Three Legged Stool

3leggedstoolSome would have us all believe we are in a ‘post racial society’, those who say this with a straight face are either delusional or simpletons. Others would have us believe women have achieved equality or something closely resembling it, I say those who say this, ‘you are beyond half bent over and should return to whence you came, 1890 perhaps’. I would like to note, if the person uttering this nonsense are of my gender, they are likely being paid well for the garbage dripping from their lips. What keeps us in line is the distinct and bright line of money, or the lack thereof. Let us call it what it is, poverty; we live in a society where money buys your way through life, if you ain’t got it you ain’t going to get it. Those born with it are working hard to keep it and keep it out of the hands of others.

It is a three-legged stool, an ugly and nasty stool. One we have been sitting on and pondering our navels from for far too long.

One from which we watch and shrug our shoulders as our African-American brothers and sisters die, as they are shot in the streets, as they are beaten in jail cells, as their children die of preventable disease for lack of access to health care. One from which we watch our schools crumble and our children fail even basic educational skills. One from which we watch as women/mothers struggle to make ends meet, while the fathers of their children languish in corporate prisons for the crime of trying to pay the rent. One from which we refuse to acknowledge there is a problem and it is called institutional racism, we are a part of it. We inherited it, we continue it, we benefit from it if we are White.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

One from which we watch and shrug our shoulders as our sisters are raped and beaten, we make excuses for their rapists rather than protect our young women in the military and on college campuses. One from which we watch as women who once had the right to agency to choose to protect their reproductive health through birth control and yes, even the right to choose abortion if necessary no longer have this agency, as men strip them of their adulthood of their rights over their own bodies and push them further back into poverty and dependency. We watch as women are paid less than men in every field of endeavor and our leaders at every level of government refuse to acknowledge the inequity. We watch as women struggle to gain parity and representation without success.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We watch and shrug, refusing to acknowledge the widening gap between those who have and those who have not. We uphold the wealthy as heroes to be propped up, while we lose more of our own small value in the market. We watch the gap widen every year without demanding changes to the very systems of inequity that created the abyss we are unable to cross, no matter how many jobs we hold or how many hours we work. We watch as our neighbor loses their home, shrug and are grateful it isn’t us that lost our job to outsourcing or the latest free market con. We shrug as our neighbor drives away never drawing the line to it could be us next time given our abysmal lack of compassion last time we voted. We blame everything without ever considering the agenda of the person or group who has put forth the illogical Meme of the week for why we are sinking in to the chaos of poverty, why our neighborhood is losing market value, why the middle-class is shrinking, why we don’t have any damn money.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We are a nascent society, with the emergence of social media and our use of cell phones and other means of communication there is at least one thing changing and rapidly. Can you guess? We are beginning to talk, we aren’t saying much yet but we are beginning to talk. We are beginning to look at each other and see humanity rather than enemy. We are beginning to see violence against another person, not like us, and challenge the violence rather than challenge those who protest the violence. We are beginning to look across the road and at a burning church and pick up a bucket full of water.

It isn’t all of us, not yet but some of us are beginning to say, ‘no more’. Some of us are beginning to challenge racism, challenge historical structures and challenge symbols with the truth. It isn’t all of us, but it is more of us, more of us are asking the question, “What can I do? How can I help?” It matters, that we ask, that we see and that we are offended and aren’t afraid to offend those who sit and shrug.

It isn’t all of us but some of us are beginning to challenge women’s ‘proper place’ and why we are taking steps backward rather than forward, how we are losing ground. It isn’t all of us, but some of us are asking the questions, stepping forward fearlessly with our stories and demanding to be heard. It isn’t enough of us yet, but some of us are standing up and saying we will be heard, we must

a demonstrator after the Eric Garner Grand Jury announcement Mark Makela/Getty Images

a demonstrator after the Eric Garner Grand Jury announcement
Mark Makela/Getty Images

be heard, we must be represented in State Houses, in Board Rooms, in Congress. Women cannot afford to sit back, to lose the rights our mothers and grandmothers laid down their bodies, their reputations and even their lives to gain for us. Yet, we are bleeding them out again in back alleys; it isn’t all of us but some of us are beginning to stand up and take up the fight for our agency.

We are beginning to recognize we are losing ground, all of us. We are losing our voice, the voice we each have the right to express through our vote. Money has stolen our voice, through a bought and paid for SCOTUS and Congress we have seen our vote being slowly eroded. Through Voter ID Laws, through Super Pacs, through other egregious acts by our acting leadership we have handed over our voice. Now, some of us have recognized how bad it is and we are beginning to fight back.

