Category: Pagan Life


Only Negro Syndrome

So, being at the present Summer Solstice ritual prep, I am starting to feel what I think I can sufficiently label the “Only Negro Syndrome”, where you are the only Black person in a sea of White faces and slowly, but most definitely, this starts to irk you.

It. Is. Tiresome.

Only Negro Syndrome is when you have to act differently than you usually would, much less relaxed than usual, because you’re thinking with double consciousness of “Hey, I’m trying to engage myself with the activities at hand,” and “I am probably going to hear a racist joke or experience a microagression before all this is over.” Or the ever popular but occasional “Am I going to die?” To avoid racially-focused comments and microaggressions (even if it is near inevitable sometimes):

- You try to avoid any and every known stereotype you know about Blackness. This means you remove most slang or you’ll be dealing with the White folks around you echoing as if severely mentally challenged and completely hinged on that particular slang. They will think that you’re the living version of the creatures they’ve seen on such wildlife documentaries such as The Wire, The Corner, The 12 O’Clock Boys. In their minds, it is perfectly fine to live out their poverty porn fantasies since to them, you somehow consented to getting boiled down from a multifaceted human being to a modernized minstrel character just because you didn’t feel like talking as if making a formal speech. You change your clothes, anything that could look like it didn’t come from Lands’ End catalogue could be seen as “threatening” and all of a sudden, people don’t trust you being alone. Ever. If you have natural hair, you’re going to be on edge because they want to touch you and you want to hit them out of surprise because grabbing and stroking random people is not cool.

- You avoid “stereotypical” foods such as anything that could possibly come from a chicken, regardless if it is fried, baked, roasted, salad-ed, whatever. If it is watermelon, gotta avoid it, even if everyone else is getting a slice. It doesn’t matter if it is the only fruit you see, it’s only a plain fruit, a healthy summer treat when they eat it, but get seen eating it while Black, here comes the Black jokes. If it is soda, you avoid purple (grape) and if there are sweets, avoid apple flavored (but somehow apples themselves are perfectly fine). If it is greens (kale, collard greens), either stay away from it (it will taste disgusting, I can assure you) or risk race jokes or just stomach all the “We just discovered this! Let me tell you about kale!” from the White folks who are baldly and awfully appropriating foods you grew up with. And if you so much mention “cultural appropriation” or “culture vultures” or “no, you didn’t because Black folks have been eating this ever since we were dragged to this country” expect hurt feelings. To them, being called a racist is faaaar, far worse than experiencing racism.

- You try to be agreeable because apparently any form of protest or amplified emotion is “angry”. Like, you could be jumping up and down in joy and it’s “anger/violence”. Or again, you’re going to be mockingly mimicked because oh hey, the Black person is doing something! We should do it too! That and you don’t want to risk getting chucked out because someone was upset you didn’t find their Trayvon Martin/twerk joke funny. Even if the White person (or people) want you to painstakingly educate them on the history of racism, it’s not because they genuinely want to learn, it is so they can get into a hissy fit and try to derail by making it about them personally.

- You’re going to have your English corrected. Even if you have a degree in English literature (*cough cough*) and can not only explain the structure of a sentence down to the disjunct, adjuct or conjunct but the history of the progression of English from its start to now, someone is going to think it is smugly funny to correct your English. Again, using any relaxed speech while Black somehow effortlessly communicates “uneducated”. Even if the person you’re talking to talks as if their cerebral speech center is controlled by a convulsing, rabid raccoon and a careless teenager.

- Dumb down and sanitize your culture and heritage…a lot. Again, it’s like everyone drank lead paint growing up because your culture apparently isn’t valid to anyone but you. Instead, it’s is a cornucopia of mocking jokes, memes and broad but negative depiction of “otherness”. You’re going to hear the word “ghetto” a lot, especially from people who A) have never lived in one a day in their lives and B) are terrified to simply drive down one. The people who live and exist there aren’t people, they’re things, objects, npc zombies and criminals. Don’t ask for or reference anything that is too embedded in your culture because if the White folks feel as otherized as they’re making you, someone is going to get their feelings hurt and you’re going to have to deal with being the bad guy. Or it’s going to get mocked incessantly because, well, I already explained above, your culture and heritage is discount bin fodder to them. A suburban school shooting is a national tragedy, a drive by shooting is hilarious. Black history is barely secondary trivia, White history is mandatory and primary.

- Get thanked. A lot. Oh my gods, you would have thought you discovered world peace or the cure to hunger or cancer or something. As the only non-White person there, you’re thanked for showing up as if you being there saved the event from going snow-blindingly White. Now it is snow-blindingly White with a speck of peppercorn chucked in for good measure. They don’t want to change the culture they have which keeps minorities away like a repellent, nor do they want to talk about how they’re creating a culture that keeps minorities away like a repellent, nor do they actively want to do anything besides bump their gums about why it is so difficult to keep/attract minorities that are staying away because the culture is such a repellent. Nope, it’s much easier to pretend nothing is wrong and that minorities just don’t want anything to do with them because those finicky minorities are so close-minded. (Yes, this is the black hole calling the kettle and the pot “black”.) It would just be easier to thank the random Black person who wandered in (and is probably planning to wander away now) and stayed for longer than a couple minutes while marveling to them – a lot – why they can’t attract a more diverse set of people. And then go promptly deaf or enraged when informed that the problem probably lies within them and not in the people they’re trying to bring in.

