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Killmonger and the Limits of Revenge Fantasy

I spent most of my childhood wondering why black people didn’t fight more. Why hadn’t black women poisoned the families of slave owners if they cooked all the food? Why hadn’t they killed the babies if they had to nurse and raise them? (Thank you to Alice Randall for The Wind Done Gone.) Why, if black people outnumbered white people …

An Introvert’s Guide to Social Wellness: Musings of an Angry Black Woman

Part 6 of a 6-part series. Radical, Militant, Uncompromising Self-Care: A Black Woman’s Manifesto. Thus let me live, unseen, unknown;    Thus unlamented let me die; Steal from the world, and not a stone                             Tell where I lie. Alexander Pope Ode on Solitude I want to run away. I’ve wanted to run away all my life. I used to sit …

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I think therefore I am angry.

Part 5 of a 6-part series. Radical, Militant, Uncompromising Self-Care: A Black Woman’s Manifesto To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time. James Baldwin After completing my self-care practice inventory on January 1, 2018 and seeing I had no intellectual practices, I wept for myself. So …

Realism is a bitch.

Part 4 of a 6-part series. Radical, Militant, Uncompromising Self-Care: A Black Woman’s Manifesto. I was recently certified in EQ-i 2.0, EQ 360, and TESI. During my pre-training coaching session, the coach who had reviewed the results of my assessment, which showed almost no optimism but very high reality testing asked, “Are you an optimist or a pessimist?” I said, …

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Are you there God? It’s me Adriane.

Part 3 of a 6-part series. Radical, Militant, Uncompromising Self-Care: A Black Woman’s Manifesto. I believe; help my unbelief! –Mark 9:24 (NRSV) ag·nos·tic noun a person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God or of anything beyond material phenomena; a person who claims neither faith nor disbelief in God. My …

My Body Hates Me. It’s Mutual.

Part 2 of a 6-part series. Radical, Militant, Uncompromising Self-Care: A Black Woman’s Manifesto. I have been at war with my body for as long as I remember. At first, my mom was at war with my body. It didn’t shed baby fat fast enough. My breasts got too large too soon. The hourglass figure needed to be hidden because …

Radical, Militant, Uncompromising Self-Care: A Black Woman’s Manifesto

Part 1 of 6 This is my tribute to Erica Garner and every black woman who has succumbed to the health risks of being a black female person in the United States of America. In May of 2011, I went to my water aerobics class early one morning after the spring semester had ended. While taking a shower, I felt a horrible …

Not Just Old Wine in New Bottles

“This isn’t new.” “We’ve been doing this for years.” “This is just the next step.” “You’re building on what we’ve already been doing.” These same things have been said for decades in school reform—centuries if you look closely enough. There is a cyclical process where someone has a bright new idea, turns the lives of practitioners upside down, and eventually …

Not Our Problem to Solve

Dear Hillary, It’s me again–your younger black Wellesley sister down here in Memphis, TN. As you begin DNC convention week, I’d like to offer a few thoughts on what I, as a black woman, would really like to hear. And, perhaps more importantly, what I would like not to hear…from anyone…at all. In brief, don’t ask us to “come together” …

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Not Just Old Wine in New Bottles

“This isn’t new.” “We’ve been doing this for years.” “This is just the next step.” “You’re building on what we’ve already been doing.” These same things have been said for decades in school reform—centuries if you look closely enough. There is a cyclical process where someone has a bright new idea, turns the lives of practitioners upside down, and eventually …

Trust is (Also) an Action

The first time I facilitated a Collaborative Action Network meeting, I knew I was in a room full of people who wanted dramatic change in our community. I assumed that all we had to do was clarify our roles and get to it. I was wrong. The idea that “collaboration moves at the speed of trust” is commonly shared in …

A Team of Rivals

When I joined Seeding Success in Memphis, TN, I was the third employee: the facilitator.  I, a black woman, would be the person managing relationships with the most diverse group of people involved in the effort. Memphis, TN is a majority black city and our county-wide work focused on a majority black population. We had recently gone through a period …

Risk it. Trust me.

There is no straight line from setting a goal to creating an action plan to getting it done. Those are things we aspire to as we grapple with the messiness of people trying to protect their turf, their egos. Collaborating toward collective impact is risky business. We have defined collective impact as an end. It is the sustained dramatic change …

The Real Work of Collective Impact

Collective impact is an increasingly popular concept. It is inherently appealing that otherwise intractable problems can be resolved if everyone joins together to solve them. The simplicity of many hands making light work stops cold in the face of political and cultural realities. Three fundamental components of collective impact efforts, especially as promoted by StriveTogether, are civic infrastructure, continuous improvement, …

An Obligation to Destroy

In a recent guest lecture, I provided data on schooling outcomes in Shelby County, TN and asked undergraduate sociology students to assume that systems operate as they should. Their assignment, prior to my arrival, was to determine what design elements led to the following 2013-2014 [outcomes]: 33% of entering kindergarteners ready based on early literacy assessments 36% of 3rd graders …

