Wednesday, April 30, 2008

"teach me how to live!"

~quote from neighboring feist concertgoer to me, post-show. my brother thinks it was the afro that made me her role model. :)

yeah, so the feist concert tonight at the hammerstein was pretty amazing. pre-tty great. she has a puppeteer! and she sang all the right ones- "so sorry," "brandy alexander," "my moon my man," "sealion woman," "1 2 3 4," "i feel it all"...the list goes on. my brother asked me if feist is "indie rock" and i had to admit that i have no freaking idea what her genre is called, but that all i know is that she is good. period. so here is "so sorry," one of my fave feist songs for you:

the camera work is not the best on the video, but it's ohsoclose to the actual performance i saw tonight that i can't post another. oh, also, she maybe-sorta-kinda suggested that stephen colbert should be our next president. that was good :).

Monday, April 28, 2008

unsafe passage

i'm rereading octavia butler's parable of the sower this week, and i've been telling my friends that it's hard to get through because the 2025 butler presents seems less and less farfetched every time i read about it.
there's an article in the times today that makes it that much more real. there are a number of high school children in chicago who are afraid to walk to school alone. this is probably not new news to people that know chicago, kind of like the random section in today's times article on KGIA acts like children bringing weapons to school or using racial slurs in the presence of teachers is a new thing. most of the sensation is a result of ignorance. but. children are afraid to walk to school for fear of being shot in the midst of a gang war. read parable of the sower and tell me what's different. tell me the world butler creates isn't possible, or maybe even likely.
these are troubled times.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

sukh aur dukh ki kahani

the title of this post is also the title of a show i saw yesterday at the culture project as a part of women center stage. "sukh aur dukh ki kahani, a journey of love, risk and loss," brought on a sense of unknowing and/or not understanding was part of the entire process at the show yesterday. andolan, a non-profit founded by and for low-wage south asian women workers, brought five women together to tell their stories of struggle and to empower themselves through performance. the result of their own self-explorations is a powerful show that exposes the truth of the variety of immigration and u.s. living experiences of south asian descent. i think (and i know in my own experience as an imperfect and often ignorant person) that south asians often are placed in the model minority pool along with east asians. it is very rarely (if ever) that we see s. asians portrayed as financially struggling unless the movie or film is actually set in s. asia and the character is a beggar or servant, or it is wartime. in u.s.-set movies/t.v. shows/novels, south asians most often suffer from being overlooked in the professional sector, or are mocked for accents and cultural differences, but there is, as far as i know, no real portrayal of low-wage domestic workers of south asian descent. south asians are also often seen as legal immigrants, not illegal ones.
"sukh aur dukh ki kahani" explodes all of those stereotypes. there are four languages spoken in the show- english, bangla, hindi and marathi, and of those languages the director only speaks english. two teenage interns provided translation for the women across their language barriers, and the show was created by the women across their differences to speak out against violence. at the beginning of the show the director made a point to welcome the audience to fully experience the discomfort of not understanding, and to try to connect to the emotion in the women's performances without full translation. key phrases and words were displayed on a screen in english, and the program provided basic english translations for the five stories shared.
in the q-and-a, one man asked whose stories the women were sharing, and whether or not they were written collaboratively. it was explained that all of the women were sharing their own experiences, and the courage it took for them to get up in front of all of us became all that much clearer. to speak of being in the country illegally, to speak of escaping from your abusive former employers' home, to speak of losing two infant children to hunger in front of 100 strangers is, i'm sure, terrifying, and the grace and strength the women brought to their words was beautiful. andolan will be trying to take the show other places in the future, so keep your eyes open. they also take donations, so if you're looking for a place to share your resources, check out the website.
i thought of this poem by audre lorde as i left the theater yesterday, so i'll share it with y'all~

the brown menace
or poem to the
survival of

Call me
your deepest urge
toward survival
call me
and my brothers and sisters
in the sharp smell of refusal
call me
roach and presumptuous
nightmare upon your white pillow
your itch to destroy
the indestructible part of yourself.

Call me
your own determination
in the most detestable shape
you can become
friend of your own image
within me I am you
your most deeply cherished nightmare
scuttling through painted cracks
you create to admit
me into your kitchens
your fearful midnights
your values at noon
into your most secret places
you learn to honor me
by imitation as I alter
through your greedy preoccupations
through your kitchen wars
through your poisonous refusal
to survive.

To survive.
To survive.