Even if you started with the intention of “Going along to get along”, it’s going to wear on you eventually and you’ll start to feel irritated more and more as time goes on. Or you just want to engage less and less with whatever is going on. You want to be yourself but know that if you tried, it’s going to be a lot of headache. It doesn’t take much to go from “Friendly Negro” to “Militant/Scary Negro”. It’s just that you see everyone not having to really put on a mask to reduce dealing with something as sucky as racially charged aggression (especially since that can turn fatal) but you do and it’ll begin to wear on you that it isn’t fair. It is frustrating to say the least.

It is frustrating because you don’t get to have as much fun. Instead, you have to be on the cautious look out or awareness that someone is going to make a race joke (because it always happens, no matter how faint), starts droning on and on about whatever White Savorism expedition they’ve been on (“I’ve been to the ghetto! Did you know they wear shoes there? I helped one brush her hair, it was like brushing cotton. The little girl’s hair was soft as a sheep, I wish I could stuff it in a pillow.”), and of course, how not racist they are by being completely and totally racist. You’ve got to be on guard because, honestly, you don’t want to get sideswiped with someone’s cultural bigotry.

If there were a Black Pagans group or one for minority Pagans, I’d join quick. It would be nice being in a place where people don’t grab my hair like I’m a petting zoo, make really object comments about race while thinking they’re so enlightened and expressions of Whiteness everywhere. I don’t expect for White Pagans to be progressive that much when it comes to race given my and other Black Pagans personal experiences as well as just dealing with Whiteness while minority as a whole. I rather avoid the trouble and just fellowship with others I don’t have to be that skeptical around.

When it comes to Pagan spaces that are White dominated, basically, they don’t want to solve the cultural problem which creates Only Negro Syndrome because they feel that they are not the problem and that such a problem doesn’t exist where they are. Whereas I am strongly deciding to just remove myself from going to these events altogether. They’re nice and I like the theatric of high rites but it’s getting to really not be worth it, plain and simple.

BW Sick Day!

So…I’m sick. Woke up sick yesterday, I must have caught something during my birthday the day before yesterday. So that means I’m inside with a stuffy nose, a killer headache and a sore throat. Sore throat I think is gone but everything else remains.

Therefore, here is some Red Dwarf

It is the fourth anniversary post of Black Witch. Yep, we’re going into the fifth year of BW. This means I have been around for quite a minute. Nearly half a decade. I’m just as surprised as you are. Don’t forget  Black Witch 4th anniversary Ustream vcast TONIGHT  at 10:00 PM EST!

I really never know what to say for these anniversary posts. I kinda wanna copy what Phil Yu of Angry Asian Man does but I don’t have Bruce Lee as the patron saint of my blog. I would elect Janelle Monae for that buuuuuuuut it just wouldn’t feel the same.

Fo’ years, ‘doe.

I am really surprised that this blog has gone this far. It’s nice but wow, I’m astonished I can come up with regular content weekly for four solid years (and the occasional filler posts for the times I can’t). Yeah, my timing could be a little better with posting, I’ve been plenty tardy this year but you try running a blog all by yourself and creating original materially regularly on a weekly basis. It’s no walk in the park. Bah humbug.

I think this is the year I parted ways officially with Afro-Punk and BW has been flying solo. This year had a lot going on, non-BW wise as well. I managed to lose my backstage pass after a Janelle Monae concert (I still mourn that), I took Lupe Fiasco to a museum for it’s Black superhero exhibit (tho I feel bad for making him walk steps because I didn’t know his knees were giving him problems), my big bow on my Putumayo dress got trampled and nearly thrown away at a Deep Cotton concert – and the fans thought I was stalking my friend Kellindo despite spending the whole day with him (fan mentality is weird). I have a drastic increase in smorkin labbits, including two Deadpools (a big one and blind box one). I just got a Pop Toy of Assassin’s Creed Aveline de Grandpere and she’s adorable.

For this upcoming year, I’m going to try to improve my real world footprint byyyyyyyy… speaking gigs! See that “Contact for Speaking Engagements” page above? You can fill that out if you want me to speak at your place/event/whatever. For now, I’m opening this up for the Mid-Atlantic region since I’m just starting out. Hit me up and let’s get something going!

Also I am revamping the donation center, look at the right of this site. In addition to the regular one-time donation (which can also be reoccurring payments), I’m using Patreon also for reoccurring payments! What’s Patreon? Here’s the difference:

Regular Donations: They’re a one-time donation. You can make them as many times as you like in whatever amount. They also can be reoccurring in whatever amount you would like and easy to cancel.

Patreon: It’s reoccurring donations which is a monthly, automatic donation where you can contribute anything between $1/post to $10/post. (For mathematical reference, I post roughly 4-5 posts a month). You can also stop payments any time you want.

This helps keep Black Witch up and running (as well as ad-free and multimedia capable), the cat fed annnnnnnnnd the writer of Black Witch fed. That would be me.

Sorry for the late post! I’ve been busy with stuff (*cough*LibraryofCongressjobacquiring*cough*) that I have had my hands tied. So here is this adorable kitty video! It’s French but with English subtitles. And remember,  Black Witch 4th anniversary Ustream vcast on June 9th at 10:00 PM EST!

Alright, everyone! Don’t forget! Black Witch 4th anniversary Ustream vcast on June 9th at 10:00 PM EST! Be there! I’ll be taking questions via Ustream and twitter (@thisblackwitch).

Hello, my name’s Evangeline. I have thousands questions, but my two main concerns at the moment is how to connect with the Goddesses. I’ve been on the Pagan/Wicca path for about a year now. I haven’t truly dedicated myself yet. I’m leaning more to Diantic Wicca. I’ve put together a notebook and I’ve decided to choose 10 or so Goddesses that appeal to me and working with them each for a month. I’ve meditated on a few and I intend to continue doing so, but is this a good way to approach it and what do I need to know about them? What do I need to research? Also, I’ve been fascinated by Divination. I’ve dabbled in Tarot (Rider Waite deck), Runes, scrying, and I use a pendulum occasionally. My question is can I work with multiple Divination tools together?

