Being a Black woman ain’t always a crystal stair. You know that. If it were all lollipops and gumdrops, this would be a very different site.  Lucky for us, we have the option of laughing to keep from crying or through the tears or whichever cliche suits you best. And we have all the many things in this world that are beautiful, fabulous and wonderful, which serve as a counterpoint to the pain and frustration. Then, there’s also the lighthearted, smalll things which aren’t big enough to counterbalance our struggles, nor fly enough to be inspiring or transformational, but they have their own charm and provide a little bit of pleasure as well.

Much of what you get on a blog–this blog in particular, falls in that last category. Yes, we absolutely talk about the trials and tribulations of the world and we celebrate the fantastic as well. But often times, we’re just riffing about a new music video or some piece of celebrity “news” or something else that is entertaining, but of no grand consequence. However, for some people, its just impossible to relax and enjoy…well, much of anything.

For example: New pictures of a pregnant Nia Long hit the Internet this week. A number of readers on this site and many other ones gushed about how good she looks. But then there were also a lot of folks who were going in on the actress for being unmarried and having a second child by as many men. Never mind the fact that the woman 1) seems enthusiastic about her new child 2) appears to be in a healthy, committed relationship with her baby’s father and 3) has the means to raise a family with or without assistance from anyone else. This pleasant event–the birth of a new life–became an occasion for shade to pour all in. Yet, when people lauded Beyonce for being married and waiting until she’d achieved some desired career milestones before she got pregnant…the shade and dragging commenced as well.

Considering the ability to be anonymous on the Internet, the number of people who ‘hide behind the screen’ and say terrible things because of the lack of accountability should come as no surprise. And yet, my mind is still blown a bit by the fact that we’ve recently had to ban a reader from commenting on Clutch. It wasn’t a kneejerk decision, but one that came after months of this person coming here each day with little else to say but terrible things about Black men and Black women (despite claiming to be the latter) and very blatantly disrespecting both the staff and readers of this site. Oh, and then switching IP addresses and using a few fake names (and pretending to be of a different gender) so that he/she/it may continue commenting.

While we have (hopefully) been successful in preventing this person from spreading nastiness across Clutchland, we are quite aware that there are others that also come here daily with attitudes that aren’t exactly conducive to supporting a positive space for our readers to discuss, debate and unpack some of our collective issues. If you don’t like Clutch, it’s totally fine. You don’t have to. But, umm, you also don’t have to come to a site day in and day out if you don’t like the writers or the readers.

There are some super brilliant, funny and astute folks who comment on this site, some of whom should really consider pitching stories or applying to contribute regularly. But then there’s also the fun crushing, kitten killing, bubble bursting readers who live to slam other cyber-community members, to call out a writer for making a mistake or to spew a pre-rehearsed diatribe about how Black men ain’t sh!t or how Black women are responsible for the ills of everything short of Agent Orange and head lice.

Some folks are just deathly serious about their commitment to being as pleasant as a yeast infection. Really.

The world can be a cold, dreary place. But you shouldn’t seek out the gloom and doom in everything. You gotta be able to laugh from time to time, to see that it isn’t all so bad. The same goes for Clutch. We need to have our serious debates and examinations of the problems facing society, but we also need to be able to call Beyonce ‘cute’ without having a long discussion about Black women’s hair hangups. We need to be able to laugh about romantic woes without getting charged up about a “man shortage.” We absolutely need to be able to disagree without calling one another stupid or blaming someone for the plight of the race. That doesn’t mean you can’t ever pull someone’s virtual card–just don’t make it your life’s work to do so.

Let’s ease up on each other. Learn to laugh a little bit and how to debate without ‘hate’. Let’s remember that “community” is not just something that exists within a certain radius of where you rest your head but, rather, something that develops when you share space with other people. Let’s be better to each other here, Clutchettes. Deal?

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