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Express Yourself

You have nothing to prove. Sometimes, the best thing to do is walk away.

Closeup of a Black woman’s eye, with light shining in a strip where her eyes is. Rest of face obscured by shadow.
Photo: Natalie Magee/EyeEm/Getty Images

A couple of months ago I wrote an essay about my experience growing up as a light-skinned Black woman in the United States.

I wanted to speak honestly about internalized racism and how it has manifested throughout my life. My hope was that by turning a critical eye inward and engaging with my flawed journey — still flawed, by the way— I might be able to offer a road map for people working through similar issues.

It was a tough piece, and I received a wide variety of responses. Some were complimentary. One of the first was from a mother…

Niceness is about maintaining the status quo. Kindness is revolutionary.

Photo: Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images

At the beginning of the pandemic, Gal Gadot produced a video featuring an array of celebrities singing John Lennon’s “Imagine.” It was supposed to be a declaration that we’re all suffering through this crisis together. But it didn’t exactly come off that way. As viewers watched the stars croon lyrics like “imagine no possessions” from their isolated mega-villas, those of us in the real world were losing our jobs, health insurance, homes, and loved ones. Many viewers described the video as “out of touch” and “cringe-worthy.”

Gadot insists she was just trying to do something nice! In a recent Vanity…

This Is Us

Light-skinned and part of the problem

Mixed-race woman looking out a window.
Photo: Pasha Gray/Nappy

When I was in my senior year of high school I argued against affirmative action. My AP history class had taken a field trip to Selma and we’d spent the day wandering around, drinking in the history of the small city. I was one of two Black students in a class of 30. Ashley and I were bound at the hip until we went our separate ways in college. I wonder how she felt at that moment. …

This isn’t a breakup but it also kind of is.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

I’ve been missing in action for a while and I have something to say. It’s mostly about me, but it’s also about us. What we take in and on without realizing. What we consume and are consumed by.

It’s about my journey as a writer, going in and deeper. It’s about growing in public and it’s about starting over.

So I guess I’ll begin.

Dear Audience,

I missed you. I missed how you made me feel until that feeling soured like every other unwell thing inside of me.

The problem wasn’t you, it was how important you became to me…

This Is Us

On political discourse, abolition, performative activism, and real love

Monochrome image of activists raising fists as they protest.
Photo: Giuseppe Manfra/Getty Images

I have a physical response to the word “divisive.” This twisting sensation in my gut that comes up my throat all acidic. It’s shockingly similar to the feeling one might get after eating too much cheese. Apparently, my stomach has an issue processing both dairy and mistruths. While my brain might need a moment to catch up to the fact that I’m being fed something bad, my body knows better.

I grew up bouncing around the southeastern states, so I’m deeply familiar with the brand of suburban, Southern hospitality that prides itself on the performance of compassion. It prefers its…

True engagement requires that you leave your ego out of the conversation.

Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

There is a problem in the comments section and I’m certain you’ve noticed it too. For some, these spaces provide a unique opportunity to learn amongst peers and contribute to a wider conversation. For others, it’s simply a place to vent and rage without accountability. Like the bathroom wall of a karaoke joint. Throw something up there because you can, who cares, right?

Just a few days ago a commenter started his message by stating proudly that he hadn’t even read my essay. He’d just seen the title and felt emboldened to act, based on the assumption that I’d probably…

Biden is infinitely better than Trump, but he’s far from the progressive victory we’d hoped for.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

When the 2020 presidential race was called for Biden there was dancing in the streets in New York City. In Astoria, drivers honked their horns to celebrate while little old ladies shimmied in their windows, banging tunelessly against pots and pans. It was a discordant display of joy, one that a few talented folk managed to twerk to.

I love me some patriotic twerking, but in the wake of a Biden-Harris victory I felt a bit odd about all the merry making. I felt like I was watching the celebration through a foggy window. Peeking in I could see the…

Calories-in-calories-out is far from a perfect system.

Photo by Ronit Shaked on Unsplash

Someone I follow online just posted a then-and-now picture of themselves celebrating that they had lost 20 pounds during quarantine. Hold for applause.

To her this was a radical transformation. One that left her with wisdom worth sharing. It was this presumed wisdom that stopped me in my tracks — or my scroll if we’re being literal.

The poster started by stating that she was uncomfortable sharing her photos — though she never elaborated on why, which might have been interesting. She spoke about the challenges of the pandemic and how she’d used this time to invest in herself. The…

Why it's not going anywhere if we just stop talking about it.

Photo by Sylwia Bartyzel on Unsplash

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems to us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”

This is the infamous statement that so many of us assumed would lose Donald Trump the presidency in 2016. This statement and others like it were used to assure us, the American people, that this cruel and unqualified man could never become our president.

So many of us turned away, from our TVs and the polls; acting as if there had never been criminals, sex offenders, and…

And other unfortunate complications

Photo by mrjn Photography on Unsplash

Thirst is a funny thing.

I’m not sure everyone feels it the same way. I mean, sure the symptoms are alike — burning throat, anxiety, discomfort, helplessness. Maybe fear? I don’t know.

I just think that thirst is something that some people get used to.

Like, have you ever gotten a glass of water and chugged it, surprising yourself with the depth and severity of your own thirst, then thought woah! I didn’t know I needed that.

How on earth did I let myself get so thirsty?

Point being, I definitely don’t drink enough water. I…

Leigh Green

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