November 30, 2009 § Leave a comment
wow. i guess i have a few responses to this...
1. wait! skin lightening creams work? i always assumed that they were a hoax. like those herbal pills that can make a man’s cock grow to 9 inches. not only do they work. but that is a fucking dramatic difference.
2. ok we know that the idea of a ‘post racial america’ is a joke. but perhaps a ‘trans racial america’ is not a joke. i was wondering this a few years ago. if one (officially) changes one’s race (and i am not saying that sammy sosa is changing his race, all i know is that he is changing is skin color) what does that mean?
i am a cis woman. i was designated as a woman at birth, and feel relatively comfortable with that designation. i was also designated as ‘black’. and feel comfortable with that designation.
but what if i didnt? is there an ‘inner knowing’ about race, similar to gender?
how would i feel/respond to someone who was born ‘black’ and yet chose to identify as ‘white’. became white.
it brings this whole notion of ‘passing’ to a whole new level.
3. wow. if sammy sosa endorses whatever product that did that to his skin, he will make a whole lot of money. that shit will fly off the shelves.
4. did he hate how he looked? does he feel better now? more comfortable in his skin?
5. i want to go off on a rant about the self hate of black folks, and internalized racism, colorism, and making money off the self hate of black folks is like shooting ducks in a barrel. but im just really curious right now. about what does this mean…? what does this mean to him? and to us the voyeurs watching the racial spectacle?
sammy sosa may 13 2009
November 30, 2009 § 2 Comments
my soul, my flame is stronger than the trauma
if i just sit or lay down and feel the trama. keep coming back the feeling in my body and my mind of the trama everytime i get destracted. at first, i will feel my soul diminishing. feel my inner fire growing more and more cold. but the flame never goes completely out. no matter how much trama there is inside of me or around me. it wont kill my soul.
and the more that i try to not feel the trauma, to hold back the trama, the smaller my flame gets.
but when i open tot he trauma and feel the pain. i see my soul–at first small, more like the light on a gas stove, small and blue and barely alive–become a blaze! burning through me. but never burning me.
i am the burning bush that moses knelt in front of.
we are stronger than the trauma, than the rape, than the shame, than the violence, than the broken heart.
trauma is like a ghost that lives in my house. some people lock their traumas in the attack and all day and all night the ghost stomps on the floor and kicks the door demanding to get out. some people put the ghost in the attic when company visits. the company gets spooked and everyone tries to pretend like nothing is going on.
but we can let the ghost out of the attic. and sit and chat with him for a bit. discover that he is charming and quiet when he is talking over tea and biscuits. discover that he was only kicking and screaming to get out of the attic. that he misses the sunshine. the ghost puts his hat on his, picks up his briefcase, smiles and nods adieu. opens the front door and disappears as ghosts always do.
maybe he will come back again to visit. he will shudder through my body. constricted lungs. a tight fist. bloodied dreams. i will lay down when he comes and open to him. because no matter how many times i scream, your screams will not kill your soul.
our soul is stronger than the pain.
no matter how unfair life is, our soul will not die.
no matter how many times we are raped, abused, abandoned, left for dead, our soul will survive it.
and when we die, we will still be ourselves, just without our bodies, we are immortal. souls.
all of life the good, the bad, the sublime, the horrific, the redemptive, the traumatic, is just a picture frame. our soul is the picture. there are moments in life when we are a beautiful picture in a broken frame
a soul survivor.
November 27, 2009 § 5 Comments
so i finally crossed the 50,000 word mark on the novel for national novel writing month. exciting. aza is still cheering for me. although i dont think that she knows what she is cheering for. she has though, told me several times this morning that i am awesome and beautiful.
so happy to have finished this on the morning of eid.
the novel isnt finished. i mean the story isnt over. i just finally reached 50,000 words. fucking awesome. but i have more to do to actually have a completed rough draft.
it is a fascinating to write a novel so quickly. i gave up on all pretenses to grammer, spelling, constructions, etc.
i fell in love with write or die. it pushed me to write off the top of my brain and trust the movie that was running across my head and just write down what i saw.
November 27, 2009 § Leave a comment
Abortion is illegal in Egypt unless the woman’s life is in imminent danger. Damage to the fetus is not accepted as a reason for abortion, a legal position emphasised by a recent fatwa that says that “it is impermissible for the mother to induce abortion [even] if it is proven that the fetus is deformed or suffers from mental retardation … It is not a justifiable excuse”. Nevertheless, women regularly find ways to end unwanted pregnancies. A 1996 study among 1,300 Egyptian women by the Cairo Demographic Centre found that one-third had attempted to terminate a pregnancy. Other studies suggest that about one-third of abortions are carried out without medical supervision, with women trying traditional remedies or overdoses of aspirin or quinine, at a risk to their own lives. Many foreign-trained Egyptian gynaecologists now offer abortions in private clinics, although these relatively safe procedures, costing as high as US$460, are not affordable for most women. Although a physician who performs an abortion could face three years in prison, the financial gains often outweigh the risks. For US$150 many doctors or midwives will perform abortions but sometimes in far less sanitary conditions or with outdated methods.