Saturday, April 26, 2008


my mom told me today that she had a dream about me a few weeks ago. in the dream, i told her that i had things to tell her about my ex and the way he treated me, and that things were much worse than i ever wanted to say. before i told her, though, i said i needed to get on the subway. "it was so weird, because i remember you saying, 'i've gotta go, but one day i'll tell you the truth, mommy,'" she said.

i rushed to assure her that there is nothing to tell, that it was no big deal, but he and i both know that's not quite true. i will never tell my mother any of the truth because neither of us, nor our selfish, self-absorbed, nasty actions have ever been/will ever be worth my mother's tears. her question did make me realize, though, that another relationship like that one is completely unacceptable. and it takes the sheen off of the relationship i so like to romanticize in my memory.

well sL, if you read this, my mom wants you to know she's praying for you. i was supposed to tell you that next time i see you on the train, but i think we'd both prefer it this way.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

random thought of the night

my aunt joy once sent me a birthday check for $10. it bounced and cost me $25 bucks instead.

happy friday, friends.

i need to read more colson whitehead

i enjoyed his poke at margaret jones' memoir "love and consequences" in new york magazine this week. i ran across it on the train this morning, and being me, i of course did not understand it was a joke until i was way too far in. then i had a good 25 laughs in the last, like, quarter of the article. :) great! short excerpt, right around where i started to doubt the veracity of the piece:

Back in the states, when I recount my visit with Misha, I think I see something of the predator in Margaret, too. In the cruel intelligence of her gaze, her long silky mane. I ask her: Can Native Americans talk to wolves, or is that buffalo? At any rate, I think I can see that half of her heritage expressing itself as she listens. “Misha loves her wolves,” she tells me. “But fighting over squirrel carcass with her pack made her competitive, for reals. You write a memoir these days, and someone’s always trying to outdo you. It’s an arms race. Just when you outrun the tsunami, cradling a baby under each arm, you look back and some joker is surfing on that mother, with a whole bandolier of babies across her chest, and she’s juggling flaming torches and a chainsaw to boot. It’s mad crazy on these streets.”

ah, colson. so funny you are. "surfing on that mother, with a whole bandolier of babies..." i like you, are you single? ;)

anyway, then tonight as i browsed my google reader, i ran across this on postbourgie- he also wrote an op-ed in the times. yay!


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

yeah right

photo originally found in diversity inc magazine.

abercrombie "cares" about diversity, and they couldn't have found two more racially ambiguous models to prove it. i really hate all of the corporate pandering to people of color through flimsy, lazy campaigns like this one. ew.

unhelpful= maureen dowd

not only do i really dislike her headshot, as it seems a bit pompous and smug (i'm sorry, is it sexist to comment on her headshot? i read her column at least once a week and this is the first time i'm saying it...does that make it better? probs not, eh? oh well, forgive me feminist goddess), but i also really dislike her op-ed today on hillary and barack. i just don't think passages like this are helpful at all:

Is he skittish around her because he knows that she detests him and he’s used to charming everyone? Or does he feel guilty that he cut in line ahead of her? As the husband of Michelle, does he know better than to defy the will of a strong woman? Or is he simply scared of Hillary because she’s scary?

He is frantic to get away from her because he can’t keep carbo-loading to relate to the common people.

neither is this:

But this is clearly a man who can’t wait to get back to his organic scrambled egg whites. That was made plain with his cri de coeur at the Glider Diner in Scranton when a reporter asked him about Jimmy Carter and Hamas.

“Why” he pleaded, sounding a bit, dare we say, bitter, “can’t I just eat my waffle?”

His subtext was obvious: Why can’t I just be president? Why do I have to keep eating these gooey waffles and answering these gotcha questions and debating this gonzo woman?

Before they devour themselves once more, perhaps the Democrats will take a cue from Dr. Seuss’s “Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now!” (The writer once mischievously redid it for his friend Art Buchwald as “Richard M. Nixon Will You Please Go Now!”) They could sing:

“The time has come. The time has come. The time is now. Just go. ... I don’t care how. You can go by foot. You can go by cow. Hillary R. Clinton, will you please go now! You can go on skates. You can go on skis. ... You can go in an old blue shoe.

