On the expectation of free labor to diversify your spaces

[Copy/Pasted from an early AM twitter vent this morning 12/21/16]

I’m in a mood, and I’m irritated. I want to talk about value of work, specifically diversity work & people’s expectation of free labor. So I’m lucky, and in a good position where sometimes people come out the gate with what are your rates & fees? This does not always happen though, don’t get excited. Like I said I’m in a good position.

However…there’s the pervasive idea that we should provide our expertise, our skills and knowledge for little or no pay. How about no? A lot of places want to be seen as progressive, diverse and doing the right thing but they don’t want to invest time & resources. Or they think it’s as simple as invite a few brown folks and a queer person, give them top billing one year & we’ve done it! Uh no.

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See, we can see right through that bullshit. Especially when your convention committee doesn’t change, your policies don’t change. You can’t put the current hyper visible POC in your field up as your diversity! And expect us to flock to your event. Again, we see you.

Here’s my main gripe though. Reaching out to people to get help but not offering compensation at the same time.

It’s always “Let’s have a coffee, let me buy you lunch and pick your brain…”

This isn’t about greed either. This is about valuing someone enough to “pick their brain” but not enough to pay them.This is doubly true when you expect someone to help with event they may attend but won’t offer some kind of comps or payment.  Helping the community is great, but it doesn’t negate the value of that persons time.

Even asking someone to take the time to chat with you, have an email exchange or Skype call should be considered work.I think it comes down to people not seeing it as “real” work. Also, acting as if someone asking for compensation is wrong? Or insinuating they don’t actually care because they wanna eat?

Nah, we all got bills and if you want my time & expertise? FU Pay Me. Nobody expects teachers to work for free, or other laborers so why us? Because a lot of the work is emotional labor. To unfuck the ways that events and orgs have failed on representation is a lot hard work y’all. So stop asking for free labor under the guise of doing better. Improvement takes effort, time and money. Investment not hollow promises.

When you ask someone on how to do better, ask what their preferred compensation method is. Fucking pay people for their time.

fuckyoupaymeartprintfromgeekcalligraphycom

 Fuck You Pay Me available from Geek Calligraphy, purchase one for your workspace!

Last thing, think real hard on how you react to black Womens, lgbtqia & other folks asking to be paid vs whites.Look at all the extra shit people want from us to prove we’re worth the time, effort & money to support. Look at how angry people get when we dare to say our time & knowledge is valuable. Y’all have seen it, people bring accused of running scams, that we should help for $0.

However, white folks come up with the weirdest shit for a kickstarter or crowd funding that overfunds but we can’t make the minimum.So if I’m bitter? It’s with damn good reason. Tired of being told the work is valuable, needed but when we ask for help? Support is nil. TL;DR, stop asking people for free work. Value our skills enough to offer payment when asking for said work. Exposure kills, it’s not money, not valid currency anywhere.

It’s not the first time I’ve talked about this. It probably won’t be the last either. As long as people continue to undervalue, or assume no value for the hard work that is required to achieve better representation, more diversity and make it stick; we’ll keep having this damn go round and around until people get it.

Other writings I’ve done on this topic & related issues: 

You Wanna Diversify huh? That’s Nice, Pay Us

On paying black women for the work we do and the ways people accuse us of cashing in

Thoughts on diversity, conventions & cost

Emotional Labor, OT edition for POC, LGBTIQIA & others — Fandom edition

On the value of black women’s work

So yesterday I couldn’t sleep and twitterpated all over about the Safetypin box and the reactions to it. Notably that some dude bro who didn’t know anything about the creators (Leslie Mac and Marissa Johnson)

I collated those over on Medium for anyone who wants to peep  that first. On paying black women for the work we do and the ways people accuse us of cashing in

Today, I had more twitterations on the idea that Safetypinbox HAD to be a 501 c 3 charity or people felt uncomfortable with where the money was going. IE These two black women can’t be trusted. Those thoughts and some more to follow because I am fed the entire fuck up with how people want the benefits without realizing the human cost behind it. What follows are my tweets c/p from 12/6/2016.

I keep seeing people throw out that *should* be a 501(c)(3) charity. Because that gives *them* comfort somehow. Let’s talk.

One, if this was charity work then fine. It’s a service however. Says so right on the website.

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Go read it over, then come back.

Two, do any of these people talking about how easy it is to become a 501(c)(3) know anything about the process? At all? Guessing that’s a no. If you have to file the 1023 form, (30 pages long btw)have the $400 or $850 filing fee & get it done quickly? 180 day window for decision.If you qualify for 1023 EZ filing? Still $275 & 180 day decision window. So it’s not easy to start a charity. But that’s not the issue here.

The real issue is two black women have done the same thing white activists are lauded for & y’all mad.

They are putting a dollar value on the free emotional labor that people expect of black women all day, every day. I should just start posting the requests to pick my brain, get a cup of coffee to get a read on something I get re: games diversity. Y’all expect black women especially to do this heavy lifting for the good of the community, for free cause it’s better for all.

Fuck that

It’s unsurprising to see who has some shit to say in the face of black women going fuck you, pay me for my time & knowledge. Like people who go follow black women, expect to be educated & have their ignorance lifted but won’t drop a tip or support their Patreons. Out here treating us like Hazel, like we’re supposed to hold your fucking hand & let you sip from the Chalice of Wokeness for free!

Nah, we all gotta live. Stop devaluing our labor, our knowledge & expecting a handout to rise beyond your ignorance. Google is free y’all. So stop acting like we’re asking for too much when we say pay up for that time you asked us for. We value our work, our expertise. Since you asked for our help? You must value it too. So put your money where your mouth is or be quiet.

I salute you y’all for getting that money

That said, I had the usual rando’s and well, actually’s roll through my TL. Once I was properly up and about, I had a few thoughts on the people who follow me on various sites, say they learn from me etc. Yet, people don’t value work all the same. Even had someone who inferred I was saying pay me to tweet.

I got nothing to say about that except that added 2+2 and got yarn. If anyone following me thinks that’s where I was going, then leave now. Ain’t nobody said pay me to tweet. For those curious I said the following:

So I’m up and I been thinking. Remember when I asked people why they follow me? Realize what the majority of answers were? To recap: Because they learn something, because they get a POV unlike their own. I.E they get value from my tweets.

Or the articles I write and share here, or the collated, nicely bundled and edited twitterpations I put out on Medium. Still with me? I have over 6700 followers (for now, watch I drop some after this tweet). Some are bots that will drop off & don’t count. Let’s be generous and say 1500 are not real accounts that haven’t dropped off. That leaves over 5500 people reading what I have to say daily.

If half those folks dropped a donation or even supported my Patreon at $1 each? I’d be A-OK. But I guess there’s a line for some. Ok. Same for other black women on here & other platforms. People listen but they ghost out when we pass the hat or ask to be compensated. [this is where some people got stuck and probably thought I was saying pay me to tweet. Which I wasn’t but whatever]

I’m mad but I’m also tired, tired of the expectation of free labor from some. Not everyone does this but it happens too often.

Here’s the thing, no one is obligated to do a damn thing. Ain’t nobody gotta follow me, or donate or support me on Patreon. Point was it would be great if the same people who say they learn from what I say, who say they enjoy my work and consider the other things I do off twitter to be important would throw some coins my way.

It’s been almost a year since I lost my day job, just 9 days away from that anniversary so I’m probably noticing this more keenly than usual. But I’m real tired of black women’s work not being valued. For POC/LGBTQIA/Disabled/Neurodivergent folks to have the burden of free emotional labor dropped on them but when they ask for compensation? Then they’re greedy, not helpful, scamming… it goes on and on.

Just tired and full of thoughts that needed to get out. Consider what you are asking when you ask us for that coffee chat, a quick lunch or a few minutes of our time. The cost is usually higher than what you think.

 

 

I’m fed up

I thought about writing out my thoughts on all the killings and shootings of our people instead of a long thread of tweets. However, I’m not doing that for two reasons.

One) it’s like the second I talk about one person’s murder by cops, another occurs in hours if not days and it’s exhausting emotionally, physically to wake up to the same news, same situation, same cycle of victim blaming of the newly murdered and sympathy for the killer in blue.

Two) When I share my thoughts, my pain without fail someone takes it as some academic lesson, some object lesson on racism instead of hearing out their friends pain about another black life taken. They share it as a lesson to other white friends who don’t get it. My pain is not a soundbite, it’s not a handy lesson to pass around to show how woke you are.

It also happens without fail someone will whitesplain back what I’ve said or try to play devil’s advocate when I speak from my heart. That usually happens more on twitter than here but it’s irritating and hurtful that people who follow me would rather turn someone’s very real hurt into an academic circle jerk on whether the things I’ve said are valid because they don’t see it in their lives.

I’ve got filters upon filters on Facebook, and a private, locked twitter. That’s where I’ll be having a lot of these conversations or venting going forward because my pain over more black murders isn’t there for people who don’t get it and thank me for sharing on breath, yet continue to be clueless and hurtful in the next.

Queer Women of Color Still Face Racism During Pride, Among Other Things (Repost from Spectra Speaks)

In response to mainstream prides everywhere, including both the racism and sexism that pervades the larger gay community, Queer Women of Color and Friends (QWOC+ Boston) hosts OPTIONZ — in its fifth year — tonight, a highly anticipated annual pride party specifically created to provide a space for lesbian, gay,bisexual, transgender and queer women of color and their friends, supporters, and allies during pride. But as excited as I am about QWOC+ Boston’s work in ensuring that we — women of color — are celebrated and visible during pride, that this is not the main subject of my post. If you follow QWOC+ Boston, you may have noticed on Facebook or any of our other social media channels, that our OPTIONZ party needed to be relocated to a new venue.

The reason for the venue change is that, last-minute, the previous venue, Caprice Lounge, presented me with some new terms: “No Hip Hop music, because of issues we’ve had in the past.”

Now, QWOC+ Boston has had a long-standing relationship with Caprice; we’ve been hosting events at their venue for the past three years. The reason, they gave, for the new policy was due to some recent violence that ensued after a Hip Hop show they hosted. Besides the fact that we’ve never had a single fight break out at a QWOC+ Boston event, it seemed ludicrous that the management had decided to villainize an entire genre of music based on a one-off incident. Something else that really pissed me off is that after informing us that we could not play Hip Hop at our party, we were offered a slew of other genres we could play as substitute including… (wait for it)… Rock music. So while we’re on stereotypes, it’s okay to play angry white man music, but not angry black man music? Wow.

Racist stereotypes aside, I was also only told that we could not play Hip Hop music on Tuesday (just two days before our event), which also seemed shady and manipulative. There had been no mention of this during our earlier communications. So, despite the fact that they’d been pushing for a large venue deposit to be made and incessantly trying to get me to sign a contract that would guarantee them two thousand dollars from the bar (of which I’d be liable if it was not met), I’m just floored that they had the audacity to limit whatever kind of music we played at our party.

So, guess what I said? HELLLL NO!

Okay. Not exactly in those words. I needed to be realistic. Despite the outrage expressed by community members after I’d relayed the incident — including the collective push for us to say goodbye to Caprice, I wasn’t sure it would be possible to find another venue, not during one of the busiest seasons of the year — weddings, graduations, prides etc — with just TWO days to go before the event.

So, rather than be seduced by the opportunity to give Caprice a self-righteous middle finger — and run the risk of having to cancel our pride party altogether —  I told the event coordinator at Caprice to send me the contract with all terms laid out; I would look it over and get back to her. In the meantime, I reached out to other venues comparable in size, and after just one day of mass emails and phone calls, I got lucky.

Market Lounge was big enough to accommodate us. Moreover, they weren’t going to charge us an arm and a leg to use the space (since they had no competing events during our event time). In fact, they seemed excited about getting the business of over 150 pride-ful peeps on a Thursday night. We had struck gold! Or so everyone thought…so  the applause began.

Great decision. Excellent. Yay for saying no to racism! But what I didn’t tell people, was that the new venue had a similar (albeit less overtly racist) dress code policy; a variation of the all too familiar Boston ‘dress code’ which goes something similar to “No hats, no sneakers, no do-rags, no athletic wear… women in dresses/skirts, men in collars etc” was prominently displayed on the wall by the entrance to their establishment. Here’s the picture on the right.

Making a decision based on who was less racist seemed impractical, so we went with this new venue because they were responsive, accommodating of our group last minute, the management agreed to not enforce their dress code policy during our event, and most importantly, they weren’t going to charge us an arm and a leg to bring them business (vs. Caprice that was essentially trying to make us pay them to go against our ideals).

Here’s the thing folks… I’ve been an event organizer for over five years, and I know first hand that most — if not all — downtown club venues have similar racist policies intended to keep “those people” out of their clubs. It doesn’t take a genius to note that these policies are overtly racist. In fact, as you read through the banned items of clothing, you’re almost expecting to come across, “No Black People,” towards the end of the list.

Venue policies are a stark reminder of Boston’s deeply rooted history with racial segregation, but racism isn’t the only issue queer women of color have to deal with.

If I turned my nose up at every venue that had a racist policy, homophobic and/or sexist staff etc, QWOC+ Boston would never have succeeded in pushing the physical boundaries of our community and creating new safe spaces for LGBTQ people of color in the manner in which we have. I daresay our willingness to push through the discomfort of so many tough, frustrating, awkward interactions has created more “ally venues” today for LGBT people of color — and the larger gay community as well as evidenced by a number of organizations / producers hosting events at venues after we’d done so successfully — than if we immediately walked away whenever we faced policies we didn’t agree with.

