“What You May Not Understand” #writerwednesday #black #blackhistorymonth #race

(Updated repost)

I’m sure you heard about the H&M “monkey hoodie” scandal and other insensitive advertisements i recent times but in this post, I’m focusing on the “Dove ad” controversy from a while back.

And if not, you can click on the link above and the link here for a general idea.

It was quite interesting to read social media comments that varied from “That ad is racist and I’m boycotting the company” to “In what world is that ad offensive? Get a grip you over-politically correct people!

Whether the ad was insensitive, offensive, racist or okay, that’s up to you to decide.

However, for those of you who don’t see why the ad could possibly be disrespectful, I’m sharing a few of my experiences to show you.

You may not understand all about:

  • a little boy in my kindergarden class (who had probably never seen a Black person before) who turned up his nose and asked me why I came to school “dirty”, right before scraping his finger along my arm to see how much “dirt” would come off;
  • my second grade teacher who say how “brown” and “black” people were smelly and stupid (keep in mind that I was the only “black” person, the “brown” boy was the only East Indian, the only unshowered stink came from that teacher herself); or
  • the next door neighbor kids who would call me “caca” through our chain link fence for years.

So as a child, I understood that I was seen as “less than” and “dirty” because of the color of my skin.

You may not understand all about:

  • a loser classmate in high school who would sit behind me just to pull on my braids and call me “Medusa” (which only stopped because I introduced him to my fist);
  • growing up bombarded by ads and messaging reinforcing that the only path to “pretty” was blond hair and blue or green eyes; or
  • knowing that “skin tone” make-up or “nude” colored pantyhose didn’t include people like me.

So as a teenager, I accepted that I had to live with being “ugly” because I could never meet those unattainable norms and standards plastered in magazines, on billboards and on television.

You may also not understand being complimented on how you are “pretty for a Black girl”, having someone touch your hair without your permission, or assuming that because your hair is long it must be a weave (and then again, touching it) like you’re not worthy of personal space and boundaries.

So as a grown woman having had to endure those kinds of early experiences, I quickly noticed the “issue” with the Dove ad, as did my 79 year old mother and 16 year old niece when I showed it to them.

At face value and for many, that Dove ad is …”quiet”.

But for others, it is a quiet menace that speaks volumes. It is a reminder of the false truths many of us were taught and learned about being “bad”, “unclean”, “unworthy”, “dirty” and “not the ideal”.

You see, with the tiny bit I’ve shared with you, maybe your eyes will not catch what is insensitive about the ad.

Because from where I sit and through my dark eyes, that is what lies behind the controversy.

All Rights Reserved ©2018 Marquessa Matthews


“You Married One Those?” #race #racism #blackhistorymonth

For #BlackHistoryMonth, I’m sharing some of my thoughts…

Growing up, we were surrounded by racist neighbors.

It didn’t matter that we had moved onto that street before they had and before I was even born. It only mattered that we were Black (“Go back where you came from!“), that we spoke English (“We hate English people!“) and that we didn’t fit their stereotype of what “des nègres” were supposed to be (you can fill in those colorful blanks).

We endured so many years of stupid sh*t that I could give you a laundry list. But I’ll won’t here.

Those neighbors were brutally bold and boldly brutal but we were too badass to break.

During a family BBQ when I was about 10, one of the most offending neighbors approached my uncle’s (White) wife at our backyard fence and asked her one simple question:

“You married one of those?

I don’t remember my aunt’s response but I clearly remember the look of disgust that clouded the neighbor’s face. My aunt had drunk the Black Kool-Aid and was in need of some deep deprogramming, right?

Funny enough, I heard that the neighbor’s husband sold his business, jacked the mortgage on their house, dumped her for an English-speaking darker-hued woman and moved to Florida with new lady – leaving her high and dry with no choice but to sell the house and move into a tiny apartment on the other side of town…

Sorry but I had a big ol’ laugh when I heard that gossip. Petty, petty me…

On the issue of interracial couplings, here is another interesting “What Would You Do?” video for you.

Quite amazing to see that most women in this salon only cared about two things:

(1) if her man made her happy and

(2) if he was treating her well.

Disclaimer: I have no copyrights to the song and/or video and/or hyperlinks to songs and/or videos and/or gifs above. No copyright infringement intended.

“Double Agent” #race #blackhistorymonth


Last week, a #SongLyricSunday participant posted an Amanda Marshall song, reminding me of how much I loved her music back in the day. Her music was perfect for “cruising down the highway” on long road trips.

Of course, this made me pull out my old cassette. Where did this great Canadian voice disappear to?

Sunday Morning After“, “Birmingham” and “Colleen (I Saw Him First)” were my favorites but I’ve always loved the lyrics of the song below, “Double Agent”.

This song is about the insensitive things people say about certain ethnic groups when they don’t realize that YOU are part and parcel of that group – you just don’t look like it.

You can’t always judge a book by its cover, can you?

Disclaimer: I have no copyrights to the song and/or video and/or hyperlinks to songs and/or videos and/or gifs above. No copyright infringement intended.
©2018 Marquessa Matthews. All Rights Reserved.

“I’ve Never Been with a Black Girl” #writerwednesday #black #swirling #race #blackhistorymonth

He was very pretty to look at and I was hoping there were brains to back up that face…

Christina Lu love cute heart holding hands


At a local café, somewhere near the end of a first lunch date

This piece is not meant to discourage “swirling” (interracial dating). I am “pro-swirl” and always in favor of all women choosing to be with someone who loves, respects and treats them well, regardless of race. Content of character above the color of someone’s skin is what is important.


“I’ve never been with a Black girl before.”

