Sunday, September 30, 2007

It's a Reloaded of one this week...

Papi, usually my favourite SAHP (Stay At Home Pap) was working outside the home this week. It's still really good for the castle coffers. Not so good for my blogging and writing time. Still got in a few good shots this week though. So, I'm proud.

You might have noticed that I've changed the description of my blog to more accurately reflect what I do here on the daily. I was going to write something about me applying a taser to lefty politics (uproariously loud laughter of the damned...I like it when I'm typing and tickling my own funny bone) but, I didn't...because the taser people would probably just get upset and threaten to sue me. :)

I feel invigorated. But, I haven't had time to court other bloggers into dancing around a lefty bonfire of the vanities with me this week. So sad. :)

So, today it'll just be me doing an electrified jiggaboo jig via this week's Reloaded.

I just want to say that I'm still thankful for the gift of cultural terrorism - Zebulon (the colossal fart that keeps on offering up loads of stimulatingly disgusting kak diarrhea) for helping me echo locate my fucking spirited poe$.

I was reading some more Henry Louis Gates yesterday. When I told Papi's mama, Ophelia about my critique of the Black middle class.
The conversation resonated with full laughter of the damned in effect during the conversation as we talked about class in Black community, denial, fear, discomfort...change. Ophelia told me that Henry Louis Gates had written something controversial that upset some (Black) people.

Of course I wanted to know what it was.

I found this interview where he does this strange thing. I guess for him it probably isn't strange as all the contradictions sit inside his skin quite comfortably.

On one hand he gives an interview where he shows himself to be quite the christian, conservative, moralistic, sex negative black person from a long ago generation and old time approach to Black liberation...talking about us of course having to work ten times as hard, and of course be respectful of teachers...he wants to see more of that and of course show up for work prepared to work. His world, the world he wants Black people to live in, of the mind, seems very simple.

If you want to work, they'll let you work and you will succeed...as long as you're fine working ten times as hard...and still getting passed over...and for godssake!...oops! Not to take the name of the lord in vain...be respectful of your teachers...even if they are teaching you grade four math in high school.

But he also said some stuff that I appreciated in its candor. Okay, maybe I haven't been reading any of the newer academic writings on race, feminism, activism or much of anything...too hard on the eyes to see the walmart-like roll back of critical analysis. Nonetheless I don't think I've seen many writing about what's happening in South Africa from a place of critiquing the supposed "new" nation.

In the midst of all the romanticism being bandied about in regards to the "new" South Africa, which is really the old South Africa with some pretty, pretty ribbons tied around it, a bit of gold paint and some trinkets offered to a few former combattants who now comprise a Black South African middle and upper class (which is part of the reason why it's so very important for Black folks to have a radical, no holds barred, completely irreverent power playing in our midst, critique of class that implicates all of us who have sea changed and middle classed within the span of a few short generations and our desires to supposedly "uplift" parts of the race while leaving other huge segments to rot while we, "scandalized" and "dismayed", cluck our tongues over the destruction of poor Black neighbourhoods and the high percentage of Black folks in north amerikkkan jails).

I'm observing all the wolves over here in north amerikkka sharpening their knives and marking out which fatty parts of the "new" nation they want to devour onsite or drag away for later consumption.

I see Black folks who talk about buying land there, going to vacation there, touring, doing the bars, meeting new friends on land where the revolution has been erased from within, gutted and defined as a victory for the people.

A good Black (really much less emphasis on the implied nationalism in nationalist...I really cannot abide the smell of burning tires...) I named both my children Azania and fully realized as I did that what has unfolded in South Africa is no Azanian dream.

No rule of African land by Black people who fill the coffers of Black corporations, powerful Black families, mine their own diamonds, build beautiful homes for all the people, feed and cloth everyone.

Although the white minority, the architects of the "new" South Africa learned their apartheid arts here in kkkanada, the stolen land of reservations and genocide, the parties involved, dealing with a mass of people who were going to destroy things, farms, buildings, white homesteads did something interesting that is different than what has unfolded here...so far.

They put a top level Native South African old time revolutionary (kept in prison and "persuaded" over time, they had so much of it and he was running out, that the best possible thing would be to sell the people down the river sloooowly, convince them that having their man in office was a good thing...even if he was no longer fully onside...and let him smooth things over with the powerful, affluent, murderous, thieving white minority)...they put him at the head of the nation...Papi reminds me that they made sure that the "deal" didn't involve nationalizing the corporations...everyone knows that since (behind the scenes) corporate rule is where it's at, that a government ruled by Black people in a country where white corporations continue to do white business and control the white purse strings means that South Africa is still white dominated!

So, now, many years later...
We watch Miss (I'm so fucken Blonde and don't you think my raised in apartheid south afrikkkan genes are gorgeous?) Charlize Theron in the movies and are free to clap when she uglies up her face to play the role of poor white imprisoned trash on death row.

We have Winnie dispossessed for not playing along with hubby probably.

We have an AIDS pandemic among the "victorious" population.

We have a burgeoning Black South African middle class that has been enticed into keeping the peace through keeping silent.

We have many, many happy business corporate types of all nationalities and ethnicities who are really happy to be doing business in a South Africa rich with resources where before apartheid they would have had to sneak and lie to make money from the exploitation of the land...but wait!...they're still sneaking and lying bastards...not to give bastards a bad name cuz I'm a bastard. :)

This week's Reloaded is called:

Take two: Echo locating my spirit, Poe$ and relocating a Feministing comment all before breakfast...

I wrote this post a few days ago. But I've updated it substantially, adding more context. So, I'm reposting it...

I was over at feministing reading this morning.

My visit to one of the popular mainstream left community blogs surprised me. Obviously a few different encounters had lifted spirits enough that I could leave my blog house and venture forth loins girded and prepared to engage (or to do battle) with whatever I found while roaming. Read on to find out what I read.

But first...

A few different things happened that gave me a shot in the arm. I had a good cry over the phone with an old ally -a light skinned, mostly half dressed, trans, pakistani, hacker...okay, who's been watching too many idiot movies?...more like techy nerd, who is probably the only other person I know who gets into as many ideological scraps inSIDE "political" lefty communities as I do.

We don't hang out. Well, I don't hang out. But we'll talk on the phone every few weeks. We compare invisible psychic scars from friendly fire, exchange theories about what's happening, then back away from each other slowly, carefully and go back to our respective lives, peoples, siege walls.

During our last conversation, my "friend" told me that a mutual acquaintance, an ex of mine, a trans man who I don't see anymore has had a breakdown. I think I'd been waiting for news like this. The people I've known in community walk with so many compartments. There are always breaches. Shit leaks out, old rickety dams break spewing shit we'd tried to contain.

I couldn't offer much. Couldn't offer a trip out to locate our acquaintance. Couldn't offer to come in from the cold. Couldn't offer to embrace our friend. It's all too dangerous.

I pretty much broke down, admitting that it all feels hopeless..when the frontlines are peopled by the walking wounded who are about to topple because they haven't been protected, haven't received care, haven't taken cover when they should have, it's all so fucked when those who claim leadership roles, claim the spotlight, are the superstars of our various causes, who claim to be doing the work seem to pose the most danger to our respective causes, manipulating, hoarding, establishing hierarchies, ignoring privilege, being cliquish, out and out lying, gentrifying causes and communities...there is no fucking hope. When the corps and governments and courts don't have to control us because there are people inside who do the work of stifling dissent and marginalizing voices for them, when so many of us are too wounded to resist, we are so royally screwed.