Poverty comes in many ways, as a nation our worst form of poverty is that of spirit. We have suffered a terrible loss of spirit, of national soul. We have sold ourselves for a dream, to slick talkers with the promise that if we allowed those at the top to lift themselves without limitations or consequence for bad acts, we would somehow be lifted with them. It was a lie, it was always a lie and we were warned but were blinded by the con of free money. Now we are paying for our desire for something for nothing.

I can only say, if you haven’t already WAKE THE FUCK UP!


  1. This could very well be a topic for you to discuss Nikki Minaj gets to be the first female rapper featured in Madame Tussauds in Vegas but the pose they chose to put her in and the way her likeness has been treated speaks volumes I accept she uses sex to sell records but I know here in the UK other wax works had to be given the same protection

  2. Well, I’m back sister-Val and just in time for your well-penned sermon. A change has got to come . . . I love that you added the song–one of my favorite. We must not grow weary; we must keep fighting, ’cause a change has got to come.

  3. I so agree with you, Val. It’s disheartening but sadly, true. You write it down so well, putting it into context in an easy to understand way. Thank you.

  4. I agree with you, Val, that poverty is a giant part of the problem with the racial divide. I think that the minimum wage should be increased to $15 across the board in an effort to revive the working class and to give people a shot at having some quality in their lives. I think that would also be very good for the economy.

    When the history books are written on the Obama presidency, the hostility he has had to endure while being commander-in-chief has been extraordinary. I think that hostility toward people of color has ratcheted up during his years in the oval office. Something about having a black guy run the country, and run the country very well, pisses off the bigots big time. What he’s accomplished during his years in office I find remarkable. Unlike his predecessor, Shrub, who fucked things up monumentally, I think history will look very kindly on Obama. I wish he could run for a third term.

  5. Your passion and VOICE is heard, felt, & MATTERS. xxxxx

  6. Valentine, I agree with everything you say here, and I want to add another way in which women are ignored and treated with a broad sexist brush.

    Have you heard of ME and Fibromyalgia? Our government refuses to help the millions of patients who are afflicted with these diseases; mainly, because almost all sufferers are women. Our government’s refusal to honor these women is shown by pushing them back to the end of the line when it comes to granting $$$s for research. There are more sufferers than MS and AIDS put together.

    Just a bit of info in case you were not aware.

    • Money spent on diseases that affect primarily women are always less than those that affect men. This is a constant. Thank you for the information.

  7. Your words are as powerful as the images! Strange that some of the presidential wanna-bes are suddenly talking about inequality. Excellent voice, Val!

    • I think my friend, they are being forced to do so otherwise they would ignore it, as always. Well with the exception of Bernie, he has always talked about income inequality.

  8. This week’s time did a lengthy report on dramatic disadvantage for women for social security as their pay-ins are low as they spend much of working years as unpaid care givers or at low wage jobs.

  9. We need more of that talk and more of that action from all sides. Getting there. I’m encouraged. In the meantime, I’ll be doing what I know sustains us – give and be Love -because talk amongst ourselves gets weary.

    • The circle has to widen, it has to get bigger and those who have had it easier, benefited all these years they have to start opening eyes and heart.

      I think it must be hard to discover the world you thought was true, it isn’t. I think it must be hard to find you have been the beneficiary of something so terrible. I know it is hard to be told, ‘I want nothing from you, you can’t help’, when you finally open your eyes and reach out. I know it is hard when you are clumsy with words, but want to do your best.

      So yes, it gets weary and fury sometimes it rises up because right now the world it is a terrible place. For me? I am going to try to bring those who are finally willing to see to a place where their hearts might crack and they can finally hear and see. I want them to weep first and then begin to toddle towards being allies.

  10. It hurts to read your thoughts and the facts you tell us. Half a world away I can only send you thoughts and prayers such as they are. But I want you to know that what you write goes straight into this heart.

  11. Well said, as usual Val.

  12. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    There’s a huge need to wake up … NO MORE!!

  13. You are right to weave poverty into this, because it is at the root of many social problems. For those hoping to correct the problem without addressing the underlying poverty, it’s like putting a bandaid on a broken femur.

    • I honestly believe we begin to address poverty and we begin to correct many underlying problems. We cannot change the way people think, but we can change power structures and that truly is what changing poverty does.

  14. Mr. Militant Negro says:

    Reblogged this on The Militant Negro™.

%d bloggers like this: