isolation, communities, and international womens day

February 25, 2009 § 11 Comments

1.  i am really excited about the fact that folks are interested in this lil blog dream.  i had kinda thought that no one be interested.  and people would be annoyed that i asked them in the first place.  and i put it out there because i had this dream and then another one and another one and it became obvious that the universe was not going  to let me get a good night sleep until i did.

2. i am hoping to have it up and basically running for international women’s day: march 8th.  but i may not reach that deadline.  there is alot going on in my world right now and i dont want to half-ass any of the projects i am working on.  including the whole being a mother-thing that i do.

3.  this morning i woke up with mary j blige’s version of ‘im going down’ running through my head…

4.   speaking of the whole being a mother-thing that i do: i am starting to feel kinda isolated.  i dont know exactly what i am saying, more trying to work it out.  like there are days that i feel really confident and then i look at everything i want to accomplish and how little time there is in this world and all i want to do is hide with her under the covers and let the world happen as it happens cuz its all going down anyways.  ya know?

and then i realize i have no reason to complain, cause i am so privileged.  and i have had and continue to have an amazing life.  but so often that privilege is not what keeps me safe or makes me happy, even though this privilege is advertised as doing such.  and i am thinking about this because every few months, or constantly, something happens in one of my lives and it basically comes down to how i or women of color are jealous of folks with more privilege.  and that is the reason we are so critical.

but once i started looking in my life at the illusion of privilege.  at how its like that advertisement: diamonds are forever.  like diamonds will make her love you.  or proves that he loves you.  and once you get a diamond your relationship will last forever.  and we all know that shit is a lie.  and yet i am supposed to feel jealous of that chick with a diamond.

5. so here is my complaint about privilege.  it isolates us from one another.  it is destructive to community building.  i said this before in a post a couple of months ago about class.  and at the same time we all have a little bit of privilege some where in our lives over some one else.  that is the nature of the beast: we are all complicit.  all a bit isolated.  all a bit destructive towards one another.  we are born into it.  and sold the illusion.  and spent so much of our time building our egos ontop of our privilege that we have to believe that the good of it outweighs the bad.  yeah.  i buy into it too.

seriously i am not critical because i am jealous.  i am critical because you are isolated from community.  and thus so am i.

6. let me give another example.  i grew up the eldest daughter of a single mother.  so she provided the physical basics and needs.  and i kinda raised myself.  she was always so busy and stressed.  anyways, now i am a mama and partnered.  and i love habibi.  and he is a great father.  and i feel really isolated from single mothers.  like i understand that my privilege, my partnered-ship, is privileged in this society (immensely) and thus that isolates me from certain communities of mothers.  okay.  that is on one hand– fair.  and on the other hand– fucked up.  like most of the moms that my mom associated with were single moms too.

let me give another example: alot of the woc community i love is in the states.  and the work they do is amazing.  and it is very states-centered.  we are isolated in our organizing from the majority of woc in the world.  seriously.  and it makes our emphasis in our work really skewed and kinda irrelevant to alot of the women in the world.  and in some ways our relationship to third world communities of woc globally (and they are infinite in differences) is similar to white feminists in north america relationship to woc.

and yet, my understanding of this comes not only as a privileged woc us-national living in middle east africa but also because i have the privilege to travel globally and acquire that kind of analysis.

but i cant pretend that it is just that simple about privilege and traveling.  because honestly living in the states makes me mentally ill.  depressed.  seriously.  and when people ask me why and how is it that living in the third world (or at least outside of the us) is better…i can give a thousand answers.  but what it comes down to is: the us is a highly individualistic and thus isolationist culture with a way of defining success and failure that is anti-human…and so i choose to live outside of the us to remain mentally balanced.

and yet that very privilege to travel globally not only isolates me from woc communities in north america but also from woc communities in the third world.  and i am not using the term ‘isolate’ as absolute.  what i mean is that there are degrees of isolation.  like wherever i go i dont belong and yet wherever i go i do.  wherever i go i have a certain amount of privilege and a certain amount of oppression.

