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Why Jada Pinkett Smith Isn't Worried About Being Liked

She can't continue to look for herself in the distorted reflection from the eyes of others.

Jada Pinkett Smith

Let's not front, being like to a certain extent feels awesome. I know for me, another artist who is sensitive about her shit, it feels amazing to receive praise and reassurance. As a daughter, it feels amazing to be put on a pedestal for being supportive and agreeable. As a lover, it feels amazing to know I bring someone else a sense of comfort and pleasure. However, living solely for those highs left me emotionally bankrupt, unable to recognize myself when I looked in the mirror, and with a creative block. I know I'm not alone, and that fear of not being liked builds up to the point where people are afraid to reveal their true thoughts and feelings.

Sadly, for women, this is a crippling mindset that has been spoonfed to us for ages. The desire to be liked is suffocating because, what exactly will happen if someone doesn't like you?

Actress, mother, wife and host Jada Pinkett Smith seems to believe self-love happens when we let go of our desire to be liked. Achieving your highest potential happens. Being your most authentic self happens. Jada explained during a recent episode of Red Table Talk:

"I never worry about being liked because it's a trick bag...that is the space of manipulation. If you need somebody to like you it'll be too difficult for someone to act from an authentic place...But here's the deal, most people have a difficult time liking themselves."
"It's almost like begging someone to see your true image through a cracked lens. It's not going to happen."

Sis is giving us a life-earned piece of game for free-99 here. The late great Maya Angelou already warned us about being careful when a naked person offers you a shirt, but that's a hard concept to grasp because, again, approval feels so good. Damn near validating. When you are freezing, that shirt looks tailor-made to fit your body! So there comes a time when we must sit down and ask ourselves whose approval matters the most? Mine, or someone outside of myself?

Is it worth doing something that makes another person happy, yet makes me miserable? Do I really want to be burned out from setting myself on fire to keep other people warm?

Another woman daring to not give a damn about being liked is Myleik Teele, mother, host, and creator of the beloved CurlBox. The entrepreneur did the work to find out that the answer to those questions and what she learned was a resounding, "Hell to the no!" She shared in a passionate IG live discussion:

"I have finally learned how to deal with the anxiety that comes along with you when you make the choice that's best for you...I can say something to you and then I know you are going to be upset about it, and me not feeling the need to defend myself or react around that...me just sitting there not in like a strange way but just like I acknowledge your anger. I understand that you're upset. You know? And that's it!"

Don't be fooled, coming to this realization and point of action takes some serious work from people who are able to look at you without a distorted view and give you the tools you need to learn to trust yourself. For Myleik, that person was her long-time therapist:

"For 2021, I'm really looking forward to gaining some momentum in my comfort of just being straight up and dropping this desire to be liked. And it's kind of a complex thing to say because you know year after year I sit in therapy and she's like, 'It's because you want people to like you," and it's like, 'I don't care if they don't like me!' That's how I feel genuinely! But there will be certain behaviors that were not congruent with what I'm saying."

Practice makes perfect. If you are confused about where to start, here are some very useful words to start with:

  1. "No."
  2. "That does not work for me."
  3. "That is not my problem."

Sis..I can keep you here all day but just make sure you prioritize being true to yourself above all else. Do it for the love, not for the likes.

Are you a member of our insiders squad? Join us in the xoTribe Members Community today!

Featured image via Jamie Lamor Thompson / Shutterstock.com

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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Featured image by Shutterstock

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