Just go, go, GO!”

dowd-y. friend. could you be any more crass? could you be any less useful right now? he wants to go back to his "organic scrambled egg whites"? WTF? who are you helping? who are you hurting? at the very most, you're just annoying those of us that sometimes think you have something useful to say.

anyway, if you want useful analysis of the situation, check out the JJP post, and i'm sure dailyKos will have some interesting stuff. the painful journey down primary road continues...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

ladies and gents, fr. michael pfleger

l'heureux did his piece with bill o'reilly, but father michael pfleger is a force to be reckoned with. the fox news reporter didn't have a fucking chance. there's definitely a reason they aren't streaming this one on the main homepage...

h/t to JJP

i kinda want a greenhouse

i read this article about a new green magnet school in new haven, connecticut, and i have to admit that my first thought was something like "oh, those white kids always get the cool schools!" *sucking teeth* turns out, though, that for once the typical conclusion was an incorrect one-- the kids in the pictures are brown like me! yay! horticulture is awesome, and i love that these students (and really, i would be happy for any students, regardless of race) have the chance to learn how to love the environment.

yay for good school experiments. they don't come along often enough.

Monday, April 21, 2008


obama's really on the daily show tonight! crazy. the day before the primary? spending his time with john stewart?

oh and edwards wasn't bad on colbert...though he's ridiculously attractive face kind of gets old as you watch him stumble over words he hasn't rehearsed quite well enough. the 1,000,000th mention balloons are pretty awesome.

i think i'm learning

so i've been shying away from considering the potential of a committed relationship with the man i've been seeing for the past few months. i make lots of excuses- oh, he's too young, he's an actor and doesn't know what he wants, what if end up hurting him?
in the end, i know the real reason i push away conversation of relationships is the way i allowed my last one to end- with my heart and my sense of self crushed and run through a freaking blender. if i weren't such a coward i probably would have tried to end my life (stupid, right?). it really fucked me up. i had nothing left, or so i thought. i acted out, said/emailed/blogged a bunch of cruel things between bouts of drunkenness and binge eating that i thought might make me feel better, and nothing really worked. i basically became a functional alcoholic, and ate myself into 20 added pounds. i guess i was trying to end my life the cowardly way, from the inside out. i thank a divine being and my family and friends for helping me snap out of it, but the emotional scars remain.
i was confronted on facebook today by pictures of my ex and his girlfriend, who seem much happier than i ever felt dating him. i, as "over it" as i am, felt some tears welling up. over that relationship that ended so long ago. over seeing him with a girl i've known he's been dating since, oh, probably a month after we broke up, which is just about a year ago now. not a new idea.
then, as i'm starting to sink into my self-pitying, "no one will ever fit me like that again" abyss, i hear my ringtone through the drone of chrisette michele on my ipod earbuds (god, that's like a bad line out of a "chicken soup for the soul" memoir). who is it? the new boy. the one i spend so much time not considering as a viable love option. the one i make excuses about. he's calling to ask how my day was, to tell me how much he enjoyed our walk yesterday, how an agent thought his headshots are great and will be sending him out to auditions post-haste. if only i believed in signs...

Friday, April 18, 2008

my pres. candidate IAT

apparently hillary doesn't have much of a lead over mccain in my book. that's a little crazy, since mccain pro-life ideas scare the bejesus out of me. oh, those harvard scientists. always tripping us up.

r.i.p. aime cesaire


you forever changed the tempest for me, and for that i am thankful.

Prospero, you are the master of illusion.
Lying is your trademark.
And you have lied so much to me
(lied about the world, lied about me)
that you have ended by imposing on me
an image of myself.
underdeveloped, you brand me, inferior,
That's the way you have forced me to see myself
I detest that image! What's more, it's a lie!
But now I know you, you old cancer,
and I know myself as well. (162)

what's anti-western?

i'm in shock after reading this, and really scared. russell k. pearce, republican, is afraid of people of color who dare to question the stories they're told about what it means to be american. and he happens to have the power and the political backing to do something about it. my baby sister goes to school in arizona. :( legislation against "anti-western" education? and by that they mean critics of hegemony, domination and oppression are no longer welcome? i'm deeply concerned.

my favorite quote from the news article? check it:
Rep. John Kavanagh, a member of the Appropriations Committee, said he hopes the measure helps return cultural studies in the state's schools to a "melting pot" model.

"This bill basically says, 'You're here. Adopt American values,' " said Kavanagh, a Fountain Hills Republican. "If you want a different culture, then fine, go back to that culture."

want more? article here. i'm quoting the legislation below, after commentary from a poster on the NAME mailing list...

