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The Age Old 'Ride Or Die' Mantra Goes Both Ways

A word.

Her Voice

In a super animated video from For Harriet's founder, Kimberly Foster, she voiced her distaste for the overplayed unofficial "Ride or Die" rule, and began her discourse with her disappointment of Beyonce and Jay-Z's "Bonnie and Clyde" themed, On The Run II tour.


Though she had some valid points about the detriment of a woman foregoing her self-worth and over-laboring in a imbalanced relationship, I think she may have missed a mark in providing the proper framework for a committed heterosexual relationship or marriage.

This read will break down some of her arguments, as well as collective feminist beliefs, and interject some of these findings with my own critical thoughts about how being a ride or die partner transcends patriarchal gender roles by going both ways.

So, first things first… as a huge Beyonce fan, I'd like to debunk the anchor for her opinion. At the end of the day, you don't "Ride or Die" for someone who doesn't reciprocate. I don't understand why that always seems to be the missing part. Kimberly expressed her annoyance of the overplayed Bonnie and Clyde archetype. Bonnie and Clyde are a real life couple, who were real life criminals, and died as a result of their real ass crimes. It's an archetype that has been romanticized as part of a patriarchal conditioned system.

Outside of the sensationalized criminal wrongdoings of these two people, they committed to each other in a vow that was sacred to them. Do you think that when they were in bed making love, that they were focusing on the bank they just robbed? No. Beyonce and Jay-Z are artists who are doing the expected thing by channeling an infamous fated couple. They might as well throw in their rendition of Romeo and Juliet, Adam and Eve, Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus...but I digress.

In the comment thread of this video, many people were upset that she omitted their personal battle in marriage. Kimberly then rebuttaled that she was speaking of the "performance." I think that this trivializes their private lives, in which they have clearly fought for the union, which heavily relied on Jay-Z doing right by his wife, coming to terms with his infidelity, and the pain he caused his family. Jay-Z had to awaken to his toxic masculine qualities, and redeem himself for succumbing to not only infidelity, but also the staunch truths of his past - and I'm sure that Beyonce did not make it easy, because our society certainly didn't.

You don't ride and die for someone who doesn't reciprocate. Period.

Moving on, she mentioned that it would be great to imagine a world where "women get equal care and support." So why stop there? Why stop at imagining this was so? Why not fight against the status quo, whilst upholding what many of us want - a monogamous, reciprocal, healthy and balanced relationship? Instead, she quickly streamlined her conversation into the outdated acceptance of, "women fix men, men take the credit." If you have been on a spiritual path like the one I have been on, which requires you to raise your vibration, then you likely don't subscribe to this old paradigm.

This goes for both men and women.

As a womanist, my personal truth is to enlighten men, or anyone who falls victim to the box of misogyny and patriarchy that we live in, about what it means to respect women, because ultimately it translates into respecting yourself. What is the point of embodying a whole ideology of feminism, for the purpose of schooling those who don't get it, to only disallow the desired growth to bloom? In short, I can cling tightly to my feministic convictions, but I fear that women like Kimberly cling so tightly, that they give no space for growth of the other half.

As a student of universal law and energetic exchange, if you think about it, women are built with a more innate intuition, or at least the ability to tap into it, on a greater scale than men are. But men, because of the very rigid separation of their heart centers, they are able to enforce 3D or physical stability, protection, and provisions. Now that things are shifting energetically, women are growing more of that physical ability to enforce that masculinity within us, and men are learning to embrace and utilize the feminine energy. Kimberly did mention that a paradigm of this nature would be better for men as well, and that is something we can agree on.

Another point that I found problematic was when she generalized the idea that men use women as, "a means to an end," and a "vehicle to get to their best self." Well, I have seen with my own eyes relationship dynamics where men depend on women for everything, including: housing, food, money, and emotional support. I doubt however, that the co-dependency in this type of relationship leads to being their best selves.

I'm a firm believer that you only attract the sum of yourself.

If you end up with a man who does not take accountability for himself, then you sis, are not embodying your best self. As gender roles continue to transform and people are waking up to the idea of balancing masculine and feminine energies within themselves, both men and women will find themselves shifting out of this old paradigm.

In her own words, she said one of the critical failures of feminism is that "we don't provide women with the tools to push back against the social norms." In Kimberly's critique of the "Ride or Die" trope, ironically, she is not providing the tools to help women push back against the social norms, by denying or omitting the fact that the paradigm she speaks of is transforming.

How many Black women do you know is gung-ho about training a grown little boy? The true problem is in how many of us subscribe to the aforementioned statement, being the only thing that is available, and in the process, not working on our self-introspection, self-love, and self-care, that will ultimately get us to a point of vibration where we will attract our equals.

The idea of being a "Ride or Die," transcends not only the patriarchal paradigm that we have been socialized and conditioned to live in, but it also transcends race, gender, and heteronormative relationships.

It's about respect, love, equality, and mutual reciprocation for the person you share your life with.

I have worked hard to get myself to a level of self worth, and unconditional love within my own soul, and you best believe that when I find my vibrational equal, I will "Ride and Die" for that man, because he will do the same for me.

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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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