Belle: A Lesson In the Timelessness of Racism and Misogyny Against Black Women

This post totally makes me want to go see the movie. I had been considering it but thinking it might be one of those “pat yourself on the back for making a black film to show you’re not racist” type of deals. I hate that term, “black film”. All films should have black people in them (if it makes sense) so what exactly is a “black film”? But I digress. In any case, if you haven’t read this article, I suggest you set aside a little time to do just that.

Oh and random side note (considering the context), I passed my written test and now have a learner’s permit. I can take the road test whenever I’m ready. Woot-Woot. I’m going on a road trip tomorrow, aka later today so I’ll get some good practice in. Wish me luck!

Oh and let me know in the comments whether or not you’d go see Belle. And if you have seen it already, let me know what you think.

Olivia A. Cole

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It’s not often that audiences are exposed to a portrayal of racism that is viewed through the lens of black women. Dido Elizabeth Belle, a mixed-race woman in 1700’s England, was the daughter of an admiral and an enslaved African woman. The film Belle, which was released nationwide this weekend, follows Dido’s life in the household of William Murray, her great-uncle, who was the earl of Mansfield and Lord Chief Justice of England. We watch Dido become a lady, educated and accomplished, while still forced to dine separately from her family in the company of strangers due to her lower status as a non-white person. We witness her experiences with romance and her complicated friendship with her white cousin, all during the infamous Zong case.

In the film, Dido becomes acquainted with an aspiring lawyer and abolitionist who advocates against the Zong slavers and, in turn, exposes Dido to…

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Testing My Confidence

I have needed to make new business cards for my company for a long time. About a year now. But I kept dancing around the issue, wondering what my logo should be, should I just give up on the company, is this a waste of time, etc. But a week ago I decided to bite the bullet and give the company my all. I mean, if I’m going to fail, isn’t it better to fail trying my best? So no more self-sabotage. My best was the only thing I planned to give from then on out.

Following this decision I chose to go with a nautical theme since I’m born and raised on the shore (and love it there). I started designing all nautical themed creations (including a nice business card). However when I received my 500 business cards I found they were rather dark and illegible.  Panic peeked its head up, but I soothed it back to sleep, deciding to test the card out in different light and give people a chance to tell me whether or not they could read it.

As more people told me they couldn’t read it, and that I should get my money back panic stirred from its slumber and curled its way around my mind. I’m struggling financially, the money I used to buy the business cards (on sale) was borrowed from my aunt. I make very little and work very hard. The idea of having 500 useless cards and not much way to spread the word about my work would have sent me into a tailspin of doubt and anxiety. I’d be thinking “Is this a sign? Have I wasted a chunk of my life on something that has always been doomed to fail?”

But, I am not the same as I was before. I know that panic solves nothing, in fact it creates more (completely unnecessary) issues. So I fought to tame the panic, at last getting it back in its grave to Rest In Peace. Then I sent a very nice message to Vistaprint, asking for help with the matter.

While on the website I saw they had another brief sale going on, so I ordered a few cards using one of their designs that resembled the dolls I make. That being done, I made some adorable dolls, spent time with my family and forgot about the whole matter.

Today I saw that Vistaprint customer service sent me an email. The representative offered advice on making the text more legible and said that if I uploaded a new design Vistaprint would redo my order using it, for free.

In the past I wouldn’t have asked. I would have assumed the worst, wallowed in my inability to do anything right, and believed I was too insignificant for anyone to care about helping. After all I haven’t spent a great deal of money with Vistaprint (in most people’s eyes), though to me it’s a great fortune. This line of thinking is self-sabotage. That’s not me anymore.

Today I sent them the new design to Vistaprint and now I am about to go take my drivers test (to get a permit at the ripe age of 28), which I have been putting off out of fear of failure for many many years.

To sum up this long post here are some notes from a long conversation with my cousin yesterday.

She was saying variations of things I had said to myself so many times:

  • But, so and so (a parent or someone close to you) thinks I should do this
  • But I don’t know much about it, I’m not trained
  • I just need to find the motivation
  • Maybe later, eventually, I’m going to, etc
  • But that’s not what I went to school for
  • But I like doing this as well

This is what I said in response:

  • They don’t know everything about everything, they may have issues of their own that are leading them to fixate on you, it is your decision, your life
  • You can always learn more as you go along, start small offer a disclaimer if necessary (even people who’ve made it big offer disclaimers), but never disregard the experience you have received. Your life has offered you training, there is something you have already to offer and you are just building upon it
  • Your motivation should be the love of the work you do, if you don’t love it maybe you should alter it or not do it
  • Speak in the present “I am, I’m making, I have” etc, if you can do something today don’t wait for tomorrow, just do it
  • Life is your school, like I said before you’ve already had some training in something. Plus you can attend school, read up on things, shadow someone who does have the experience while doing what you are currently able to do. We have the internet, social sharing, and family/friends to help us get started (and keep going).
  • It’s okay to be interested in multiple things. Find the ones at the top of your list and figure out how you can use them to support your number one interest (the one that you love the most). I myself love animation and writing so I’m making an animated commercial for my online shop.

The list goes on, but the key element is love. If you love your work other people will love it too. Be confident and take yourself seriously, show the respect for yourself you’d like others to show towards you.

Me and my cousin were so afraid of making a wrong step and “ruining/wasting our lives” that we refused to more forward. Which is kind of crazy since we were wasting our lives hanging around accomplishing nothing. Self-fulling prophesy.

 

Don’t be afraid to be great, to be the best there ever was at walking the path meant for you.

 

Becoming More Confident

Becoming More Confident

I am slowly discovering my style and appreciating my skill set (rather than envying the skills of others). We’re different for a reason, right? In any case, when I leave all my doubt behind and just do what I know to be right, I find I love my work again (like I used to). It is as if I’m resurrecting that the old me who thought the only measuring stick worth referencing was my own. Now my goal is to be the best me possible, not the best you or anybody else. Because, well, the world already has one of you and you’re doing a great job.

For a change I’m promoting my adorable little shop. Be sure to check out Piece of Quirk, it’s a lot of fun.

That is all ^_^ Sleep well and wake better