Building Our Community Up & Keeping It There

Written by Shayna Moorer, guest STRUT Contributor

So, today’s Ted Talk will be about the negativity we give out as a people to OURSELVES and how we need to continue building our community up. We know racism exists, but that’s a topic for a different day. I’d like to take the time to gather “US” for a second. Over the course of the last few days, I’ve noticed a plethora of things we are doing that has my gears grinding.

Our Olympic Example For Our Community

Ms. Sha’Carri Richardson has been torn down by us more than other races, and it legit has me heated. It’s expected to a certain degree from other races, but our own is where my level of concern is going up. Her hair and nails have been a topic of negative discussion for days with us and it’s heartbreaking. Let us never forget that as African American people, our culture is VERY expressive. From nails, hair, and makeup to clothing and music, you name it, we have always been unique. To see the backlash from our people overlooking her breaking records being exactly who she is at the young age of 21 speaks volumes.

Sha’Carri gives Flo Jo Vibes.

Treat Others How You Want To Be Treated

Let me point out a few things. How we treat ourselves many times determines how others treat us. It’s a fact we do not like to admit because it requires self-reflection and a level of honesty with ourselves that most times we aren’t willing to acknowledge. I know personally, it’s hard to be real with myself because of the negative self-talk, cancel culture, do as I say not as I do, and stand for nothing, fall for anything trajectory, which is at an all-time high.

In my journey of “unlearning” negative behaviors and traits I’ve picked up and cultivated over the years, I’ve started to go back to my very own beginning and take them down one by one. I started with judgment and control. I learned they can go hand and hand. For example, when a friend lives her truth and does what & possibly who she wants, you, in turn, try to guilt or shame them with sideways jokes or outright judgment – this is not okay. There’s a difference between bringing concerns to a person in love and judging a person’s actions and character. If what someone does and how they are living is out of alignment with how you live your life, it’s perfectly fine to exit stage left for your own good. We cannot control people, but we can control our own environments and who we give access to in our space.

More times than not, I’ve seen women at the forefront of the shame and taunting of other black women. Whether it’s speaking about women wearing bonnets in public or speaking, dressing and dancing provocatively, maybe she can’t cook or is single, or maybe in her mid 30’s with no kids, all of it is passed as judgment when you give it back in negative and shady undertones. People watch us tear each other down then follow suit. They watch how we undervalue ourselves, then they take away the tax. They watch us self-hate then profit from our insecurities.

Treat Our Community Better

We have to treat ourselves better. If you don’t do a certain something, that doesn’t make you better or worse than the next person who does. Married friends and family, stop asking your unmarried friends and family when they are going to “stop playing” and settle down, ESPECIALLY when your relationship is less than perfect. Instead, compliment them on a recent accomplishment or simply don’t say anything pertaining to their singleness or childlessness. You never know the silent battles people fight.

My point in all of this is, we have to be more supportive to one another. We have to start coming together to be the changes we desire to see. We cannot pick and choose when we want to be helpful or be a light. NO, everyone is not your assignment, but it takes nothing from you to live by the example you set. None of us are free from errors or mistakes – this is where lessons are born and someone could benefit from our trials when we live in our own truth.

Set the Tone

This level of discernment comes with practice, self-reflection, and unlearning bias and judgment. As I come to a close good people, I want to remind us all we must teach people how to treat us. We set the tone. If you don’t take yourself and those surrounding you seriously, no one else will. Don’t publicly or privately tear people down. Sticks, stones, and glasshouses all exist in real-time, ladies and gentlemen.

Until next time. That’s the way ShayMo Sees It.

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