So far we have discussed the overarching ways in which we attack each other, the phenomenon of baby mama-baby daddy syndrome, and today we will roll out the fourth part that must be discussed in greater detail than I can from this medium. But at least we can get the ball rolling, so-to-speak.

I said a lot over the past three days. Hopefully none of my words injured anyone. Hopefully the tough love was felt as more love than tough. It’s difficult to peel back the layer on self, as it’s much easier to peel back the layer on someone else. When you’re hurt and angry it’s easier to point out the flaws in the other person, to point out what they did and said wrong—but it’s extremely difficult to self-reflect and “check” ourselves.

I started these conversations because it’s important that we realize that this toxic environment has been growing out-of-control for more than 60 years. The seeds were planted during slavery in the US, it grew roots after emancipation, it sprouted during the 1920s and by the 1950s we saw more and more trees forming. By the 1970s we had woods lining our nation. Now we’re in the 2000s and we have full blown forests.

The reason we must have a conversation about each other, amongst each other, is because we represent each other. No matter who we engage and interact with, we still represent the other half of this dynamic. We share cultural and social truths that are unique to our people.

The only way for others who are non-Black to understand us in whole or in part is through dialogue with and observation of us. What we say to each other, how we treat each other, is how non-Blacks learn to speak to and treat us. It’s human nature yet we’re offended when we experience it.

We have a hyper-sensitivity because of the hundreds of years of past and present abuse that we have suffered at the hands of civilian, corporate, and government oppressors.

There’s a saying that “you save your worst behavior for the one closest to you” and that is not merely the one that you are in a familial, dating or marital relationship with, but one that you share the same “roots” with. Black people have been taught, trained, molded, and brainwashed to hate ourselves and to hate other Black people.

We have been brainwashed to believe that certain skin tones, hair textures, lip sizes, body frames, eye colors, and hair lengths are better or worse than others.

The slave masters tactic of pitting light-skinned versus dark-skinned is still present today.

We’re still buying into those twisted beliefs.

The tactic of turning the Black man and woman against each other, using sex (often rape), breaking up the family (selling one of them), and other methods, is still present today.

But when will we individually and collectively say, “no more” and mean it? When will we stop subscribing to past lies masqueraded as truths? When will we stop buying into the stereotypes that were created as propaganda mechanisms to divide? When will we stop perpetuating the lies that even our elders told because they didn’t know what they didn’t know—but we now know the truth.

When will being sick and tired of being sick and tired turn into a radical change of healing, acceptance, growth, and love?

To Black Men and Women I Say…

Ladies and gentlemen, brothas and sistas, we need to cut each other some major slack. We need to heal and we need to find a place of solitude within each other to help with that healing. Or we will continue to self-destruct and the only people that will be left to blame is you and me.

Let’s take ownership for the roles that we have individually and collectively played in the slow destruction of our people, families, and relationships.

Yes, others manipulated many things.

Yes, others introduced elements of mass destruction (drugs and guns) but we made and make the decision to use these things against ourselves and against each other.

Just like on the plantation, our minds are still enslaved.

Today we pimp each other, we serve death by drugs, we take the liberty of ending each others lives through the pulling of the trigger, stabbing of a knife, stomping of a foot, punching of a fist.

We have some harsh realities that we must take ownership for…

Today, Black women are raped by Black men more than by any other ethnic group.

The vast majority of Black drug addicts get their poison from Black drug dealers.

There are more Black deaths by Black hands (and by weapons used by Black hands), than by anyone else. Before the 1950s this was not the case.

We can guesstimate the number of lives lost to the periods of slavery (including the Middle Passage) and if you compared those numbers to the death toll caused by our own efforts from the 1970s to 2018 alone (we could go back farther but we don’t need to) those numbers would be staggering.

It doesn’t negate or make light of the death toll of Black people caused by non-Blacks and law enforcement.

What I’m saying is, why are we not mortified by the lives taken by our own people?

We have gang members and drug dealers wiping out our people. We live next door to them and do and say nothing.