So basically this amendment which was passed earlier today would do the following remove any sort of Chicano Studies, African American Studies, Ethnic Studies, Women's Studies amongst other programs on from any public campus K-12, Community Colleges, Universities, throughout Arizona. It would also make it illegal for groups that empower students culturally from meeting as they could be considered to not agree with dominant western thought. So basically if you don't think like he does your pretty much ******.




(Reference to Senate engrossed bill)

Strike everything after the enacting clause and insert:

"Section 1.

Title 15, chapter 1, article 1, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended by adding sections 15-107 and 15-108, to read:


Declaration of policy

The legislature finds and declares that:

1. A primary purpose of public education is to inculcate values of American citizenship.

2. Public tax dollars used in public schools should not be used to denigrate American values and the teachings of western civilization.

3. Public tax dollars should not be used to promote political, religious, ideological or cultural beliefs or values as truth when such values are in conflict with the values of American citizenship and the teachings of western CIVILIZATION.


Denigration, disparagement or encouragement of dissent from values of American democracy and western civilization; prohibition; enforcement; prohibition of race-based organizations; definition

A. A public school in this state shall not include within the program of instruction any courses, classes or school sponsored activities that promote, assert as truth or feature as an exclusive focus any political, religious, ideological or cultural beliefs or values that denigrate, disparage or overtly ENCOURAGE dissent from the values of American democracy and western civilization, including democracy, capitalism, pluralism and religious toleration.

B. This section does not prohibit the inclusion of diverse political, religious, ideological or CULTURAL beliefs or values if the course, CLASS or school sponsored activity as a whole does not denigrate, disparage or overtly ENCOURAGE dissent from the values of American democracy and western civilization.

C. On request of the superintendent of public instruction or the superintendent's designee, a public school shall promptly provide copies of curricula, course materials and course syllabi to the superintendent of public INSTRUCTION. the superintendent of public instruction, after providing appropriate notice and conducting an appropriate hearing, may withhold a proportionate share of state monies from any public school that violates subsection A. The superintendent of public instruction may take reasonable and APPROPRIATE regulatory actions to enforce this subsection. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to enlarge the authority of the superintendent of public instruction to regulate the CONTENT of curriculum in public schools.

D. A public school in this state, a university under the JURISDICTION of the arizona board of regents and a community college under the JURISDICTION of a community college DISTRICT in this state shall not allow organizations to operate on the CAMPUS of the school, UNIVERSITY or community college if the organization is based in whole or in part on race-based criteria.


For the purposes of this section, "public school" means any of the

1. A school district.

2. A school in a school district.

3. A charter school.

4. An accommodation school.

5. The arizona state schools for the deaf and the blind.


Amend title to conform



he brushed his shoulders off

yes, it's everywhere already. now it's here too. as dnA said, "gullyness at 2:20":

Thursday, April 17, 2008

it was like i never left

it has been another busy day, and it continues, but i have to quickly take a moment to thank whoever it is that puts us on this earth for allowing me to find my calling in the classroom. i saw my children today and it was like i never left. i sometimes have to remind myself that some of the most profound connections i have had with people were found in a classroom, and that there are very few things that mean more to me than my children. sometimes i forget what it means to love them, and how it feels to receive that love in return, and what my purpose in life is. i forget, but then i see terrell and ruthie and navaskia and the kevins and cliffannie and alexis and they ask me to return, to come to their houses, to hear about their mom and how she lost her job or how grandma is sick and i remember that my calling is to serve them. and i realize that returning to the classroom next year is absolutely the right decision. slowly but surely it all becomes clear.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

see you saturday?

come be liberated with me. the liberator live, featuring, among many others, sarah white, who i met last weekend along with her daughter isa. good shit.

one of these days

from joy the baker. coincidence? i think not...

Monday, April 14, 2008

i'll be there

ART IN HARLEM: black president

art & performances hosted by bre and damond haynes

Sunday May 18, 2008

12 W 130th Street, #3

bring food and drink!

rvsp, please contact:

formally instituted in november 2002, art in harlem is a collaborative effort to showcase the works of upcoming and established fine, graphic, decorative and performing artists. artists and their admirers gather at the space in harlem for
art, performance, music, food and spirits.

the idea behind art in harlem was to offer a comfortable, laid back open space in order to provide a clearinghouse for new artists, as well as established ones.

this event happens in my hood! i went to the last one and really enjoyed it...and my friend jackie lives there!

put it on the calendar...

there goes the freaking neighborhood

a friend called from 126th and 5th the other day to tell me that nubian heritage (boma) was closing down. the doors were open and shit was being moved out, and there were no signs on the windows. i was devastated. big fat sad face.

i was going to write a whole post about the importance boma has had in my life here in new york, how my friend dave's face fell when i told him the news, how i just had a whole conversation with a neighbor the other day about the fabulousness of the business and the owners, and then i found this post over at uptown flavor. they aren't gone for good, they're just moving! that's the good news. the bad news is that the current space is being replaced by an applebees? boo.

there goes the neighborhood.

