Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Birth story sound track...



I found a cd that belongs to phoenix in my closet a couple of weeks back. It didn't have a case. It was just thrown into a bag of miscellaneous bits and pieces. It was a red hot chili peppers greatest hits cd. I played it and so much came back. See, this was the cd I played over and over again in the six days immediately preceding the Shmolian's birth. My effacing, dialating, waiting and prepping music.



But they're disgusting. :)
Yeah, I know.
But they're so high schoolish.
Yeah, I know.
But they're so testosterone-ish.
Yeah, I know.
They're not interesting and avant garde. Everyone knows them.
Yeah...I know.

There's a voice inside that chastises me for not having played something more unique...
Like something more "authentically" "black"...jazz, jill scott, tracey chapman, nina simone, motown...
There's a voice inside that clucks its tongue and wags its finger at me for not having played pop that seems more womanist ani, tori, tracey (she keeps popping up), sarah, sweet honey, zap mama, sinead...
There's a voice inside that says: "If you wanted rock, why wasn't it rage or in living color or skunkanansi or even white girl obsessed lenny or an obscure indy bar band from the suburbs of wawa?"



And I answer back to the disparit bits of identity/ self/ voice/ perspective that make me who I am:
shutupshutupshutupshutupshutup
shutupshutupshutupshutupshutup
shutupshutupshutupshutupshutups
hutupshutupshutupshutupshutup
shutupshutupshutupshutupshutup
shutupshutupshutupshutupshutups
hutupshutup
and get your judgemental selves off my experience...as long as you keep buggin my ass, i'm gonna keep outting all of us and our supposed contradictions which aren't really contradictions because we're just human and complicated and imperfect...



So why?
Why didn't I listen to more appropriate birthing music?
Why didn't I listne to more appropriate race music?
Why didn't I listen to more appropriate feminist pop music?
Because.
Just because I could. Just because there wasn't supposed to be anyone I had to impress in that moment. Just because I wasn't supposed to be performing according to anyone else's specifications at that time. Just because this was not an experience that needed witnessing and validating by anyone but me.



When labour finally began the room was silent at my request. But before, as I slide toward that time, a cacaphony raging as always inside me, a steady stream of images flashing my life before me, the tirade of voices all me speaking loud inside'a me, I wanted something...I had a craving...



I craved something melodic, yet not limp, sweet and endearing. I craved something with moments of easily accessible layered staccato hardness that would fuck/strum/play my clit, my erotic, my nerves, my memories, my sadness, my rage, my bile, my shrieks, my sarcasm at the same time...something that didn't privilege the rhythm or the beat or the bass over the whole song. I craved something slightly melancholy, ballzy (literally) and irreverent all at the same time.



I craved someone singing off key in my range who didn't have to enunciate and please or amaze with their tonality so I could sing along, grunt, hit really low register notes and feel my diaphram ripple and resonate. I craved an instrument/vehicle I could play to tickle my inner ear sparking a journey that would allow me just enough space to slip beneath my own surface.



I needed lyrics just open enough, just nonsensical enough, just open enough for me to inject my own images and ideas, bringing the barrage of emotions, the mess...I didn't want it all to come for me during the main part of my labour, unbidden, unwanted, unexpected while I was otherwise occupied...I would bring them now, to me and me to them voluntarily while I flew and swayed and jumped and bobbed and drew and wrote, trippin, free fallin...



Would'a been, could'a been, should'a been dead if I didn't get the message flowin' through my head...I am what I am...

How long, how long, will I slide, separate my side? I don't, don't believe it's fair. Slight my throat it's all I ever...

What I got you gotta get it put it in you...

Deep inside of a parallel universe, It's getting harder and harder to tell what came first...Underwater where thoughts can breathe easily...far away you were made in a sea...Just like me



if, by chance, you're following the shmolian's middle passage birth photolog...this is part VII



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.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Wordless Mama's fake nails...


Stinkapee giggled hysterically when I came home with chemical nails.

It's late. I scanned my conservatively french manicured hand.

For more Wordless Wednesday go here





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.

Genetic skin shaded history...

I am lighter than my mother who is lighter than her mother who is lighter than her dark blue black father who, by all accounts made babies with a woman from Peru, and hated the sight of my dark skin, lighter than his own, favouring instead, the lighter skin of my younger sister.