- Evangeline

I recommend research. Reading is probably the best you can do to understand the deities you like and the cultures they come from, which is crucial in understanding and relating to how your selected deities work and their place in the universe. You can start by using Mythology Dictionary (which is in the Links of Interest) and going from there by researching their cultures and backgrounds.

Stay off of New Age-y sites, they’re full of nonsense written by people who possibly slept all the way through high school science and culture classes and possibly think fluoride is a toxin that’s put in our water. They’re not researchers, just really people who are more opinionated than they are educated. Stick with sites that actually go into the cultures of the deities you want to work with and make sure it’s not framed on the spectrum of Whiteness, that people from the culture are actually talking for themselves. And if the site describes the cultures as “barbaric”, “savage” or anything that basically translates to, “aren’t you happy you’re here and not there?”, it is not a good learning material because it is super biased. Even if it is a wiki page from Harvard, get off the site.

Also, read actual books. Internet doesn’t have everything. Go to actual libraries and read actual books. You’ll get a lot more information that way because you’ll see multiple viewpoints on the same thing, which is necessary. Research your deities there and their cultures and see what you come up with. Again, same stuff stands: Stay away from New Agey books (they’re possibly going to be incorrect), stay away from “spectrum of White” books (they’re inaccurate), books that treat the cultures like Western modern culture is the best culture ever and everyone else sucks (also wildly inaccurate).

You can use varying forms of divination together. You’ll be tired a lot, especially if you’re new to it, but you can do it.

Before we start, remember that on June 9th, there is going to be a Black Witch livestream on Ustream for the 4th anniversary of this site at NEW TIME: 10:00 PM EST

Moving on!

Neko no Shuukai
This short film is so cute! It’s called “Neko no Shuukai”, which means “A Gathering of Cats”. It’s about a kitty named Chobi that’s tired of being stepped on day in and day out and he’s not the only one. Time for a kitty revolution! Maybe.

Dr. Nerdlove
I have been referred to very few relationship blogs and dating columns. To be honest, I usually read Dan Savage and listen to Loveline but it seems Dr. Nerdlove is very good at creating materials specifically for nerds, geeks and everyone in between because if anyone needs to know how to be social and interact with others, especially in dating, it’s them.

Granted the website is fairly directed at the usual White, straight nerd guy, I have found that the pieces are fairly well written. I like his writings on Creep Week, how to interact with women and even goes as far as deconstructing misogynist ideas most commonly held in nerd circles so nerd dudes can go from fedora-wearing douchebag neckbeards to decent guys.

I really liked these posts most:

Socially Awkward isn’t an Excuse
On Labeling Men ‘Creepy’”/”On Labeling Women ‘Crazy’
How Not to be Creepy
Coerced Consent: When ‘Yes’ Really Means ‘No’

I know so many guys who could benefit from this site a lot more than whatever they’re currently reading. Dr. Nerdlove breaks down gender issues in a way that’s actually understandable for guys so they can develop the empathy necessary to develop relationships with. That and they can do away with the “Women are evil/mean/skanks/such catty b*tches/crazy” thinking since Dr. Nerdlove successfully deconstructs such problematic (and sexist) thinking. I really like it and thus, highly recommend it.

The advice is fairly sound when it comes to picking up folks. Dr. Nerdlove breaks it down bit by bit so everyone can easily follow along and apply it to their lives. Reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaad eeeeeeeeett.

Learn more about Dr. Nerdlove:
Dr. Nerdlove Twitter (@DrNerdLove)
Dr. Nerdlove Facebook
Dr. Nerdlove Tumblr

Musicogyny
It’s no surprise that the music industry is rife with misogyny. It has 3% women in the industry, which most certainly is not because of lack of talent from women in both the music side and the business side of the music business but of the douchiness of the guys in the music industry creating hostile environments that unnecessarily oust women, creating a near sausage-fest.

Of course, you will still have some random dude saying that he doesn’t see any misogyny in the music industry – in fact, it’s somehow easier to be a girl in the industry because there’s so little competition and they can use their womanly wiles to get what they want…even if they didn’t ask for it. (Read Dr. Nerdlove for an explanation of why this is such a dumb and myopic perspective). This blog is to document all the times women have encountered sexism in their respective fields in the music industry. I highly recommending giving this site a look because it is indeed ridiculous how difficult it is for women to make it in the music industry because they’re framed in the lens of “Is she hot or not?” lens which is mostly placed and enforced by guys.

Here’s a few stories collected from Musicogyny:

Musicogyny example post 1

Musicogyny example post 2

Musicogyny example post 3

The one thing I constantly think about is when a friend of mine told me she once went to a band’s hotel room because she and a friend really wanted an autograph and managed to find the manager, who led her to the hotel room and how she was nearly sexually assaulted by the six guys because they apparently were planning to do something to her in one language and talking plainly to her in English and thankfully she knew the other language. It wasn’t easy to leave because the manager was standing in the way of the hotel door and she was on the other side of the room so it wouldn’t be easy to get out. She tried to pin the blame on herself but I spent around 10 or so years dealing with fans, it wasn’t her fault at all. All she wanted was an autograph, something that is in and out. That’s what she and her friend wanted, that’s what she explicitly said, that’s exactly what she expected. Not having a band she likes get the really wrong idea and even attempt to use an assumed language barrier to premeditate how they’re going to act on their really wrong idea.