The strangled tears leaking out of me seemed unsatisfying in the moment...I didn't want to turn my friend into my counsellor nurse maid so I held back and did not completely surrender. But something must have been shaken loose, because I felt less crazed and haunted when our conversation ended.

But another thing helped, too...
I was gifted with something I really needed a few weeks ago. (thanks Rozena!) It was a pile of zines from South Africa that are absolutely hilarious, disgustingly, uproariously, intelligently, mercilessly funny. Hei Voetsek! and Poe$ written and self published by "The Dreadful Idiot Zebulon Dread Messianic Deliverer From Boredom, Kak and Anal Regressiveness. Voetsek!"

Hee, hee, hee. Obviously I don't speak any dutch. But disgusting curse words are sort of universal and there is enough english here for me to get the point.

It's not for the faint of heart or for the anally and conservatively (masquerading as radically) political. What I appreciate is the fact that he doesn't mind taking critical aim at Black people in oppressive positions of power. I'm hoping he'll do that Osama...oops...Obama guy, too. I'm tired of smiling privileged people of colour who are enshrined and followed by masses of people who just want to be led like sheep as if everything they say or do is right and pure. That's a load of "kak".

My favourite, was when he served up a slice of hardcore criticism of corporate television's upper class mammy figure, the ever popular Oprah and O magazine. There's plenty of what seems like fatphobia and misogyny here that I had to read around, meaning, I understood it, critiqued it and read around it like I do when I'm listening to Joan Rivers or Nikki Payne...but, I reminded myself, this is harsh satire, these are the words of a cultural terrorist. Obviously no weapon will go unused. 'Sides, the core of what Zebulon was writing still resonated, still rang true in ways I could get behind.
"I am Oprah, the fat slag from the USA-United Shits AssOciated- cOme hither tO save all SOuth African WOmen frOm their drab existence. Just loOk at me. I am the perfectiOn Of a well grOomed dOughnut. I am the face Of real America. Fat, fucken dumb, tOtally Over hyped and abOut as enchanting as a garlic filled snail....I mean, there I sit on every page of my magazine wanking off in the egotistical manner endemic of me and all of America simpley gushes. Why? Dollars! Money and power!...I'm fucken insecure, what do you think? It's absolutely gross. It's stupid. It's flatulent and the worse thing I went and done is launch this rubish in South Africa...Get that people who publish that awful Drum, True Love and all those really shitty black empowerment crappy arse hooliganism in the name of women? I had to save them, so I employed a white bitch to employ a black bitch to lie stupendously to all the black and white bitches about their lives...O Oprah...O Anal Worm! O! O! O! I am trite America at its explicit. I am soft porn gone wrong."
You can't see me smiling as I peer over this nasty little rag, furiously typing out excerpts. This is good for me, trust me.

When I start ragging on about people trying to construct me as not nice, I'll remember the dude who really walks with a big fucking pissed off stick to beat all the idiots back into their submissive backwardly apolitical retentive denial based little holes. I will give myself permission to speak full throttle and to point out the obviously not nice inconsistencies and contradictions I see around me perpetrated and perpetuated by those who understand themselves as radically political and nice. Hee, hee, hee!

So, still not "nice", but feeling a little less depressed and deflated, I was roaming in blogland when I ended up at Feministing.

There was an article about feminism and Islam. I left a comment about another comment I read that was so boombastically arrogantly amerikkkan that I could not avoid poking some fun.

The original comment read:
"To be honest, feminism in a place like Iraq is an issue that seems almost incoherent. Not because the morally abhorrent treatment of women in strict Shia societies is in any way conscionable, but because it's hard to project a western concept like feminism into a social system that begins with completely different basic assumptions. For example: if you dig through some history and philosophy, the development of what people in the west think of as feminism is inextricably linked to the concept of "rights" - as in "human rights" - that developed during the Enlightenment. Equality, for example, is relevant in this context, as is a logical interpretation of a concept like "justice."

In societies where "rights" have nothing to do with equality, and where "justice" has more to do with tradition than with logic, how meaningful is it to talk about women's rights, much less feminism?

Again, I'm not saying the situation of women in Shia socieies (among others) isn't something that needs to be addressed, because of course it is. I'm just saying that it's hard for me to think of what "Iraqi feminism" could mean in the absence of all the basic presuppositions about human rights that I, as a westerner, bring to the conceptual table.

Your thoughts?"
I haven't been a regular commenter at Feministing, so my comment may not show up. Still wanted to share, though.

I responded to the above mentioned comment with a little bit of creative editing:

"Hee, hee!

Is that a real comment or a faux comment?

For example: if I dig through some history and philosophy, the development of what people in the oppressive white west construct as feminism is inextricably linked to the construction of "rights" - as in "rights" for some - that developed during slavery and the invasion of multiple cultures around the world. These were times of horrific human rights abuses and atrocities commited by people who then turned around and defined themselves as enlightened...without even breaking into a giggle.

Equality, for example, cannot be taken seriously when uttered from their location on stolen land worked by human beings who were defined as cattle to be whipped, bred and worked.

It is completely illogical in this context, to even talk about a nation built on the blood of many as amerikkka is, to even try and lead or facilitate conversations about concepts like "justice" without including all relevant pieces of historical information.

In a society like any white dominated, western, patriarchal, class based states located in the west where "rights" have nothing to do with equality, and where "justice" has more to do with entrenched traditions of denial, spin doctoring and brutal domination rather than with logic, how meaningful is it to talk about human rights, women's rights, much less feminism?

But, good try, though.



Oh! And if any of you are interested in offering me one of your really kick ass older posts for next week's Reloaded, please write me. Thanks.




if what you're reading here grips you, holds you, fascinates you, provokes you, emboldens you, pushes you, galvanizes you, discomfits you, tickles you, enrages you so much that you find yourself returning again and again...then link me.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Midwifery students balk at giving each other exams for practice?...

Correct me if I'm wrong...
I hadn't realized that midwifery students were offered the possibility of practicing various exams on each other.

I also understand that these are optional? And that some pass on the experience.

I'm like wow. Pregnant wimmin have so many strangers poking, prodding, staring, asking questions, referring to bodily functions. Especially for wimmin who haven't had children, who are studying the profession, that discomfort, that experience of being exposed and being told to relax, being expected to establish intimacy in the hopes of not being harmed...that precarious feeling is so crucial.

Okay,
I'm just gonna throw out a few quick thoughts...

"Do you mind if our student sits in on your prenatals?"
"Do you mind if our student does your pap smear? She needs the practice."
"We'll be on vacation and another midwife will be seeing you for your prenatals."
"We'll be away and another midwife will be attending your birth."
"How do you feel about our student attending your birth?"
"Oh, the last student finished her placement. This is the new student, do you mind if she attends your prenatals and catches your baby?"

:)

As someone who has usually said yes to many of the above questions with one glaring exception, this is what I think...

If you're a midwife and you've felt comfortable and well within the bounds of your practice to ask questions like the ones up above, I'm hoping that when they got to the part in your course of study where you were asked how you felt about being poked or prodded genitally by strangers you might say "hullo" to in passing, that you said "Yes. Yes. Let's practice and get accustomed to that feeling of exposure."