We must police ourselves.

We must protect our families and neighborhoods. Sometimes that means protecting them from our own family.

Mothers need to stop protecting their deviant and criminal child. If your child harmed someone they must face the punishment of their offense. Mothers should be escorting their children to the principal’s office, to the police station, etc. When you shield them you only enable the mania that is brewing and waiting to be unleashed.

Mothers, if dad isn’t around to be the rock of your family then you need to turn to the village to step into that gap. And then you must rise up with the strength and courage that God gave you and gives you, and you must declare and enforce the rules of your home. If by chance dad is available to help lead your children, don’t be a fool–don’t be that ignorant baby mama–let that man in and let him help you raise your children right.

Reclaim your family. Don’t let your child be the menace we all fear and grow to resent and hate.

We must end this ignorant belief that “I ain’t no snitch” and “snitches get stitches“.

So it’s okay for Black people to terrorize and kill us, but when someone else takes our lives then we want to protest and demand change.

Law enforcement can barely solve crimes in our communities because we refuse to cooperate with them, yet we’re quick to dial 9-1-1.

Why are we not picketing and protesting outside of the homes and buildings of drug dealers and gang members?

Honestly, we act like we have Stockholm Syndrome.

Sexism and Misogyny in Our Community

We say and do nothing about the Black women and girls who are kidnapped, raped, abused, pimped and trafficked.

Are they not valuable enough to fight for and defend?

We read and see news footage of Black male celebrities who victimize Black girls and women, and we side with the celebrity. We rationalize his actions because we’re a fan of what he does in his professional life.

Our lack of outrage is why there’s no outrage from non-Blacks. Now let’s be clear, the moment the victim is white, the outrage from non-Blacks will be never-ending. They see the value in their women and girls, even if not fully (but you can’t victimize them).

Are Black women and girls not valuable? Is that why we are not valued? We already know that society values females less than males, but we value Black females even less.

Why do we celebrate calling and being called “bitches” and “hoes”?

Men should cringe and stop any man, woman, or child who uses those words to describe a female. Women and girls should immediately stop, correct, and redirect any person who feels entitled to refer to them using those words. It’s not acceptable, by anyone—not even our friends and family.

None of my friends or family members can say “bitch” or “ho” in relation or reference to me. Not even in anger.

We need to stop this mentality of “well I will just make lemonade out of it” by taking words meant to harm and then trying to flip them to make them fit and feel right to us. That’s distorting the lemon-lemonade premise and guess what? This ain’t lemonade. It’s just lemon with a splash of water.

We do it with “nigger”. Because we say “nigga” (a switch of two letters) we have convinced ourselves that this version is better and more acceptable, but only when said by another Black person.

Okay. Okay. Okay.

Whatever coping mechanism that we want to use to take away the power of that word.

But it can’t be applied with “bitch” and “ho”.

Those are gender-specific terms that we have flipped to also apply and reference to men (which enrages men), to balance, and take the weight out of their meanings and inferences.

But women can’t then say, “we can use these words but men can’t use them“.

So that same coping skill switcheroo does not and will not ever apply. We live in a sexist world where women and girls are always only seen as receivers not doers.

If men don’t want to be called bitches and hoes then they need to stop using those words, and they need to speak up and speak out about other people using those words.

We must protect ourselves and each other, and that means that sometimes that means protecting us from us.

What Are We Going to do to Resolve This Problem?

How will we leverage these tools of destruction to be lessons of redemption? Yes, we are our brother’s and sister’s keeper.

We have proven right those who enslaved our ancestors that we can be easily manipulated and controlled, we can be taught to devalue ourselves and each other, we can be extinguished as a race, we will never be united, and we are not as wise and intelligent as we profess—for if we were then we would see clearly that the shackles aren’t actually locked…

Free yourselves. Free others. Lift yourself up. Lift up others. Love yourselves. Love each other. Take off those shackles!

Stop Limiting Love to Black Love. Let People Love Who They Want!