But this is not to say that we should ignore blatant signs of discrimination. There are venues that I’ll never send a dime of business (and LGBT organizations that I simply refuse to work with) until they’re willing to meet us halfway on the issue of white privilege/racism, male privilege/sexism etc. However, if we are to charter new territory, we must be patient, and more importantly, we must learn to speak the language of the gate keepers. In this case, that means knowing how to use money to send a message.

You should know that once I told Caprice that I was moving the party to a new venue, they came back with an O.K. to play whatever we wanted. This made for a great opportunity to explain that we would NOT be working with them this time around. And whereas, the loss of business may not result in the dissolution of their policy, the owner will remember that he lost a big event — a pride event, big dollars consumed at the bar, ouch — because he dared to broach the subject to the queer women of color who had been repeatedly giving him business for the past three years. (Incidentally, we first worked with Caprice during the second year of OPTIONZ, because we were in a similar situation; the venue we’d been in talks with slapped us with a racist dress code last minute, and wouldn’t budge on enforcing it. Caprice opened their doors to us then, and we’ve been working with them since. Isn’t it ironic, that the venue that has been the most flexible and easy to work with as far as hosting QWOC+ events, is the one being villainized for being racist today?)

I keep going back to the strong push I felt from our community to say F-U to Caprice and stand against racism, and can’t help but wonder if another ism or form of discrimination would have been met with the same level of engagement (and anger). What if I told you that via my work as an event organizer, I’d run into minority-owned/run venues with similar racist music / dress code policies? Can we remind ourselves that in women’s spaces /feminist circles, there is still so much language riddled with homophobia and transphobia? Shoot, I still pray for the day when sexism will be met with as much anger and outrage as racism from Boston’s LGBT community, when the political war being waged against women (via Planned Parenthood funding cuts, the GOP redefining rape etc.) will be treated as seriously by QPOC as they do AIDS/HIV prevention.

It’s easy to call out isms when the perpetrator is perceived to be a straight white man — the icon of patriarchy, which most of us can relate to wanting to take down. But the reality of being a queer woman of color is that you’re burdened with calling out offenses and violations against multiple facets of your identity, and forced to reckon with the harsh truth that your allies in one arena can be your oppressors in another.

Activism, for so many of queer women of color, is a constant negotiation of which ism to address. We don’t have the luxury of snubbing everyone that offends us, or we would have no where to go. We can’t — and shouldn’t have to — fight everyone. As a direct consequence, for queer women of color, standing up for what is ‘right’ in the face of racism, sexism, transphobia, xenophobia — all issues that significantly impact our community — can sometimes mean drastically limiting access to resources that we need as a community. So, whereas we should never compromise our ethics (as in this case — for the sake of a good party), QWOC+ Boston’s work isn’t just about one event, not just about today. I don’t think that I speak out of turn when I say that we all work our asses off so that tomorrow can be better, for everyone.

So, as we march, rally, dance, and speak out during pride, let us not forget those of us who are marginalized within the gay community, those of us who don’t have the luxury of approaching “Equality. No More. No Less,”, per the 2011 Boston Pride theme, as an isolated single issue. Most of the time, I hear louder, more aggressive forms of activism (against one kind of ism) encouraged and celebrated. But today, I feel humble as I reflect on the patience and perseverance that must have been maintained by my mentors and predecessors against so many injustices, that have enabled me to come this far. I celebrate you. I salute you. And I wish you all a happy pride.

Next up: we host Dennis Upkins for a spell on his Hollowstone book tour

I’m very happy to host the most excellent Dennis Upkins, author of the soon to be released Hollowstone. He breezed through the windy city during a stop on his book tour. Hollowstone is due out on 17 June 2011.

Q: Now, it’s great to see more POC authors and queer authors getting their work out and into the hands of readers who often feel left out of the literary mix. Hollowstone looks to address a lot of those needs. However, as a fan who is often left out of the mainstream media I wanted to know what else you might have planned to fill the gaps in for folks who aren’t seeing themselves reflected in the media they purchase?

A: I was talking to a good friend of mine about this, another professional writer, and we both discussed how we’re always looking for areas of opportunity to improve as far as being progressive and inclusive goes. While Hollowstone runs the gamut in tackling many facets of bigotry and institutional oppression, with Empyrea (the recently finished novel I’m currently editing), I come at representation of marginalized people from a completely different angle. Empyrea features a queer POC as the main protagonist, features multiple women of color in prominent roles.

It shows a loving interracial family in a matter of fact manner. Empyrea essentially illustrates what a world devoid of racism, misogyny, homophobia (as least as we know it) could look like. And while Empyrea is breaking a lot of ground, I’ve already got sequels planned and I’m looking for ways to step my game up. In the sequels, I know I will have a heroine who is a trans woman, lesbian characters and a disabled character. Each of them have important storylines, fleshed out roles, and treated with respect. The next novel I’ve got planned after Empyrea is a superhero story which features a teenage black girl and a gay man as the co-protagonists. Both characters have stories that are worth sharing. I’m constantly striving for ways to improve representation in my works because I believe everyone has a story worth telling.

Q: I know you’ve mentioned it on your blog, but I’m curious about who would be cast in a Hollowstone movie? Do you think the movie would suffer from white washing such as the reported casting options for a remake of Akira? Would you rather Hollowstone remain a book if your only option was to have a movie cast in the majorities image rather than how they are depicted in the book?

A: In regards to dreamcasting, I think this post sums it up: http://neo-prodigy.livejournal.com/954523.html Do I think the movie would suffer from white washing? That would always be a risk, a huge one in fact. It would really depend on the players involved, how much money would be riding on it and chance. For that matter, a publisher could’ve tried to whitewash the story, and we’ve seen this crap happen far too often. Luckily I was blessed to find a home with a good publisher (Parker Publishing) that was welcoming of Hollowstone as is. I give props to Neil Gaiman and Ursula K. Le Guin who have both been outspoken in standing tall against allowing their characters to be whitewashed and I would like to think if presented with the choice, I would make the same decision. Because Hollowstone tackles too many important issues to allow such crap to happen.

Q: If you could make the literary world over in an image that would included fair and equal representation for everyone, how would you do that with your authorial powers?

A: I guess pretty much what I’m doing now. Writing stories that celebrate marginalized people. Supporting works with my money that celebrate equal and fair representation of everyone and promoting and working with other marginalized creators to see their work make it to the public.

Q: We already talked a bit about being marginalized and invisible in mainstream media. As a queer man and POC, did frustration with that marginalization and invisibility have anything to do with Hollowstone’s creation?

A: Not really. At least not consciously or directly. I didn’t intentionally set out to write a story that was in reaction to being marginalized or invisible in mainstream media. But as the story developed, took on a life of its own, and continued to evolve, it did exactly that. But it had more to do with the fact that much of Hollowstone is based on personal experiences and things I’ve witnessed first hand. The marginalized issues was something I struggled with. It felt like walking a tight rope. Do you tip your toe in the pool of social justice issues and risk making your characters cliches who only exist to whine about racism or homophobia or do you go all out, balls to the walls, and show it all unapologetically and let the story share its truth. And why does it always have to be about racism/homophobia with gay and black characters. I wrestled with these choices and then finally I just had to tell myself, frak it. Truth is truth, no matter how inconvenient it is, and as Noah states in the opening of the novel, there are some stories that just must be told.

Q: If you could fix one thing in fandom (Take your pick; comics, movies, books, all of the above) which one would you fix or is it too broken to fix?

A: I would say all of the above, if for no other reason than they all intersect. I’m not sure if fandom is too broken to fix but I definitely think something drastic is going to have to happen, a massive overhaul to fix things. At minimum, marginalized peeps are going to have to double their efforts in creating their own spaces, their own media, supporting one another and boycotting those that denigrate them. At most, the industry is going to have to fall and be rebuilt before things can improve. Or something else unexpected can occur. I think it’s a matter of staying vigilant about these issues and continue to press forward even if fandom is hellbent on backsliding in regards to progress.

Q: If any of your characters from Hollowstone could write a post for the We Got Your Back Project, who would submit their story and what would they say?

A: WOW! This has to be one of the most powerful questions I’ve received. You know the We Got Your Back Project is near and dear to my heart, and some of the characters would definitely have a lot to say.

Noah– He would definitely discuss his experiences with knowing Ryan, Neely, and another gay character who is revealed in the story. He would discuss his experiences in trying to be a straight ally and would urge other allies to be proactive in supporting their queer brothers and sisters based on the folks who impacted his life.

Neely– She would discuss her experiences being a bisexual teen, growing up in a conservative environment, and how it isn’t easy to be out and proud, in spite of what society would have you believe. She would also point out that if it wasn’t for her older brother—who loved, protected, and accepted her as God intended her to be—she probably wouldn’t be here today. She would probably say why support and love is vital, especially in light of all the hatred and bigotry LGBTQs endure on a day to day.

Ryan– Ryan’s story would be the most powerful. Because he goes through a lot in the story. And his story is a sobering reminder why it doesn’t always get better and that in fact, it rarely does. And if his story doesn’t move people to take an active role in fighting bigotry and hatred, nothing will.

Q: Do you think that Hollowstone and books like it will finally get POC authors out of the “African American Author” purgatory books by black authors are often dropped into regardless of the books subject matter?

A: Your guess is as good as mine. If authors like Octavia Butler and L.A. Banks haven’t clued society in that our work is universal just like white authors, I don’t know if society will ever learn. As POC authors, all we can do is do what we can and just hope and pray for the best.

Q: Lastly, will we get to see more of the Hollowstone cast in future novels? Will we get to follow them as they develop or will they remain in the world built in Hollowstone?

A: You know, the thought of doing a sequel, even a trilogy, crossed my mind more than once. It was an idea I toyed around with and even debated with myself. Then I realized that the characters in Hollowstone get so much closure, not to mention the fact that the novel ends in a very unique way, that to do a sequel would probably be a disservice to the characters and the story. If you can ever exit on a high note, that’s the way to do it. That being said…in the superhero story I’m outlining, one of the central characters will make an appearance and something about their fate that was all but promised in Hollowstone, gets confirmed in the superhero novel. So stay tuned.

Denny, thank you so much for stopping by during your book tour and we’ll be sure to give Hollowstone a review once its out! If all of that didn’t convince you to buy Hollowstone, here’s 12 reasons to order it! You can order Hollowstone directly from the publisher or from Amazon.com

WGYB Project is still alive, and we’re still taking your stories

We Got Your Back Project is still alive and still seeking submissions!

I had a chance to talk the project up at Gay Is the New Black? Event hosted by JF tonight. Hopefully this will generate some interest and new submissions.

Can I ask a favor? Can anyone who comes across this post please signal boost this project for me & whereisjoy? We don’t want to see it die but to thrive it needs stories, your stories so that our POC-LGBTQIA youth know that they are not alone and just because someone says its gets better, that it may not apply to them.

Sumbission Info

Submission guidelines are below. If you come across something you think would be good for posting, please email us at wegotyourbackproject@gmail.com or tweet at us WGYBProject on Twitter.

Thanks for your interest in contributing to the “We Got Your Back” Project! We are accepting videos and written statements that share how the lives of LGBTQIA people get better when we have each others back. Give some hope to LGBTQIA youth by telling them how your own life improved. To submit, send an email to wegotyourbackproject@gmail.com We request that posts meet the following guidelines:

Videos: Please keep videos to no more than 8 minutes maximum. If you have a video on YouTube or Vimeo, please submit a link to the video and a brief description.

Length: 2,500 word maximum. (Please note, longer posts may be broken up into several posts on the project)

Language: Feel free to use adult language, however please warn for swearing or other adult and/or potentially triggering language in your post at the beginning. If you do share potentially triggering material, we ask that you use the “more” tag to put it behind a cut.

Permission to repost/share your content: Please indicate to us whether or not you consent to the sharing of your material outside of this project when you submit your post and/or video.

Black is… black ain’t…

Black is beautiful, just so we are motherfucking CLEAR. Black ain’t “less desirable than other races”,

“inherently less attractive than other races”

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So… we are in the throes of yet ANOTHER online storm about black folks. Black women’s looks, black women’s bodies, black fathers and the old ass trope of omfg black folks are on the internet too!?! How about that has been dragged out and beaten again for what its worth. (A hint – Not much). I tried to be eloquent and wordsmithy, but you know what? Fuck it, I’m sick of being polite about people telling me how I should feel about how I look.

So many people have waxed eloquently on this topic that I’ll give you links and such… but for what my 0.02 is worth; I’m so fucking sick of being told that I’m not beautiful or attractive or worthy of love and affection because I’m “strong” or career focused or “the strength of the family.”. I’m really fucking sick of the idea that everyone gets a say in how I feel about myself as a black woman. I’m tired of everyone getting to hold up the brown paper bag to check my blackness, and worthiness of having a say in racial debates because I’m fair skinned and obviously “not really black.”

I’m tired of pseudo scientists speculating on the attractiveness of myself and the bounty of black women everywhere. Who the fuck decided that this guys opinion was worth anything to begin with? I don’t even know what an evolutionary psychologist is, do you? Someone explain what that means and then you’d better have a really, really good reason as to why some “evolutionary psychologist” gets a say on black bodies and beauty. I’ll be here, so when you get a clue, come holler at me. Until then, all these faux pop psychologists and arm chair thinkers can shut the fuck up about our bodies, our beauty and everything else in-between.

I leave you with some great articles and a repost of a lovely image snagged from the Angry Black Tumblr.