Does anyone know if there is an unpacking piece that deals with shadeism?

If there isn't would anyone write one?

It's not that hard. See? I wrote one about sexual conservative privilege. It was fun. It was kewl. It made me lots of friends. It helped me hook up with lots of people in facebook. It got me a $50, 000/year job.

Try it. You'll like it. :)

Jokes aside...
If a white person interested in complicating their analysis of white privilege would write one that exposes shadeism in people of colour communities as a white european creation utilized to protect colonizers and create automatic allies in countries where they were outnumbered and needed additional supports to maintain their colonial projects, that would be sweet.

If a person of colour interested in implicating their own experience as light skinned would write one that exposes our dirty laundry and talks frankly about the ways that continuums of shade exist inside various communities of colour which impact our perceptions, relationships, loverships, alliances and coalitions with each other as differently shaded people impacted by white domination, that would be kewl.

Lighter than dark, darker than light dark/er darkie girl signing off.






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.

Not sure whether to rage or ralph...

CALGARY (CBC) - Award-winning research by Ottawa biochemists into technology that makes dark skin fairer is renewing controversy about a type of cosmetic product worth billions in Asian markets.

Two graduate students at Carleton University, Pratik Lodha and Eman Ahmed-Muhsin, have been developing Gloriel, a skin-lightening cream based on Nobel Prize-winning gene-silencing technology.

The product won $5,000 as a finalist in the 2007 Student Technology Venture Challenge, an annual business competition for post-secondary students in eastern Ontario and western Quebec.

The research has also been awarded additional funding from Carleton University and the inventors hope to patent it in two years so they can sell the rights to a cosmetic giant such as L'Oreal.

Lodha's inspiration for the idea came from India, where he is from and where skin-lightening creams are a billion-dollar industry.

Critics have accused the industry of racism and imperialism. Ranni Moorthy, a U.K.-based actress from India, told CBC News the products are touted as cures, as if dark skin is "some kind of disease, to be put right."

"This idea of kind of positioning oneself on ... Western beauty standards is quite insidious," Moorthy said.

Ahmed-Muhsin defended the technology, which she says could also be used by pale people to darken their skin.

"We're not racist," she said, pointing out that tanning products are popular in North American in the way whitening products are in places such as India, Japan and China.

"The market exists and we're not going to increase or decrease that market. We're just offering a safer and more effective method."

She said many skin-whitening products contain harmful chemicals that can damage skin.

In 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposed a ban on over-the-counter sales of skin-lightening products, citing potential health risks of the common ingredient hydroquinone.

Hydroquinone is a possible carcinogen and has been linked with disfiguring condition called ochronosis that causes darkening and thickening of the skin, along with raised bumps and greyish-brown spots.

Unlike those products, Gloriel uses a reversible gene-silencing method called RNA interference to reduce the production of skin pigments called melanin.

The technology, invented by U.S. researchers Andrew Z. Fire and Craig C. Mello, won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2006.

eeEEEWW!

Women of color frenemies and/or "allies" I'm still saying really loud and clear, we don't have to be friends. It's not necessary.

Just a thought though, if you want to have any allies or friends who are dark (I don't mean the darkest in their white (olive skinned) or light skinned families, but actually dark enough to be effected by shade based racism as opposed to those who get it "good" because of racism as related to being ever so not white enough...very different than actually being dark, who get it good because of ethnicity, immigration status, culture, religions or spiritualities...) skinned wimmin of whatever cultures or ethnicities...
You might perhaps want to think about getting all up in radically naming, claiming and deconstructing racism in the form of shadeism as played out among people of color who, due to our historic experiences with colonialism and white domination, have been taught that safety from the ravages of white people's brutal racism meant accruing as much white or light skinned privilege as possible, which led to many of us valuing lighter skin over darker skin, culminating with many of us being taught to look down on those with darker skin, taught to understand those with darker skin as not "leadership material", because we all know that people with light, damn near white skin are the ones in a white dominated world, who are (constructed as) more intelligent, nicer, more like everyone else, more approachable, less angry, less threatening, more apt to participate in race based conversations where a love of "fluidity" and a hatred of "labels" are espoused as adequate responses to white domination, who are considered by many to be excellent marriage material and who are understood as ultimately "going places"...part of some utopian future world where darkness will be finally vanquished, absorbed into some collective mocha light brownness.