Then, I think about how my other friend, Lupe Fiasco, got his career started. It also started in a hotel room. When he was 19 or so, he wanted to meet Jay-Z bad. Got a chance to go to Jay-Z’s hotel room, spit a few lines and, boom, a fruitful career is born. Never once did Lu have to worry about rape, one of the acts trying to take his clothes off. If anything, sexual assault would have been the furthest from his mind. He’s more worried about the fact he’s about to meet a favorite rapper, hope he doesn’t say or do anything stupid, forget his lines, that this was his chance. He was a fan getting an ultimate opportunity to meet his favorites well past meet & greet time.

This is very much biased. One got to be treated with respect to himself as a person, the other was treated like a call girl and they both wanted the same thing: to meet and interact with their favorites. Hell, asking for an autograph is much easier than asking for a minute of their time to spit some random lyrics but the fact that Lu got that time without so much as a hyper creepy and rapey comment about his body, his stance, the fact he came alone (Oh man, if Lu was a girl, he’d have a much different story on that premise alone) or anything that my other friend encountered.

Misogyny sucks, especially when paired with music. Or comics. Or society.

 

Alright, that’s all for The Arts!, next week is Ask Black Witch. Get your questions in. Remember, good questions are appreciated, bad questions are eviscerated!

Black Unlike Me

I currently am on the bus going to ECBACC so yay for time to actually be able to write something. Or just watch the kid on my left who’s throwing his hands as if shadow rapping.

I got an email not too long ago of some person confusing the Black Witch name. See, instead of actually reading the site or anything crazy like that, they thought I was a black magick practitioner (also known as the “Left Hand Path”). Granted, even though magick is neither black nor white, I am not on the Left Hand Path. Also, when I say I’m Black, it’s in reference to my race. The “witch” part is in reference to what I do. This email annoyed me only on the principal that the person who wrote the email never had it cross their mind once that I could be called Black Witch becaaaaaaause I’m, I dunno, Black? Like, as in a Black person, a person who is part of the African diaspora, a Negro, I have the skin tone, facial features, hair texture and all. I’ve been bothered by cops, passed up for jobs I’m perfectly qualified for, even yesterday, some random lady pulled her bag closer to herself when I was behind her on the escalator. There’s even a picture of me on the “About Me” page. It’s dated by five years or so, my hair is now natural instead of permed like back in that pic so I should change it but that’s basically still me. Y’know, Black, as in a Black person.

I think I even wrote on there on the About Me page that this blog is for the intersection of the Black and Pagan experience. I have posts on race here that are pretty decent written – waaaaaaaaaaaay too well written for this site to be penned by a White person, especially the average White Pagan. Most of them can’t even get past their own micro-aggressions and casual racism to just not culturally appropriate, it would be nearly erroneous to assume they could pen nuanced and sensitive pieces on something they know little about. Actually, I think that I mentioned my race several times in those pieces, either directly (“I’m Black”/”as a Black person”) or indirectly (“Black people have definitely suffered many trials and tribulations but we as a people…” (Notice the “we”?)) so I don’t know how the letter writer missed that. And if they weren’t checking, they still should have skimmed the site some before simply blowing me an email I ultimately would dismiss because of their lack of attention to detail.

I also know that I have made really clear that this site is mainly for Black Pagans, the core audience. Anyone outside that audience, I don’t care so much about. So many Pagan blogs are hyper-focused on Whiteness and White-washing that I don’t have to care since there are literally hundreds of options out there for White Pagans to pick their media, even down to Pagan magazines down to random blogs and social media. And the average Black blog is so Christian centered that it’s pretty annoying in and of itself. Christianity is an important part of the Black experience, true, but wow, how about acknowledging Black folks in different faiths exist? And not in a “potential convert”/”Look at that weird person over there not worshiping Jesus” way? But ultimately, this blog is for Black Pagans, plain and simple. I’m not incredibly concerned for my White readership, this isn’t their learning ground of “how to interact with darkies”, it’s a space for Black Pagans ultimately so they have something to read that, at least, is directed at them. I’m not the champion voice of the Black Pagan experience, there’s definitely other Black Pagans who have opinions that are just as valid as mine on the same subjects I write on, even if it is not the same opinion. I just want to provide something because there wasn’t anything I could find prior to Black Witch and trust, I looked. As said originally on the “About Me” page, you don’t have to be Black and Pagan to read Black Witch but please know that Black Pagans will always come first and that particular intersection only. We have such few spaces as it is, needing a space for ourselves in the whole world of Pagan media is important.

Because having folks write to me thinking that I’m not Black despite my site saying it in such point blank and not-so-point blank ways is really annoying and insulting. The letter writer could have saved themselves the time and megabytes it took to write their email if they decided to read – or skim – the site and figure out, “Oh, she’s a Black person practicing witchcraft, not a person (assumedly White) practicing Black magick, my question is probably not her forte. Back to Google it is.” That would have been a much smarter idea. Yeah, I could be a left handed practitioner who is also Black (for the LH people who need directness: I’m not.) who is actually Black but I’m pretty sure it would also be noted in the naming of the site and how I talk about things here. Pretty certain. Besides, Konstanos doesn’t take mail? Go bother him. This site is mainly for the African diasporic experience within Paganism. Only reason I don’t have the tagline saying “Life as the African diasporic Pagan experience” because why sound like a text book because some random White person was too dumb or lazy or hurried to even skim for basic information? If this site isn’t for them then it also means I’m not going to construct a site name or tagline to help them along when the average Black Pagan seems to understand the point of this site just fine. The point of this site isn’t so buried that someone should or could say, “I didn’t know what the site was about, I just assumed.” That is why this is fairly irritating. Even when being direct, your identity is still White-washed. It’s like the Tumblr posts about white washing book characters when they hit movie theatres:

race and literature

Because God/dess save the Queen, King and rest of the kingdom if there is even the slightest mark of visual representation. Or any marked representation at all. Same here, I’m a Black person, that part of my identity (which is part of why I made this column-turned-blog) is kinda important. Just a leeeeettle important. Thus I’m going to get miffed if people not simply dismiss it but confuse it for something else I have never alluded to ever.