This one may cause some anger to spew at me, but please listen with your heart.

The vast majority of Black people, especially African Americans, are affiliated with a religion that is based on and teaches love, inclusion, forgiveness, repentance, and atonement. If you are Christian, you have been raised to believe that Jesus said love everyone as you would love yourself. Jesus did not discriminate or hate.

So why are we so bitter when we see a Black man with any other woman except a Black one?

Why are Black men bitter when they see a Black woman with a man who isn’t also Black?

It’s especially true if the other person is white. Why?

The hurt and anger caused by our enslavement and by the hundreds of years of being told “you ain’t nothing”, surfaces to the top. The more than 100 years after being emancipated to earn the right to vote as a citizen, to have the right to eat and drink next to the same people whose families not-far-removed enslaved our people—those memories and that pain surfaces to the top. Knowing the history of Black men being lynched for looking at white women, speaking to white women, touching a white woman, and having sex with a white woman—even 50 years ago—those feelings surface and sting. Knowing that white slave masters raped and oftentimes impregnated Black female slaves is something that churns in the stomachs of our men.


Knowing all of this does not change the fact that God, no matter what name you call Him, commanded us to love. He didn’t say “only love people of your race” or “only love people of your religion“. No, He said that we’re to love.

That Black man who is dating or married to that non-Black woman is not less of a man or less Black because of who he loves. The same is true of the Black woman. I’m so tired of hearing people spew hate, sounding like the racists that enslaved you, and making absolutely no sense.

Stop the rhetoric of “watering down our race“. Most of you don’t even know where your ancestors came from before being shipped to the US.  Most of you haven’t even taken an ethnic DNA test to see your racial makeup. All of this talk about “watering down” will have many of you shell shocked when you realize how not “pure” you are.

Some of you are walking around with so many races in your DNA that you look more like a pot of gumbo.

If Blackness is merely skin tone, then we’re all in trouble. Some of us are the same skin complexion of Latinos, Asians, and other olive and brown-skinned people. You’re ignorantly obsessing over the color of someone’s skin. You’re anti-white, yet your DNA most likely ties you to white ancestors. Some of you have issues with Mexicans and Latinos, yet some of you probably have their blood running through your veins. You have issues with Asians and don’t even know why—-but would be shocked to find even a small percentage of Asian DNA in you.

You sound just like your slave masters. You sound just like those hate mongers of the Jim Crow era. You sound just like the racists of the 1960s. You’re filled with so much hate that it is killing you and destroying our people. It’s not our “race-mixing” that is destroying us, it’s your ignorance that divides, turns away—and ultimately destroys us.

It’s all just ignorance and it goes against everything you’re taught in religion.

Love sees no color, religion, gender, race, or nationality. Love has no limits.

Love freely. Love whomever you want. Stop judging people for who they love.

I can tell you one thing, if I’m attracted to someone I’m going to get to know them—I don’t care about the color of their skin or the country where they originated. I’m going to love who loves me.

To All Humans I Say…

Let’s all be mindful of the things that we do and say, the biases we possess, the beliefs that we hold to be indisputable truths, and the stereotypes and labels that we perpetuate—and the impact that all of our words and actions have on others.

We can divide or unite. It is our choice, individually and collectively.

I can say that it has never been a time that one group of people stood strong without others supporting them in some way. Even in religious texts you can read stories of people from other tribes, religions or ethnic groups being moved and inspired to lend a hand, to provide refuge or resources for another groups freedom, safety, etc. Free yourselves. Free others. Lift yourself up. Lift up others. Love yourselves. Love each other. Take off those shackles!

What do you want to talk about next? Comment below.



Copyright 2018. Natasha Foreman Bryant/Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

Disclaimer: This post has a deragatory word (used to describe women) referenced at least four times, so please take note of this before proceeding. Thank you!

Have you read or heard about the workplace experiment that two coworkers participated in which proved the level and intensity of sexism in their workplace and with their clients? It’s very interesting. Here’s the link to the male coworker’s tweets (compiled and published on Moments by a third party). 