There's no way you can ethically ask another woman to extend her circle of physical, emotional, psychological intimacy to include you, another midwife, a student, another student, potentially a completely different birthing midwife team, without having had the uncomfortable experience of having your parts exposed to someone you might see in passing, but not be well enough acquainted with to feel okay letting them your genitals or having them see yours.

If you're gonna balk at having that uncomfortable experience what are you doing expecting that other wimmin will allow you to stare at, penetrate or otherwise handle their genitals.

Quid pro quo, Sydney. Quid pro quo.




if what you're reading here grips you, holds you, fascinates you, provokes you, emboldens you, pushes you, galvanizes you, discomfits you, tickles you, enrages you so much that you find yourself returning again and again...then link me.

If you side step the work of conscientizing yourself and then your children...

encounter children raised by people like me...
they will attempt to have their lack of consciousness remedied by people who are not and should not be responsible for their upbringing...
or
they will initiate passive aggressive war because they have finally been made to feel uncomfortable inside their own skins by people who are just not nice...
or
they will attempt to
demonize others because of feelings they cannot recognize, understand or process.

This has been my experience with mixed race, biracial, bicultural children grown to adulthood who I have encountered over the course of my life. These are people who, sadly, were turned loose into the world without ever being suitably prepared to deal with Blackness, darkness, shadeism...their own or other people's.

Parents, balking at pulling off blinders while children are young enough to have their feelings and request support appropriately, from their parents, within the safety and confines of their own families have abandoned their children. The people who birthed them, are actively passing the buck to others who are left to deal with the ramifications of the choices the parents of these children made.

I address issues with Stinkapee and will do so with Shmolee as well, so that I don't send them out into the world with their zippers undone. I want them to explore life issues, issues about themselves, their families, their legacies, their histories and herstories, their bodies, their emotions at home for the first few times. This way, if they freak and get all crazy for a sec or for a day or for a week or for a month or a few years, I'll be there to understand and protect them as they go through whatever they need to. They won't have to foist themselves, their confusion, their rage, on friends, lovers, coworkers, community members or bloggers who ask them intelligent questions...

Thinking about the people I've encountered and been forced to challenge or to resist...thinking about the fact that the analysis I brought them of their own locations was often horribly, embarassingly new to them as they had not been educated first and best by their own parents, I sting from the memory of the expression of their enraged howls voiced in my vicinity, acted on in my vicinity, visited with full permission by parents who did not love them enough to sit down with them and introduce them to the complexity of who they are.

I would cry for these people...if I hadn't been so damaged in the past by their rage misdirected and pointed at me.

Snap! Snap! Wake up!

Finding out your child is completely clueless about the significance of skin colouring as a tool utilized to create false hierarchies among human beings is not cute. It's not about them "discovering" "race". That's just a cop out that can be used to not explore issues that are uncomfortable for parents themselves. The adults know how painful, confusing, upsetting, enraging race-ism can be.

Yes, children will discover "difference" in their own time and in their own ways. What loving parents who want to send intelligent human beings out into the world are responsible for is presenting the significance of loaded, controversial issues that surround the fact that we all look so different.

Not telling your child won't make domination go away.

Trust me.

Stinkapee encounters white children and biracial/mixed race/bicultural children everyday whose parents have never spoken about race or racism or white supremacy, whose parents have skillfully demonstrated through enactment and modelling everything their children would ever need to know about race, racism and white domination. Then these children, who are just "discovering" about "race" explain to Stinkapee with their brand spanking newly learned nascent skills about social positioning, race, racism and white supremacy.

Of course Stinkapee brings whatever tripe they act out back to me and Papi and we break it down in such a way that she is not scarred...too badly by the pint sized hierarchies of race and shade the children attempt to set up, based on the larger hierarchies of race and shade their parents participate in everyday but choose to not deconstruct, explain or claim.

Please, please, please...
famous, face booked, hooked up, well loved, respected, liked, popular mama bloggers...
A fava...
Don't leave your political consciousness raising work for the child of another mama to process with your children.
Don't leave it for another baby mama to process with her children after having encountered your children.

Please...
Have your own uncomfortable conversations about your own uncomfortable decisions in regards to your own uncomfortable social location in your own uncomfortable homes with your own uncomfortable family.

You don't have to believe me, like me or even befriend me. Just don't make yourselves comfortable at the expense of me, my children and my family.

Don't be black on my account

"Out of the blue last week my son, who is 5, asked me if I'd ever been "burned." I thought he was referring to the tattoos that I always tell him and his sister are boo-boos (how else to justify voluntary scarring when I won't even let them use a butter knife?), so I repeated my usual lie and added that "Mommy would never play with fire." I thought this was a safety discussion. He looked confused. "Oh. I thought that was why you were brown."

My biracial, white-looking baby is discovering race. Granted, both of my children think my nappy, unprocessed, Sideshow Bob hair looks that way simply to entertain them, and never understand why everyone asks if I'm their nanny. I can't say I wasn't on notice. But I'd envied them their racial innocence. Too bad them days are over.

My son first brought up the subject of race two months ago. I took him and his 3-year-old sister to a concert at an inner-city elementary school right before Christmas. There were lots of cornrowed kids singing "Jingle Bells." My own child, as he sat fidgeting in my lap, stared at the crowd around him goggle-eyed and perplexed.

"Mommy," he said, craning his neck to scan the room, just so he could be certain, "everybody's brown. Really, look! They're all brown."

We live in snow-white upstate New York, but was he really so clueless?...

...Now, two months later, he has come up with an explanation. "They" are all brown because "they" are irresponsible with flammables. I know I need to nip this in the bud. But how on earth do you explain things as complicated as race and blackness to creatures who believe that the police will know when we need help because they all have baby monitors in their cars? They're so young; I'm still in the gooey, overprotective stage of motherhood wherein I shield them from knowing about crime, homelessness, war, rape, pedophilia and the horrors of capitalism. But I'm supposed to tell them that white people, their father's people, enslaved, raped, sold and Jim Crow'd us simply because we look burned all over? And I'm supposed to tell them now, when my 3-year-old daughter is still oblivious to the whole subject of race, that racism is far, far from over? Even if I wanted to tell them all this, I'm not sure where I'd start.

And then, last night, while still meditating on my son's burn theory, I located the true source of my ambivalence about helping my children discover their blackness.

Like most kids, mine love to "give me five" to signal any sort of triumph. Last night, I realized that I'd stifled a reflexive impulse to teach them part of the high-five -- "on the black hand side." Back in the militant '60s and early '70s when I was a kid, black men would often slap each other five, then flip their hands over and do it again on "the black hand side" or "the black man's side." Now it's rarely done and only then as kitsch, but what explains my hesitance, my refusal, to initiate my children into the club when this relic of my identity formation naturally surfaced? As I thought about that, all at once it hit me that I never "talk black" with my kids either. None of the "used ta coulds" and "mighta woulds" and "he be's" that I slip into so comfortably with my Miss'ippi mama and relatives back home. Without realizing it, I had made Chez Debra Ebonics-free when the kids were in earshot, even though my bilingualism has been the key to my mainstream success. So why wasn't I teaching them to be bilingual? Why was I refusing them their ghetto pass?