This colossal lie equating safety from racism being attached to light skin has left a horrible legacy of shame and self hate that allows space for the research referenced up above, to be celebrated as a major breakthrough without the article ever getting into the reasons why such a horrific procedure would be necessary at all.

Nowhere up above does the writer explain that racism has created a third space between white colonizers and those dominated by race. This is a social and political space of oppression that has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that human beings have been fucking and genetically intermingling for eons.

This is about how this intermingling was utilized to create a buffer safety zone by offering particular kinds of relative privilege to this very day.

So, if a person is light skinned or, can find some way to genetically alter the skin tones of their descendants, as in the case of many of our families who have generational assimilation plans that have unfolded over hundreds of years of "cross breeding" involving the persistent introduction of minute quantities of light or white dna via procreation or, as is the case in the above article, if a person can pay to have the cellular structure of their skin altered, the pay offs in the form of access and privilege can be enormous, especially when mixed (hee, hee, hee...punnee, really punnee!) with heterosexual privilege, class privilege, soft spokenness, ablebodiedness, youth, thinness...any other kind of privilege a person can garner, they can function as willing, seduced, rabid, blinded, declawed associate agents of white domination whose seemingly positive connection to systems of domination allows them to muddy the waters, question, challenge, derail, soften and/or defeat the attempts of darker skinned people or of light skinned people completely disinterested in privilege, who have no choice but to fight racism and shadeism because they understand that it does not cannot serve them.

Quiet conversations take place inside say...Black families about whose children are lighter and therefore will get farther, or who might be hated/envied or admired because of the access to privilege, meaning for those who are simple, that space to just walk down the street, to perhaps not be followed in stores, to perhaps have your children treated with more respect, gentleness, kindness, forbearance without you having to beg, rage, cry, argue, call in the higher ups.

Quiet conversations take place between parents about which child will be allowed more freedom of movement which may eventually accrue and serve as a vehicle to "uplift" the rest of the family should that child keep its nose clean, be nice and just generally behave itself...meaning not be itself for even one second during the course of its life.

These quiet conversations never seem to make it onto the pages of political tomes designed to supposedly change the world.

As a dark/er skinned lefty, too dark to be considered light enough to form a part of the "light brigade", too dark to pass the paperbag test (which, by the way has segued out of polite conversations but has not at all exited from the dreams, imaginations or parenting goals of the racially dominated)...
As a dark/er skinned lefty, too light to be exotified, too light to be forced to work ten times as hard to just be seen...
I feel the loss, the absence of courageous and critical conversations and writings as I watch those on the left perpetuate beliefs about lighter skin being more attractive, more intelligent, more artsy, more fascinating, more apt to be leadership material.

As a dark/er skinned lefty too dark to be considered light and too light to be considered dark, I've got an irreverent, experience based, radical political critique of shade that I hope will out more than a few of those who have been passing and hiding and benefiting and perpetuating without understanding or giving a fuck about the harm shadeism has caused inside movements for change.

If you're a lightee, damn near whitee, who is in the habit of avoiding conversations about race...unless another person of colour, especially a black person speaks up fiercely, questioning racial oppression, thereby disturbing your denial based peace of mind, at which point you hesitantly, fearfully interject so as to offer a "rational", less "angry", less "confrontational", more "academically and politically grounded" yet somehow still more "radical" voice, absorbing and/or deflecting the critique of the person who was brave enough to speak at all, forcing that person to rethink their intensity, their words, the form of resistance they have chosen...
If you're in the habit of clucking your tongue at "aggressive" or "angry" speech, in the habit of weighing in on the side of "moderation" and "courtesy" when confrontations about race are in the air, in the habit of requesting that people use their inside voices despite them fighting desperately to not have their larynxes crushed under the boots of those who would rather they just shut tha fuck up...

Then, in an aggressive, loud, discourteous, angry, confrontational tone, I am asking you to fucking check yourself and your shite.
I am overtly calling on you to make the rattid links and stop serving as a gentling, acquiescent buffer protecting those who benefit from white domination from those who would tear their privileges and their oppressive world views apart.

