About this Blog

The title of this blog, "I'm About to do My Thing," was inspired by Jill Scott's introduction to her poem "The Thickness" from her live album Experience: Jill Scott 826+. In this intro, she warns that the content to follow is "real" and proceeds to deliver a beautiful message about self-esteem in young black girls, what can influence and damage that self-esteem, and the entire village's responsibility--"it takes a village"--to elevate its children.

In a similar way, I want this blog to be a space for fun, spirited and light-hearted discussion on issues regarding black females, our bodies, our hair, our men, and our images. But I also want it to be a forum for intelligent and respectful dialogue as well. Like Jill's poem, this blog will tackle some real topics, and they won't always be light-hearted. They will, however, be about lifting each other up. I welcome such discussion, but if you have nothing positive to contribute, please don't participate. Otherwise, join in!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

"Not Our Intentions": Kroger's Response to My Letter

Well, I'm not surprised at Kroger's reply to my letter criticizing their use of stereotypes during Black History Month. As I expected, they wanted to assure me that they didn't mean to offend at all, but that's just it: without trying to, they were appealing to tried and true caricatures of black people. Hot sauce, chicken, and ribs are just the go-to marketing ploys, I presume. Indeed, I was informed that my concerns had been sent to the Advertising and Marketing Department.

The full letter appears below. Note that while the author of this letter repeatedly uses the first person ("I"), the author's name doesn't appear once in the letter. The letter isn't even signed. What if I did want "further assistance" from this person? Hmmm....

Dear Ms. B.,

Please allow me to thank you personally for contacting The Kroger Executive Office. We always appreciate comments and suggestions from our customers regarding the Kroger Co.

I apologize if you found the Black History month edition of the My Magazine to be offensive in anyway [sic]. It is not our intentions to use stereotypes or offend any of our customers. Our only intentions were to acknowledge Black History month and offer in store savings with coupons.

Again, I apologize for any concern this may have caused you. Please know your comments have [been] forwarded to our Advertising and Marketing Department for their review.

Thank you again for contacting us. Please let me know if I could be of further assistance.

Sincerely,

Ref. #11730896

What are your thoughts on this letter, folks?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Each One, Teach One--So Proud of My Students!

The homepage for True Love Conquers All, my students'
website for a discussion of "DesireĆ©’s Baby"
I don't write much about my day job, but I teach college English (mainly core composition and world lit courses). For the last few years, one way I've tried to eject some fun and creativity into my lit courses is to have students do "Remix" presentations: come up with a creative, original spin on an aspect of the day's reading. They do this in pairs and prepare it to present on the day that we discuss whatever text they've signed up for.

Today, we discussed Kate Chopin's short story "DesireĆ©’s Baby." (If you've never read it, think "tragic mulatto" + 19th-century Maury Povich. You can read it here; it's very short. It's got a pretty nice twist at the end!) I was so pleased to have a student pair get so into the subject matter, an important aspect of which is the idea of miscegenation, that they created a whole website with relevant 20th-century material and 21st-century perspectives on biracial children. I was and am so proud and thought you might like to see the product of their hard work.

Because of these students' efforts, their classmates (and others, I hope!) will be able to refer to a concise little collection of material to place this 19th-century story into current perspective. It might even help them to better understand the story. This group really did aim to teach their classmates: something I've always wanted this assignment to accomplish. *Proud teacher*