Friday, April 11, 2008

will nas be hanes' newest spokesperson?

h/t to nsekuye's google reader and racewire for giving the heads up on these new hanes ads.

yes, they are disturbing and badly conceived. my biggest question, though, is where the hell do they run? where can you put up that ad? and what does it have to do with underwear? who the hell is your ad firm? why can't you be more like fruit of the loom and feature singing men in fruit costumes? what's wrong with you?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

this is funny but long, so take a look after the jump

thanks to postbourgie for "the definitive list of stuff all black people should boycott"! list after the jump.

note: i don't think all the links came with, so if you want the full experience head over to their site.

i'm trying to think of gainful additions to the list, but it may be too good. maybe i'd add tavis smiley, but that may just be because i'm a little hurt that people have been finding my blog by googling "tavis smiley's white girlfriend." ouch.

The Definitive List of Stuff All Black People Should Be Boycotting Right Now.

As determined by the Secret Council of American Negroes.

(A little problematic? Yup. But funny as hayl.)

From the editor’s desk:

As always the Secret Council of American Negroes keeps a boycott list ready and updated. While our resources are vast even we sometimes miss out on things black people really should be boycotting. Feel free to e-mail our site’s editor with people, places, things, organizations, businesses, religions, countries, government officials, deities and other offending bodies you think we should add to the SCAN Boycott List of Shame.

Boycotts can be called for just about anything that offends or even looks like it might offend blackness. Believe me, there is no issue too small for SCAN not to boycott. We get high off boycotting things.

Really. We do. Just thinking about Rosa Parks makes us want to go Starbucks and threaten a boycott over white chocolate macchiatos.

Chocolate is brown, Starbucks! It doesn’t need to be white! It’s happy the way it is!

Chocolate Power!


1. Viacom. (For owning BET)

2. BET. (For sucking)

3. The CW. (For canceling “Girlfriends,” the black woman can’t have a non-ignorant show on the TV?)

4. Lace-front wigs.

5. T-Pain.

6. Telemundo. (Because there are black Latinos, you know.)


8. Vogue Magazine.

9. Terry McMillan novels.

10. FOX’s “24″ and ABC’s “Lost.” (For real, stop killing the black characters. You’re turning them into that extemporaneous Star Fleet officer Kirk watches die gruesomely after every teleport.)

11. R. Kelly. (Pervert)

12. The NAACP (That’s right! We’re boycotting YOU! Didn’t see that one coming, huh?)

13. OJ Simpson trials. (You’re on your own.)

14. Spain. (How would you like it if we jeered your athletes dressed like Franco and Hitler in whiteface, feeling up an effigy of the Pope while chanting “Where the dollahs at?” along to a Lil’ Jon remix of La Marcha Real. We’d all be dressed like soccer hooligans too, hoisting glasses of sangria and slurring our Spanish with a Castillian accent because we like to keep it real.)

15. Trifling people.

16. The McRib. (It’s condescending.)

17. Saturday Night Live. (Fred Armisen does a sucky Obama. We’re not saying that because he’s not black. We’re saying it because his Obama really does suck.)

18. Pants that reveal your ass crack. (Let’s be real. Black folks have a lot of ass, so that leads to a lot of crack.)

19. The Oscars.

20. Fried chicken. (For being so delicious.)

21. Naming children after name brand goods.

22. Cristal. (because Jay said so.)

23. Jay-Z. (because Nas said so.)

24. Nas. (because this shirt said so.)

25. Pushy church folk and “gangsta” rappers. (Enough with the homophobia and misogyny. Grow the fuck up. The gays and the women aren’t going anywhere.)

26. Russell Simmons.

27. Build-A-Bear Workshop. (This is a pre-boycott, just in case they start only offering white cloth for bears.)

28. Clothing designers. (Because these pants don’t fit.)

29. Actor Adrien Brody. (For ramming his tongue down Halle Berry’s throat after winning the Oscar for “The Pianist” in 2003. We get that he was happy, but we didn’t appreciate the misdemeanor sexual assault you committed on the stage. Never mind wondering if you would have pulled the same crap on Julia Roberts. SCAN wants you to love our sisters, but love them respectfully, please!)