If I'm honest, I know why. It's because I know they're not black. I am but they're not. They're biracial.

I lived blackness. All they can do is study and perform blackness. My parents were Mississippi sharecroppers who became part of the Great Migration north. My great-grandfather, who lived well past 100 and was still kicking when I was a child, had been born a slave. His son, my grandfather, got a "Klan escort" out of Mississippi. I saw "Whites only" signs when we went visiting down south and remembered white cops coming to my A'int Mazelle's to "urge" her to teach her kin from up north in St. Louis "how to behave." Clueless, I hadn't yielded my place in line to whites at the country store. At my own home in Missouri I knew not to enter South St. Louis after dark, and I grew up sharing my World War II combat veteran father's bitterness at the racism of the Marine Corps. Segregation made black culture pervasive in our lives; the same oppression that so limited our options gave us all a common frame of reference. My kids can only study that in books."
The whole text






if what you're reading here grips you, holds you, fascinates you, provokes you, emboldens you, pushes you, galvanizes you, discomfits you, tickles you, enrages you so much that you find yourself returning again and again...then link me.

No tentative attempts to seem in the know and anti-racist, here...

Hee, hee, hee!

I was out surfing in the Black blogosphere. I'm not sure what to think of it. I left some comments on various people's blogs as an invitation to come back and have a sniff of what I've got. We'll see how that goes. I don't really have a good track record with the people of color contingent. But this just makes blogging my truths all that much easier to do.

While I was out exploring I found a host of FUBU blogs and felt a twinge at potentially not being able to fit my amoral, unchristian, un-pan african, not all about the black man blog into a particular narrow categorization of Blackness. The little girl really wants to "belong" somewhere...anywhere...by any means necessary.

I googled diasporic, bloggers, blogroll and found a link to a blog called "Blackperspective.net" which led me to "Afrospear: A Think Tank for People of African Descent" which led me to a blog called "Brother Peace Maker" which led me to a blog called "Ruminations of a Racial Realist" that in a series of posts reiterates many points I've heard before about resisting racial dillusion as the pandora's box of full white domination...hmmm, nah...some points I completely agree with about not balking at challenging the white supremacist values of people around you, some of which I still have problems with like not "demonizing" the black middle class.

While I was at ruminations of a racial realist I found a piece of writing and I wanted to share...

Here's this white mother of a mixed race child speaking about her discomfort with the physical manifestation of her own child.

Without academese, anti-racist-ese or activist-ese, there is no space for this woman to hide her truths predicated on ages old lies about the superiority and beauty of melanin difficient skin, the coldly cataract coloured eyes, the limp fly away hair, the sharply intrusive proboscis and all other physical characteristics that in particular combinations are often associated with whiteness.

This woman writes what I understand most of the white wimmin I have encountered have been taught to obscure. I'm not saying she's a feminist academic intellectual.

But really, I think this fact is actually her saving grace. She's got nothing to prove or lose. She isn't part of a blogland network that expects her to tow certain pc lines of conduct. She doesn't have to substitute clear wordings with vaguely oblique questions and statements that protect her reputation as thinker, leader, mama, birthing practitioner, blogger. She just says some really awful things, things she understands to lurk beneath, occupying hugely significant space in her own psyche.

She just writes her truth.

I think her words are a good jump off point for any white mamas trying to come to grips with their own white supremacist indoctrination or for those who didn't realize they needed to.

Don't bother calling on any women of colour so that you can either avoid doing the hard work by yourself by just guiltily linking to someone else who likes getting the additional links and popularity points.
Don't bother thinking that engaging in politely worded conversations about your confusing in regards to your own privilege is the work that needs doin'.

If you're a blogger, don't make this about whether the other blogging mamas or practitioners are going to write a post called "(Name of your favourite female, mama, homebirthing, feminist, activist, midwife, doula blogger here) Does It Again!", where all your blogging friends and colleagues locate you as the beginning of a conversation that has been going on longer than you could even imagine, then gush over how important your vague ass questions skirting around and refusing to claim your own privileges, were for them as they understood your act as the permission they needed to refuse to claim their own privileges while asking equally vague as questions. :)

If you make anti-racist inquiry about increasing your popularity and likeability quotient as a blogger, you're gonna miss the point and the benefits of doing the work.

Please read this woman's awful, wonderfully blunt writing, especially if you're a white mama.

If reading her makes you want to run, throw up, start crying or start denying or write a comment on her piece that makes you feel superior to her, keep pushing and moving in the direction the vomit and rage are flying.

Hmmm, I wonder if this was a hoax. Never mind. Even if it was written by a white supremacist or even by an anti-assimilationist Black nationalist, I like the scab it picked off and left openly bleeding.

'I love my mixed race baby - but why does she feel so alien?'

"She's getting very dark, isn't she?" This is what one of my friends recently said about my much adored - 12-week-old daughter.

She didn't mean to be rude. But it was a comment that struck me with the force of a jab to the stomach.

Immediately, I was overwhelmed by a confusion of emotions. I felt protective, insulted, worried, ashamed, guilty, all at once. The reason? My lovely, wriggly, smiley baby is mixed race.

Now, I think of myself as pretty 'right on'. My home is on the border of the London Republic of Hackney. I've been to the Notting Hill Carnival, even if I found the music a bit loud. Yet now I realise what a 'white' world I inhabit.

I am white and I have two sons from my first marriage who are both milky complexioned and golden haired. My twin sister, who I spend a lot of time with, has a Danish partner. As a consequence, she has two boys who are also pale skinned and flaxen haired.

Into this positively Scandinavian next generation, I have now injected a tiny, dark-skinned, dark-haired girl. To say she stands out is an understatement.

more really embrassing, yet useful paragraphs...



if what you're reading here grips you, holds you, fascinates you, provokes you, emboldens you, pushes you, galvanizes you, discomfits you, tickles you, enrages you so much that you find yourself returning again and again...then link me.

Friday, September 28, 2007

And I thought Shmolee was a phatty...until I saw this siberian "husky"

A Siberian woman who gave birth to her 12th child -- doing more than her fair share to stem Russia's population decline -- was stunned to find that little Nadia weighed in at a massive 7.75 kg (17.1 lb).
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Nadia was delivered by caesarean section in the local maternity hospital in the Altai region on September 17, joining eight sisters and three brothers, a local reporter said.

"We were all simply in shock," said Nadia's mother, Tatyana Khalina, 43. "What did the father say? He couldn't say a thing -- he just stood there blinking."

"I ate everything, we don't have the money for special foods so I just ate potatoes, noodles and tomatoes," she told the reporter, adding that all her previous babies had weighed more than 5 kg.

The Guinness World Records lists a 10.2 kg baby boy born in Italy in 1955, and a 10.8 kg baby boy who was born in the United States in 1879 but died 11 hours later.

The average weight for most healthy newborn babies is around 3.2 kg (7.06 lb), according to World Health Organisation figures.
But what's up with baby's blue/green belly button?





if what you're reading here grips you, holds you, fascinates you, provokes you, emboldens you, pushes you, galvanizes you, discomfits you, tickles you, enrages you so much that you find yourself returning again and again...then link me.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

I saw this video a while back and could not even speak I was saddened, horrified, disillusioned, scared...