I wasn’t surprised that “swirling” was new for him. The popularity of characters like Olivia and Fitz on shows like “Scandal” seemed to have opened up a new world of dating doors for Black women.

“Well, there’s a first time for everything,” I said.

I decided to assume that his use of “been” really meant “dated”, otherwise he would have been getting way ahead of himself. He was very pretty to look at and I hoped he had brains to back up that face.

“Wait until I tell my friends!”


He sounded like some five year old who couldn’t wait to show off a new toy at “Show and Tell”.

The glee and tone of his words wreaked of a man eager to earn his “Black belt”.

Any hope I possibly had about brains and brawn flew straight out the window.

Needless to say, there was no second coffee date.

©2017 Marquessa Matthews. All Rights Reserved.

Originally posted September 24, 2015

“Flirt Or Prey?” #race #black #blackhistorymonth

For #BlackHistoryMonth, I’m sharing my thoughts…

You never know what lies behind someone’s veil, do you?

Watch this video below until the very end oherwise you’ll miss the twist.

Was this an innocent flirtation on his part or was she just a possible prey?

Either way, this guy is creepy…

What are your thoughts?

Disclaimer: I have no copyrights to the song and/or video and/or hyperlinks to songs and/or videos and/or gifs above. No copyright infringement intended.

“Lessons Your Parents May Not Have Taught You” #racism #black #writerwednesday #unconsciousbias #blackhistorymonth

For #BlackHistoryMonth, I’m sharing some of my thoughts…



A few weeks ago, a “Grey’s Anatomy” episode (Season 14, “Personal Jesus”) had my full attention.

I also had tears in my eyes during those last 10 minutes when Bailey and husband Ben teach Tuck  “how to behave” when stopped by the police. And yes, I said “when”, not “if” because getting stopped is eventually just a matter of time.

The scene perfectly depicted the type of  “Talk” many of us received growing up and which I referred to below in my old post under #1, 4, and 5. If you find this unbelievable, take a few minutes and read the comments left by fellow bloggers.

If you want to see the “Grey’s Anatomy’ scene I’m talking about, click here and scroll to the very last video. Hopefully, the video will still be active by the time you click.


“Lessons Your Parents May Not Have Taught You” – Marquessa, July 2016

As children, our parents taught us a number of life lessons at a very young age. Whenever we would gather around the dinner table, they would regale us with stories of their upbringing, childhood and their day at work and in return, we would share all the details of what had happened during our school day.

But being raised by vigilant parents, oftentimes those dinnertime conversations would be sprinkled with “lessons about life” that were important for us to know as First Generation children of immigrants growing up Black in a mainly White and French speaking environment – an environment where being “outside the norm” wasn’t always well-received.

These “lessons” were rooted in real-life incidents experienced by those in our small circle of family, friends and friends of friends.

Growing up, your parents taught you lessons too.

But different teachers provide their students with different content material based on the classes they took in the school of life:

  1. When stopped by the police (not “if” you are stopped by the police), keep your hands visible on the wheel and do exactly what you are told. Shooting first and asking questions later are the rules of the game. Dead men tell no tales and when you’re dead, only one side of the story will be told and it won’t be yours. Remember that…
  2. When you’re in a store, never put your hands in your pockets and avoid opening your purse until you’re in front of the cashier. The ones that hate you because of your color will not give you the benefit of the doubt and will be quick to treat you as a thief. Remember that…
  3. Excellence is the best deterrent to racism. Be kind to all, get your education, keep your eye on the prize and secure your future. Racists assume that you are nothing, come from nothing and know nothing. Surprise them by being “someone”, coming from “something” and knowing that you are capable of greatness. They will have to find another way to try to break you and your spirit. You won’t let them because you’ll know better. Remember that…
  4. Think carefully about your actions and how you approach certain situations. What is perceived as “a pass” for someone else will likely be seen as a “crime” if you’re in the same situation – remember that! ; and
  5. When you see your friends doing wrong, walk away. Because if the authorities are called, you will be the first one they haul away – no questions asked. Remember that…

Those are just a handful of life lessons I learned being in the skin I’m in.

©July 8, 2016 Marquessa Matthews. All Rights Reserved.












“Black Lady White Baby” #blackhistorymonth #black #1minfiction

For #BlackHistoryMonth, I’m sharing some of my thoughts…

And though this is not pure fiction, I was inspired by this week’s One Minute Fiction Challenge photo prompt at Lovely Curses.


Almost thirty years ago when my brother and I used to be out and about with my nephew as a baby, the stares we would get always cracked us up.

It was obvious that people wondered what two dark-skinned people were doing with a white-looking baby. And the fact that my nephew looked like he had hints of Asian confused people even more than they already were. Instead of double-takes, we would get triple-takes.

Most people would only stare while some strangers (usually older folks) were actually bold enough to ask outright:

“Oh, he’s adorable! Are you the babysitter?”

“No, I’m not the babysitter.”

A look of confusion followed by raised eyebrows.

“Oh! He’s adopted?”

“No, he’s not adopted.”

“Huh? That’s your baby?”

That’s the point where my annoyance about the intrusive questions would take over and I would simply tell a little white lie – yes, he was my baby. That would usually be where the conversation ended, leaving their real question unanswered…

“How can a Black lady have a White baby?”

Back then, I wasn’t about to school anyone on the multitude of shades that we come in. It’s funny how things have changed and no one around here bats an eye anymore.

A “What Would You Do” video as for for thought below.

Tell me what you think.

M xoxo

Disclaimer: I have no copyrights to the song and/or video and/or hyperlinks to songs and/or videos and/or gifs above. No copyright infringement intended.