You Keep Saying Black Women are Ugly Worthless Whores and We Refuse to Believe you by Karnythia

Racialicious: Repeat Offender: Satoshi Kanazawa’s Other Greatest Misses

Angry Black Tumblr: The Article is now gone, but more thoughts

Angry Black Woman: Initial post on this article; noting original title was “Why are Black Women Ugly?”

ABW: Screencap of the article in question, after the title was changed.

In Honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day… “What Would Martin Do?”

In honor of today’s Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday, I’m sharing the winning essay in the American’s for Democratic Action’s contest: What Would Luther Do? I’m pleased that the winning essay is by my good friend Joy E.

Remember, that even though Dr. King is immortalized for his “I Have a Dream” speech, Dr. King’s legacy is more than one speech, more than one action. Read Letters from a Birmingham Jail, and his other works. See the whole man, not an idealization remembered once a year for stirring words. Remember his actions, his humanity and most of all that the Dream he had is not yet realized, not so long after his assasination and we have a long way to go until it is realized.

To answer the question of How Long? The answer is still Too Long and a Long way to go…

First  Place – Joy E. of Chicago, Illinois

If Martin Luther King, Jr. could visit our country this January, he would see a nation much changed and yet the same. Imagine King catching a bus in downtown Montgomery. Perhaps he would select a seat in the front, next to someone tired from a long day’s work for little pay. Through the bus window, he might see dilapidated schools and foreclosed homes. If he were to open up a newspaper, he would read of another war with no end in sight. If King returned to this country of sweet promise and bitter disappointment, he would once again take up the struggle of the poor. King would organize against the interlocking evils of racism, militarism, and poverty. And he would invite us to join him.

In the 43 years since King’s death, we have not fulfilled his dream of equality. Poverty is rising. Health care is out of reach for too many Americans while our military budget grows. Ours is a political landscape that King understood all too well.

In his speech Beyond Vietnam, King decried the way the war on poverty was abandoned for the war on communism. Today we still choose fighter jets over unemployment benefits. The soldiers who fight and die in our army are still overwhelming our nation’s poor. If he were here today, King would say again, “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”

King cried out for the poor of Vietnam recounting American’s role in their history. “We have destroyed their two most cherished institutions: the family and the village,” he said. “We have supported the enemies of the peasants of Saigon.” Today, King would similarly mourn the poor people killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. He would point out that we once supported the Taliban, the mujaheddin, and Saddam Hussein – over the protests of Iraqis and Afghanis. We remain the enemy of the poor in Iraq and Afghanistan and everywhere our government supports the rights of corporations over the rights of poor people.

King wrote, “I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values…When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.” But that world revolution is still alive today and brings hope even to our country.

In Iraq, Afghanistan, America, and around the world, millions of poor people are building a nonviolent movement for a peaceful, just future. We should not need to Dr. King to entreat us to join the right side of the world revolution. The poor are calling us to join them. Just as King heeded their call, may we see their cause as ours.

A moment of utter anger over yet more jokes at Antoine Dodson’s expense

I’ve always been angry about the way the Antoine Dodson case and interview has been turned into an internet meme, a joke and worse people are profiting off Mr. Dodson. After seeing yet another person post that damned auto-tuned version of the “rape song” I’d had enough. I’m ugh… I don’t even have words that aren’t a froth of utter rage for people treating this man’s interview with reporters as something funny, overshadowing the fact that he fought off his sisters attacker from their home and making him some internet joke.  So much so, you don’t even see her NAME anywhere, just people making fun of a man saving his sister. So here’s a bunch of links…

Antoine Dodson – Turning Rape into a joke (Salon.com)

Antoine Dodson – Internet star or Homophobic joke? (Kenyon Farrow)

Why is Antoine Dodson funny? Two Candid Perspectives (The Social Path)

What’s so Funny about Antoine Dodson? (Change.org)

Antoine Dodson – Famous for all the wrong reasons (CelebriFi)

Yeah, not amused, never was amused and never will be amused. Let this internet meme rest and let that man get back to having a life free of being a living, breathing internet joke.

 

More on that damn Feministe post and the comment trail where I apparently Other another POC by the use of OP

This is a totally random thing, but in going into WP and cleaning up spam and seeing older comments, I tracked back to that idiotic post on child free space on Feministe. A place where I commented, via a blog comment here, a pingback there got really nasty against me after I commented. I did not swear at the person who wrote the blog or OP nor did I get really bent out of shape, in my opinion.

How, someone tell me my one comment becomes an example of how not to comment on this person’s blog by rules that seem extreme to me (and by extreme I mean they want a point by point analysis of where you think someone is wrong, and what you plan to do about it in detail) and by saying OP instead of her name, which I couldn’t recall at the time of my comment I’m now othering the author of that “article”?!

On the one hand, I know these are people I don’t know, will probably never meet and shouldn’t give two shits about in the long run. On the other, it bothers me greatly that I’m being accused of othering another Person Of Color by mere virtue of not recalling her name at the time I left my comment there. FWIW, I didn’t even know that this woman was a person of color when her post really pissed me off, but it wouldn’t have made a damn bit of difference in how I responded to her.

I dunno, maybe I’m feeling hair trigger today but I’m trying really hard to stay my hand and not respond to the negative comments there because in the long run these people aren’t worth my energy or time but damn that really bothers me that I’m “othering” another POC by the mere fact I couldn’t recall her name when I left my comment.

Time to think about what you ask folks about their hair…

Via the Nappturality forums, a thread on What is the Funniest or Stupidest question you’ve been asked about your locs?

Some are funny, but most are sad and shows the ignorance people still have over black women, natural hair and locs. For the record, this post is NOT an invitation for me to teach anyone a damn thing, nor is it an invitation to try and school me on anything.

My hair is MY hair and you are not welcome to discuss it as if its some separate thing from me. I am not my hair, but my hair is part and parcel of me, my identity and my journey to accepting my natural hair as it is as a thing of beauty.

If you can have some adult level discourse,feel free. If not, then you will be mocked, and shown the door cause I frankly ain’t got time for it.

Repost of: Navigating Through this Post Racial Society; via Neo_Prodigy on LJ

Reposting from Neo_Prodigy on LJ.

Navigating Through This Post-Racial Society

Neo_Prodigy once again nails something on the head so hard it howled for mercy that has been milling around in my head regarding the reaction to Lebron’s leaving Cleveland and how Lebron’s non-decision overshadowed the news of the cop that was convicted of the lowest possible charge in the murder of Oscar Grant.

Long post is long but worth every damn word and graphic within.

Where Oscar Grant Meets Lebron James

This post shares some cold hard fundamental truths about this society.

Two black brothers with two very different stories, yet the underlying message of “white people own, operate, execute, and enforce this shit” could not be clearer. In the same country where video evidence of a white police officer murdering a black civilian can result in an involuntary manslaughter conviction, is it really any surprise that a white (basketball) owner feels so entitled to a player’s black body that he would resort to name calling and tantrums?

The days of literally owning our bodies are over, but the remnants of our time under white supremacy linger. Dan Gilbert’s bitchfit over losing his most prized possession, while excellent fodder for late night talk show hosts and bloggers, is nothing compared to the pain Grant’s family and our community experiences as we add another name to the ever-growing list of brothers and sisters slaughtered by those ordered to protect and serve. Malcolm X’s words are still new: “You don’t stick a knife in a man’s back nine inches and then pull it out six inches and say you’re making progress.”

It also reiterates a point “afro_dyte” made in the past: that the unquestioned assumption that a Black person’s body, a Black person’s space, a Black person’s time (or other POCs for that matter), has no innate value (save the value White people give it), which makes it impossible to violate.

This also puts in perspective some wank I endured online a few years back. A few years back I spoke out on offensive tropes concerning gay men and demanding better on a writing forum and a condescending white woman rolled on to my blog and made with the trolling. After asking her to leave and then being forced to ban her, I found out later that she made some friends-locked post and all of her buddies came over and began flaming my blog. After tearing each and everyone of them a new asshole, they pulled some Rosewood shit in crying that the Negro Savage was being meeeeeeeeeeean to the poor innocent white woman. And what was interesting was when I called them out on how wrong they were for flaming my blog, my personal space in the first gawd damn place, they acted nonplussed because I was getting all “uppity.”

More than the usual sense of entitlement, ignorance, arrogance, and just grade-A bitchassness, there was something about that whole troll situation that got under my skin and for the life of me I couldn’t figure out what it was. While I dealt with trolls before this was unsettling. A bunch of white folks acted under the assumption that a POC’s space and time had no value save what they gave it and therefore they felt completely justified. IE, in spite of the fact they were wrong about the whole argument and situation, in all their white privilege, they felt entitled to roll into my home unannounced, unwelcomed, take a steaming shit in the middle of my living room and get outraged because I refused to wipe their asses.

And then they wonder why the Negro savage gets all Negro and savage.

Mel Gibson’s Racist Rant

And clearly someone’s Nazi ass didn’t learn his lesson from last time.

White Peepul: The Following Video Is A Surefire Way To Wind Up On The Back Of A Milk Carton”

A couple of points:

1. There IS a difference between being accused of being a racist and committing a racist act.

2. Being called on racist activity IS NOT more offensive than the act itself.

3. Just because you aren’t intentionally doing something racist or bigoted out of malice or hate DOES NOT mean that your actions aren’t racist, hurtful and destructive. Intent does matter but only so far as whether or not I’ll forgive you and try to educate you or whether I just throw up my arms and walk away shaking my head, less I risk catching another assault charge.

4. Just because you say something bigoted in a polite or diplomatic manner does not negate the fact that you are saying something bigoted. Too many times I’ve seen folks pull this shit. Whether you’re screaming “Fuck you nigger!”, “Faggot!” or justifying institutional oppression with “The police are well within their rights to racially profile blacks and Latinos because numbers show they’re the only ones committing crimes” or “Publishers/Media Execs are totally justified in whitewashing or making with the gay erasure because they don’t generate sales and it’s all about numbers,” you’re still saying something bigoted (and for that matter inaccurate) and others are well within their rights to get outraged and call you out on it. And speaking of calling out, that’s right Scans Daily, I’m looking at you, yet again.

5. When you do say bigoted shit, you don’t get to get mad or dictate the terms of the discussion or police people’s reactions because someone is outraged over something bigoted you said.

As a friend of mine once stated, “When it comes to race, a lot of people (including people of color) assume – if not outright state – that White is a lack of race, an empty ethnicity, the default, normal, invisible. As a result, when it comes to matters of race, Whiteness becomes impartial, objective, unbiased, rational, common sense. I’m sure you can imagine how this plays out in racial discourse. Whiteness is positioned as true and therefore right. Of course, no one thinks that consciously (duh!), but it often comes out in how, in a weird sort of way, White people seem to act like they’re only White when the topic of discussion is racism and not every waking moment of their lives. And this confuses the shit out of me because that’s like a straight person acting like they’re only heterosexual when the issue of gay marriage crops up. Or a man acting like the only time he notices gender is when people bring up sexism. To which the only prudent response is to disengage before the intensity of delusion makes your head explode.”

Lost In Translation

H/T to heavenscalyx for the following:

Addendum: In the second panel in the top right, the other more prominent translation is- All my friends are white. All the men I fuck are Black. But the only men I even remotely consider for a serious meaningful relationship are white.

heavenscalyx also recently made some excellent points on Racefail that I think eloquently sums up a lot of what we’re witnessing:

What none of my fellow People of Pallor seem willing to suggest out loud (so, of course, I’m going to do it) is that it’s probably no coincidence that RaceFail has happened so vividly in the post-Obama-election world.

Because, really, isn’t it the same fundamental fear that motivates the Tea Baggers and the Birthers and even the various extreme white supremacist groups that causes all these white folks to drop their pants on the Internet?

Fear takes the filters down. Fear makes even reasonable people unreasonable. Add extra fear — the fear that they really haven’t come so very far after all — in the hearts of white people who consider themselves broad minded liberals, or at the very least, educated and “color blind”, and the filters really come a-tumblin’ down to let out all the defensiveness to cover the shame and embarrassment.

Because I have no doubt that on some level, people are ashamed to realize that there’s a corner of their minds that doesn’t believe that “all men are created equal.” They push that knowledge down, cover it up with stuff, and hope no one notices this pile of ugly baggage in the corner.

This artificial Fear of the Other is programmed into us by our society and culture — that’s what institutionalized racism (and sexism and homophobia) IS, after all: the fear that the oppressed people will do to the privileged folk just what the privileged folk have done to them. It is, I daresay, practically impossible to excise. Further, I believe that there isn’t a person in this country who is without it, no matter what they may claim.

The only way to beat the Fear of the Other and all its horrible, devastating consequences is to be aware of it, to pay attention to it, and fight it by not letting it win, by consciously trying to keep it from getting its sticky little tentacles into less formed minds, and by keeping a constant monitor on our interactions with others.

Originally posted on tanyad @Dreamwidth. Feel free to comment here, or there

On the anniversary of Michael Jackson’s passing…

I wrote this note last year when Michael Jackson passed and instead of trying to come up with something else, I think this still stands, and for those of you that weren’t fans, didn’t like his music that’s fine. No need to disrespect those that are fans and who still mourn the loss of their idol.

I caught snippets of the memorial online yesterday because the feed kept crashing out on me. I thought it was touching and heartfelt from those people who knew and loved him as friends & family. Like I said before I haven’t been a huge fan since his last major hits and while I remember his glory days… and the days of being accused of molesting those kids…

I took a step back and thought about the fact that no matter what I think of the man, he was still someone’s father, brother & son before he was a musical icon. He has a family that will mourn him in private once the media circus abates and once he is laid to rest. I do think its rather poor form to spew such vitriol upon the man’s memory before he’s even buried or a cause of death is determined.