I realize that a big part of the reason that I have such difficulty having conversations about classism in Black community with people I encounter whose class issues smell of such sewage that I choke and want to get away from them, is that the people we all read, admire and look to for guidance in things political, are balking at talking class in any meaningful way.

So, basically I'm gonna have to start at the "top" (which really doesn't exist because there is no class stratification in Black community)
and work my way back to where I sit, next to the people whose class shit smells like so much raw, untreated sewage which they insist on spewing at every single opportunity.

Shall we begin? :)

I was over visiting Second Waver a few days ago. I pointed out that for Black people the possibility of occupying a position of relative class exists. I said that as someone myself descended just a few generations ago, from poor people who worked the land, most likely, who has made a "jump" via immigration, going to school with and hanging with the children of the white middle class, absorbing their values, viewing and memorizing the contents and configurations of their homes, remaking my patterns of speech over so as to more closely mimic theirs, I understand that class is really an extended performance taking place at cafes, supermarkets, clothing stores, places of employment...everywhere.

(insert: I don't want to leave anyone with the impression that I first encountered class here in kkkanada as a black immigrant child. If I had been raised with my biological family back "home" or if I had even been raised in close proximity to Black communities here in the north, I would have been apprised of my social location in relation to my "betters" and those who others would have explained were less than me. I come from an island so completely dominated by british colonizers...class is a big part of how engagements work back "home" ask any of your favourite caribbean wimmin writers when next you encounter them at a conference here in the north. )

Class isn't simply about money...not at the level of the middle class, anyways. It's about passing and trying to not be seen as having too much in common with poor people. It's a tricky line for Black people. We want to be seen as "down" when we dance. It's amusing. We like to show our stuff: "Hey! Look at me! I may be the director of a community organization raking in thousands of dollars a year...but I can still get "down"!" Everybody witnessing, clap and laugh with delight and a sense of freeness and exuberance that is completely feigned as their class stuff wraps tight around them, controlling them like a series of constricting iron bands. Big smiles, rhythmic clapping, funky dance moves abound as all the slumming it middle classers get down and show what they've got, too. They can all get down and dirty...that is, after business hours once the corporate style domination they engage in at their community jobs, academic jobs, social service jobs, corporate jobs is done for the day.

So, remember...
It's okay to look like a hoochee or to work a bit of pimp or rasta or hip hop style when you're dancing and schmoozing, as long as your clothing is still proper. It's okay to emphasize that beyonce-esque booty as long as you can still reference the fact that you've been working on your masters...for the last six years. It's okay to lapse into any kind of -
argot, cant, colloquialism, flash, jargon, jive, jive talk, lingo, neologism, patois, patter, pidgin, shoptalk, slanguage, street talk, vernacular, vulgarism, vulgarity
-just as long as you can laps right tha fuck back out and into perfect english, french or whatever colonizing tongue you speak when Mummy and Daddee are having guests over for a banquet, engagement party, anniversary party or soiree.

So, yeah, when a grouping of top level Black academics who understand themselves as intellectuals can sit and simply ask questions about class as if to debate whether there even is class stratification in amerikkkan Black communities without actively locating themselves...I've gotta say really, really loudly: If you're gonna allow yourselves to be pedestalized as "leaders"...if you're gonna define yourselves as "intellectuals", then dear gawd could yuh please, please, please, pretty puLEEZ think deeply, speak insightfully and then lead effectively, positioning yourselves, bearing cutting edge analysis of class at the forefront of conversations in black community (the two black communities or the many black communities intersecting, juxtaposed and layered over top of each other to form various levels of dominating and dominated, colonized, black settler experience) about class?

I think Henry Louis Gates gets the closest. He really tries to point out that he's not like those other Black people being discussed...anymore, when he says:
"What's happened is that our community has been divided into two. We have two black communities not one. We probably have more than that. And each of us has a tendency to speak about the Black community as if Blackness is a class. And we have to decide if Blackness really does constitute a class. And if it does, how it does and if it doesn't, how it doesn't and what that means. And until we do, until we start with that question, and until we recognize the fact that these statistics now exist and that the community that we were children in no longer exists. And there is a new black community or new black communities out there. And if we are trying to put it back together then we have to recognize that reality and talk about new solutions to new problems. And that is I think is the single failure of our generation of black intellectuals. More often than not we resort to romantic black nationalism or to some other way to assuage the guilt we feel...about leaving that community behind."
To which Bell Hooks responds:
"But, I don't know what Skip talks-is talking about."
Followed by a scattering of uncomfortable laughter from Gates and from the audience members all of whom clearly do know what "Skip" is talking about.

Then Bell Hooks continues, offering a tall tale, another way to read and speak to class that obscures, that lies, that engages in the romanticism "Skip" had referenced not moments earlier:
"I mean, I feel like I've come here and I'm gonna testify from from the location that I inhabit. I don't feel like I've left that community behind. That community is in my life every single day. I mean, what I grapple with consistently is how to juggle...What I kept thinking about is if we talk about the Black middle class...One of the things I've been writing a lot about is the factor of greed. The fact is I know lots of middle class and upper class Black people that are one paycheque away from poverty."
Okay, soooo...
Just so we can be clear...
They've come together to speak about crack decimating populations of Black people who are poor in communities that are being left to rot?

And Bell Hooks is saying that she hasn't left that community. Hmmm...maybe she's speaking figuratively, as if to say...she hasn't put the dispossessed people being discussed and their concerns out of her mind.

But no!
And I've really gotta play the devil's fucked up apostate darkie advocate here. It don't matter. I've already been
"excommunicated" repeatedly for uncomfortable tourettes-like foamings at the mouth that really embarrass people who are still trying to work the single layered, raced sacred cow angle, even if it kills the lot of us...

So, yah...
The last time I checked, I didn't think Bell Hooks was living in a bruk down boarded up condemned tenement slum being used by day and by night as a combination crack and HIV infected by johns who don't like condoms not the other way around whore house.

But I could be wrong.
I guess I could have missed her book about moving into tha worst part of the hood having to dodge drive bys on her way to conferences and sending her children to school without breakfast smelling of urine...her and them...oops, she doesn't have any children, so it would be just her starving, smelling of sweat, trying to avoid being felt up by unscrupulous superintendants in neighbourhoods ruled by drug dealing thugs.

fuck...
I had a really uncomfortable flash...heart hurt.
When I was in my late teens and early twenties I worked in a community center government housing area where one of the children who came to my summer daycamp and after four program, a wan, angelic, beautiful, beautiful little boy child who actually lived in a crack house would show up traumatized...Shane, shane, shane...shame...shame...tears...he...I wasn't particularly swift...I wasn't at all politicized...don't (want to) know what happened to him...I was around eighteen, poor, but well educated and definitely not living in the hell he lived in, I moved away right out of the life I had grown up knowing after high school, after getting scholarships and government funding to go to away to another city for school...he stayed...my god he could have died, he was being brutally neglected, I didn't know to check and see if he was being abused...I didn't understand...beautiful little child...)
I don't occupy that location.
I don't live with that reality on the daily...ever, ever, ever. This doesn't make me less Black or Black conscious. It just means that I'm a different kind of Black being than the people who do live that reality. I don't need to obscure lines of privilege and power to locate myself as being from my people.