Be sure to read the female coworker’s post as well so that you gain her perspective before, during and after this week-long experiment. She wanted to make sure that the entire story was shared, both perspectives. 

What do I think and how do I feel about this experiment? 

Welp, I’m not surprised one bit because I’ve been navigating through a sexist world my entire life, and dealing with sexist business practices and people for over 20 years. 

I feel that all men and women should try this experiment so that they can truly see, feel, and experience the layers of sexism and bias in business (and specifically the workplace). Even men who “prefer” female employees over male employees (for whatever reason) don’t even see their sexist thinking and behavior. The same is true of women who don’t realize that they are being sexist towards men and other women. 

My experience with sexism in the workplace

I’ve spent over 20 years having to play by the rules of men, even joking like men–to the point that, heck I’m now “just one of the fellas” (but this actually started in high school being an athlete surrounded by jocks who refused to use a filter around me). 

For over 20 years I’ve had to internalize my frustration when I’m ignored, overlooked, dismissed, and talked over (or through) by men. I’ve had to ignore stupid and sexist comments (or verbally hit them with a level of sarcasm that silences, yet doesn’t humiliate them). There’s been countless times when I’ve had to politely yet firmly put a stop to sexual advances—while knowing I could lose a deal or a client in the process–then justifying to another man what I did and why I did it, because he couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t tolerate a “little flirting” from a prospective client. 

For my entire life I’ve had to work ten times harder just to prove I can do the job before I even do the job, and then having my work critiqued based on the standards of men—even if they don’t do a better job than me. 

It starts in the home

I’m called a “bitch” for standing up for myself or for putting someone in their place. I’m told “you’re too much like a man” when I act aggressive or competitive, or just when I don’t back down when you run up in my face trying to bully me. Wow!!!! Because I guess females are supposed to be weak and fall to our knees, quivering and crying in fear and disdain. I guess I’m supposed to always be the damsel in distress waiting to be rescued and led like a child or cattle by a man! 

But let’s be real. This all starts in the home. We hear sexist comments from our family members and neighbors, and we grow up believing and speaking these words. We go through school where the concepts are marinated and embedded into our very essence. We see and experience it in the classroom, sports, and other extracurricular activities. By the time we reach the age of employment we are primed and ready to regurgitate all that we have been taught. 

So history teaches us that women aren’t as smart, gifted, and capable as men in the workplace. I work 10 times harder just to prove I can do the job, because society won’t let go of this foolish premise that I’m intellectually and physically inferior to a man. Well give him a map and let him give birth and let’s see how well he fares!

Add a serving of racism and bigotry

AND THEN let’s not factor in my skin color…that’s an added 2,017 tests, because then I’m proving that not only can I do the “job of a man”, but that I can do it just as good or better than the white woman who also had to prove that she could do the “job of a man”. I’ve been asked, “is there someone else who can confirm what you’re saying?” knowing that the likelihood of this question being asked of a man is slim to none. My nonblack female colleagues have told me that they don’t experience as much scrutiny as they see black women face. 

Oh yeah and whatever I do, I better not come with my “mad black woman attitude“—you know, that “sickness” that we black women keep “spreading” generationally!?! My Latina sisters are just considered “hot” and “spicy” when they project this same “attitude”. My Asian sisters are excused (from any outbursts, loud speech, eye rolling, hand gestures, and profanity) as though it’s just a temporary lapse in judgment—because they have been stereotyped as soft spoken and docile. Although I have plenty of Asian friends that laugh hysterically at the box they’ve been placed in. My white sisters can be labeled as “bitches” but their strength is never seen as a sickness and never are they categorically labeled as a whole race, and definitely never to the extent of black women. 