For those folks that hated him because of his conviction in the kangaroo court of public opinion, that’s your prerogative and your belief. I never made up my mind because I never knew the man, my opinion doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things and I didn’t want to add my voice to the millions decrying him and what he was accused of because none of us really knew what happened in his life, or to him as he grew up.

None of the people who fall on either side of adoration or condemnation ever knew Mr. Jackson, and even if they did none of us lived through what he lived through. None of us ordinary folks know the pain and tribulation of being a child star and the toll it must take on someone thrust into the spotlight at such a young age. These same people who are so quick to say HE DID IT! or HE’S INNOCENT will never know, and can never understand what this man endured for his 50 years on this planet.

There’s always going to be speculation, media prying into his life, his estate, the lives of the Jackson family and his children. There’s always going to be the pundits who stand about and shout from the rooftops about this sick, perverted man or the musical genius that he was. But at the end of the day, another human being’s light has been snuffed out too soon, another family has lost a member and three children are without their father. That is what I want people to think about before they are so fast to condemn the legacy of a musical icon, an enigma and someone that no one ever seemed to understand in life, let alone in death.

repost of Being a Black Woman and Happy with it.

On a happier note, here’s a kick ass post from the awesome Karnythia. Linking you to the ABW post.

So, there’s this thing happening in the black American community (and outside it) where women who look like me are supposed to be grateful for any crumbs that happen to fall into our bleak little lives. Apparently, our lot in life is to be miserable unless some rich educated black man wants us. We’re struggling to survive on our own in a world where we might have to actually be self supporting and self loving, and we don’t even have the good sense to realize that it’s impossible to be happy with ourselves as long as we’re not reflecting the picture society expects. After all, such stellar catches as Kobe Bryant, Tiger Woods, and Michael Jordan have opted to seek out women of a…lighter persuasion rather than black women.

It’s questionable enough that anyone believes that three dudes who wouldn’t understand fidelity if it walked up to them and sat in their laps being unavailable to black women is supposed to be a clear indicator that black women aren’t valuable. Erm, how to put this politely? Oh right, I’m not in a mood to be polite so I’ll just say flat out I wouldn’t touch any of those cats with my worst enemy’s vagina mmkay? I have standards for the men in my life that include things like trust, respect, and at least a vague grasp of human decency. For the record? I’ve been married twice. The first time was a hot mess in that way that can happen when you’re 21 and too dumb to read the big flashing neon signs that say “Leave this dumb bastard alone” but my current marriage? Loving it. He’s black, educated, and has a good relationship with his mother. It wasn’t hard to find him (I wasn’t even done with my divorce when I met him as a matter of fact) and he has never expected me to be someone else. He loves me for me. I love him for him. That’s our big secret. We’re not unique in this respect either. There are plenty of happy black couples (married or not) out here leading their lives without feeling the need to resort to a Stepford process for either partner. That’s before we get into what it means to be LGBT and unable to legally get married in a lot of places. Newsflash: Not every black woman wants a man. And even for the ones that do? Marriage isn’t necessarily their first priority.

Now, let’s take a second to be real on the topic of marriage. The institution grants certain legal protections and rights, but it doesn’t guarantee a happy couple or even a long lasting relationship. For further proof on that topic feel free to check out the relationship history of the three celebs I’ve already mentioned along with Swizz Beatz, everyone on Basketball Wives, and most of the rest of the modern world. That 50% divorce rate has nothing to do with the flaws of black women and everything to do with the reality that people get married for the wrong reasons to the wrong people everyday. As societal panaceas go, marriage has never really been all that effective despite the hype about the good old days. In the good old days, women got stuck in horrible relationships, men brought home social diseases, and everyone wished they had way out that was socially acceptable and didn’t result in life long poverty. So, let’s drop this idea that marriage has ever been the institution to grant us a stable society. It can’t even grant a stable relationship. And really, if we’re going to harp on the value of marriage? Let’s make it available to everyone instead of offering up expensive substitutes and insisting marriage only has one meaning. If some pop star can get married for 56 hours and the institution still have meaning in the aftermath of that quickie divorce? It’ll be just fine.

This phenomenon doesn’t just rear its ugly head around our love lives though, we’re also supposed to hate our hair, our skin, even the shape of our bodies, and we’re supposed to strive to achieve behavior patterns that are in direct contradiction to our personalities as soon as someone hints that they find us too strong/abrasive/angry/loud or whatever other bullshit excuse they can trot out as part of the effort to denigrate and demean every facet of our existence. After all, we do insist on wearing our hair the way it grows out of our heads, and choosing colors and styles that highlight our skin tones as well as displaying our bodies in ways that we find flattering. I mean, whoever heard of someone wearing a sleeveless top indoors in the winter? Oh wait, I lift weights (and kids) on a regular basis and I also wear short sleeved or sleeveless tops most of the year too. Because they’re comfortable and I like them. And really, what gives anyone the right to police our bodies as though they don’t belong to us? Whoops, I forgot I’m supposed to be begging everyone else for their approval as part and parcel of my experience right? Right.

Except that’s not ever going to happen and the fact that a lot of people are assholes isn’t a reason for black women to turn themselves inside out. It is a good reason to ignore the assholes and keep going about the business of life. Yes, even with “nappy” hair, my natural eye color, and an ass that makes skinny jeans self-destruct I am happy to be a black woman. I love myself, and I love my life even if someone says I’m living it wrong. Instead of finding new ways to insist that to be a black woman is to be miserable, how about celebrating all those unique qualities that are inherent in our shared existence? Oh right, that would require putting down all those ‘ism’s people love to cling to wouldn’t it? I guess if you can’t give up the sexism, racism, and classism then we’ll just have to learn to live with the hate and keep doing our own thing.

Fat shaming and concern trolling in Why are black women so big?

So there is an article out there called Why are Black women so Big!? The author of this little gem wrote a piss poor piece, basically saying all black women are fat asses that simply eat too much. She does not take into account the various factors of weight gain, and the struggle to lose the weight. Initially the picture that accompanied the article was Eddie Murphy in a fat black woman suit, in Norbit.

I called this out, in the following comment:

You know, the fact that you used a picture of a man in a black woman fat suit as some caricature and lame attempt at sensationalism immediately invalidated any point you thought you were making. The next time you decide to fat shame and concern troll, actually find a picture of a fat black woman to make your point.

Oh, that’s right you really didn’t have one to begin with so you used lazy writing to get people’s attention to a shoddily written “article” and then began the bashing. Next time, try some actual writing instead of trotting out the same old tropes used to shame women into being, or damn near killing themselves trying to become the “ideal”.

I go back to the article later and the photo has been changed to a photo of Jill Scott in Why did I get Married?  The fact that the author of this “article” changed the picture without so much as an acknowledgment of her invalid attempt at caricaturization of fat black women into a cartoon villain, something to be feared possibly and definitely made fun of I could have at least given the article a once over without the side-eye. Instead, anything this person could have said fell on deaf ears, her feeble attempt at a point lost in the winds of lazy writing and sensationalism. I looked over the comments, now totaling over 350 and I was appalled that the author was resorting to attacking people in comments, further destroying any shred of credibility she could have had.

I found the following response to many of the comments by the editor of this online publication, the FreshXpress. Editor Sean Walton Jr. puts forth the following statement:

I posted this on Twitter earlier:

“No disrespect was intended… it was one writer’s opinion and attempt to start a conversation on a subject that does warrant attention. We’re a community built upon a foundation of open dialogue and debate. The thoughts expressed represent thought in the community. While we dont take a stance on too many topics as a website, our writers do. Through the dialogue sparked, we hope to promote understanding. So no disrespect was intended, and hopefully the resulting conversation was productive and people grow from the discourse. We’re not into too much censorship. You can censor the message, but that doesn’t stop people from thinking the way they do. We’d rather tackle the topic head on, and see what comes from it.”

That being said the author had an opinion she wanted to share with her community, and get your thoughts on it as well. While her opinion was not well received, she articulated her view and why she felt that way. Was it “well-written and thought out”, etc.? That is for you to decide (as many of you already have). What is “well-written”? An article written at a level where only graduate school educated folks can read? Or an article written where everyone can understand her message, read through it, and provide feedback? Point being its all relative.

The bottom line is that our thoughts in the black community are diverse, as are our approaches to expressing those thoughts. You may not like the author’s approach to tackling this subject, nor her words used, nor her message. But that doesn’t stop her from feeling the way she does, and clearly there are many others who feel the way that she does. To NOT post this article, which was not blatantly offensive on the surface, would be to censor true thoughts and feelings in our community. But to post it… thats tackling the issue head on, bringing the debate to your face, in all its uncomfortable glory, and allowing you to “school” the author (and commenters) on your perspective, and hopefully everyone can grow from the entire process. If nothing else, you at least understand how other people feel. Because the reality is that clearly some people do feel this way.

To say we’re “better than this post” is appreciated, and duly noted as we continue to grow as a publication. At the same time, it alludes to us being “better” than the author’s opinion, and thats just not the case. For all we know, her opinion could be the majority in her community, amongst her friends, or even in our community as a whole. The fact remains that only an elite few actually speak out and voice how they feel. So the 100+ commenters on this blog who disagreed with it… for all we know there were 500 people who agreed. And maybe 300 of them had their opinions changed by the resulting conversation. Or maybe they didn’t. We don’t know. But what we do know is that while this post may have been very uncomfortable it forced us to address issues that wouldn’t have been previously addressed and discussed on this level, whether it be the problem of obesity in the black community, the lack of empathy we hold on issues affecting each other, or just the general attitudes we bring to each other.

Avoid it if you want to. But the author and people who feel like the author aren’t going anywhere unless we confront these beliefs and discuss them head on. Or, you can refrain from it. Either way, if we’re not an open forum and community (both as an online community and black community in general) we’re not doing each other any favors.

I left the following in response to his comment above. I think I’m done with this conversation, as it’s gaining me nothing and just aggravating the hell out of me after a long day of work. As Karnythia often warns, don’t read the comments! You’ll just get angry.

You know, if the article had been written higher than a 5th grade reading level, and if the author had not used a caricature of “the fat black woman” by using a picture of Eddie Murphy in a fat suit, I could have possibly taken her article seriously. If the author had not responded to comments in such a base and ghetto way, insulting women, calling them hippos etc then perhaps her article could have been taken seriously.

Any author postulating that ALL FAT BLACK WOMEN ARE THAT WAY BECAUSE THEY OVEREAT apparently  failed to pay attention in the community, to the fact that many folks are obese because good food costs money and often in our communities we can access the liquor store, Walgreens and fast food before we can access grocery stores, and are able to learn healthy eating habits.

There are many factors as to why women are obese. It’s lazy writing to point fingers, shame women and drop every single fat black woman into the bucket of you’re a lazy cow that over eats. This publication does not service the community by promoting articles like this that read more like a slam letter because the author had a bad day, is mad at someone or they just didn’t feel like doing the research required to cover this topic.

It pains me to see anyone get paid to write such drivel, and for the publication to instead of copping to its mistake, defend the authors lackadaisical writing and tell people that this issue won’t go away. Trust me, as one of the women the author oh so eloquently calls a “hippo”, I know I’m fat and I also know what I can do to change that, and it’s not as simple as putting down the chicken leg and going for a walk. That sounds like the privileged knucklehead I had the misfortune of taking a class with last year who kept spouting such idiocy, but they were barely 20 and hadn’t really been out in the world so I could forgive them more easily than I could forgive the author of this “article”.

In closing, I think its pretty telling that the author changed the photo associated with this “article” but does not even acknowledge that she’s done so. Good luck to this publication, as it seems you’re going to need it with such quality authors on your staff.

My hair is not a walking invitation to the Zoo.

I have people coming up to me all the time to tell me how much they like my hair. Seriously. At one point a woman walked pass me, stared at me the whole time while she passed, then walked all the way back just to say, “Your hair is awesome.” I enjoy this. My new hair IS awesome and I love to get compliments on it. I love compliments from my friends and from strangers.

The problem is when those friends and strangers just feel the need to touch my hair and not accept no for an answer. Not only do I not understand why you’d want to touch someone else’s hair (“Oh, is it soft?”—Opposed to what? A brick?), but it seems to be only white people who do this—at least to me. Black women seem to be capable of admiring it without wanting to finger it. In fact, most white women do too (the previous mentioned person who walked pass me, just to come back was white).

But the ones who are not content to admire my hair are always white. This is not happenstance, of course, white people generally feel more entitled to infringe on other people’s spaces. But, I won’t get into the historical and political aspects of why blacks hate this. There have been post, after post, after post on the matter, and even a guide here. They aren’t hard to find.

The main issue I have is that in this day and age, people should know better. Any information you wish is just a click away. Don’t believe me? Check google: “why not to touch a black person’s hair” or “touching black people’s hair.” See all those links? They are real. They are written by real people with real feelings. (In fact it has been written about so much I almost didn’t bother to post this. But it’s obvious some people just haven’t gotten the memo.)

There are so many reasons not to touch or ask to touch people of color’s hair. Some of them include: offensive, dehumanizing, rude.

But let’s get to the meat of it, show of hands. How often have you gotten you hair done just right, in that up-do, or curled just so for that special occasion and someone then come along and ran their fingers through it? How annoying is it? Very? Really? Well imagine being on display like this all the time, 24-7.