30. Sub-prime loans.

31. CBS News. (Did you ask Russ Mitchell if he wanted to anchor the news because Katie is funking up the place?)

32. Leather pants. (very unflattering)

33. Michael Jackson jokes. (Try Jermaine jokes. They’re the new Michael Jackson jokes)

34. Nike. (too expensive)

35. Foxy Brown. (too cheap)

36. States that have never had black governors. (all 47 of you)

37. Will Smith. (not angry enough)

38. Cuba Gooding Jr. (not angry enough)

39. JC Watts. (not angry enough)

40. Bill Cosby. (too angry)

41. Any film where the black sidekick is “wise-cracking.”

42. Vanity Fair Magazine. (What? We’re not vain enough for your magazine? I’ll have you know that black celebrities are every bit as vain as white celebrities and in some cases - Beyonce - vainer!)

43. Vince Vaughn. (You crashed a Punjabi wedding in “Wedding Crashers” but not a black wedding?)

44. Kwanzaa.

45. ABC’s “The Bachelor.” (We didn’t want the damn ring anyway.)

46. The weasley guy on ESPN’s “The Sports Reporters” (Stop making excuses for Phil Mickelson and accept the fact that Tiger Woods is the greatest athlete of all time!)

47. Nancy Grace. (Because , um … we don’t know if you’ve noticed, but black women go missing too. Some are even young and attractive and missing. But that would be shallow, you know? To only care about people’s age and outward appearance when they go missing.)

48. Music videos. (Why no girls darker than a paper bag? Are you trying to convince me that black people will pay to see Gabrielle Union in a movie, but won’t watch a video with a girl who’s her color or darker?)

49. John McCain. (When the conservative wing of SCAN hosts presidential debates we expect someone a bit more substantive to show up besides Ron Paul, Mike Huckabee and Negroes of North America “gold club” member Alan Keyes)

50. Blondes. (There is no empirical evidence that they do, in fact, have more fun.)

children draw the presidential candidates

ah, stephen colbert. a white guy i like.

reasons why this video rocks:

1) i love "super obama." he's larger than the earth!
2) ummmm, did you know who the presidential candidates were when you were in 2nd grade? there is something so. amazing. about this race. i can't believe that children who have just learned to write can articulate the positions of different politicians. maybe this means we will have a truly engaged electorate in the future? let's hope, shall we?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

another image for ya

you know perugina chocolates? i posted a bit of nonsense about how much i love their bacis a few weeks ago. yes, well they usually include an uplifting quote in every wrapper- a message about love, friendship or the like. today, though, i received a homophobic message. go figure. and it's been translated, helpfully, into four languages! the running office joke is that we should send it in to diversityinc as an inspiration for yet another deeply insightful article along the lines of their "top ten things not to say to a (enter minority group here) coworker" series. yeah.

what is wrong with us?

this is a screenshot of the cnn page (shitty emphasis mine) where i watched the video about the two-faced child recently born in india. notice anything strange about the right side of the screen? check the top ten most popular videos. why is it that the news that mary louise parker (um, wait, who the hell is that again?!) is not engaged more popular than, oh, real news? who have we become? who have we always been?


random note: i don't know if this is happening to you, but a weird pop-down menu greets me when i come to my own blog, asking if i have a password. i don't know what the fuck that is. i am sorry if you're experiencing it as well. if you're not, i am worried about the state of my sorry computer...

also, this is not turning out to be the best week ever. fuck it all, vh1, why can't you leave a little "best"-ness for the rest of us? having a lot of drama at work, created a little personal drama for myself by pressing the wrong button on my cellphone (numerous times) tonight, and am looking at even more drama presenting itself in the office tomorrow. at least i have good friends (new and old) to help me figure it all out (and/or to listen to me babble nonsensically and offer necessarily nonsensical advice).

it's only tuesday.