I am what I am born into the middle passage and the diaspora regardless of whether as a child I survived on eggs, bologna, bread, fatty, bony, gristled cuts of meat and koolaid...no fresh fruit juices, no milk (cow's, soy, goat, rice), no fruit...
IamwhatIam...I ground in the shift while now eating vegetables and fruits and juice and sushi and fresh seafood and new york steak and butterflied organic chickens...all sorts of things some Black folks, many black folks may not be able to afford to buy for themselves or for their children.

Gates is right, the conversation resonated with guilt. It must be heart breaking to see the ways that those communities they are speaking about are being torn to bits. But equally heart breaking is the denial these intellectuals are struggling with. I guess I'm glad someone videotaped it. But I cannot stand the fucking denial. People and their children are falling through the cracks. The cracks in reasoning and consciousness are swallowing up whole houses, communities, probably whole city blocks.

The people in the neighbourhoods being referenced obliquely in this video need an end to the lies told by people with relative privilege. Ending the half truths would go so far to shifting what's gone wrong in our communities.

I had written that it's so sad...but no... it's really fucking annoying listen to Bell Hooks try to distance from her location, or rather attempt to locate herself on the same caste level as Black wimmin who live in crack infested neighbourhoods, as wimmin who do sex work to feed their children, as wimmin who don't have money to buy food to feed their children, wimmin who sleep in homes where rats roam...

Check, check, check. Can anyone HEAR me?

One paycheque away from poverty is when you don't have jewelry in a bank vault to liquidate.
One paycheque away from poverty is when you don't have property in florida, the caymans or just down the block of renovated brownstones you inhabit that you purchased for a rainy day, that you can liquidate.
One paycheque away from poverty is when you don't have your children's trust funds to break into if you were about to loose your home.
One paycheque away from poverty?
Poverty? What irresponsible use of language.
The analysis...so simple, so unilayered.

And even if these middle class Black people were to be on the verge of financial ruination, it's from a place of having things to loose - cars, property, high paying jobs, credit cards, credit, jewelry, investments, bank accounts...this is radically different from not having anything to loose at all.

I remember talking with more than a couple of Black middle class good girls who associated their own and their families' experience of class with access to cash money. Sometimes they had it, more often than not they didn't. But they still came out and into my vicinity all full of class, full of themselves, noses in the air, proper, silenced, dominated, full of nice girl-isms, ever so subtly utilizing concepts of social graces to dominate others.

I pointed out that money comes and money goes. I said that at the end of the day class is more about attitudes and values which transcend the presence or lack of money.

Who has "good" breeding?
Who shouldn't be breeding?
Who has impeccable table manners?
Who should never sit down to break bread publicly with who?
Whose daughters are little ladies?
Whose children are going places and need to have their way smoothed?
What makes a proper lady?
Who would you let your children play with and why?
What school did you and your buddies attend?
Who can you call on if you should ever be one paycheque away from "poverty" and life on the "street"?

On the street?
On the muthafucking street?

A couch surfer for a few months when I lost an apartment I was passive aggressively trying to let go of because it's walls held more pain and trauma and drama than I could manage...
I really clearly understand that there is a MASSIVE difference between being homeless and being "on the street".

Was the sister Bell Hooks referred to sitting with her ass stuck to the ice on the sidewalk, washing in the MacDonald's bathroom, squeegying people's car windshields for money, exchanging handjobs for breakfast, being stalked by the cops...for more hand jobs?

I think that Bell Hooks may have confused not having your own private place to call your own, with having to live outside in a sleeping bag over a subway grate to keep warm rather than surf through shelters where people take your things, infest your bedding with bedbugs, power hungry warden/jailer types lock you out if you show up after curfew...okay, so I've done quite a few shelters as a runaway...still claiming middle class location, even now.

Her response was critically and politically a disappointment. It was dishonest and completely clouded the issue of class in Black community. I was sad...there's that sad word again...the little girl still cleaving to her untouchable feminist goddesses was so, so disappointed to observe this one located in many people's pantheons functioning and speaking from such a place of confidence, privilege and deep, deep denial.

I am but a lowly peon in the grand scheme of things. I am but a child who once starved, who no longer starves, whose children do not starve, who used to worry as a child about how the rent would be paid, who was sent to pay the bills, who no longer has to...well, let's not take the fun too far...

But as a a low level middle classed chick so recently inducted and conscientized about my nouveau location, who will not ever hope to attain the level of popularity of someone like Bell Hooks, I can say that if I understand that I'm middle class, then what she's saying about herself rings hollow...
"I know a lot of middle and upper class black people that are one paycheck away from poverty...?"
And then the best line ever...
"We can't talk about sharing resources that we don't have to share..."
Again with the blurring of truths. There are resources in our communities. These are being hoarded by those who seek to define resources in Black communites as scarce so as to justify claiming and guarding, gate keeping whatever they can. There are resources and bits of access being doled out by those who understand themselves as worthy to those they understand as worthy.

This is how class works:
Middle class is an illusion that is actively maintained as a buffer between powerful, affluent minority who hold the keys to everything and the roiling masses who own nothing. The middle class, even among white people, are basically poor...scratch that...they're basically working class people dressed up in slightly more expensive clothes, who sell their waking hours for higher wages to pay mortgages, pay for cars and trips. They spend most of their waking hours away from their children, but figure that the pay off - additional credit and an illusory sense of themselves as better - is worth it. They are also separated from the masses of poor people by the fact that they will do anything, anything to keep the little trinkets they've been offered by the upper class in exchange for keeping the masses in place with some seriously hardcore doberman pincher attitude.

They're all middle management high tech bio security dogs dressed up to look and sound human...
The middle class mamas, their children, their husbands, their nannies...yes, their nannies (I knew I'd be able to work in a reference to the the philipino nannies who often give me attitide while pushing white tow haired children in seven hundred dollar strollers their employers will eventually try to resell on craigslist because they couldn't really afford to buy five strollers so as to attempt to keep up with the homebirthing starbucks drinking joneses in the first place, while I'm pushing my own child in my three hundred dollare stroller fucking "system"...the imported, exploited nannies give fierce doberman attitide by proxy having been employed by the gate keepers who hold back the masses...)

"We can't talk about sharing resources we don't have?"
She's right.
Because if "we" were to admit to having resources, some upstart kkkanadian undereducated black mama with severe bad attitude, a keyboard and an internet connection might expect "we" to claim those resources and might even expect a whole book about how the Black middle class can unlearn identifying with the classism and denial of their racist oppressors.

But, that's class. People buy in and then obscure not only their tracks into the buffer zone, but also obscure the reality that the buffer itself exists even in communities where people experience oppression based on race.

Class in the 21st century is a sweet nine headed hydra, no?

It's not specific to Black community. The fact that Black people are affected by the classism, classist values, classist immoralities of our white dominators doesn't let Black middle class or upper class folks off the hook.

Nah.

Actually, it means that they should be more accountable if they don't want to have their shit exposed as being even more stink than white folks who dominate each other through class, who then turn around and do it to us, too.

Black middle class and upper class people really do not wanna be about maintaining artificial hierarchies among us where the dominated experience domination and then turn around and idiotically set up cloaked , stupid ass pecking orders so some of us can experience domination via the pain, othering and deprivation of our "own".

sigh...
What event was this video from?
Why was it so lacking? Why was it so tentative? Why was it so not complex?
There was no triple, quadruple layered focus on the ways Black people perpetuate domination inside our own communities by replicating the very structures others have used to dominate us. We have done it. We have set up little kangaroo courts of the dominated.

