There is a blogger turned author named, Luvvie Ajayi. I read her blogs occasionally and follow her on social media. I do this for two reasons: a.) Luvvie understands the pulse of American culture (and in many ways, she is the pulse), and b.) Luvvie is laugh-out-loud funny, and I need that kind of healing in my life.
In September 2016, she released her first book of essays entitled, “I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual.” It instantly became a New York Times best-seller. I’m not presenting this book on Tuesdays as a recommendation for “Natasha’s Study,” although her chapters “Racism is for A**holes,” “The Privilege Principle,” and “Zamunda is Not a Country. Neither is Africa” provides the type of practical education that we all need. I’m talking about this book and its author on Thursday for “Coffee Talk” because this is the kind of thing I would talk about if I were out to lunch with girlfriends or if they were drinking coffee.
I talk about Luvvie because she is smart and funny. She’s more than that. While we don’t come to the same conclusions on several topics, as a Nigerian American—I guess that’s the right descriptor for someone who is born in Nigeria but raised in America and proudly represents Chicago—woman and entrepreneur, I have much respect for her.
For one thing, she encourages me to persevere in my writing journey. Luvvie consistently blogged for 13 years before releasing her first book! I have been blogging since the fall of 2010, so I’m almost half-way there. She is a technological and social media genius. In addition to offering free and knowledgeable content on her technology blog, she is generous with answering questions and providing guidance to others when she can. This has encouraged me to get smart and take ownership of my tech and social media game, although I’m not all that techie.
From blogger to best-selling author, to social media expert, to business woman, and brand mogul—to the one who gets paid to interview people like Oprah, who watches television shows and writes about them (again I say, she gets paid for watching television), I have and am learning a lot from Luvvie with her judgey self.
Here are some pearls of wisdom from “I am Judging You”:
- Around the globe, “White is right” is the message, and caste systems exist based on color; usually at the bottom of the ladder are Black and brown people.
- Racism is not always white hoods and burning crosses. It is behind teacher’s desks and principal’s offices.
- We, as African people, are studied but not seen.
- We’re too busy teaching girls shame when we need to be teaching boys how to see women as more than vessels of sex.
- White women, include women of color in your agenda as you fight for equality. Don’t leave us behind and then only call on us when you need our numbers.
- Society’s greatest skill is othering people and oppressing them, and one type of bigotry only perpetuates the presence of other kinds.
Not every Christian can handle reading a book like, “I’m Judging You.” The title alone will get some to quote scripture (mostly out of context). I’m not a “throw the baby out with the bath water” kind of Christian. I believe that if I am fully present and attentive to listen well, I can learn something from almost anybody. Besides, I am in the early stages of writing my next book and for it, I need to hear and listen to the heartbeats, concerns, and cries of African and African American women like Luvvie.
So say her name or read her book (if you can handle it), for she is already judging all of us, and we might learn a few things from her judgment.
In what areas and ways are you tempted to judge incorrectly? Where have you found wisdom in an unlikely place?
© Natasha Sistrunk Robinson