bring it on, week! i think i'm ready.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

there's a lot going on in this post: on mlk and blackness and wanting

jalylah over at hello, babar/she real cool is always teaching me shit. this morning is no exception. her post commemorating dr. king and discussing her own body politic is insightful and feels painfully familiar. the way black women's bodies are simultaneously hyper- and in-visible is one of the most painful aspects of my personal struggle against oppression- sometimes it just feels impossible to change the way people (can't) see you.
anyway, beyond providing an incredible chance for reflection, jb's post also sent me to this link on the kerner report by bill moyers. it's worth a watch. structural racism lives on.
on another note, i want to say something about the theorizing blackness conference put on by the africana studies group at the cuny graduate center yesterday. finding the words, though, is the hard part.

i'll start by saying that the 12 pages of notes i wrote speak to the absolute profundity of many of the presentations yesterday. mark anthony neal is amazing. there were two concepts that stand out amongst the many quotes of his that i scribbled during his keynote, and i'll share them here:

1) we need to, when we think about "blackness" in 21st century USA and in the diaspora, think about the distinction between african-american and black.

we cannot continue to assume a shared history around the civil rights movement in the US if we hope to truly galvanize movement toward dismantling structural oppression. our blacknesses are distinct though connected and we have to learn to be comfortable with learning the topography of our differences, not just those between our race and others.

this idea leads to the second i can't really let go of:

2) "unity is a myth. solidarity is a strategy." ~m.a.n.

i think this is so deep. deep! and obvious. and true. but it is also something i think we often forget. standing in solidarity with one another has always been the strategy of successful civil rights movement. there was nothing unified about the american black community in the 50's- there has always been and always will be class/color/location stratification. we never have been and never will be a monolithic, homogeneous group. we have to choose to stand up with one another to make change. solidarity, though, begins with knowledge of one another and ourselves. you have to know who the other is in order to trust her.

as i try to wrap up this post i find myself at a loss. i want to talk about the paper on lauryn hill and madness, the one about transnational translation of black feminism in english, the one minstrelsy and madea, the one on something new and cheryl dunye, the one on racial uplift in the 21st century. i want to talk about bill cosby and oprah winfrey and how they are irrevocably human and how they are rich and how they've been rich for a really long time and how that means they don't know much about the reality of the lived experience of poor black people in the 21st century at all. i want to talk about the ways that tokenism (and the inability for wealthy black people to remember how difficult finding success can really be) works to make solidarity across class lines in the black community almost impossible.

i also want to talk about black women's literature and the importance of our voices. i want to talk about the cute boy i met who i also saw at the black feminism conference. i want to talk about my own ignorance that led me to question the "blackness" of a black man who didn't strike me as being "black enough" at first glance.

i want to talk. to you. and to my former students. and to my family. i want to hear what blackness means to us, and start a conversation about its power.

i want to start a school where visiting scholars come and speak to young students of color about these issues. i want to build the ties between and among black people so we can then start talking with our other allies with confidence.


that was my day off :).

**funny last note- i google image-searched for "black enough?" and the first twenty images were all barack obama (dr. nassey-brown of hunter college had some awesome things to say about barry at the closing plenary yesterday, btw. keep your eye out for the journal of af-am studies, because some of the papers from the conference will be published there?)! oh wait, you're not surprised :).

Friday, April 4, 2008

the perfect day off=

a chicken sausage omelet
freshly baked homemade brownies, wrapped for a friend who is saying goodbye
my favorite sweater
a conference on blackness
good, deep thought
early to bed

Thursday, April 3, 2008

mlk 40

the root is doing amazing things today to commemorate dr. king.

check out dana cook's remembrance series (there are a bunch of articles, i can't link to them all). sam fulwood III's piece on the black middle class is worth a glance too, as is melissa harris-lacewell(academic crush alert!)'s piece on the women so often depicted behind the men. and so is everything else.

let's not forget how much we owe, and to how many.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

two quick things-

1) corcoran's representation of interracial bliss
this corcoran ad is interesting to me. what do y'all think? is this the new wealthy manhattanite story? black men are completely written out of the script? also interesting to me, beyond the white dude-black woman thing, is the four kids. really? and she still looks like that? i'd love to hear what y'all think on this.

2) my coworker hd sent me this link to a write-up on eboo patel's memoir. if you don't eboo patel, you should google the man and find out. he's definitely up and coming. read his blog at the washington post, if nothing else.

reading the feministing post made me think, madly, this: obama-patel 2008. no, obama's not a muslim, but eboo is! that would get our republican friends' riled up, no? too bad eboo isn't crazy enough to be a politician :(.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

maybe one day, one of my/our students

will thank me/us as eloquently as this young person has thanked their teachers (some of whom may be my old cali colleagues!).

appreciation never gets old, and i, for one, prefer it out of the mouths of the children than from anywhere else. read afika khan:

Thank you, teachers

An L.A. Unified grad gives some gratitude during a hard time for schools.
By Afika Khan
April 1, 2008
After reading "With jobs on the line, teachers explore their options," regarding layoff notices teachers are receiving, I wanted to say thank you to teachers who have stayed in the educational system, however bad it may be.