November 27, 2009 § Leave a comment
1.hey just a reminder about the call for submissions for the quirky black girls zine! deadline december 15th.
To love a black girl is a radical act. In a society that says black girls are ugly, useless, laughable, difficult and expendable loving ourselves and loving each other is revolutionary, dangerous, a delicious risk. On the heels of yet another study about how black girls are ohso hopelessly lonely and unwanted we want to think about how we as black girls can critique the images, the stereotypes, the one dimensional representation of black women in the mainstream media. How do we create a vibrant black girl loving culture in the face of that mis- representation? As black girls who love black girls and the brilliant universe transforming potential that we represent we are creating an online zine that we really see as a big ‘ol collaborative love letter to black girls from black girls. We are seeking collages, poems, letters, comix, images, short essays, games, worksheets, puzzles, playlists and shout outs that respond to the following questions:
What do you want to say to black girls? What do you wish someone said to you when you were younger?
see the entire call for submissions here
November 25, 2009 § Leave a comment
this is my call for submissions to the second volume of revolutionary motherhood: outlaw midwives zine. i am really excited about this project. and i hope that all of you are able to participate. i am envisioning this as a guide for birth workers and mothers, especially working class and mothers of color, on conception, pregnancy, birth, and the baby year. for us by us.
i am looking for everything from a couple of practical tips in a couple of sentences, to stories, to drawings and photos, lists, and more…
outlaw midwives zine
focusing on pregnancy, birth, and the baby year
for and by: mothers, friends and allies of mothers, doulas, midwives, birthworkers, childbirth educators, childbirth advocates,
intention: to create a practical zine guide for pregnancy, birth, and the first year of motherhood centering the lives of working class, marginalized mothers and birthworkers.
check out the outlaw midwives manifesta and website: http://outlawmidwife.wordpress.com/
outlaw midwives: creating revolutionary communities of love
some suggestions for topics on which you can submit…but these are just suggestions…
conception. suggestions for those trying to conceive. and for not conceiving.
pregnancy. tips for the first, second, third trimester. relationship with doctors, clinic, midwives, family, friends, etc. what advice would you give a woman who is having an unassisted pregnancy (a pregancy that does not involve professional medical folk or midwives…) what should a woman be looking out for to know if something is ‘wrong’ during her pregnancy?
birth. stories and advice for unassisted birth (birth without medical folk or midwives). homebirth, hospital births. what are the social, economic, legal consequences and limitations for marginalized mothers to make choices about how, when and where they will give birth. what to do with the placenta?
what was your personal experience/story of birth? pregnancy, the baby year?
what did you learn/are you learning from the baby year?
what would you want to tell a soon to be mother about pregnancy, birth, and early motherhood? or write a letter to your pre-mother or pre-pregnant self about what you should expect. what didnt you expect to happen/learn/experience in pregnancy, birth, the baby year? write a letter to you daughter and/or son about what you learned/want to pass on about pregnancy, birth, baby year.
what do you wish someone had told you about early motherhood and/or being a birth worker?
what do you wish you could have said to someone, but didnt?
what is your vision/ideal of how pregnancy, birth, baby year could be?
what has been most difficult for you?
how have you navigated through the systems of welfare, prrotective child services, hospitals, etc?
what family/traditional wisdom did you receive about pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding?
breastfeeding vs. bottle. what are the social and economic influences and consequences of the choice to breastfeed or bottle feed?
why did you become a birth worker? what has been the highlights of the experience? what have been the difficulties?
practical tips for a birth worker, doula, midwife, and birth partners.
herbs, physical exercises, nutrition, rest, employment, healing, reading suggestions, breathing, difficult conversations,
photos, drawings, visual art
poems, essays, fiction and non-fiction
tips, suggestions, lists of resources
keep it simple
deadline february 14, 2010
send submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org
or leave it in the comment box below
please this pass this on to whomever you think would be interested…
peace and love
November 24, 2009 § 6 Comments
when i was a kid i loved the great brain books. so when the great brain was the reference that this blogger used to make her point, i was so happy.
The excerpt I’m providing is after Abie Hoffman has died, and Tom’s family are coming to terms with the gruesome fact that Abie starved to death–that he died among, yet tragically apart from, those who called him friend:
“What has that got to do with letting Abie starve to death because he was a Jew?” Uncle Mark demanded. “Abie was my friend and your friend and had all kinds of friends. He knew all he had to do was to ask and we would have given him anything he wanted.”
“But he would have had to ask,” Papa said.
“I just don’t get what you’re driving at,” Uncle Mark said, shaking his head.
“Let me put it this way,” Papa said. “It isn’t that we dislike the Jews or mean to be unkind to them. It is just that we don’t worry about them the way we worry about other people. I talked to Mr. Thompson at the meat market. He knew Abie had stopped buying meat from him weeks ago, but he didn’t worry about it. I talked to Mr. Harmon at the Z.C.M.I. store. He knew Abie had stopped buying groceries from him, but he didn’t worry about it. Oh, they had their excuses, saying they had thought Abie had stopped batching and was eating in cafes. But the fact remains we let a man starve to death because nobody worried about a Jew.”
