didn’t fit. And even though I’ve been known today to plunk $50 or more down for a Wacoal bra, I gotta admit that I’m beginning to think it’s time for me to go in for a new fitting. I’m turning into my mother. She was always calling me to come into her room to undo her bra for her. I’m beginning to do the same to the teenager-in-my-house. “Your daughter will be doing the same for you one day,” I warn as she rolls her eyes and lifts up the back of my blouse. After reading my girlfriend’s email it’s dawned on me that perhaps calling your daughter into the family room to undo your bra as you watch television is not a normal mother-daughter ritual.

hudson I shouldn’t have to tell you well-endowed breasted-ones that you should do your girls a favor by strapping them down in the  right bra. But I do. Lord knows, I do. But the same goes to all women. Women’s bodies are constantly fluctuating from diets, hormones, exercise, having babies, breastfeeding, menopause, etc. which can cause changes in the size of our breasts. And then there are those of you who have actually had breasts implants, breast reductions, and various types of breast surgery. Experts recommend that women should make an appointment for a bra fitting an annual part of their routine. And when we’re fitted, that we should buy the bra size that’s recommended. Not the bra size you think you wear.

So you see,  this blogpost is not just for those of us whose boobs have migrated with age, but my 20something years old readers could benefit from a bra fitting too. Placement is everything when it comes to those plunging necklines you all like to sport. Do your girls a favor and put them in the right bra. Repeat after me: Victoria’s Secret  makes bras for dolls not women.

Now before you run out to buy a push-up, demi-cup, balconette or seamed deep-plunge bra, says the experts: Get thee a proper bra fitting first.  And then get thee at least one good bra. Preferably two or three.

You Baptists…

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

Thought I’d poke fun at my Baptist friends today here on the blog. That’s right: Baptists. You know the ones who open their mouths and say things like, “I’m Baptist. What religion are you?” Don’t get upset: I’m married to a Baptist so you Baptists can’t be all that bad. In fact, every now and then you Baptists actually get it right. You actually act like Christians. LOL.

Take the Baptist church in DC where I spoke earlier this week. Okay, I confess: I preached a revival there. I spoke the choirfor their two Sunday morning services  and again on Monday and Tuesday nights. Baptists got me to do a revival. Something I rarely, rarely do at this age. I haven’t preached a revival in y-e-a-r-s.  Only a special Baptist church could get me to get me to do a revival. And Covenant Baptist Church in Washington, DC is a very special church. For one thing, it has a husband and wife  co-pastor team: Rev. Dr. Dennis and Rev. Dr. Christine Wiley, pastors, scholars, progressive theologians, and activists. Dennis has a Ph.D. in theology (specializing in liberation theology) from Union Seminary in New York and Christine has a D.Min in pastoral counselling from Garrett Evangelical Seminary. It was beautiful to behold the two of them ministering together. Equal authority. Equal burden. Equal pay. That’s what I’m talking about.

But having a husband and wife co-pastor team is not the only thing that makes Covenant special. The church is an open and welcoming congregation to all peoples, regardless of race, gender, and sexual orientation.  Of the seven houses of worship in Washington with predominantly African-American congregations that are welcoming to lesbians and gays, Covenant is the only Baptist church that welcomes and affirms gay and lesbian congregants. Gotta admit that the church went through a difficult patch a few years back when the pastors officiated at a union ceremony for a homosexual couple. Hundreds of members left the church because they  unable and/or unwilling to embrace a theology that embraced same-sex loving couples. Three years later the church is growing and rebuilding and a serves as a testimony to God’s love for all people. Now I like to think I’m pretty progressive and have worshipped in some pretty progressive environments, but I must say I was delightfully surprised to step up onto the pulpit this past Sunday morning where I was to speak for the Women’s Day service and find that the worship leader was a transgender woman in a man’s suit . “Alrighty Jesus,” I said to myself as I took her hand and smiled. I looked out at a  congregation  which on one hand looked like any other black Baptist church I’ve visited: young and old, DC natives and transplants from the south, male and female, poor and not-so-poor, young and old. And others. Lesbian and gays, some were couples with children, and some were not. And a sprinkling of white faces. “Perhaps I’m glimpsing what the Kingdom of God is supposed to look like…” I thought to myself as I sat there singing and clapping with the rest of the Covenant congregation.