It’s almost as bad as when White Pagans come onto this blog to comment on race topics as if a) I nor any other Black person hasn’t heard whatever excuse or reasoning they’re going to say b) their opinion on something they have never experienced before is going to have weight c) they’re going to get e-cookies for trying to center the discussion on their feels or on how White people feel. Those guys know I’m Black and should know that I’m probably more hip to race issues than they are since I’m more negatively affected by it and at a much, much more frequent interval but it doesn’t stop them from going “but what about the White people?”

Dude, it’s like if someone wrote a blog called “Rainbow Express” that was about gay relationships and I wrote in regards to my boyfriend, completely neglecting the point of the blog and then sending in another email going, “Oh! I didn’t know that you were a gay person! Well, I’m straight but could you still provide some help?” Yeah, no. The writer would have every right to go, “What? Are you serious? How did you not catch that this was for gay people? Dude, there’s countless relationship sites for straight relationships and you had to pick this one. That’s not for straight relationships. At all.” That’s exactly what happened to me. Not cool, brah.

So yep, do your research. This worse than when folks have written to me thinking I was a guy. Do people just not read or something or is my About Me picture not big enough? I certainly thought it was. And the pictures the Black Witch facebook page (actually, I’m in both pictures, the profile picture and the cover picture). And this pictures on the Black Witch tumblr. Even the illustrated icon should be a pretty strong hint of what I mean by saying “Black Witch”. And on the Black Witch Twitter. Basically, would have taken the letter writer a couple clicks, if even that, to figure out they made a boneheaded assumption.

Reading and research are both fundamental, everyone. Please actually do some so you don’t look like a dunce like this person.

Alright, that’s all the Black Witch for this week. Next week is The Arts!, let’s see what is getting featured:

- Neko no Shuukai

- Musicogny

- Dr. Nerdlove

Also, the Black Witch 4th anniversary is coming up on June 9th. This means vCast livestream. Celebrate with me on Ustream as we go into the fifth year of Black Witch. I’ll be communicating with readers over the livestream via chat and over twitter (@thisblackwitch)

The Know-Nothings

So I was at Beltane high rite and it was a cookout.  When I went over to the condiment table just to get a hot dog bun for the second time because the first time, someone yinked a hot dog right from under my nose when I was away fetching a bun and this time, I was gonna make haste. Three folks were talking, two ladies, one dude, all White (like the majority of the people here with exception to five people), and one talked about how she’s from Detroit and watched The Wire before she started teaching in Baltimore public schools and how much information that gave her. Since the other two people she was talking to was White, they marveled at how that was so smart and that it was such an interesting show because of the grittiness of it and other crap that White folks who are not from the background of the average character of the Wire say.

I immediately turn around and ask, “Hey, what part of Baltimore are you from?” The lady remarked, “I’m not from here.” Yep, exactly. The other woman, asked me am I from Baltimore and I said that I was originally from Sandtown, Mount and Baker to be exact. And, of course, they asked how I felt about the show and I immediately said, “It’s like watching Harry Potter to understand London, it’s a stupid show.” They, of course had twisted faces because they could tell I, the person who has more authority to talk about the condition of the hometown and area I lived in, wasn’t too pleased. I explained to them that it’s just a show, like any other show, not a training video for White folks who are about to visit Baltimore and how annoying it was that those people would constantly refer to the show when visiting my city, even if it is just the Inner Harbor.

I explained that locals don’t like the show as much as people who are not Baltimore because it’s one sided. I mean, a cop and a journalist made the show. To native Baltimoreans, that means two professional spin doctors made this. It doesn’t matter that one of the creators of the show taught at my high school when I was there, it matters that journalists and cops aren’t high on the People of Trust bar here in this city because of their proclivity to make stuff up enable to suit their own means. Plus it’s poverty porn, the modern day Arabian Nights where here you have these people who don’t look like you, act like you or live like you in this far oft distant place called The Hood. It’s a ball of complex problems turned into primetime cable entertainment for people who are not from here to treat it like a freakin training video. It’s a fictional show.

They asked if I attended Baltimore public schools. Yep, all my life. We have dealt with teachers who came from White, middle-class (or higher) backgrounds. We usually set bets to see how fast we can make them cry, leave, whatever because we knew they weren’t here for us, they were here on some White Saviorism nonsense a la Dangerous Minds. They’re here to pump themselves and their resumes up, to treat being in the inner city like it’s a tour of Iraq to their friends on Facebook. Dude, even if Baltimore has been rightfully compared to a war zone, it’s not exactly cool to treat yourself like the American soldiers who invaded the area because you’re not saving anyone when you instinctively look down on them. Those teachers were here because they thought that the kids needed saving. Not saying we don’t but pint-sized imperialism isn’t the solution. Baltimore is a 64% Black city, if you don’t even know 25% of Black history or culture, then you’re 100% incapable of doing the job effectively. Regularly telling kids about people who don’t look like them and probably would be too scared to meet said kids because all that person knows is whatever The Wire told them helps no one. Of course, the trio I was talking to wasn’t too happy but hey, I don’t care. You brought up my hometown and upbringing like it was sport scores, deal with it. They could have easily talked about how nifty the lights looked.