The most recent incident came when I was with a group of friends, sitting at a table and a woman walked over and said, “Oh, your hair is so pretty.” Then she stretched out her hands as if she was just going to touch it (without permission) and when I moved out of her way, she looked shocked. “Oh, I just wanted to feel it,” she said.

“No,” I shook my head.

She looked puzzled. “No?”

I smiled, and said nicer than she deserved, “I’m having dinner with friends, do you mind.”

“Well, EXCUSE me.” She said, as if I had offended her and not the other way around—as if I had the nerve to refuse her natural born right to touch me. I stared for a moment and watched her walk away. My group of friends were mixed company, but they are pretty awesome women.

“Bitch.” Someone said—I refuse to say who would say such a thing (besides my friends are like the mafia, snitch and you’ll wake up swimming with the fishes).

Listen, I’ve heard all kinds of excuses about why this is not a race issue. They seem to mainly be: “I am a white female with blonde hair, and on more than one occasion, someone has touched my hair.” But, I’ve learned along the years that I can’t decide when someone else should be offended or why they get offended. Neither can you.

In the end, The Stuff White People Do blog put it best. You’re not allowed to touch my hair:

“Because I’m not an animal in the zoo.”

“Because this is my body and I don’t have to let anybody touch any part of it, EVER, if I don’t want to.”

“Because my black ancestors may have been your ancestors’ property, and had to smile while they got touched in ways they didn’t want to, but I am not YOUR property and never will be so you’d best move your hand away from me.”

And I’ll add one of my own: Because you live in a different world from your mothers and fathers and you have the opportunity, no, dare I say the responsibility, to research and find out the views of other people before you make an ass of yourself, and before you offend someone with your ignorance.

‘Nough said. Got it?

  • Mood: aggravated aggravated

The Angry Black Woman’s Guide to Hair Etiquette

1. It is never okay to touch, pull, or stroke a black person’s hair without permission. No matter how different, cool, or fun their hair looks, you just don’t.

2. It is never okay to ask a casual acquaintance or a perfect stranger if their hair is real. It doesn’t matter how curious you are or how incongruous their hair is to your expectations. Don’t do it.

3. Realize that, in asking if you can touch a black person’s hair, you are objectifying them in possibly uncomfortable ways. That person may consent to letting you touch their hair just to be nice, but rarely is it because they enjoy having your hands on them. The most polite thing would be not to ask until such time as you know that person well enough to know if they won’t mind the request. This is not the Petting Zoo.

4. Think before you make any comments expressing surprise that a person’s hair could look any certain way without a lot of help from chemicals, products, or professional stylists.

Print this, carry it around with you, tell others. I know I will. Because the next person who touches my hair without permission is going to come out of the encounter with several strands of their own missing (with root tags attached).

A post on black hair & locs

This video is for anyone who ever asked, wanted to ask or has asked ignorant questions about black people’s hair. ESPECIALLY for those that have touched a black person’s hair without permission, and thought that it was OK. ESPECIALLY for those that want to misappropriate locs and think that it looks good. ESPECIALLY for those people that ask dumb questions like, is that your hair? Do you actually wash it? Oh, you can feel it if I touch your twists/locs?

This country was not ready for a black president

…and thus I will say what has been brewing in the back of my head for months. The vitriol against President Obama shows that this country was not ready for a black president. Yeah, I said it. The fact that these whackjobs are coming out of the woodwork with no fear of reprimand for threatening the President, or in th…is case hoping for his assassination shows this to be true. Had a white democrat won, I really doubt we’d be seeing such an ugly side of the US’s denizens.

Conservative Blogger calls for Obama’s Assassination

What this idiot apparently didn’t know is that:
Forell may think he’s protected by the First Amendment when it comes to his tweets, but the law begs to differ, specifically 18 USC Sec. 871:

Whoever knowingly and willfully deposits for conveyance in the mail or for a delivery from any post office or by any letter carrier any letter, paper, writing, print, missive, or document containing any threat to take the life of, to kidnap, or to inflict bodily harm upon the President of the United States, the President-elect, the Vice President or other officer next in the order of succession to the office of President of the United States, or the Vice President-elect, or knowingly and willfully otherwise makes any such threat against the President, President-elect, Vice President or other officer next in the order of succession to the office of President, or Vice President-elect, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

Sam Gustin at DailyFinance is reporting that the Secret Service is now investigating Forell’s tweets, with Secret Service spokesperson Max Milien stating: “We are aware of the actual posting and are actively investigating.”

This saddens me, but does not surprise me in the least. People thought I was being overly dramatic when I talked of hoping that Obama survives his first term. Now, maybe with whackjobs like this advocating that the POTUS is killed off, people will listen to me.

Which of these two things are alike?

I read the Huffington Post. Most of the time its on point, humorous and gives me a chuckle. That was not the case when this article: Two Black Role Models done in by Hubris went up.

The author is not a woman of color, nor does she seem to understand that her article is patently offensive and racist. A summary for those that don’t click. She posits that these two black men were brought low by their hubris. Woods for his extramarital dalliances and Obama for failing to deliver on his campaign promises in his 8 months in office so far. Um, what? I didn’t appoint her my savior and decider of who gets to speak for me as a black person to the world at large.

When readers call her on the idiocy of linking these two men based on skin color alone, she gets quite defensive in the comments to her own piece. I notice that she trips over herself basically calling herself out and back pedaling on what she did and didn’t actually say in the piece. Critical thinking fail here people.

Here’s my comment in case anyone is interested:


photo

“That you even think their race had anything to do with their failure means you can’t read.” If that’s the case, what was the point of your article in tenuously linking two famous black men? What hubris can you point to on the part of the president? You really need to step back, untangle the straps of your invisible back pack and realize the issue people are taking with your “article”. Let me clarify for you.

You, as a white woman are attempting to tell us people of color that we ought to be ashamed of these two fallen role models of our “people”. No one assigns my role models. No one famous person of color should be held up as the monolithic example of what POC should aspire to, and none of us should be told by journalists of any race, creed or color that the “failures” of famouse POC are doubly problematic and just such a disappointment for the race.

This is condescending, patronizing and yes, it is a racist action. You can commit racist actions and not even realize it. Reading your commentary back to posters here, it seems as if you are treating people’s responses to this poorly written attempt at connecting two famous black men as personal attacks.

Your closing line is very telling on yourself, you should read it and let it sink in because its exactly what you are doing by jumping up and down screaming but I’m not racist! online.

My smiles are not for you, random man on the street

I’ve had the issue of women being treated as property, as if (some) men think we are here for their pleasure only, as if we are to be honored by your hey baby, how you doin’s as we go about our daily lives, but instead when we ignore you, tell you to fuck off or just keep walking the insults flow freely.

Instead of understanding that women are not chattel, we do not exist to please you… you revert to mental infancy and call us sluts, whores, bitches… ask if we think we’re too good for you, or won’t we just FUCKING SMILE, after all it was a compliment I paid you, damn why you have to be like that. The litany could go on forever but you get my point.

After a post by karnythia on creepy ass man following her and try8ing to intimidate her, and the story of the MTA passenger who just needed some help but instead was asked out for a date by an employee, this topic has boiled over in my head and needs to be let out.

I know men don’t understand that life is different for women, in that alot of us are raised to be leery of unknown men, especially ones that approach us on the street. It’s something that keeps you safe and can save your life, because you never know when a dude is just trying to be a harmless flirt or a serial killer or rapist. I know its harsh, but you (men who think you’re doing us a favor by hollering on the street)don’t know our lives, our stories, what kind of baggage we’re carrying around.

That woman whose arm you try to grab so you can “talk to her” could be a rape survivor, she could be on the way home after being laid off from a job, or getting some other bad news. She could not be smiling because she just found out her grandmother died or she failed a test, or for any number of reasons. You never know what a person has going on in their head, and presuming that she should give you the gift of her smile, her time just because you’re a man is pretty damn arrogant.

Thinking that women should be honored because you deign to throw some two bit line our way on the street, or talk about us as if we’re nothing more than walking tits, ass and vagina’s put on display for your approval and usage speaks volumes about how little you know about women or the real world. I don’t speak for all women, but I think anyone with a shred of self-respect wouldn’t bother with a trifling ass man who thinks the way into a womans heart is to talk about that ass, and how you’d give her what for.

Men, at least the men who think that this is a GOOD IDEA and women should be grateful for your attention… realize we don’t owe you a motherfucking thing. We don’t owe you our time, our energy, our bodies or our smiles.

Lastly, posted this in a comment to an earlier post of mine and it needs to be seen, and reposted far and wide.

A memo to the black men out there…

that buy into the idea that women of any color should lower their expectations for your trifling ass… especially anyone who agrees with this Memo to Black women informing us we’ll never get a Barack or Denzel because our standards are too high? Here’s a note from a black woman who sincerely wants to inform you that:

Black women are not required to lower our standards for men like you. They are called standards for a reason. Black women are not obligated to play faux mommy to men like you that can’t fend for themselves in the real world because no one made them grow up and get their shit together as adults.

Black women are not obligated to know how to cook five course meals for you that will be piping hot and perfect when you decide to bring your triflin’ ass home. We are not obligated to be ferocious in bed, pandering to your every sexual whim because you’re a MAN; yet accept the fact that you have no real clue on how to please a woman and be grateful for what little attention you give us.

We have the right to expect that whatever man we end up with is a decent fucking human being and will treat us with respect, love and actually want us because we have a brain in our heads and not just great bodies.

We are not obligated to lower our standards so man-children like you have a chance at a good woman that you can’t handle anyway. So get yourself to a library, school, read a damn book and learn that it isn’t all about you and getting a woman to serve your needs by erasing her own.

What was that about Post Racial Society?

Analysis: Gates Arrest a Signpost on Racial Road
By JESSE WASHINGTON, AP National Writer
Jul 23, 2009, 08:35

Summary:

It took less than a day for the arrest of Henry Louis Gates to become racial lore. When one of America’s most prominent Black intellectuals winds up in handcuffs, it’s not just another episode of profiling; it’s a signpost on the nation’s bumpy road to equality.

Story:

It took less than a day for the arrest of Henry Louis Gates to become racial lore. When one of America’s most prominent Black intellectuals winds up in handcuffs, it’s not just another episode of profiling; it’s a signpost on the nation’s bumpy road to equality.

The news was parsed and tweeted, rued and debated. This was, after all, Dr. Henry Louis “Skip” Gates: summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Yale, MacArthur “genius grant” recipient, acclaimed historian, Harvard professor, and PBS documentarian. He was named one of Time magazine’s “25 Most Influential Americans” in 1997 and holds 50 honorary degrees.

If this man can be taken away by police officers from the porch of his own home, what does it say about the treatment that average Blacks can expect in 2009?

Earl Graves Jr., CEO of the company that publishes Black Enterprise magazine, was once stopped by police during his train commute to work, dressed in a suit and tie.

“My case took place back in 1995, and here we are 14 years later dealing with the same madness,” he said Tuesday. “Barack Obama being the president has meant absolutely nothing to White law enforcement officers. Zero. So I have zero confidence that (Gates’ case) will lead to any change whatsoever.”

The 58-year-old professor had returned from a trip to China last Thursday afternoon and found the front door of his Cambridge, Mass., home stuck shut. Gates entered the back door, forced open the front door with help from a car service driver, and was on the phone with the Harvard leasing company when a White police sergeant arrived.

Gates and the sergeant gave differing accounts of what happened next. But, for many people, that doesn’t matter.

They don’t care that Gates was charged not with breaking and entering but with disorderly conduct after repeatedly demanding the sergeant’s name and badge number. It doesn’t matter whether Gates was yelling, or accused Sgt. James Crowley of being racist, or that all charges were dropped Tuesday.

All they see is pure, naked racial profiling.

“Under any account … all of it is totally uncalled for,” Graves said. “It never would have happened; imagine a White professor, a distinguished White professor at Harvard, walking around with a cane, going into his own house, being harassed or stopped by the police. It would never happen.”

Racial profiling became a national issue in the 1990s, when highway police on major drug delivery routes were accused of stopping drivers simply for being Black. Lawsuits were filed, studies were commissioned, data was analyzed. “It is wrong, and we will end it in America,” President George W. Bush said in 2001.

Yet for every study that concluded police disproportionately stop, search and arrest minorities, another expert came to a different conclusion. “That’s always going to be the case,” Dr. Greg Ridgeway, who has a Ph.D. in statistics and studies racial profiling for the RAND research group, said Monday. “You’re never going to be able to (statistically) prove racial profiling. … There’s always a plausible explanation.”

Federal legislation to ban racial profiling has languished since being introduced in 2007 by a dozen Democratic senators, including then-senator Barack Obama.

U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, D-Ill., said that was partly because, “when you look at statistics, and you’re trying to prove the extent, the information comes back that there’s not nearly as much (profiling) as we continue to experience.”

But Davis has no doubt that profiling is real. He says he was stopped while driving in Chicago in 2007 for no reason other than the fact he is Black. Police gave him a ticket for swerving over the center line; a judge said the ticket did not make sense and dismissed it.

“Trying to reach this balance of equity, equal treatment, equal protection under the law, equal understanding, equal opportunity, is something that we will always be confronted with. We may as well be prepared for it,” Davis said.

Amid the indignation over Gates’ case, a few people pointed out that he may have violated the cardinal rule of avoiding arrest: Do not antagonize the cops.

The police report said that Gates yelled at the officer, refused to calm down and behaved in a “tumultuous” manner. Gates said he simply asked for the officer’s identification, followed him into his porch when the information was not forthcoming, and was arrested for no reason. But something about being asked to prove that you live in your own home clearly struck a nerve both for Gates and his defenders.