Class is out there and in here. Blackness does not constitute a class. If it did, these academics would not be well spoken academics with educations costing thousands of dollars travelling around the world coach (?), nah, first class, to tell people that they're not really sure class exists in Black communities.

How do people with so many paying attention, step back from just telling it?
How do people who have been looked on with such respect go about speaking about the presence of classes in Black community as a hypothesis to be explored via a series of indirect questions?
How do they go about problematizing the existence of oppressive, stupidly self destructive colonized Black low level settler middle and upper classes until the very act of problematizing what this could mean completely manages to obscure and negate the presence of class among us?

How could they fail to get all up in the artificial stratification of not just the surrounding white world, but also of various levels of settlership, but also of various levels of class inside Black communities?

It was sad listening to these academics struggle in the mire of their own experiences of shifting class. One trying to be straight up about his journey...without alienating his fellow high level Black academic coworker. The other hopelessly terrified of facing who she is. I learned so much from this woman, this thinker, this brave one, who once wrote a book about Black wimmin coming to grips with our relationships to ourselves and to each other. The book was called Sisters of the Yam. Those words were significant and carried me far. Dare I invite her to go back and peruse its pages?

Nah. That would be presumptuous, sarcastic and unnecessary. I will just rest my case...a recently middle classed raised poor Black low level settler chick in a community that knows no castes, no class, no socially maintained, power based stratification.




if what you're reading here grips you, holds you, fascinates you, provokes you, emboldens you, pushes you, galvanizes you, discomfits you, tickles you, enrages you so much that you find yourself returning again and again...then link me.

Second Waver and the Newark (Black) Lesbian 7...

about my last post, SecondWaver said...

i hear what you're saying, dd, and i would like to add that the powers that be (mass media) and also women bloggersare, in general, giving the jena 6 disporportionate attention compared with the newark lesbian 7.
-- sw

to which I, struggling not to be really tearfully frustrated respond...

a memory:
Strolling the streets as a young Black, gender questioning dyke, short hair, sideburns, men's shoes and pants, walking with other Black dykes, loudly proclaiming our presence.

The fool-fool men would come and attempt to insert themselves, their phallic presence. We would laugh at them and "play".

I always understood their approaches as agression. So, when I came at them, I came hard and dirty, verbal gutter fighting in ways that would flip their scripts and fuck the patriarchal homophobes in them up...badly.

I remember asking if one if he gave good head, saying I had something long and hard he could suck.
I remember telling a man in a car to step out of it, throw me the keys and walk away because I had no need for him, but could use his vehicle.
I remember telling one man, even in recent years, not decked out boy style, but just a mama in skirt and sandals, that he would look really beautiful in a tight dress because I could really use a "girl" like him working for me if he was up for it...he took a second to realize what I was saying...stuttered and faded into the distance.
sigh...
I've also encountered at least one middle class Black caribbean man, a friend to many Black dykes, it seems, who didn't take kindly to my questioning his glaringly obvious lack of analysis about his own heterosexual, class, patriarchal privilege.

Needless to say, the dykes, understanding him as much more powerful and better situated with more access than I had, sided with him...I wasn't even a "real" dyke by that point, disease carrying slut, very shortly to end up being a cock sucking breeder...and, even if I had been, I was much too disrespectful of various pecking orders, to be protected by the sistren.

He hasn't faded into the background as easily. He's much too well situated and too feared by those who have watched him make an example out of me and probably of other wimmin who dared to ask intelligent, politicized questions, or perhaps who dared to say "no".

Soooo, Second Waver, as someone who has been vilified by other Black queer wimmin for pointing out the obvious - that our communities do not love us and mostly only tolerate us because classism, conservatism and a general interest in trying to make sure that things look okay on the surface means that there is almost unanimous agreement about the best way to handle homophobia being to pretend that everything is "okay", talk a lot about being "open", try to smile with lesbians and gay men, dance with them at parties and try to attend their social events...
I can say I read about these young Black dykes and just threw up...my fucking hands crying: "Uncle!"

Fucked if I know what to do in communities where people ignore subtle homophobia because of a hidden consensus that there actually is something deeply wrong with queers.

The silence is just as important as the fact that these incidents will continue to happen, that black dykes will not be safe, that they will be murdered, that they will be raped, that they will certainly be verbally abused until the conservatism and classism that keeps murderous homophobia hidden, but not overtly questioned, in favour of blatant attempts to gentrify ourselves, to render ourselves palatable enough to be loved, not as who we are out and queer, but as acceptable, apologetic shadows serving as handmaidens to heterosexuals in communities and families where they dominate and define culture, political agendas and expressions of the very nature of Blackness, is questioned.

As long as our supposed leaders attempt to maintain standards of behaviour that privilege control, courtesy and silence over powerful, open, assertive questioning, we will be attacked for daring to powerfully, openly, assertively say no as we claim the right to be out.

Second Waver, there's a powerful link between critiquing the middle- and upper- classing and conservatism of Black people and their/our collective inability to make lasting change on a variety of different fronts.

So, forgive me when I talk about your heros from time to time. To me, the proper ways they present their cases, don't have any place or use in darkened alleyways where "good" girls, know better than to be caught out at night.

These Black lesbians - "bad" girls who obviously took that whole "take back the night" idea a bit too seriously -are being ignored, because most Black mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters, cousins, aunties, uncles, grandmothers and grandfathers, would, if asked, explain that these young dykes had no place being out late at night, had no sense and definitely should not have been so "bright" as to think it would be alright for them to be openly speaking about their sexuality. Of course they "got themselves in trouble". Serves them right, many would say.

And so, I'm over here, still saying, there are values perpetuated by some, upheld by many that lend support to bashing, stalking, raping, murdering. We've been taught that it's best to keep silent. That it's smart to be silent. That only animals fight back openly. That those who are evolved and of better breeding, know that there are other ways to make your case.

There is an interplay of oppressions that includes, but also travels well beyond lesbophobia and patriarchal domination. There's a lot going on here that needs to be filtered through a much wider frame, I think.

I'm sad for these wimmin. But really? I'm not even one bit surprised.





if what you're reading here grips you, holds you, fascinates you, provokes you, emboldens you, pushes you, galvanizes you, discomfits you, tickles you, enrages you so much that you find yourself returning again and again...then link me.

She learns to love her dark skin and lips while others continue to hate them...

run self love in the face of hateful aesthetic domination program...


this morning Stinkapee drew this one with my drawing markers. I think she's coming along smashingly.

I've been drawing since I could hold a pencil. But I only got formal training in high school when I had this teacher who was really about classical training.

We drew eyes to perfection, lips to perfection, chins, noses, ears, hands, feet to perfection.

Sadly, this training came to late to this black girl, in that really by that time I should have been about breaking down line, playing with colour and form, seeing beyond what is presented, not simply replicating it. Replication is easy for me. Just draw what you see, not what you think you see.

By the time I started visual arts in university, I was working among some other people who had been attemtping to break down the image for quite a while. They had been offered space to play with it.

I had not.