like in 2007 i went to the incite! conference and i was in love.  but there was one moment when i realized that i could admire incite! from afar, but…to join incite! you need to be a member of a local incite! group.  working in your own communities.  umm…where?  i move.  alot.  i havent lived in any place for many than a year for over a decade.  wherever i am i engage in the work of radical community building and connecting as much as i can.  and all i could imagine was being some incite! missionary founding lil incite! groups. or something equally ridiculous and no.  so then they said i was welcome to join their list serve.  im already on the list serve.  ummm…

so i have temporary communities.  and really i think there is value in creating these lil temporary radical communities.  kind of leaning off the analysis of hakim bey and temporary autonomous zones.  i mean i lean toward anarchist anti-authoritarian philosophy and analysis and movement-building.

and i imagine the internet as a site where this happens.  constantly.  social networking groups, and blogs, and conferences (like the amc!) are where we come together for whatever time that is necessary and create community and then disperse and then we come together again, probably with a different configuration and different needs, and create community again.

7. and yeah, i stil use the term third world.  it reminds me of that reggae band from the 80s.  and puts me in a good mood.

8.  so while i am working toward my goals and such and my privilege blinds me, isolates me, trips me up…my primary goals always is to create these radical communities of love.  and seriously those of us who are in it for that…are not really jealous of privilege.

like i dont want a diamond.  dont own a diamond.  and love my ring from southern mexico that is silver wtih two fossilized sea shells that i wear on my middle finger.

one is of a conch shell that is just a swirl from the center outward.  and the other is a little star shell.  what i consider to be some of the template shapes of living beings and living communities.  older than diamonds.


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§ 11 Responses to isolation, communities, and international womens day

  • Lisa says:

    Hi Mai’a,
    For some reason, an email I was trying to send you was bouncing back from the address I had for you. So I’m posting it here for you. Thanks.

    Hello everyone,

    By no means does this come as a perfect message or even with a perfect vision, but I thought an email is worth a try.

    Just now, I put up a brief series of questions on my blog that I hope to offer the continuing conversation that has sprung up about the dynamics of difference and race between woc and rwoc, spurred by the digital colonialism post by Shoot and Van Deven.

    These issues have come up over and over again and there’s been no one sustained effort to make any progress or establish a process to commit to a conversation beyond a thread. I wonder if there’s something we can do to at least lengthen the opportunity to actually discuss, to maximize the reactive responses and thoughtfulness that comes after a few days to mull over a post.

    I don’t pretend to be the best moderator, I would just really value a chance for us to flush out concrete baselines (?) about our work, about our frustrations and freedoms as writers and bloggers of color and the politics of language using the words feminism, “women of color,” community, solidarity, radical.

    I’d like to begin building a constructive space that includes an actual face to face safe space at the Allied Media Conference.

    Again, I write this with a desire to build what we can, what remains in commonality so we can fiercely discuss our points of difference and of commonality. This is not glossing over, making easy, playing nice nice, or creating a false “sisterhood,” for lack of a better word. An authentic attempt to discuss media and how we attempt to utilize it for justice and equality is needed beyond our blogging homes.

    This is my attempt and I hope you respond.

    Also, this contact list is limited to only bloggers of color with whom I’ve engaged and/or have their contact information. Please forward this to other WOC who participate in the blogosphere.


  • Fabiola says:


  • mama says:



    @ lisa

    im there. just give me a few hours to think about how i want to say what i want to say….

  • nosnowhere says:

    ah. i really like this post. i feel you on the single mom thing, i feel so connected to and accountable to single moms because of how i grew up, but i’m not one. you are doing a lot of deep thinking and consideration of radical women of color organizing in this one post, has given me a lot to think about. ❤

  • […] guerrilla mama medicine: isolation, communities, and international womens day […]

  • #5 is on point, for real! i mean, the whole darn post is fabulous.

  • […] Ecdysis: Who You Calling Radical? Conversations Between WOC and RWOCand part 2 guerrilla mama medicine: isolation, communities, and international womens day Hermana, Resist: healing by any means necessary (nonviolently) no snow here: media against sexual […]

  • […] Isolation, communities, and International Women’s day  […]

  • […] Ecdysis: Who You Calling Radical? Conversations Between WOC and RWOCand part 2 guerrilla mama medicine: isolation, communities, and international womens day Hermana, Resist: healing by any means necessary (nonviolently) no snow here: media against sexual […]

  • […] Ecdysis: Who You Calling Radical? Conversations Between WOC and RWOCand part 2 guerrilla mama medicine: isolation, communities, and international womens day Hermana, Resist: healing by any means necessary (nonviolently) no snow here: media against sexual […]

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