“You feel violated, embarrassed, not sure what is taking place, especially when you haven’t done anything,” said Graves of his own experience when police made him face the wall and frisked him in Grand Central Station in New York City. “You feel shocked, then you realize what’s happening, and then you feel it’s a violation of everything you stand for.”

And that this should happen to “Skip” Gates, the unblemished embodiment of President Obama’s recent admonition to Black America not to search for handouts or favors but to “seize our own future, each and every day,” shook many people to the core.

Wrote Dr. Lawrence Bobo, Gates’ Harvard colleague, who picked his friend up from jail: “Ain’t nothing post-racial about the United States of America.”

Jesse Washington covers race and ethnicity for The Associated Press.

© Copyright 2005 by DiverseEducation.com

A message from the Average Black Person by Elon James White (reposted w/Author Permission)

“A Message from the Average Black Person”
Via the Huffington Post (Would love to hear what you guys think – Sorry about the cut IT WONT WORK. And if you enjoy this please DIGG it – http://is.gd/1ev4T – and feel free to pass the link along!)

To Whom It May Concern:

Greetings. My name is Elon James White. I’mBlack.

I write this letter on behalf of a lot of people that fall into the category of Average Black People. (Yes, I capitalize it, as if it were a title.) I do not claim to represent them because that would be absurd. I really, truly don’t. I don’t even represent my circle of friends. At any point in time one of my Black buddies will, in fact, tell me to go to hell when speaking on concepts of race, politics, or religion.

I do, however, qualify as an Average Black Person. I am neither a part of the Black intelligentsia, nor do I fall into the category of your garden-variety street Negro. A lot of folks see Black people in one of these two categories. Normally, let’s be honest, it’s the latter.

I don’t qualify.

I do come from “the Hood.” That’s right. I am a born and bred Brooklynite raised in the middle of Bed-Stuy. If you aren’t familiar with Bed-Stuy, perhaps you have never listened to gangster rap. You’re probably also unfamiliar with Jay-Z, Biggie Smalls, or the thousands of songs that yell out “Brooklyn!” and then give a shout-out to Bed-Stuy. It’s fine. Just understand that Bed-Stuy has a primarily negative connotation and for many years was used in boasts to gain respect or fear because it’s an incredibly violent environment.

In other words, you could get shot, son.

Speaking of which, I am the son of a single mother. My father is in prison. My grandfather was a pastor and I grew up in the church. I, without shame, also enjoy fried chicken, watermelon, ribs, and orange soda. I can have an incredibly in-depth debate on the best five MCs ever. My credit isn’t great and I’ve been shot.

With facts like this I qualify as a stereotypical Black person right?

But I am also a computer programmer. I’ve been known to quote Nietzsche. I, on occasion, host dinner parties where I serve five-course meals, including a specialty of mine, White Truffle Tilapia (it’s delightful). I have the entire John Williams discography and wear a backpack that is emblazoned with the Thundercats insignia.

Those with one half of that story shake their head at the sheer mass of stereotypes I carry. Then those with the other half question if I even understand the Black experience at all. Some refer to me as someone who “made it out.” I currently live in Crown Heights. Some say “You’re not like the others.” Most people I interact with are very similar to me.

I am an Average Black Person.

So, as an ABP, I have a few requests:

Media.
Please stop referring to blacks as a monolith. I can’t possibly express to you the different types of Black people that exist. We neither move as an entity, nor do we move as three or four entities. For every Sharpton, there’s a Steele. And for every Sharpton and Steele there are a hundred folks in the middle. What we share is a past, which on occasion helps shape our view on things. Also? Obama is not a unicorn. Please stop acting like Obama and his family are magical in the Black community. Just because some of you may not have seen a Negro like this doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Lots of smart black folk living with their smart mates and their cute smart kids. So please remember. Obama? Not a unicorn. Black people? Not one voice: I don’t care what the supposed Black leaders try to claim.

Supposed Black Leaders.
Please stop speaking for us as if we were a monolith. This is not the 1960s. We don’t need a Martin Luther King, Jr. or a Malcom X. You speak for yourselves and your view on what’s happening. You also can’t police black people. There isn’t an us. Are there issues within the Black community? Absolutely, but it’s not everybody as much as it is certain groups, most time classes that are in need of help and focus. Hence you can’t speak for “Blacks.” There are people who need your help and don’t want you speaking for them. Oh, and for the love of all that is holy, could you please stop critiquing Obama simply to show you aren’t drinking the kool-aid? I get it. You’re sugar-free. Got it.

Critics Of Obama.
Hey, um…guess what Black people are not? A monolith. We are not holding Obama on a pedestal. Some critique him harshly (and personally I feel unjustly) and others love him. This is the case with every president. Obama is not the spokesperson for Black people. He is a symbol of hope. He is a symbol of opportunity in a land where opportunity for us seemed nonexistent. He’s a symbol of a fight where people cried and died and sacrificed in order for the opportunity for him to exist. But his actions are his actions and have to be judged. Just not four months after he walked in the door with one of the worst clean up jobs in the countries history. You may critique him without critiquing Blacks’ ability to critique him.

The hypocrisy of saying we are not One, and yet speaking for the exact group for which I justemphatically denied exists, is not lost on me. Perhaps there are Black people who absolutely want to be spoken for and referred to as if we were one big team. I acknowledge the possibility, but if this was the majority people like Dyson and Smiley would be way more important, and let’s be honest: they aren’t. I hope that my message is clear. After reading this, the next time you talk to a Black person you can feel comfortable in now knowing with every fiber of your being that you have no clue what they think or feel based on their skin color.

But if they’re wearing a Soulja Boy shirt you may disregard this essay and judge them immediately

Promotion Post – Verb Noire

**DISCLAIMER: THIS POST IS NOT AN INVITATION TO POST YOUR THOUGHTS ON RACE FAIL 09. WANT TO KNOW ABOUT IT? GOOGLE IS YOUR FRIEND**

As some of you who have been following RaceFail 09′ know… one good thing has surfaced from this fiasco. [info]verb_noire is a new press started by [info]karnythia & [info]thewayoftheid. Those of you on my f-list that would consider submitting works, the submission guidelines will be up this week.

The mission statement is:

To celebrate the works of talented, underrepresented authors and deliver them to a readership that demands more.

What does that mean? That if you’re a talented writer with an awesome, original story about a POC girl/guy/transgendered character, there is a place for you. And that if you’re a sci-fi/fantasy fan who has grown tired of the constant whitewashing of these genres, there is a place for you, too.

Now that isn’t to say that we will accept ANY ol’ manuscript as long as it features a POC protagonist, because we will NOT. What we’re looking for is quality, soul and PASSION, something that will resonate with readers for years to come.

“Everyone has a story.” These words have driven my professional career for the last decade. These words are also the driving force behind this project, because I believe that EVERYONE has at least one good story in them, and that story demands to be shared with the world.

The rough part, of course, will be funding. In the next few days, you will be seeing a crazy amount of “Donate” buttons on the sites of friends, family and other folks down for the cause. Please click on them and spread the word, if you’re so inclined. 🙂

Other folks are promoting Verb all over the place and I want to add to the voices saying hey you! Awesome writer who thinks your voice will never be heard? Come here, check this out and submit your work to folks who won’t try to mainstream it into a shadow of itself.

[info]telesilla is also promoting [info]verb_noire at this post Go read it!

And even though they have surpassed their fund raising goal, it will keep money to keep this venture afloat and viable. So please if you can: A donation button is at Verb Noire

We did it, we did, we did. Thoughts on watching history unfold…

I’m so proud right now. So damn proud of our country, it’s people and of our new President. Yes, it was so good to hear “Do you, Barack HUSSEIN Obama …” and not have them skirt the issue of his middle name. It was good to hear him swear his oath to this country and it’s people. Hell, I’m not going to lie, I’m ecstatic that we are seeing the beginning of a new era today and ending 8 years of oppression based on lies, fear mongering and hate.

Now, the party will go on for a couple of days and we’ll all revel in a new era. However, the real work needs to be started. It needs to begin and continue with the people who mobilized to put President Obama in the Oval Office. This work does not rest solely on his shoulders or Vice President Bidens’ but on every single person in this country.

Whether you voted for him or not, President Obama is now our leader. I would hope that those of you that spent so much time hating, disbelieving and being obstinate in your views of this man, his ideals and the ideals of the party he is with can put aside that hatred to achieve the greater good. Which is restoring this country to the great nation it once was. I’m not saying the US is down for the count now, but we’re going to need some crutches for a while.

I ask those of you who are on the “other side of the aisle” to put down your animosity, your vitriol and join with your brothers and sisters in rejoicing today, and every day that we are starting with a new administration. One that says here, this is what I did today… that says I need you, the people to help me get to the mountain top.

If you cannot do that, it’s your loss and I honestly feel sorry for you. This nation was not built on the ideals that party loyalty means lack of patriotism or less love for this country because we don’t share the same ideals or values. We are all American’s and we all must work to redeem this country in the eyes of each and every person who has suffered, each person lost to war, hate, lack of money, education, poverty … the list goes on.

I do not come to admonish those who do not join me in cheering our new leadership, I come to offer the olive branch of our common humanity and ask you to join me in working together for a better day, month and years to come.

I’m off to celebrate more watch the parade and I hope you can do so with joy in your heart and hope for our future.

Context for those people offended at Dr. Lowry’s comments during benediction

For those folks offended by Dr. Lowry’s words… I can’t change that you are offended that is your right but there’s nothing I can do about it. Don’t come crying to me with your offense at it. If you are so bothered, then take it up him. I’m just giving you some context so you can think about just why you might be offended. I’d posted this in my livejournal but after comment flames I decided to not even try there any more.

For your rememberance, the quote is:

“[W]hen black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man, and when white will embrace what is right.”

That is NOT, I repeat and repeat again, is NOT, based on race. Lowry was not talking about white folk, or Asian folk, or Native Folk, or Latino folk. It was NOT ABOUT RACE. That bit? Is based on a popular saying among black people in the 50s and 60s about colorism. It was popular when my mom was a kid, and it was a mean thing. Long story short? It was talking about black people’s variant skin tones and the preference of lighter tones over darker ones. It went as such:

“If you’re white, you’re alright. If you’re red, get ahead. If you’re yellow, you’re mellow. If you’re brown, stick around. If you’re black, get back.”

Basically? The darker you were as a black person, the more you sucked. It’s the kind of shit spawned by the pencil test and the paper bag test and all that other shit that people used to make light skinned black folk think they were better cause they were light. And Dr. Lowry? was playing on that. That’s what the laughter was about.

The closing inaugural benediction as given by Reverend Lowry

The closing benediction as given by Reverend Lowry on 20 January 2009 after the swearing in of Barack Hussein Obama as the 44th President of the United States.

God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, thou who has brought us thus far along the way, thou who has by thy might led us into the light, keep us forever in the path, we pray, lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met thee, lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget thee. Shadowed beneath thy hand may we forever stand — true to thee, O God, and true to our native land.

We truly give thanks for the glorious experience we’ve shared this day. We pray now, O Lord, for your blessing upon thy servant, Barack Obama, the 44th president of these United States, his family and his administration. He has come to this high office at a low moment in the national and, indeed, the global fiscal climate. But because we know you got the whole world in your hand, we pray for not only our nation, but for the community of nations. Our faith does not shrink, though pressed by the flood of mortal ills.

For we know that, Lord, you’re able and you’re willing to work through faithful leadership to restore stability, mend our brokenness, heal our wounds and deliver us from the exploitation of the poor or the least of these and from favoritism toward the rich, the elite of these.

We thank you for the empowering of thy servant, our 44th president, to inspire our nation to believe that, yes, we can work together to achieve a more perfect union. And while we have sown the seeds of greed — the wind of greed and corruption, and even as we reap the whirlwind of social and economic disruption, we seek forgiveness and we come in a spirit of unity and solidarity to commit our support to our president by our willingness to make sacrifices, to respect your creation, to turn to each other and not on each other.

And now, Lord, in the complex arena of human relations, help us to make choices on the side of love, not hate; on the side of inclusion, not exclusion; tolerance, not intolerance.

And as we leave this mountaintop, help us to hold on to the spirit of fellowship and the oneness of our family. Let us take that power back to our homes, our workplaces, our churches, our temples, our mosques, or wherever we seek your will.

Bless President Barack, First Lady Michelle. Look over our little, angelic Sasha and Malia.

We go now to walk together, children, pledging that we won’t get weary in the difficult days ahead. We know you will not leave us alone, with your hands of power and your heart of love.

Help us then, now, Lord, to work for that day when nation shall not lift up sword against nation, when tanks will be beaten into tractors, when every man and every woman shall sit under his or her own vine and fig tree, and none shall be afraid; when justice will roll down like waters and righteousness as a mighty stream.

Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around — (laughter) — when yellow will be mellow — (laughter) — when the red man can get ahead, man — (laughter) — and when white will embrace what is right.

Let all those who do justice and love mercy say amen.

AUDIENCE: Amen!
REV. LOWERY: Say amen —
AUDIENCE: Amen!
REV. LOWERY: — and amen.
AUDIENCE: Amen! (Cheers, applause.)
END.