Finally, special shout out to St. Paul Baptist Church in Philadelphia for breaking with tradition and calling a woman Rev. Dr. Leslie Callahan to be the 5th pastor in the church’s 119 years of existence. Dr. Callahan is Assistant Professor of Modern Church History and African American Religion at New York Theological Seminary. Kudos to St. Paul Church and Pastoral Search Committee for their courage and vision. Those of you in the Philadelphia area should drop by St. Paul on Sunday, May 31st should go over and support my friend Leslie on her first Sunday there in the pulpit.  (Can’s join her on Sunday, leave her a message on her blog.) Leslie joins a small, but growing number of black Baptist churches across the country who have had the courage and good sense to call women to be their pastors.

Ah yes, you Baptists aren’t so bad afterall. I like Baptists today.  Even the one I’m married to.

(By the way, you Baptists: Christianity is a religion, a world religion in fact; and the Baptist tradition is one of many denominations, sects, subgroups within Christianity like Catholicism, Methodism, Episcopalianism, Pentecostalism, etc.)

Girl, Go Get Tested

Monday, May 18th, 2009

So, thinking woman of faith have you gone out and been tested for the HIV/AIDS virus yet?

Say what? Why not?

You’re in a monogamous heterosexual relationship? What does that have to do with anything? Seventy-four percent of the black women who are infected were infected as a result of heterosexual contact, and women who believe themselves to be in monogamous relationships are the ones getting infected at the greatest rates these days.

You’re lesbian? So what?  The virus spreads through contact with either one of these four bodily fluids:  Semen. Blood. Vagina secretions. ( Saliva, if there are lesions in your mouth.) I’m not a lesbian, but I imagine that at some point in your lovemaking at least two of these fluids start flowing.  That’s certainly true, gulp, when us heterosexuals have sex — even bad sex. Girl, go get tested.

You’re virgin? Um, um, like what kind of virgin are you? Define virgin? Virgin, like, you’ve never even exchanged saliva with another person kinda virgin? That’s what I thought. Girl, go get tested.

What you say? You’re not a virgin, but it’s been years since you had some.   Experts say the virus can lay dormant and undetected in the body from anywhere between 10-15 years without your knowing, unless you’re tested. Say what? It’s been more than 15 years since you had some? (That calls for a blog post in itself.) In the meantime, I guess that makes you a virgin, sort of. So read what was written for those of you who are virgins.

You don’t want to know?  With the 99 things already on your plate, and many others crashing at your feet, why bother putting something else on your plate that you can’t do a daggum thing about anyway? Because you owe it to somebody who loves you and depends upon you (and who may come in contact with your saliva or blood one day). Because you owe it to yourself. Because you’re probably having sex with someone, and their health shouldn’t be put at risk just because you don’t want to know. Girl, go get tested.

So you don’t have insurance and think you can’t afford the test nor the treatment programs? The testing is free, and if you’re  positive treatment programs are available at low or no cost to you. Girl, go tested.

If you’re having sex, have had sex in the past, and are looking forward to having sex (again), go get tested for the HIV/AIDS virus. While you’re at is ask to be tested for the HPV virus (another one of those sexually transmitted viruses which can lead to cervical cancer).

What will it take for black women to get healthy and stay healthy? Why are we the ones most likely to die from nearly every disease that’s out there, even the preventable ones? What will it take to get through to us? Why must we get infected, if we don’t have to? Why must we die, if we don’t have to?

Now thinking woman of faith, what’s your excuse?

God told me to tell you:Get off your knees, close your bible, cease with speaking in tongues, and go get tested.

healthy black women