Last week after my I posted my response to the whole Curly Nikki/white woman debacle, things got a little messy though not on my part. Whatever you want to attribute CN’s awkward post of an email I sent her two years ago to, many #SmartBrownGirls weren’t feeling it and commenced to letting their feelings be known. Dragging, reads, wit and snark, I was being tagged in all of it and while I overwhelmingly appreciate the support, I don’t ever want to encourage divisive behavior.
What was really put me off about Curly Nikki’s response of sorts was that in it’s timing it added absolutely nothing productive to the conversation at hand and instead just fueled a messy conversation of ‘beef’ & which sides to take. That was not the conversation I set out to have and it’s highlighted a big problem that’s a symptom of our internet/social media culture – our inability to have highbrow, productive and respectful debates, disagreements, conversations.
I have no interest in creating a community of #SmartBrownGirls who 120% agree with me at all times. And if you’re looking to follow someone who in order for you to respect you have to always agree with, hey girl…this is not the community for you. Part of what I do want to encourage in the #SmartBrownGirl movement, is forward-thinking, upwardly mobile women who are set on defining their own sense of self and success. It’s not about dictating ones way of thinking, it’s about encouraging each to think for themselves and engage in a conversation where our differences in opinion can provoke us to thought and if nothing else re-affirm us in our beliefs. It’s about having the ability to get your differing point across without dismantling someones character or intelligence and definitely without calling them out their name. It’s about being able to have someone tell you that they disagree on a non-consequential topic with out you rethinking your respect for them or feeling like you’re being attacked because you are more than okay with where you stand. It’s about taking a good lesson from the school of Christopher Hitchens and learning the art and importance of a good debate. My favorite article from Christopher Hitchens is his Vanity Fair piece on why women are not fun. I don’t agree…I am hilarious. But the piece made me think, because I do see where Hitchens is coming from, I just don’t agree with the totality in which he inflicts his opinion. But that’s why I love his reading. Because it’s thought provoking, and in the moments where I am ready to disagree I have to stop and think about where I’m coming from, if there is room for understanding, and I’m always left with a better understanding of where and why I stand.
Today I engaged in a bit of a twitter tussle about HBCUs & PWIs, and I didn’t agree with the main person’s views on the value of HBCUs as he positioned them against PWIs. I’m just not here for revoking a person’s Black card because of college attendance, but that’s not the point of the conversation. I entered it not agreeing and I left not agreeing. I am entirely okay with the discussion. I don’t think any less or any higher of any person who tweeted me during that discussion. And at the point when I was done, I left the convo with a simple ‘cool but that still doesn’t change my opinion.’ Poor girl who got the final tweet unfollowed me cause of my opinion or more so lack of explanation on my opinion of my ranking of Tuskegee. I’m not hurt but that’s the behavior I’m not interested in cultivating in the #SmartBrownGirl movement. If it’s a personal offense that someone doesn’t agree with you about something so surface then…how do you go about learning? How do you move outside of your small bubble? I promise you, no matter where you live, your bubble is small. Because what occupies your day to day reality is small and imminent to you but there’s a world of people who the things you value mean nothing to them.
So I simply want to encourage you to be open to conversations with in reason. Be able to get your point across and show your worth of knowledge without demeaning someone else and to always let those who disagree with you on something, to truly stay blessed while you stay unbothered.