“I don’t buy that,” Uncle Mark said.
“Let us assume,” Papa said patiently, “that Dave Teller, who is a bachelor and cooks his own meals, suddenly stopped buying meat from Mr. Thompson. You can bet Mr. Thompson would have made it his business to find out why. And let us assume that Dave Teller suddenly stopped buying groceries from the Z.C.M.I. store. You can bet Mr. Harmon would have worried enough about it to find out why. And let us assume they found out Dave Teller was broke. You can bet they wouldn’t have let Dave Teller starve to death. And if Dave Teller had fainted three times, you can bet the people in this town would have insisted on taking Dave to a doctor whether he wanted to go or not. But Abie was a Jew and so nobody worried about him. May God forgive us all.”
“I see what you’re getting at now,” Uncle Mark said. “We are all guilty.”
November 24, 2009 § 3 Comments
i think a lot about colorism. but i dont write about it much. it is a tense topic among people of color. not that ive seen it cause a lot of arguments among poc. but a lot of silence. and a lot of diminishment of the power of colorism. its a bit silencing.
i have never been to a majority brown and black folk country, aka third world, in which there were not major social issues around colorism. especially for women. since women’s social power is so tied to their physical attractiveness.
i would love to have conversations about colorism/hueism among woc-light and dark. i would love to hear woc who are light say that light skin is a privilege. a complicated privilege, yes. but a privilege all the same. that has economic, social, and political consequences on an everyday level.
He and his colleagues took different photos of then-candidate Obama and digitally manipulated them to alter just the areas of exposed skin. “So we sort of isolated the head and the hands of Obama and altered the skin tone to make it relatively lighter in tone or relatively darker in tone,” Caruso says.
The research team then showed the altered photos, plus the unaltered ones, one at a time to undergraduate students and asked them to rate the photos in terms of how representative they thought each photo was of the candidate. They researchers also questioned the students about their political views.
Liberal participants were most likely to rate a lightened photo of Obama as being most representative of him, while conservatives were most likely to say that about a photo that had been darkened, according to their findings published in a report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
November 24, 2009 § Leave a comment
what i find interesting about this article from the new york times is that the expulsion of jews from jerusalem acts as a central origin myth not only in popular jewish culture, but also in the founding documents of the state israel. how in this contemporary age one of the most entrenched and politically significant conflicts/occupations is in part based upon an inaccurate myth. the power of the ‘origin myth’.
what are the origin myths that i tell myself? origins of africa, middle passage, slavery, underground railroad, redemption songs. how accurate or comprehensive is that myth?
who doesnt it include? my native ancestry? my white ancestry? why not?
and why do i tell my story this way? is it not just as accurate to say that i come from the stars? i come from a womb? i come from lucy?
The Israeli Declaration of Independence states: “After being forcibly exiled from their Land, the People kept faith with it throughout their Dispersion and never ceased to pray and hope for their return to it.”
also how conversion actually played a huge role in the maintaining and re creating the jewish culture/folk. have been thinking a lot about marge piercey’s book that i read this summer. woman out of time. and how in the future, one’s culture was not based on genetics, but on the culture that you felt called to participate/be a member of. so then culture identification was not linked with skin color, hair texture, and other physical characteristics. it seems to me that this has been the way of maintaining cultures throughout histories much more than i have thought. what does it mean to be trans-cultural? can we convert/revert from one culture to another? and what is the difference between a respectful conversion and the many oppressive forms of cultural appropriation?
Despite the fragmented and incomplete historical record, experts pretty much agree that some popular beliefs about Jewish history simply don’t hold up: there was no sudden expulsion of all Jews from Jerusalem in A.D. 70, for instance. What’s more, modern Jews owe their ancestry as much to converts from the first millennium and early Middle Ages as to the Jews of antiquity.
Other theories, like the notion that many of today’s Palestinians can legitimately claim to be descended from the ancient Jews, are familiar and serious subjects of study, even if no definitive answer yet exists.
and how political power is highly invested in what origin myths we believe about ourselves…
Consider, for instance, Professor Sand’s assertion that Palestinian Arab villagers are descended from the original Jewish farmers. Nearly a century ago, early Zionists and Arab nationalists touted the blood relationship as the basis of a potential alliance in their respective struggles for independence. Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, and Yitzhak Ben Zvi, Israel’s longest-serving president, made this very argument in a book they wrote together in 1918. The next year, Emir Feisal, who organized the Arab revolt against the Ottoman empire and tried to create a united Arab nation, signed a cooperation agreement with the Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann that declared the two were “mindful of the racial kinship and ancient bonds existing between the Arabs and the Jewish people.”
what is the political power of my origin myth? and in whose interests is my origin myth?
November 24, 2009 § Leave a comment
this is such a strong poem by kameelah…
part III–statue of limitation (november 22, 2009)
if you are raped on monday
best to heal on tuesday
suture the wounds on wednesday
you best be better by thursday
tell the authorities before friday
because on saturday, it never happened