The other lady (the one who wasn’t the teacher) continued asking if were there any teachers from the White middle class background that I could remember but I think I couldn’t really come up with any. Maybe three, one Black teacher getting tucked in because he wasn’t from Baltimore but from North Carolina and thus an outsider but he taught really well. The other two were decent because they treated us like human beings and not personal goals of White saviorism. They understood that, hey we’re kids and yeah, a lot of us came from really messed up backgrounds thanks to the city and its history of not caring via drug abuse, broken families, corrupt politics, things like that, but still spoke to us and our very real problems like we’re people. The problems that plague the city and its students aren’t easy to solve, especially since the adults do a horrible job of solving them each and every time out of political selfishness, but at least the teachers tried to understand the culture and background the same way one would if they made a friend from a different area than them. I mean, if you made a friend from France, you’re not going to watch Amelie and then come back saying, “I totes know you, now. Totes,” because while it is a French movie that is immersed in French culture and is from France and is very Frenchy, it’s not all of France nor even the area they may be from. It’s a fictional movie. A well-made fictional movie but still a work of fiction nonetheless. Same with these kids, they’re not extras from The Wire. Hell, some – if not most – have not seen The Wire and therefore not know that these yuppies are staring at them through the frames of an HBO show. They just wanna go to school, deal with a super incompetent school system that has a very evident pipeline from the school house to the jailhouse mainly for the minority kids, go home to their ripped up neighborhoods, engage in media that doesn’t depict them or simply depict them in an unfriendly light, wash, rinse and repeat.

Another way I tried explaining the ridiculousness is using the movie Hairspray. Also made in Baltimore by a Baltimorean director, John Waters, it’s one of his most well-known works besides Pink Flamingos and A Dirty Shame. I have never seen a beehive ever in my life. A beehive where bees actually live, yep but not the hairstyle. The lady who was asking me the all questions (because the teacher one was uncomfortable talking to someone who was a result of the school system she currently teaches in) quipped, “They do that in Hampden.” I wanted to retort, “Not everyday, only when Honfest is around and notice the festival has the reputation of being racist,” but said, “That’s Pigtown, though. We’re different in different areas of Baltimore. That’s one neighborhood and sometimes we don’t always get along. Like, when I bring my friend from the Bronx and the other who is from Brooklyn together, they don’t always get along, especially when discussions of New York come up.”

This is where the teacher finally decided to interject, “I teach in Sandtown.” I think I remember saying, “Ohhhh,” in a super dismissive manner. I still have grudges about yuppies messing with my old area because it doesn’t come from a place of “I want to make this spot better” because trust, it needs improvement badly but not from people who probably plan to gentrify it and only is helping the area because of whatever kickback they’re getting, be it in the form of tax money, resume bolstering, feeling like a White Savior, whatever. The teacher shrinked back, this is probably the first time someone was not showering praise on her work due to being from the area.

It wasn’t long before all three people felt so uncomfortable about interacting with someone who was from the areas The Wire depicted and how that person had actual opinions that weren’t pleasant, the teacher one just shouted, “FACEBOOOOOOOOOK! How about Facebook?” and the other two (the guy did not talk much at all) just responded, “Faceboooooooook. Facebook.” I have successfully bothered these people on a subject they had no business discussing like it was no big deal and now they wanted to actively ignore me, like they attempted to repeatedly for the rest of the night. This means that I get my hot dog bun and left in hopes to harass whoever is thieving the hot dogs before I get there. I only got in two or three hot dogs that night. And I had to witness a “twerk” line. Thanks for stealing parts of my culture and waving a butchered version of it in front of me but don’t want to talk about the more problematic aspects of the whole ordeal.

See, I don’t really like yuppies for reasons like this. It’s one thing to go, “It’s just a tv show, let’s talk about the merits of the show from the perspective of filmography and drama.” It’s another to treat the show like it is a training video for how to interact with a group of disenfranchised people. It’s disrespectful, especially when you’re shrinking like a violet when someone from that background is around and saying, “This show is awful because of reason A, B and C. People use the show as a guidebook of how to treat me and people like me and it’s always degrading and dehumanizing.” Want to watch a show like The Wire but don’t want to talk about systemized racism and prejudice? Then you should just stick with My Little Pony. I don’t watch The Wire because what’s the point? I remember my neighborhood when I was growing up and still don’t live far from it, I don’t need to spend money to see a dramatized version of it. Dude, it’s the reason I have C-PTSD and a therapist, I’m good.

Granted, The Wire is just another of a long string of slice-of-life/cop shows from Baltimore such as Homicide: Life on the Street and The Corner. Actually, The Corner in its book form was a personal favorite because regardless who was holding a copy, I’d always yank it away and flip to the map at the front of the book and get excited, saying, “This a map of where I lived! There’s my house, that’s my grandma’s house, there’s where I went to elementary school….” and if the person was a yuppie, they usually had a horrified look because oh hey, one of them got out. I just was excited because it was a detailed map of my old neighborhood in a mass produced book. It was the same excitement anyone gets when they see a glimpse of their city or usual stomping grounds in a movie. And of course, that yuppie never want to discuss the themes or ideas of the book, even if they were itching to prior. Apparently, talking to someone who actually is from that background is “intimidating”. Talking to others who are not from that background just like them is “interesting”. Riiiiiiiiiiight. And I personally liked the show Roc, a tv show that was based in Baltimore and showed it through the casting and the setting. At least I could sit through an episode without being triggered and it was actually enjoyable for people who are actually from here.

And folks wonder why I only go to Pagan events during high rites and never any other time and even then I have to think about it. I just wanted a hot dog.

 

Since it is coming up, Black Witch Anniversary Ustream cast is going to be June 9th at 7 PM EST. Be there! I will be taking questions from the live stream itself and via Twitter (@thisblackwitch).