Your resilience is very impressive to say the least. Year after year, you get thrown around because of budget cuts in the education system. Budget cuts have encroached on every aspect of your careers. Thoughts of simply surrendering to this supposedly admirable governor and getting a job that is less agonizing must have crossed your minds, but you persist and remain dedicated to public schools. On behalf of myself and probably all the students whose minds you have nourished with hopes of a successful future, thank you.

I wish thanking you was enough. This year will be especially hard on you. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger expects to cut billions of dollars out of the education system in California. There are prospects of teachers getting laid off. However, the Los Angeles Unified School District has decided not to lay off any teachers. A burden of insecurity has been removed from these teachers' backs, but an even larger one has replaced it: dealing with larger classroom sizes, inadequate school supplies and even salary cuts.

You teachers have developed a hard shell because of these inconveniences. As the governor keeps taking money away from the system every year, your shell grows thicker. It is not right that you to have to conform to such intolerable measures. Managing such inconsistencies and frustrations is a noble and honorable act in itself.

Having grown up in the L.A. Unified system from kindergarten through my senior year in high school, I remember seeing countless teachers exhausted and frustrated. However, when it was time to teach, they came in the classroom with conviction and amazing strength. I could tell they loved their work, but it was as if they were fighting a war that they were too drained to fight. Thank you for not giving up. I would not be at a four-year university were it not for your dedication.

We cannot keep treating teachers this way. California has one of the largest economies in the world, yet it ends up being one of the worst states in education funding. According to Education Weekly, our school finance is worse than that of Louisiana, even after Hurricane Katrina. It is ironic that although the governor could risk his life to save a class of kindergartners in a movie, when it comes to real life, he is hurting kindergartners by continually neglecting the teachers who help them learn and develop. Someone needs to tell him to stop terminating teachers and fix this problem.

In May, the governor might make revisions to the budget plan. To save schools from budget cuts, the state could increase taxes on cigarettes and alcohol, or on sales of concert tickets, CDs and DVDs. He can even tax the distribution of candy. Maybe then he can redeem himself at the "May revise" and start saying he "will revise."

I do not know when Schwarzenegger is going to realize that investing in teachers and the education system would be most beneficial for California. If he does not do it soon, the education system could very well start to crumble, and there will be even more instability than there is now. Such deterioration could lead to a ripple effect in the economy. Without knowledgeable teachers guiding society, the very ideals of democracy could be jeopardized.

So I thank teachers for having the strength and patience to continue teaching.

Afika Khan, a USC sophomore studying political science and international relations, attended schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District for 13 years.


from shakesville:

Sweet Jesus, I Still Hate Chris Matthews

| posted by Melissa McEwan | Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Chris "Paleface" Matthews, on yesterday's Hardball, discussing with Howard Fineman and Michelle Bernard the very, very newsworthy and important fact that presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama isn't a fantabulous bowler (about which Spudsy posted yesterday):

FINEMAN: … He definitely needs some bowling lessons. He should do what we used to do in Pittsburgh, which is all-night bowling for a dollar, you know, really work on your game. I think he did get [former Pittsburgh Steelers football players] Franco Harris and he did get Jerome Bettis, the Bus, to endorse him. And he's traveling around on the bus with the Bus. But if you can't do something like that, you shouldn't do it. He should have stuck to shooting hoops—

MATTHEWS: Yeah, I know.

FINEMAN: —which he's very, very good at, by the way, and which translates racially, too, especially during the NCAA basketball tournament. Don't do something you've never tried before in front of a national television audience, OK?

MATTHEWS: You know, Michelle—and this gets very ethnic, but the fact that he's good at basketball doesn't surprise anybody, but the fact that he's that terrible at bowling does make you wonder—

FINEMAN: That doesn't surprise anybody either.

BERNARD: Well, it certainly doesn't surprise anybody black, I can tell you that.

…MATTHEWS: [Watching video.] This is a killer. Look at this killer. Because it isn't the most macho form there, I must say, but who knows?

But how does he smell, Chris? HOW DOES HE SMELL???!!!