President Obama’s Inaugural speech 20 January 2009

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama, with First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha at his side, acknowledges the crowd after being sworn in as the country’s 44th President. (Tribune photo by Terrence Antonio James / January 20, 2009)

My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often, the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land–a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today, I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America–they will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit, to choose our better history, to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted–for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things–some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions–that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act–not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. All this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions–who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them–that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works–whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account–to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day–because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control–and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on the ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart–not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: Know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with the sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort–even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus–and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West–know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to the suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment–a moment that will define a generation–it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends–honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism–these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility–a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence–the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed–why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America’s birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

“Let it be told to [the] future world … that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive … that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet” it.

America: In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested, we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

Thank you. God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America.

MLK on the possibility of a black president

Thorswitch has an excellent post on Dr. King’s vision for a black president that aired on the BBC.

From the Orlando Sentinel:

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. predicted the United States would have a black president, but his timing was a bit off. He saw the milestone coming a lot sooner.

You can see a clip of King’s prediction on “BBC World News America” at 7 tonight.

King talked to the BBC‘s Bob McKenzie in 1964. McKenzie asked:

Robert Kennedy, when he was attorney general, said that he could imagine the possibility of a Negro President in the United States within perhaps 40 years. Do you think this is at all realistic?”

King said: “Well, let me say first that I think it is necessary to make it clear that there are Negroes who are presently qualified to be president of the United States. There are many who are qualified in terms of integrity, in terms of vision, in terms of leadership ability. But we do know that there are certain problems and prejudices and mores in our society which make it difficult now. However, I am very optimistic about the future. Frankly, I have seen certain changes in the United States over the last two years that surprise me. I’ve seen levels of compliance with the Civil Rights Bill and changes that have been most surprising. So, on the basis of this, I think we may be able to get a Negro president in less than 40 years. I would think that this could come in 25 years or less.”

While MLK was a bit more optimistic than RFK, given the state of race relations in America at the time, I find it a bit surprising that they would have thought an African-American could become President in such a relatively short period of time. Personally, I didn’t think I’d live to see it happen – though I’m as happy as I can be that I am, especially since it’s a man I think has the potential to be an excellent president (and not just in comparison to Bush – that’s a benchmark just about anyone with a pulse could clear.)

I’m finding myself, tonight, feeling like I’m holding my breath. There’s no doubt that there are any number of miscreants and – to borrow a phrase – “evildoers” who do not want to see “President Obama” become a reality, and while I don’t think anything will actually happen, there’s still a part of me that’s concerned that someone may try to disrupt the proceedings or – worse – assassinate Obama.

It’s a bit like it was when the calendar changed over to 2000 – so much worry over whether the computers of the world would keep working or not, yet when the day came – I think largely due to the fact that there’d been so much concern expressed about the possible problems and people took the time to try to prevent them – really, nothing happened. And that was pretty much what I expected – I had a bit of doubt, but no serious worries that anything major would go wrong. I seem to be in much of the same mindframe for tomorrow – that the knowledge that someone, somewhere is going to at the very least WANT to try something – will have prompted the Secret Service, FBI, DC police and/or whomever else might be of assistance to have the absolute best security plan in place and have been working to track down any threats they may have become aware of – so that when the time comes, our new President will be safe, the inauguration will happen without trouble, and we can finally start moving out of the shadow we’ve been under for the last 8 years.

Tonight, though, all I can do is ask that Odin, Thor, Frejya, Tyr and the rest of the Aesir and Vanir will place Obama under their protection, give him the strength, the wisdom and the sense of justice he’ll need in the coming years, to be the great leader he has the potential to be.

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I have a dream… and this year it’s coming true

mlk09

I usually give a nod to Dr. King for all of his achievements and place in history… but this year is special to me. Special for the fact that tomorrow instead of another Dream Deferred, we get to see a Dream Realized by so many people.

I wrote before on waking up after election day to realize that yes, we did and it wasn’t a mere dream. I repeat this sentiment today as I see the excitement mounting in DC, hear from friends who are there to bear witness to history in the making.

I’m sure that pundits all over are readying speeches, remarks and such linking today’s holiday and the history en route tomorrow as President Elect Obama becomes President Obama. I’m sure other folks more skilled with a digital pen and wordsmithing will wax rhapsodic on 20 January 2009 for ages to come but for me, I’m pleased to see the dream realized; to see a man rise from the roots of his community to the top most branch of the government he has served for so long.

I salute you Dr. King for all you have done, for laying down the foundation for President Obama to step up tomorrow and start fulfilling the promises laid on the campaign trail, to the people and to his daughters and other children of this nation that will live with the legacy of his presidency be it great or failure.

President Obama, once you have sworn the oath and stepped into the oval office… I charge you to remember and honor those of us who helped you get there. Those of us who called, campaigned, helped you hurdle over road blocks to get to the new address you’re taking up tomorrow.

We the people see you, and are waiting to see what you can do for this great country and we hope that you can continue to keep the dream and hope alive while reminding us that Yes, we can every day you are in office.

Cheers Mr. President, now get to work!

On why I’ve never been able to support McCain/Palin & chose Obama/Biden

I’m a life long democrat, that shouldn’t surprise anyone here. My bit on the lack of support for McCain is so people can understand this isn’t a knee jerk, OMG he’s a Republican so I can’t support him reaction. It’s a reaction to his platform, or rather a lack thereof.

I’m a reasonable, intelligent person(and if you don’t agree THIS isn’t the place to argue that point) and I vote based on who I think will do a better job. I support Obama because he’s had an answer, a laid out plan for what he would do as President. Again, I don’t think he’s a Messiah or has all the answers. No one person can turn around the cesspool that government has become. McCain seems to be using the same catch phrases over and over without ever really explaining his position. All I hear from him is I’ll work for Vets, I’ll keep taxes where they are, we must stay the course in Iraq until we have victory, Obama is dangerous and not ready to lead. He’s never stopped people from claiming that Obama is an A-Rab or has ever talked directly to the Senator in debates. When pressed to repeat some of the negativity in his ads, he turned it back on poor me, they are lying about me and that guy who called me out hurt my feelings, wah.

I’ve got no clear picture on just WHAT McCain would do to reverse the economic downturn we’re in, he wants to keep the war going, he has not said HOW he’d get Bin Laden, just that we’ll stay the course until we win. That’s all well and good but how do you plan to do that McCain? If he’d picked Lieberman as a running mate, and truly stuck to his label of Maverick I’d be a lot more concerned about Obama’s chances next week. As it is he’s picked a woman to capture the vote from disenfranchised Hillary supporters who think with their gender instead of their brains. But as time has gone on, its clear this woman is an opportunist who is willing to toss the party and McCain under the bus so she can step up in 2012 and run.

There isn’t enough space to list all of the things that are wrong with Palin as a VP pick so I’ll give you a few. She is not family focused, she does not understand foreign policy, thinks being next to Russia is a qualifier for knowing about the world, just got a passport last year, exonerated herself and her husband on charges of misconduct as if that is even legal, used Alaskan taxpayer money to fund her family’s travel alongside her on gubernatorial duties, thinks only small towns are the REAL AMERICA and that folks in big cities don’t get it. She questions peoples patriotism if they come from big cities, the folksy you betcha’s are the nail in the coffin. Trying to appeal to the common man with Joe the plumber, Joe Six Pack, etc are condescending to me as a citizen who gets up and goes to work every day.

My other problem with McCain/Palin is that instead of addressing the issues and really hammering the Obama campaign on what they claim are his weaknesses, they are instead just singing the same tune of he’s not American enough, he’s socialist, he’s going to “spread the wealth around” like the bogie man is hiding under our beds that will suddenly jump up and give us all money O_o?! Granted, that selective memory is coming back to bite McCain/Palin; Palin is on record as being proud of the Socialism of Alaska, how they could give back to each man, woman & child in Alaska because they like to spread the wealth. Hmm, forgot you said that Gov?

I want a President that is going to spend the time to address issues. I want them to be able to remain calm, cool and collected. McCain is not that person. Palin cannot wink or you betcha, golly darnit her way out of a G8 summit or arms treaty. I don’t trust either one of them to deal with our allies in a way that will help this country, and I honestly am TERRIFIED of the idea of Palin being thisclose to the Presidency if McCain drops dead.

I’ve had enough of the government treating the country as their personal playground, of them treating the constitution as a whiteboard they can edit as will with no regard for what we, the people want and need from our government.

I urge you to vote next Tuesday, I urge you to do the right thing and Vote for Change.

Anyone who thinks racism is dead needs to wake up.

Inland GOP mailing depicts Obama’s face on food stamp

08:54 PM PDT on Wednesday, October 15, 2008

By MICHELLE DeARMOND
The Press-Enterprise
The latest newsletter by an Inland Republican women’s group depicts Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama surrounded by a watermelon, ribs and a bucket of fried chicken, prompting outrage in political circles.

The October newsletter by the Chaffey Community Republican Women, Federated says if Obama is elected his image will appear on food stamps — instead of dollar bills like other presidents. The statement is followed by an illustration of “Obama Bucks” — a phony $10 bill featuring Obama’s face on a donkey’s body, labeled “United States Food Stamps.”

The GOP newsletter, which was sent to about 200 members and associates of the group by e-mail and regular mail last week, is drawing harsh criticism from members of the political group, elected leaders, party officials and others as racist.

The group’s president, Diane Fedele, said she plans to send an apology letter to her members and to apologize at the club’s meeting next week. She said she simply wanted to deride a comment Obama made over the summer about how as an African-American he “doesn’t look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills.”

“It was strictly an attempt to point out the outrageousness of his statement. I really don’t want to go into it any further,” Fedele said in a telephone interview Tuesday. “I absolutely apologize to anyone who was offended. That clearly wasn’t my attempt.”

Fedele said she got the illustration in a number of chain e-mails and decided to reprint it for her members in the Trumpeter newsletter because she was offended that Obama would draw attention to his own race. She declined to say who sent her the e-mails with the illustration.

Special to The Press-Enterprise
An Inland Republican women’s group sent out a newsletter showing this fake $10 “food stamp” with Barack Obama’s face on it.

She said she doesn’t think in racist terms, pointing out she once supported Republican Alan Keyes, an African-American who previously ran for president.

“I didn’t see it the way that it’s being taken. I never connected,” she said. “It was just food to me. It didn’t mean anything else.”

She said she also wasn’t trying to make a statement linking Obama and food stamps, although her introductory text to the illustration connects the two: “Obama talks about all those presidents that got their names on bills. If elected, what bill would he be on????? Food Stamps, what else!”

Club Member Cries

Sheila Raines, an African-American member of the club, was the first person to complain to Fedele about the newsletter. Raines, of San Bernardino, said she has worked hard to try to convince other minorities to join the Republican Party and now she feels betrayed.

“This is what keeps African-Americans from joining the Republican Party,” she said. “I’m really hurt. I cried for 45 minutes.”

The Obama campaign declined to comment. It’s the campaign’s policy to not address such attacks, said Gabriel Sanchez, a California spokesman for the campaign.

The newsletter prompted a rebuke from another African-American member of the organization, which is well recognized in the community for its philanthropy and efforts to register and turn out voters in the Rancho Cucamonga and Upland areas.

Acquanetta Warren, a Fontana councilwoman and member of the women’s group, said the item is rude and requires a public apology.

“When I opened that up and saw it, I said, ‘Why did they do this? It doesn’t even reflect our principles and values,’ ” said Warren, who served as a Republican delegate to the national convention in September and is a regional vice chairwoman for the California Republican Party. “I know a lot of the ladies in that club and they’re fantastic. They’re volunteers. They really care — some of them go to my church.”

Warren forwarded an electronic version of the newsletter to the California Republican Party headquarters, where officials also were outraged Wednesday and denounced the illustration.

Hector Barajas, the party’s press secretary, said the party chairman likely will have a conversation with Fedele, and Barajas will attend the statewide California Federation of Republican Women conference this weekend in Los Angeles to handle any news media there to cover the controversy.

Obama in Turban

The newsletter is not the first such episode Barajas has had to respond to this week. The Sacramento Bee on Wednesday posted an image it said was captured from the Sacramento County GOP Web site that showed Obama in a turban next to Osama bin Laden.

It said: “The difference between Osama and Obama is just a little B.S.” The site also encouraged members to “Waterboard Barack Obama,” a reference to a torture technique. The Sacramento County party took down the material Tuesday after being criticized.

Mark Kirk, a spokesman for the San Bernardino County GOP chairman, said he expects Chairman Gary Ovitt to also have a talk with Fedele and to attend the group’s local meeting next week to discuss the issue with members, although the county GOP has no formal oversight role over the club. Kirk said these kinds of depictions hurt the party’s ongoing efforts to reach out to minorities.

“It’s very damaging and we’re going to take steps to correct this,” Kirk said. “Unfortunately, I don’t know what you do to correct ignorance like this, but we will do what we can.”

Assemblyman Bill Emmerson, R-Redlands, and state Sen. Bob Dutton, R-Rancho Cucamonga, both criticized the illustration as inappropriate and irresponsible.

Dutton pointed out that his wife, a member of the club, is of Mexican heritage and has battled criticism that the Republican Party is not the party for minorities. The club’s newsletter undercuts efforts to rise above racism, he said.

“Bias and racial comments and even suggestions are frankly what weakens us as a people. I think we as Americans need to rise above that,” he said.

Emmerson said he was extremely offended and sickened by the newsletter.

Barbara O’Connor, director of the Institute for the Study of Politics and the Media at Cal State Sacramento, said it’s imperative that people speak out about these kinds of depictions no matter how small the organization. She praised Raines for doing so.

“It’s a statement about what is civil discourse and can you get away with doing something under an organizational banner,” she said. “You have to cut it out at the root and the root is often small organizations that are local and they then become larger.”