It's from this place that I'm excited about Stinkapee drawing what she sees mounted on the walls around the house. At five, she is concerned with the shape of an eye, the way a nose works, how to make lips look like lips. She's interested in colour, in different shades of flesh colour (black skin tones). She tries different approaches to rendering an image. She's been asking for some heavy, large paper to draw on with pastels. So, today I'm off to the art supply store to oblige.

I have pained love for her growing appreciation of blackness. In a while I'll start trying to explain to her that although it's important for her to love Blackness and to resist that idea that we, like the Muggles, have dirty blood, she will not be able to love every Black person she meets because not every Black person she meets will be loveABLE. Many will not be. The dominated may make good allies...sometimes...but usually, they don't make good buddies, two times the colonization means two times the trauma means two times the insanity means definitely way too much drama.

sigh...

I'm still trying to teach myself the difference between being Black conscious and understanding every single blasted Black person as ally, friend or family...they're not.

But that, I'll get into with Stinkapee as she grows in consciousness.

Right now, I'm just happy she likes what's Black and nappy...in the mirror and in her nuclear family.

sigh...

I was directed to this blog via...I can't remember whose site had the link. Anyway, the log is called Black and Missing But Not Forgotten. It's about Black wimmin who have been taken, killed or attacked who don't end up occupying much if any space in the news.

Seemingly digressing so as to more fully stay on track...
As I was typing I was thinking about the fact that Native wimmin, taken, killed or attacked for hundreds of years haven't ended up in the news. They are mostly publicly, yearly mourned and remembered by none save their own. There's a site I found while googling the BC pig farmer serial murderer of wimmin, that deals specifically with identifying missing or presumed murdered Native wimmin in kkkanada, who, for the most part don't end up in the news, no one mounts search parties...one site I found located the number of missing Native wimmin at 500 in the 15 years previous to 2002.

No one started a world wide wimmin's movement in their names, saying that they abduction and or murder was a universal rallying cry for all wimmin regardless of race, class, creed, ethnicity, sexuality, nationality, blah, blah, blah...no one created a national day of remembrance of violence against wimmin in their names...

Right...Sooooo, yeah...I'm like, thinking about those 14 white wimmin at l'École Polytechnique de Montréal who were gunned down by Marc Lépine.

"The December 6th, 1989 tragedy has cost the lives of fourteen women. These young women had built dreams, were ambitious and talented. Blossoms they were, mowed down before they were allowed to fulfill these dreams." (just a random quote I found that I won't link to because they probably won't appreciate what I used it for, anyways.)
and here's another:
"They died because they were women."
But I say:"They are remembered and canonized because they were white."

Starchild asked why people aren't really talking about Megan Williams, the Black woman who was abducted and brutalized by six white people. In blogland I figured the newsies, those who regurgitate news items without examining them critically utilizing any sort of radical, layered, political framework to help see past what the news is saying would have been writing about her all over the place.

It seems that people find the case of the law breaking gladiator and the imprisoned students who just wanted to get along...while sitting in the shade of a tree much more worthy of attention.

I don't write about the news much.

I'm still over here trying to make sense of the interrelationships between human beings that, so profoundly skewed, undermined and denied, leads to much of the everyday happenings defined as news items we hear about everyday...and a host of events understood as lacking in significance even to those who create and craft the nightly news, understood as not huge enough to serve as the rallying point for hordes of feminists, understood as not universally applicable and potentially about "everyone's" or "anyone's" daughter or son...
Why are these events understood as not worthy of prime time coverage? Well, it's just because these are just tragedies in the lives of those understood as the dominated...especially lacking in significance if they're both raced and gendered, too.




if what you're reading here grips you, holds you, fascinates you, provokes you, emboldens you, pushes you, galvanizes you, discomfits you, tickles you, enrages you so much that you find yourself returning again and again...then link me.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Bedtime stories from Geographica: A Complete Illustrated Atlas of the World...

Stinkapee's favourite book right now is a giant atlas of the world I bought her when she was maybe four years old. We call it the goddess mother earth atlas book. Courtesy of a laminated placemat we bought her a few years back, she already recognizes Africa, Asia, South America and Australia by sight...oops north amerikkka and europe, too.

She carries around the book, opening it and looking at pictures and asking either me or Papi to read to her from the book.

We've read about tectonic plates under the continents. I explained to her how they work and what happens when they buck up against each other.

We've read about the old time ancestors who were more closely related to apes...okay, let's fix that cuz it came out wrong and wouldn't want the backward cracker folk taking my inaccurate speech as a jungle bunny bush wacking tree swinging admission of some sort and try to make me into their coloured and colonized poster child. :)

Take two:
Stinkapee and I talked about ancient human beings, all of whom were descended from apes. We talked about humans coming out of Africa and wandering all over the globe. I haven't explained that some people, namely Native people, don't hold the belief that they came out of Africa because if they were to admit that, the pale people would try to use the out of africa theory to justify and complete the theft of their land.

We learned new words like homo sapiens, homonids, converge, diverge, erect, anatomy. We talked about large brains and upright posture. We looked at skulls of old time ancestors and felt through our faces to our eye sockets, through our chests to our ribs. We looked at the difference between the pelvis of modern humans (which she remembers from seeing one in the midwives' office) and the more elongated, narrow pelvis of old time ancestors.

Sometimes she makes me skip ahead or back a few pages...

Yesterday we were reading about Earth As A Home For Humans. I translated as I do when we read texts in other languages...ones I can understand or muddle my way through.

The book read: As humans, we dominate our planet.

I said: We think everything on the earth is about us and that we can own parts of the crust of the earth or steal parts of the crust. We're so wrong.

The book read: There are very few places on the planet where our impact is not felt.

I said: We've messed up stuff all over the planet. We've made a real mess.

The book read: Even the atmosphere has now been altered by gases produced by humans--

I said: You know about the corporations and how they make things in factories. You know how the factories are really, really dirty and that they make toxins that poison the water, the land and the air. They send poison goddess mother earth with all sorts of pollution. Yuck.

The book read: Many who travel or work at sea are aware of human debris in our waters.

I said: We're so nasty and make so much garbage. We even leave garbage in the sea. When people go to the sea, they sea all this garbage floating there.

We looked at photos of ancient monuments and I remembered Saswat blog's post about the Taj Mahal being built by the poor. I told Stinkapee that whenever we see really big, old, beautiful buildings we have to remember that many, many poor people were forced to work, sometimes to die to make those buildings for people who thought of themselves as big masters. Although the buildings may seem beautiful, they probably weren't very beautiful for the people who had to work on them.

Stinkapee really enjoys reading the atlas before bedtime. In fact, she's been choosing it over her story books with increasing regularity. I'm really happy about this. I remember in public school choosing the read encyclopedias, dictionaries, dictionaries of classic mythology, myths, books about anything I could learn from directly over stuff like curious george, babar and I guess, fairy tales.

Stinkapee marveled at all the words I could read. I said that she too would be able to understand many words and ideas shortly. She seemed very happy about that, but lamented the fact that she doesn't get to read enough in school. She reall wants to spend more time reading.

Happy.




if what you're reading here grips you, holds you, fascinates you, provokes you, emboldens you, pushes you, galvanizes you, discomfits you, tickles you, enrages you so much that you find yourself returning again and again...then link me.