Not Buying It

So, I had quite a week  and due to that week, I think it is best to reiterate this really basic fact and rule about Black Witch:

I. Don’t. Do. Paid. Spellwork. At. All.

So stop asking for it. Especially for body switch spells. I don’t know why but that is the biggest request I’ve gotten in regards to spellwork. While I’m all for understanding the perspectives of others, there’s ways to go about it that doesn’t involve playing out Body Snatchers.

I got an email from a random person and as spell requests usually are, there’s no manners whatsoever. I mean, if you’re going to ask for spells, the least you can do is be a little polite. Y’know, just a scooch. I don’t need overbearing politeness but some civil decency wouldn’t kill anyone.

In an email with “I need a spell fast” in all caps in the subject line (this is how you can usually tell you’re about to be annoyed by the content of the email, capslock writing), inside it reads:

“I really need to switch bodies with someone im a girl and I wanna switch with a girl will you PLEASE do it”

Notice the over-demanding nature of the request and the implication that I’d do it for free since she’s desperate to switch bodies with a girl a lot more than she is about talking to the girl about whatever differences they have.

My response

“Another switch bodies spell request. Why on earth would you need this and what makes you think I’d be the one to do it?”

Seriously, why? And why do people flock to me for these requests? I don’t hear other witches getting this particular request. And why did this person not just research a little bit to find that I don’t do spell requests and that I generally mock folks who ask for body switching requests because generally they’re ridiculous. Just like the phony people who try to spam my comment section with “[So-and-so quack/fake witch doctor] healed my [problem that I probably am at the center of], you can contact him here [so you, too, can be scammed]“.

“I really need to switch bodies with my friends it is IMPORTANT please please please help me a lot people told me u did spell for them I can’t tell u why be cuz if I do I just can’t but please can you do it for me I’ll ow u bing time please”

Nice question dodge because this tells me nothing. This person must use it on their parents often. I have done magick long enough and dealt with people long enough that if you’re asking for something possibly ridiculous from a stranger, you’re probably going to have go to into the backstory. Especially if you’re going to initially approach the person so impolitely and with such poor writing skills. I don’t think there’s a single period or comma in that whole quote up there and I’m just copy and pasting. And she’ll owe me “bing” time? Dude, that’s sounds like a bait and switch right there and she sounds young with saying it because. dude, this stuff isn’t on a favor system.

“This is ridiculous. No way. What a bad question.”

It is a bad question. It would have been smart of her to stop communications here but newp.

“Why won’t you do It please do you want money how much are you even a witch because I read online about people doing it please”

This is where I thought, “How stupid are you?” because where on my site have I ever said I did pay-for-pray and dude, can’t she freakin read? I don’t do pay for pray. She should be begging a reading comprehension teacher for their time not me. And calling my validity into question just because I won’t do as you ask is both dimwitted and incredibly bratty. And she thinks I’m going to agree to anything after this?

“Reasons:
1) Request is frankly stupid, a body switching spell? What for?
2) I don’t do spells for others. That’s been mentioned on my site, read it
3) Spell this size cost thousands, something you most likely don’t have
4) Just because you read others doing it on the internet doesn’t mean I do it, you should go to them for tips
5) Reason #1, I felt it was worth mentioning twice.

Instead of wondering whether I’m a witch or not, you should just stop begging or at least read how I treat body switching spell requests on my site.”

I figured list form would help her near non-existent literacy comprehension skills. It’s short, brief and you gotta be dumber than a bucket of paint to not get it.

“I do have thousands to give you for It and if I was you I would do it I still do see the reason for you not to do it I understand that you don’t do if for other but it and emergency please please can you even do spells I don’t think you really can”

She doesn’t get it.

And what a phony liar, any kid that claim they got dough like that isn’t being honest. It’s either a fib or mommy’s/daddy’s money they’re blowing through (which should have been spent on a language arts tutor). And trust, a body switching spell is not an emergency. And if it was and I just don’t get it, welp, she ain’t say nothing. What am I to do if she doesn’t explain her situation?

“Refer to reason 2. Read that part til you thoroughly understand it. If it still doesn’t make sense, grab a friend and have them explain it to you.

I don’t do spells for others, plain and simple. Since you have such astounding amounts of money, waste it on someone or something else.”

How dumb/illiterate could this girl be? I said it really plain and simple, no big words or any complex sentences. I thought it made sense. Even put it in list form and not even a big list to keep confusion at a low. And again, if she was that stacked, why stay on me when you can move on to someone else. Like the shifty, crack-pot non-witch doctors that try to post in the comments. They’d love to take and run off with those thousands of dollars, I’m sure.

“Ok just to let you know fake witch my uncles a website person a person that reviews websites and she if they need to be shut down just say but whatever RUDE”

Ah, here comes the name calling because I’m not bending to some bratty and potentially stuck up young person’s will annnnnnnnd pretending you have power, even if none of it is your own. Dude, a person who reviews websites does not exactly have the power to shut a website down. That doesn’t even make much sense. And I doubt her uncle will do anything because his niece’s feelings are hurt since someone told them “No.” Being told “no” is not a bad thing, her parents should have tried it once in a while when they were raising her. Snarky but firm is what I’m being but she’s the one who started out rude.

“Dude, you were rude from the very first email being super demanding. Being moody and incoherent here won’t help you further.”

It won’t. And is punctuation lost on this person?

“We’ll i apologize if I came out rude this spell just means soo much to me so I’m sorry������������������������������”

Those question marks are all emoticons, they’re supposed to be crying faces and such. I can tell this person probably use this on their parent a lot to get out of trouble. Look, again, if you’re going to be that abrupt in speaking, you might as well start talking about your backstory to why this spell is so “important” that you decided to do no research about the person you asked. This person ain’t sorry about nothin.

