Election Day

Skinny Black Girl
Nov 8, 2016 · 3 min read

If my southern black grandmother was alive, she’d disapprove of the following:

  • My stubborn arrogance
  • My four tattoos
  • My refusal to grow and straighten “all that good pretty hair”
  • My writing and releasing a book that discussed my sex life
  • My sex life existing in the first place
  • My blog where I “tell everybody all my damn business”
  • My Instagram feed (especially the bikini and sports bra / yoga pics)
  • My indifference toward the Browns and Cavs
  • My ban on slips and shapewear in my wardrobe
  • My predilection for tall, boyishly handsome, emotionally unavailable men
  • My preference for dining out over cooking
  • My continued disdain for household chores — especially dishwashing (not even her switches from the trees in our backyard could whip that out of me)

I like to think I make her proud on Election Day.

I never heeded her warnings about people seeing through my dresses or found value in four hours over a hot stove, but she is my model for citizenship. Her grandchildren were the first generation of our family born with a government-protected right to vote. Since I was the grandchild who lived under her roof (and the brightest — don’t tell my cousins), she prioritized my political education; starting with the Cleveland Mayoral Race of 1989. Six-year-old me didn’t absorb much beyond the mutual hatred between the candidates and their devotees. In the end, it didn’t matter how many “Forbes for Mayor” stickers I collected after my grandmother and I left the polling location — “our guy” lost.

Then came the 1992 Presidential election. This time, I was a sophisticated eight-year-old third grader. Who needed the weekly Scholastic News when Grandma made me watch grown up news? “Four more years” and “No new taxes” were a “No.” Universal health care and a First Lady who was too smart to waste her time in a kitchen or a garden? Hell yes. Al Gore nailing Dan “Couldn’t Spell Potato” Quayle on supporting a woman’s right to choose? More hell yes (I didn’t know what we were choosing at the time, but as a little girl with big dreams, I appreciated the sentiment).

My grandmother and I never voted together. In December 2000, she suffered a massive stroke. She lived until 2010, but only pieces of her strong mind remained. (Even with a scrambled brain, she was furious about the Supreme Court “giving the Presidency to that damn Bush”). When I cast my vote for the first Black President in 2008, I bawled in the voting booth. I wished she could’ve voted. I wished she could revert to her pre-stroke self to discuss the magnitude of the moment with me.

Twenty-four years after being impressed by the lady too smart for baking and gardening, I voted for her. My grandmother would’ve done the same. While I doubt we’d have the same sensibilities (she’d have all the respectability politics and no interest in my feminism), I think she’d be happy she helped raise an informed, engaged, opinionated black woman. She’d be happy I live in a world with a female Presidential candidate from a major party.

She might not have enthusiastically been #WithHer. But she’d be damned proud her grandbaby is.

Grandma and I. 1984. She was probably about to educate me on Reagan vs. Mondale.

The Skinny Black Girl

Musings and memoirs of a perfectly ordinary girl.

Skinny Black Girl

Written by

Shit talker. Star gazer. Editor of fairy tales. Lover of solitude. Author of “Songs About Boys: The romantic musings and misadventures of my 20s.”

The Skinny Black Girl

Musings and memoirs of a perfectly ordinary girl.

Skinny Black Girl

Written by

Shit talker. Star gazer. Editor of fairy tales. Lover of solitude. Author of “Songs About Boys: The romantic musings and misadventures of my 20s.”

The Skinny Black Girl

Musings and memoirs of a perfectly ordinary girl.

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