Since I mentioned “bitch” a few times now …Ever been called one? Well the word hangs and lingers in the air differently when it’s said to a woman of color. Something about being called a “black bitch” means something more vile. Why can’t I just be a “bitch”? I mean, I don’t want to be called one, but why is it necessary to add in “black”? It’s simple. The intention is clear, it’s meant to demean, degrade, and diminish to the lowest level. When you hear it you cringe not knowing what’s coming next. It’s almost like you’re waiting for someone to spit a loogie at you (one of those huge ones from way back in their mouth). Some may say that’s why some black women chose to turn the word around and upside down, and use it to mean something different (when used in a different context)–similar to how some black people use the word “nigg_”. That’s also up for debate. But I digress…

As an Educator

As a college professor, I’m challenged more by my students than my male and non-black colleagues (yes, I’ve seen the difference with my own two eyes, and I’ve had colleagues acknowledge this). 

I don’t mind the challenge when it’s the normal “question everything” framing. I want my students to question me, our textbooks, and the system as a whole. But are you really questioning me simply because I’m a black woman teaching about concepts, rules, theories, and practices of a male-dominated field?

I do take pleasure in watching my cynical students eat humble pie after repeated rounds with me, when it’s clear that they just don’t believe this black woman knows what she’s talking about—because how could a black woman know so much about business, management, economic development, marketing, human resources, etc? To see their faces when they realize that I know what I speak and that I walk the walk, not just “teach what I can’t do” (you know, that bull crap phrase designed to humiliate coaches, educators and consultants)…yeah, that look on their face says it all. 

At first I thought it was age discrimination, because they thought I was close in age to them. But once I made clear that I was old enough to be (most of) their mother, that removed one of their judgmental layers—while highlighting the biggie. Now don’t get me wrong, sometimes I am experiencing age discrimination, but more often it’s my race coupled with my gender that has me investing more time debating. 

Experiencing it from your “Own”

For me, what’s been far worse than experiencing this sexism and bias from white people, has been the avalanche of crap I get from black people. Ridicule and judgment hurts more from “family”. 

 If I were white (yes, sadly, even if I were a white female) black people wouldn’t question-to-death my rates, invoices, tactics, practices, strategies, plans, or decisions. But for some reason, this black woman’s rates and invoices must be too high (so they need a discount), and this black woman’s practices, tactics, strategies, etc must be flawed or subpar, so I’m gonna have to waste more hours proving the why-how-when-where-what…and who…repeatedly until you pretend to believe me. It’s only when I get the job done like I said I would that I’m given any kudos…and even then, it won’t be to the extent that you would give a man or a non-black woman. That hurts deeply. It’s still the plantation slave trying to keep the others under control, or at least keep the others below them. 

I will never forget being offered and accepting “peanuts” to develop a project that had never been done (especially at that scale and magnitude), nor with the short amount of time needed, and I couldn’t help but to notice how my gender combined with my race played a major role in my treatment. I knew of other people and projects (some that never came to fruition) yet they were paid considerably more than me by this same company. But I internalized my pain and disappointment, and focused passionately on the project. I over-delivered and although my work spoke for itself, I never got the acknowledgement and praise that a man would, or even a non-black woman. That experience taught me some valuable lessons that I will NEVER forget. 

My Parting Words

For more than 20 years I’ve been dealing with this nonsense in business while being expected to remain well-poised, soft-spoken and graceful, because after all, I’m supposed to conduct myself “like a lady”, except for when I’m expected to “be like one of the fellas”. WTH!

It’s 2017. Men and women need to identify and evolve beyond their sexist thoughts, speech, and behavior. Gender and race doesn’t determine whether a job can be done well, effort does!

See past my name, I won’t be changing it from Natasha to Nathan. See past my gender, yep, I’m not changing that;  and see past my skin color (ummm let’s not even go there)–and let me do my daggum job with the level of excellence that I only know how to provide—because I’ve never been allowed to come with less than excellent. Trust me, you will be more than pleased with my work and results. But you will never know if you don’t give me a chance to shine!


Amatulli, Emma. What Happened When A Man Signed Work Emails Using A Female Name For 2 Weeks

Blitz, Mirco (created Moments feed for Martin R. Schneider tweets)

Hallberg, Nicole. Working While Female.