Black Girls Be Checking Alex Trebek

It is 7:13pm on Monday, June 30 and Jeopardy is on the tv. Just as it has always been in my house for my whole life. When I was 2, I would slurped down mashed peas and hum the Final Jeopardy round theme song. But as I have gotten older, and so has everyone else, I have realized that Alex Trebek is a jerk!

Now, I don’t know the man personally, nor do I know his professional aspirations, but maybe hosting a game show wasn’t his dream job. Or maybe the decades of trivia has made him cynical but whatever it is he needs to SIT DOWN! Just like a teacher who has had it up to here with misspelled 4th grade book reports and juvenile jokes. But lately Trebek has said some douche things to players that have thrown them off their game.

Last week, on Friday, June 27, he taunted the returning champion saying something to the effect of “Ringing in and expecting the answer to come isn’t working for you today, is it?” It was taunting in tone and I think the producers said something to him because after the commercial break he said that the player told him that she was buzzing in before she knew the answer and it was coming to her. But it was too late. That player was taken out of her game, was flustered and she lost.

And today, when the players were sharing their corny stories (99.98% of the stories shared on Jeopardy are SO corny!) And the returning champion mentioned that she met Vanna White on a flight and that she was small, he said “Like you. Slim. A very pretty lady.” She looked perplexed and bothered and she didn’t buzz in for a while.

Alex Trebek is tripping and he is messing with folks minds and money! While doing research for this post (ie Googling),  I discovered that when types in “Alex Trebek is…” the autocompletes are “mean” “condescending” “a jerk” and “losing it”. There is even a whole tumblr called Mean Alex Trebek, so this behavior has been documented.

I just spent the last 350 words on Alex Trebek as if SCOTUS didn’t decide that my job knows more about my health than my doctor does and walking papers are still necessary if you’re brown and anywhere where folks think you ought not be, but today Alex pissed me off. So Black girls gotta check Alex Trebek.

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Black Girls Be Having Gun Anxiety

So yesterday, my brother, father and I popped into Gander Mtn, that outdoor/adventure/zombie apocalypse survivalist store. I immediately gravitated to the ugly but really comfortable sandals that my white friends wear.

hiking sandal

Ya’ll know ya’ll got white friends that wear these.

And my 15 year old brother immediately noticed the back wall lined with guns. After walking through the shoe section (Them thangs are EXPENSIVE!) I browsed through the rest of the store until I got to the back. I had never seen so many guns in my whole life. Just rows and rows of guns.

gander guns

 

I didn’t even stop I just kept walking past all of these guns. And as I was walking my heart started beating fast and my breathing quickened. I was having an anxiety attack!

I don’t have a problems with guns, in fact I grew up with one in the house. My dad was NYPD and I distinctly remember the day he brought me into his room and let me hold his emptied gun and reinforced that it was not a toy.  I also remember him coming home every night with his gun on his waist that I felt press against me as I ran to give him a hug. And after 9/11 we went to a WNBA game at Madison Square Garden and there were armed forces in full combat gear. I didnt understand what they were protecting us from. I still dont really.

And then in college, this guy picked me up to watch movies at his house. When he got to his place, he unclipped this pink gun from his waist and sat it on the table in front of me. I was confused because I didn’t know if I was supposed to be impressed, or feel his manliness or if he was trying to say something else that he wasn’t audacious enough to say out loud. We ended up watching I Can Do Bad All By Myself and playing Scrabble. Before he put down his first word he said, “I hope that one day maybe you and I can have this,” and put down L-O-V-E. 14 points. Needless to say I beat him and I never went to his house again.

I really don’t know what it was that upset me by seeing all those guns. Maybe it was thinking about the shootings in my hometown in the last year, or that the white man standing next to my brother and father at the gun counter looked like he would shoot first and ask questions later. I dont know… something just didn’t feel right.

Black Girls Be Thinking About Maya

Maya Angelou left her body behind 12 days ago. I am usually not affected by celebrity passings but I realize that I deal with death the same way I deal with most emotions; I put it away until it falls off the shelf and knocks me in the head. Well Maya just knocked me in the head.

I was reading this quote,

I’m grateful for being here, for being able to think, for being able to see, for being able to taste, for appreciating love – for knowing that it exists in a world so rife with vulgarity, with brutality and violence, and yet love exists. I’m grateful to know that it exists.

and I could almost feel her whispering in my ear. I was reminded of the memes that I saw that featured Phenomenal Woman, “thots” and Kermit the Frog; quotes that made me sadder than I understood. I blamed it on my cycle, but now I understand.

My junior year of college, Dr. Angelou gave the convocation speech. Out she came, a little ol grey-haired lady with glasses and an assistant to help her on. Was this the same woman whose poems we recite with a hip check and a snap and words we wear like a shield? She looked like someone’s grandma bringing them cookies from the house. But when she spoke there was no denying. She said something to the effect of,

“When your back’s against the wall your pride will fall like a hooker(prostitute’s) drawers.

There were gasps, snickers and full out laughter. I was a bit aghast myself. Mama Maya No! Not a prostitute’s drawers! I didn’t understand then but I think I understand now.

Enough people have highlighted the hypocrisy of these statements in comparison to Dr. Angelou’s experience as a sex worker. The part that hurts is that we have abandoned our grandmothers, our great aunts, our woman elders and made them relics in the corner, good only for recipes and warm hugs. We refuse to accept that they were once young women with full breasts and full beds. No, Granny was born, met Grandpa, had kids, cooked meatloaf and now she’s old. The End. We have completely erased their womanhood thus rendering them sexless, voiceless and powerless. That’s what caused the discomfort of my fellow audience members when Maya dared to let the words “prostitute’s drawers” fall gracefully from her lips. Because in that action she said “And Aint I A Woman?”

Imagine the lessons we could learn if we listened to older women. And imagine the cycles that could be broken if older women were not shamed into silence. I need the mothers to tell me about the men they loved, the loves they lost and the lives they’ve lived. I dont want to reinvent the wheel every generation. I want to sit around the the table, turn down the radio and giggle and wipe tears and be schooled. Pass down some life saving knowledge with that biscuit recipe; we wont get it right the first time but we’ll learn.

*Thank you Mama Angelou for reminding us that our stories matter, even if no one wants them or understands them but us. Thank you for living, breathing and telling your truth. We needed you.*