Reach Michelle DeArmond at 951-368-9441 or mdearmond@PE.com

Race & Politics herein, read and comment at your own peril

Warning – hateful image at the head of this & linked post, in case it would bother anyone

A thoughtful post on a hateful image done by a McCain supporter by karnythia

Well written post again by Karnythia. Once again articulating what is bothering me about the rage and undercurrent of kill him and race baiting being done by the extremists in the McCain bullpen. The fact that this blogger is claiming he didn’t know he was using racist, hateful, death threat imagery is utter bullshit.

It’s only 3 weeks till election day and as several people have said, I’m done worn out. I don’t know if my nerves or patience can keep me calm until the last vote is counted.

Keith Olbermann breaks this down for the folks:

Meeks is totally missing the fucking point… AGAIN

Why doesn’t someone stop his idiocy? He’s making IL a laughing stock and making himself out to be a total nuisance to the City and State.

I don’t understand the point of protesting the Cubs game, or any other sporting event because I’m missing the tie between the local sports teams and his dog and pony, poor us show he’s dragging hither and yon.

Good Gods, I wish he’d just shut the fuck up and DO something other than being a media whore.

Meeks misses the point again by taking his protest to the Cubs game tonight

Meeks takes school funding reform to Cubs game

By KAREN HAWKINS

Associated Press Writer

9:03 PM CDT, October 1, 2008

CHICAGO

State Sen. James Meeks brought his message of school funding reform to the Friendly Confines.

One month after leading a two-day boycott of Chicago Public Schools, Meeks and his supporters protested outside Wednesday’s playoff game between the Chicago Cubs and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Wrigley Field.

“We do not want the city of Chicago to pay more attention to the Cubs and the White Sox than they do to fixing our schools,” Meeks said in Wrigleyville, surrounded by hundreds of protesters wearing orange T-shirts that said “Save Our Schools.” “Our schools should be number one.” Continue reading “Meeks is totally missing the fucking point… AGAIN”

My thougts on the election… Senator Obama, history

I won’t mince words here. I do Believe in Change, I do believe in the message that Senator Barack Obama is bringing to the nation. I do believe that he can be that agent of change we need to move past the past eight years of war, recession, theocracy and tailspin we have endured as a country.

Let me take a moment to let you know, that no I do not think the good Senator is our next Messiah, I do not think he walks on water and can do no wrong. I do not idolize Barack Obama, and think that he is THE ANSWER for all of our nations ills. No one man or woman can snap their fingers and make it alright. No one man or woman can wade into the mess that is our current administration and sweep it all clean with a word or gesture.

I do believe that he can do it, with work over the 4 years of the Presidential term. He can do it, if people learn that first and foremost we are a nation of strong people, who are willing to do the work to bring America back to its greatness, not just a nation of whiners, not just a nation of “not my fault” irresponsible types but a nation that can band together to make a difference.

I do not believe that someone who does not support the Senator is automatically a racist, because that is just stupid. While I may disagree on choice of candidate, who am I to point the finger of you are racist just because you don’t agree with me? For those who can find fault in his policies, his past actions in Chicago, his relatively short term in Senate as reasons to not vote for him, I can respect that. I may not like it, but I can respect it.

For those women who feel slighted by the fact that Hillary did not make it to the Nomination by the party, suck it up will you? Would you let your bitterness and misguided anger over her loss let you vote for a man who has no regard for women, who called his wife a trollop and cunt when she jokingly teased him over his thinning hairline? Some champion of women’s rights you’re behind now that Hillary is out of the running. To them I do say, Your Whiteness IS showing.

All of that rambling was to state clearly that I support Senator Obama, be it with my time, money or just my heart and ballot come 4 November but I do so with a clear head and cautious mind that while yes, WE CAN do it with Barack, he is still a mere human and fallible. He is still a politician and as such can promise us the moon, but we must hold him accountable for those promises. We as a people must ensure that we get substance along with his style and that we hold his feet to the fire to make the change he has promised a reality and not empty words uttered along the campaign trail.

Text of Obama’s Nomination acceptance speech

Link stolen shamelessly from angelsscream

Denver, CO (AHN) – Sen. Barack Obama’s acceptance speech as he receives the nomination to serve as the Democratic party’s presidential candidate for 2008; delivered to the nation from Invesco Field at Mile High stadium in Denver, Colorado.

To Chairman Dean and my great friend Dick Durbin; and to all my fellow citizens of this great nation; With profound gratitude and great humility, I accept your nomination for the presidency of the United States.

Let me express my thanks to the historic slate of candidates who accompanied me on this journey, and especially the one who traveled the farthest – a champion for working Americans and an inspiration to my daughters and to yours — Hillary Rodham Clinton. To President Clinton, who last night made the case for change as only he can make it; to Ted Kennedy, who embodies the spirit of service; and to the next Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden, I thank you. I am grateful to finish this journey with one of the finest statesmen of our time, a man at ease with everyone from world leaders to the conductors on the Amtrak train he still takes home every night.

To the love of my life, our next First Lady, Michelle Obama, and to Sasha and Malia – I love you so much, and I’m so proud of all of you.

Four years ago, I stood before you and told you my story – of the brief union between a young man from Kenya and a young woman from Kansas who weren’t well-off or well-known, but shared a belief that in America, their son could achieve whatever he put his mind to.

It is that promise that has always set this country apart – that through hard work and sacrifice, each of us can pursue our individual dreams but still come together as one American family, to ensure that the next generation can pursue their dreams as well.

That’s why I stand here tonight. Continue reading “Text of Obama’s Nomination acceptance speech”

Rightwing Swiftboating v2.0 – or let’s derail Obama 08′

Media Matters has found the Obama swiftboating strategem

The thematic structure of the right-wing
smear campaign against Barack Obama

As the means of communication have evolved, presidential campaigns have grown increasingly multifaceted, with each election featuring layers of complexity that were not present four years before. The most striking feature of the 2008 election may be the sheer volume and variation of the attacks being directed at Sen. Barack Obama. Though they come from many sources, arrive through a variety of media, and cover a wide range of subjects, a close examination reveals a unified thematic structure to these attacks.

Text only version.
Click on each bubble for more information.

Swiftboating

Swiftboating

As has been extensively documented, many of the criticisms Obama has faced are based on outright falsehoods. The truth is that he is a Christian, not a Muslim; he was born in the United States; he doesn’t refuse to recite the Pledge of Allegiance; he wasn’t endorsed by Fidel Castro; and so on. Other attacks are outrageous distortions with a kernel of truth at their core.

The diagram below shows how the seemingly disconnected attacks on Obama all drive in a similar direction. Each begins with some aspect of Obama’s history, family, personal characteristics, or beliefs. The attack then moves to one of three broad themes: that Obama is a Muslim or somehow foreign; that he represents a black radicalism more at home in the 1960s than today; or that he is a liberal elitist with a radical, even socialist agenda.

Some of the attacks touch on two or even all three of these themes, which is why they are represented in a Venn diagram. But all the attacks ultimately point to the conclusion that Obama is “not one of us,” as the expression goes — not Christian, not white, not mainstream, not even American.

Just as the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth unleashed on the public a dossier of lies about John Kerry in 2004, this new campaign is on a mission to spread misinformation about a presidential candidate. We call it “Swiftboating 2.0” not only because it is the latest model of a political smear campaign, but also because it shares features of “Web 2.0” sites like Facebook and MySpace: significant portions of the content are generated by ordinary people and are spread from peer to peer. Swiftboating 2.0 combines these new information pathways with traditional media — books from conservative publishers, right-wing radio, and conservative pundits and strategists on television — to spread the smears as widely as possible and force them into the mainstream media.

To understand the attacks on Obama, one must acknowledge that they operate together, as one coherent, thematically unified campaign: Swiftboating 2.0.

Sly Fox by Nas… best commentary on Faux news I’ve seen in a while

Excellent commentary on Faux news:

Lyrics are not safe for work!

For context:
The story from the Huffington Post on how he tried to deliver a petition to Fox with 600,000 signatures and they refused to see him

Text after the jump for the link phobic

Rapper Nas Delivers Fox News Petition, Says Network Is “Scared”

Continue reading “Sly Fox by Nas… best commentary on Faux news I’ve seen in a while”

Hey New Yorker, it’s called Doing it WRONG

I don’t even have any words for this… this bullshit. Note to the The New Yorker…

You’re DOING IT REALLY FUCKING WRONG HERE!

To see what I’m so livid about, go to this article in the Tribune.


Obama campaign slams New Yorker cover
The art satirizes right-wing portrayals of the candidate, magazine says.

Continue reading “Hey New Yorker, it’s called Doing it WRONG”

Faux news has sunk to a new low…

They called Mrs. Obama a “Baby mamma” WTF! I say again, WTFF! I want to beat Michelle Malking with a stick to make her see some fucking common sense.

I think I love John Scalzi even more for his post on the “baby mamma” idiocy at Faux news

The text of his post is after the jump for the link phobic:

Continue reading “Faux news has sunk to a new low…”

Is this racially insensitive? Evocative of the animalistic oversexed black man?

  • LeBron James’ Vogue cover called racially insensitive

  • Vogue's April Shape Issue
  • The cover of Vogue’s April Shape Issue features Lebron James and Gisele Bundchen. (AP Photo / March 13, 2008)
  • |The Associated Press

    10:57 AM CDT, March 25, 2008

NEW YORK – When Vogue announced its April cover starring LeBron James and Gisele Bundchen, the magazine noted with some fanfare that James was the first black man to grace its cover.

But the image is stirring up controversy, with some commentators decrying the photo as perpetuating racial stereotypes. James strikes what some see as a gorilla-like pose, baring his teeth, with one hand dribbling a ball and the other around Bundchen’s tiny waist.

It’s an image some have likened to “King Kong” and Fay Wray.

“It conjures up this idea of a dangerous black man,” said Tamara Walker, 29, of Philadelphia.

“We the people, in order to form a more perfect union.” Sen. Obama’s speech

I havent had a chance to watch his speech yet, but I am impressed by the text that I’ve read. I’m saddened by those who would demean his great words and twist them into a parody of hatred and classicism that isnt even mentioned in this speech. I think no matter the results of this election, this speech will be remembered as other great oratories of our history are now oft repeated and used to teach lessons to those of us who will listen.

I hope that the politics of hate will cease and that this election can be salvaged before we wind up with another 4 years of fear mongering.

“We the people, in order to form a more perfect union.”
Continue reading ““We the people, in order to form a more perfect union.” Sen. Obama’s speech”

Bloggers for Obama! – Editorial by Karnythia

A great place for well thought out, interesting and thought provoking blog posts concerning Senator Barack Obama. Good stuff! Go read I say.

Bloggers for Obama

Good stuff, I snagged the link from comments in a thread at Karnythia’s LJ and here’s the article that Bloggers for Obama linked to that Karnythia wrote:

Karnythia’s Editoria

Full Article below:

Racism in my feminism? You don’t say… 
By Karnythia

Hillary Clinton: Bow to the man, and take the vice presidency. Let our country heal. You will run in eight years and be unstoppable as a visionary world leader. You must pass through this filter first though: bow to the man.

Now, I’ll bet reading that made you want to reach for a hammer right? You’re thinking “What kind of sexist BS is this?” and possibly questioning my sanity. You’re right. It is sexist and I would sound insane if I were typing something like this with any serious intentions behind it. Of course it would be even more ludicrous if this was actually being widely disseminated and had people agreeing with it, but that’ll never happen right? Right. Except…something like it is being disseminated and people are agreeing with it. The message is a little different though. It actually reads

Barack Obama: Bow to the woman, and take the vice presidency. Let our country heal. You will run in eight years and be unstoppable as a visionary world leader. You must pass through this filter first though: bow to the woman.

Continue reading “Bloggers for Obama! – Editorial by Karnythia”

RNC Grows a spine… denounces fear mongering by invoking Sen. Obama’s middle name

Snagged verbatim from hey_its_michael I agree whole heartedly. [iconage too!]

Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan formally denounced Thursday the Tennessee Republican Party’s use of Barack Obama’s full name in a recent press release questioning the Illinois senator’s commitment to Israel.

“The RNC rejects these kinds of campaign tactics,” RNC Chairman Mike Duncan said in a statement. “We believe this election needs to be about the critical issues confronting our nation.”

The statement in question, which was released Monday, said the state party is joining a “growing chorus of Americans concerned about the future of the nation of Israel…if Sen. Barack Hussein Obama is elected president of the United States.” It also included a photograph of Obama from a 2006 trip to Kenya in which he is dressed in traditional attire worn by area Muslims.

From CNN.COM

It’s great to see the RNC is actually calling out the Tennessee Republican Party’s pathetic attempts at fear-mongering. It is absolutely sick the way some in politics think innuendo and manipulation of certain segments of American society through fear is acceptable. How about sticking to the actual issues?

Of course, I think many in the GOP fear that will only increase their losses in both branches of government come November…

Richard Wright’s Native Son – Discussion

 Native Son (Paperback Ed.)

I’m reading Richard Wright’s Native Son for our quarterly book club at Uni. We’ve had one meeting so far and it was pretty good. We touched on topis such as Bigger’s lack of emotion, sense of responsibility, the way he lives in a dream world where everyone has all the stuff whites do. Or rather where he has all of the things that whites do, there’s no mother or sister who is harassing him to take a relief job, and there’s no one to keep him down. The fight he gets into with Gus when they are “late” for their planned robbery etc…

We meet again in a couple weeks, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the discussion. If you’ve read the book, what are your thoughts on it?