“Thank you but I’m still not budging on my hardfast rule.”

Yeah, finding threadbare manners  at the last moment still won’t make me budge on a hardfast move. I don’t even do spells for friends, what shot did this person think they had?

“That’s fine but do you know anyone I can talk to who can maybe ask to do what i want”

Really? Really? Really? Yeah, like I’d send you off to some friend who possibly has less patience than me.

“Nope.”

They’d prolly would say something that would get them hexed, not helped, if I sent them to someone else.

Now, this person should have known better. I don’t treat anyone who ask for body switching spells well at all because I couldn’t hear a stupider request – wait, I could but right now, this is taking home the medal for idiotic. Plain and simple, I don’t do pay for pray and that’s a solid rule. So everyone should be on the same page of what I don’t like and the wrong way to ask for something. Now, the person could have been sweet as sugar and I still would have said “no” because , again, hardfast rule but at least I would have much better explained to her that I don’t do that kind of spell work and don’t know anyone else who would be willing to do it.

Anyone else that asks for spellwork to be done on their behalf, you’re going to receive the same ridicule this person did so I would highly recommend not bothering to ask.

Running Black Witch, I’m certain that I would get odd questions now and again. However, as of recent I’ve gotten a rash of “tell me if this girl like me” questions. This has been coming from nothing but guys, only guys have been sending me questions – or demands because manners are lost on them – to do divination or whatever voodoo that I do to figure out something that should not need divine questioning for. I always give my copy and paste answer of “Have you tried asking her?”

I find these questions annoying for two reasons:

1) If they did a little more than the most basic skimming of my site’s name, they would know that I don’t do divination readings on here until Samhain Pickers close to Halloween and even with that, you have to win the reading via random drawing

2) Why ask a random stranger on the internet if someone you actually knows likes you? Just ask!

The reason why I always respond “Have you tried asking her?” to their “Does she like me?” question is because that’s really just it. The best way to find out if someone likes you is if you actually suck it up and ask “Do you like me? Y’know, more than a friend?” I’m not saying it’s not nerve wracking to ask someone you have a crush on if they feel the same way you do about them but it is a better step than simply bothering me. Even my personal friends don’t come to me asking this question.

I do find it interesting that I’ve gotten absolutely nothing but guys asking me this. And they don’t go into detail, just basically go, “There’s this girl. Does she like me?” Dude, just ask her. I don’t think I can say that enough. One even decided to play stupid and thought that because I wasn’t psychically confirming whether or not the girl he was too scared to approach in honesty liked him, that it would be best to basically call me a fraud. Not smart. No need to get moody at me for not having the courage to ask for yourself.

These questions are so unnecessary and annoying because, to be frank, if the guy is too scared to make the first step on their own (or if anyone is afraid to make the first step on their own, regardless of gender) then what will they do when things get harder? The sucky part about love is that there’s not really any arbitrary checking scale. Not to mention, if I did do a reading for these guys (who bothered to ask with absolutely zero manners), that means they most likely would bother me every time they had an issue with girls in opposed to actually using logic and social skills to work it out for themselves. Yeah, no.

I really don’t like questions like these because they’re not questions you should be asking me, a random person on the internet. This is beyond dancing around the mulberry bush, this is avoiding the whole block that one bush sits on. It’s one thing if it were someone I knew asking and even then I wouldn’t pull out the cards initially but just ask the basic questions of “How do you know?” and “So, when are you going to talk to them about it?” Being direct, even when it is scary, is the best way to go about it all. You get your answer, everyone is on the same page, it’s a lot better than simply asking me. As long as the guys don’t take on creepy ways to confess to the girls or to ask them simply, they should be fine. Just be sincere and direct.

Of course, there a good reason the guys are asking me instead of the girls first: fear of rejection.

Getting rejected sucks but it happens. These guys gotta understand that. They also have to understand that talking (rudely and abruptly) to a diviner is not going to save them from rejection either. I’ve been rejected, my friends have been rejected, everyone’s been rejected before. It’s not fun but it’s part of life. It could go along well with the girl, it might not. It all depends on a) if the girl actually does like the guy back, b) the guy does not approach the girl in a creepy/domineering manner and c) the guy doesn’t respond to the potential rejection in a scary way. I hope the guys understand that no one owes them a date or a relationship and that if the person doesn’t reciprocate, they don’t reciprocate.

You know what else I’m thinking? It’s possible the guy doesn’t really like the girl in question but wants to know if she still likes him in a romantic fashion. If that be the case, how derpy, ha! Given my interaction with guys, it could be a case of the girl is genuinely nice and the dude misread that as romantic interest just because she acknowledged his existence in a positive or neutral way. If it is that, let it be known that just because a girl is nice to you or is comfortable around you, it doesn’t mean she sees you as a potential boyfriend. Girls create friendships because they’re people and people in general like making friends with those they find amiable. Either way, just ask. And get better understanding of social cues, not everyone who treats you nice wants to date you.

Basically:

  • Don’t ask me if someone likes you, ask that person instead. You’ll get the answer a whole lot faster
  •  Worried of rejection? It’s part of life. Not fun but it happens. As long as you don’t approach like a douche and the girl is not a jerk, you’ll get let down easy
  • Don’t like the girl but think the girl like you? Hopefully it isn’t because she’s nice to you because that doesn’t mean she sees you in a romantic light but possibly just as a friend. And if you do find out she likes you only as a friend, don’t complain you’re being “friend-zoned” because you grossly misread her interactions

Just talk to the girl, already. Skip talking to me – especially if you’re going to be so rude and abrupt – and just talk to her.

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