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Not Our Problem to Solve

Dear Hillary, It’s me again–your younger black Wellesley sister down here in Memphis, TN. As you begin DNC convention week, I’d like to offer a few thoughts on what I, as a black woman, would really like to hear. And, perhaps more importantly, what I would like not to hear…from anyone…at all. In brief, don’t ask us to “come together” …

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Being a Wellesley Woman Could Get Me Killed

Dear Hillary, I’ve been thinking about Sandra Bland a lot lately. I’ve been thinking about her more than usual. I think about her every time a police car appears in my mirror. I check my speed. I hope my lights are all working. Being pulled over for any reason horrifies me since Ms. Bland’s death because I saw myself in …

Lead Like You See Us

Dear Hillary, I need your help. I’ve been struggling during this exceedingly long campaign season, and I think you’re the only person who can resolve the challenge I’m having. I imagine you have black people advising you–black women even. But I also know how pragmatic you are. I’m also quite pragmatic. But our times don’t call for pragmatism. I understand …

Dear Hillary, I’ve got some thoughts…

Dear Hillary, People have some strong feelings about you. I don’t. For some reason, I’m neither foaming at the mouth with hate or drooling with admiration. I do respect you. I am quite excited at the idea of voting for a woman for president. But there are a great many things that anger, frustrate, and concern me as a black …

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Killmonger and the Limits of Revenge Fantasy

I spent most of my childhood wondering why black people didn’t fight more. Why hadn’t black women poisoned the families of slave owners if they cooked all the food? Why hadn’t they killed the babies if they had to nurse and raise them? (Thank you to Alice Randall for The Wind Done Gone.) Why, if black people outnumbered white people …

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Are you not yet free?

There are quite a few free negroes in Memphis. I am proud to be one of them. It is a risky path to take, but there is nothing like freedom. I wake up every morning knowing that no matter what, I’m going to be my authentic self. I learned the hard way that swallowing the poison of racial microagressions can make you …

Flat-Footed Truths

One of the many things I learned as a loud black girl developing into a loud black woman, is that folks don’t really like the truth. I’ve been told more often than I can count that lying is an important function in maintaining civility. Well, I appreciate civility, but being born a black girl child in the south basically dictates …

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#SayHerName

“Although Black women are routinely killed, raped, and beaten by the police, their experiences are rarely foregrounded in popular understandings of police brutality. Yet, inclusion of Black women’s experiences in social movements, media narratives, and policy demands around policing and police brutality is critical to effectively combating racialized state violence for Black communities and other communities of color.” Kimberlé Crenshaw, …

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An Introvert’s Guide to Social Wellness: Musings of an Angry Black Woman

Part 6 of a 6-part series. Radical, Militant, Uncompromising Self-Care: A Black Woman’s Manifesto. Thus let me live, unseen, unknown;    Thus unlamented let me die; Steal from the world, and not a stone                             Tell where I lie. Alexander Pope Ode on Solitude I want to run away. I’ve wanted to run away all my life. I used to sit …

View Post

I think therefore I am angry.

Part 5 of a 6-part series. Radical, Militant, Uncompromising Self-Care: A Black Woman’s Manifesto To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time. James Baldwin After completing my self-care practice inventory on January 1, 2018 and seeing I had no intellectual practices, I wept for myself. So …

Realism is a bitch.

Part 4 of a 6-part series. Radical, Militant, Uncompromising Self-Care: A Black Woman’s Manifesto. I was recently certified in EQ-i 2.0, EQ 360, and TESI. During my pre-training coaching session, the coach who had reviewed the results of my assessment, which showed almost no optimism but very high reality testing asked, “Are you an optimist or a pessimist?” I said, …

View Post

Are you there God? It’s me Adriane.

Part 3 of a 6-part series. Radical, Militant, Uncompromising Self-Care: A Black Woman’s Manifesto. I believe; help my unbelief! –Mark 9:24 (NRSV) ag·nos·tic noun a person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God or of anything beyond material phenomena; a person who claims neither faith nor disbelief in God. My …

My Body Hates Me. It’s Mutual.

Part 2 of a 6-part series. Radical, Militant, Uncompromising Self-Care: A Black Woman’s Manifesto. I have been at war with my body for as long as I remember. At first, my mom was at war with my body. It didn’t shed baby fat fast enough. My breasts got too large too soon. The hourglass figure needed to be hidden because …

Radical, Militant, Uncompromising Self-Care: A Black Woman’s Manifesto

Part 1 of 6 This is my tribute to Erica Garner and every black woman who has succumbed to the health risks of being a black female person in the United States of America. In May of 2011, I went to my water aerobics class early one morning after the spring semester had ended. While taking a shower, I felt a horrible …

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