With all that's going on, many of us have been deep in our feelings---angry, frustrated, exhausted, and, sometimes, totally distraught. The murders of black folks at the hands of law enforcement along with the annoyingly awkward and confusing aftermath of the reopening of states that have been shut down due to the COVID-19 have us all in an utter tailspin.
We're wondering whether a mask is indeed required for entry into our favorite stores and restaurants, whether we should let our bosses know that we're still not OK with returning to crowded cubicles, or whether the insurance company will still give us another month to pay that outstanding bill we couldn't afford after losing our jobs during coronavirus closures. We worry about whether we or someone we know will be the next victim of police brutality or whether this country will ever truly be safe and inclusive.
We all want to do our part to fight against injustice and help those in need, even while overwhelmed and bogged down with the everyday stresses of just being alive. You'd think that with all that's going on, you wouldn't come across the ugly, bitter face of woke-shaming. I mean, come on. Who has time for that? Well, you'd be wrong. Some folks have somehow found the energy to add it to an already long list of annoyingly disgusting aspects of dealing with life right now. And I'm not talking about taking corporations to task for their fiscal and mission responsibilities.
I'm talking about woke-shaming one another---everyday people who are our brothers, sisters, cousins, coworkers and peers.
Let's face it: The whole concept of shaming is far from new. When someone knocks a curvy sis for wearing a two-piece bikini, that's body shaming. When a brother shuns a sis on a date for the number of dudes she let smash, that's slut-shaming. When hardcore entrepreneurs frown upon the motivation of 9-to-5 hustlers, that's job-shaming. When a single mom faces gets cussed out for leaving her child at a babysitter to go on a date, that's mom-shaming.
Don't think you've witnessed---or even participating in---woke-shaming? Well, let's take a look at a few examples:
A black influencer, but you didn't post a black square on your Instagram for Blackout Tuesday. Sis is uninvited to the Woke Brunch. A black professional who chooses to offer support to certain organizations that promote messaging centered on unity and education. Homegirl is considered white-washed and oblivious. She's "cancelled."
A black person expresses different political views than the so-called norm or "majority." Nah, bruh. He gotta go. His black card is declined, denied, and revoked. Maybe someone waited a few days to post anything related to current events. They needed time to research, vet sources, strategize high-impact ways to join the conversation, or practice self-care. Nope. No mercy. They're permanently blacklisted and barred from the cookout.
Oh, and don't dare post on social media or talk about a graduation celebration, a new job, your wedding anniversary, or the birth of a new baby. Oh, hell nah. You can't be happy right now. You can't continue with life right now. You can't possibly be surviving and thriving.
People, have more than a few seats. Please. You're missing the whole point.
Listen, it's one thing to be totally tone-deaf and ignore the fact that police brutality is real and disproportionately affects communities of color. (I mean, that's a known fact backed by studies and statistics.) But it's another to shame someone for how they choose to react to that fact. We all have the right to process information, take a step back, and evaluate our role in what we will do with that information. We also have the right to decide what our place in history will be at times like this.
Dynamic and effective activism always involves the tactful and strategic use of diverse talents, efforts, and strengths. Some of us are great at fundraising, networking, and communicating. Some of us are artists, speakers, and tech geniuses. Some of us are nurturers, hosts, and spiritualists. Some are hell-raisers, warriors, and protectors. It's OK if we aren't all doing the exact same things or taking the exact same approach to reach a common goal.
Take the Civil Rights Movement: Martin Luther King, Jr. was a key figure,but there were many legal, financial, strategic, and political leaders behind the scenes who ensured the success and advancement of that movement. Some pivotal people in that moment were not always on the frontlines of protest; They donated funds for legal fees, food, and other expenses tied to nationwide protests. They held secret meetings and hosted safe houses. They also offered a very invaluable asset: relationship capital. (Yeah, the type of capital where you can make one phone call and meetings are being coordinated to discuss changing policies, launching nationwide initiatives, appointing new leaders, or approving budgets---that relationship capital).
Former President Obama touched on this back in 2018 when he said during a lecture:"Democracy demands that we're able also to get inside the reality of people who are different than us so we can understand their point of view. Maybe we can change their minds, but maybe they'll change ours. And you can't do this if you just out of hand disregard what your opponents have to say from the start."
When we shame others for differences in opinion or approaches to achieving a common goal, not only are we promoting divisiveness where unity would be more effective, but we're alienating essential allies.
Speaking out against irresponsible silence or plain disrespect is one thing, but dissing someone because of their approach to activism is just plain ignorant. Let's all shift focus to the common goal at hand: Fighting for justice for the thousands of people of color killed due to police brutality and making real changes to the systematic strongholds that have facilitated those murders. Let's show what smart, strategic unity can do in the face of hatred, bigotry, and wickedness. Let's endear ourselves to one other, have respectful conversations about perspectives and find ways to work together. The success of this movement depends on it.
Featured image by Shutterstock
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
One thing about Megan Thee Stallion is that she’s going to motivate you to stay active. From afar, she seems like the perfect gym bestie, and up close, it looks like her workouts would have us gasping for air. But hey, she doesn’t call her routines “bootcamp” for nothing.
After an extended break from social media and the public eye, the Houston Hottie is back sharing the high-energy workouts that are keeping her lean and she’s happy to report that “the results have been resulting."
The 28-year-old rapper dropped an Instagram Reel, detailing the workout routine that’s putting her endurance to the test. With the help of her personal trainer, Megan has one word in mind when it comes to her progress and that’s: “Consistency.”
The “Savage” artist has been traveling, making “hot girl moves," and after returning from a trip to New York, she expressed that her trainer is pushing her to keep the same energy back in the gym.
“I had just gotten back from New York and I told my trainer, ‘Look, friend, I was having a time. Can you please take it easy?’” Megan said. “He said, ‘Hmm, I’ve seen you doing all that hot girl s—, so what you need to do is get in that gym and have that same energy.’”
Her trainer then instructed her to do jumping squats with an exercise ball and resistance band around her legs for an extra burn. “I put my thing down, flipped it, and reversed it and that’s what happened. This sh– burned like a motherf—,” she teased in the video’s voiceover while executing both forward and backward jumping squats.
It’s clear that when it comes to Megan’s fitness, her trainer doesn’t play around about pushing her to her limits. In the next set of her cardio moves, we see the Grammy-winning artist jumping rope and moving on to a combination of mountain climbers and lateral jumps over a speed hurdle.
“Right here, that’s when I realized: I’ve been saying my trainer’s crazy but I know he’s really, really crazy because he must think that I’m trying out for the Houston Texans or something,” she joked.
To finish her workout, Meg hit two more barbell exercises, one being a set of cleans with 10-pound weight plates on the barbell. She then closed out by doing lunges with the barbell racked on her shoulders.
Of course, the best way to close out a workout is to nourish yourself with a balanced meal. Meg showed off her delicious post-workout plate with salmon, a sweet potato, and assorted veggies.
With so much of her public life being shared on the internet, it’s nice to see her letting us in on her progress in a fun and motivating way. “I just want to be transparent with y'all. Working out hurts, but it’s really a mental thang, so go do it!”
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Featured image by Taylor Hill/Getty Images