So, yeah...
If there are any feminist, radical women of color feminists, lefties, progressives, anarchists...gawd, even liberals, who feel ballzy enough to actually look at how racism in the form of shadeism impacts social relations inside the ranks of those on the left, feel free.

Don't worry about inviting me to the sandbox or to the party. I've had to admit recently that I mostly don't play well with others. (Note to self: study those rules of order penned by robert more dilligently)

So, I'll just stay right here and watch from my padded cell. :)






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.

Monday, October 29, 2007

So, let's tease that one out a bit...

"My father, the converted Muslim, holding Shmolee near the end of the party, tried to get me to serve him and the other parent who came, a man, plates of food."

Should I be saying: "Oops! I take that back?"
or
"Sorry? I didn't mean that?"

Am I gonna balk because of worry about this foot in mouth moment?
Will I feel paralized with guilt, fear of discovery in this moment?
Will I lapse into some sort of denial based, clouding the issue response?

Nah.

I understand that this sort of moment, this kind of utterance is precisely why the uncomfortable, diplomatic, careful what you say lefties try to be really, really choosy with their words when they speak.

That action of stepping on eggshells around their/our own issues and contradictions offers a clarity about what a g'won inside us that most don't seem to want to sit with.

I re-read this after I wrote stream of consciousness.
I replayed it in my head repeatedly while I watched Dexter and later when I crawled into bed.
I was uncomfortable with the implications.
I shied away from the implications.
I wanted to disguise the implications of what I had written-no...I wanted to run and hide, completely disguising the significance of what I thought/think from view...from the gaze, understanding and political readings of others...and from myself.

I wanted to be better. I wanted to be more pure of political heart.

But I'm not. I'm just me.

I won't try and find a nicer way to say the same thing. I won't try and say that I was confused or tired.

But I can offer more words, more of what informed my choice of wordings.

To be clear, regardless of current anti-islamic climates linked to amerikkkand government coveting of oil resources in the middle east, regardless of my political belief in the existence of islamophobia...
I do understand Islam (like most other major world religions) as inherently poisoned with patriarchy...mixed with male domination at the root.

My father was raised a Black, colonized, working poor, caribbean patriarch.
He understands wimmin as inherently inferior, as prey, as slow, unintelligent, bossable and to be told.

I think he's avoided organized, male dominated religion because christianity, so intertwined with Black people's experience of colonization in the west, was the religion of his parents and probably of his entire family...a religion of domination, that was no doubt utilized to explain their control of him, their harming him as a child expected to bow not just to their will, but also to gawd's.

I remember being a tween and early teen, yearning for a "home", seeking a place to belong and trying to "find" gawd.

I used to try to get him to come to church with me. He always refused. I worried about his immortal soul and thought he would burn. Then I started having waking wet dreams, experimenting with my body...I started worrying about my own immortal soul and didn't like thinking that I would burn.

So, I gave up christianity.

My father or the Overt Patriarch, as I've come to think of him, has floated for years, struggling with oppression and rage.

I'm not sure how he came to it, but he decided to convert to islam. He seems happier. But he's still completely patriarchal. And from what I've witnessed, he's now solidly entrenched in a boys club he can get behind where, like the other religious boys clubs, the control of wimmin is considered an acceptable part of community life.

Sometimes I could just slap him. I think that having the ages old power of a religion behind him has given him the sort of legitimate patriarchal privilege he couldn't embrace in the context of christianity.

He's sort of puffed up, a man among men many of whom seem to see eye to eye about what it means to be be a man.

I see him trying to fit bits of what he has always seen as acceptable...necessary, which he know can construct as his duty to gawd, onto me.

I'm frustrated by what he's encountered as a "member" (hee, hee, that's a good pun) which offers him a framework for what he had only previously embraced as an "independent".

I understand that his conversion has not created patriarchal privilege for him. But I think that his belonging has offered him
an acceptable doctrine in which to couch and speak to his misogyny and has cemented his commitment to patriarchy.

I'm sad...well, my little girl is, anyways...a scrap of epic proportions is coming. He's gonna be really humiliated and upset. The last time we had a smack down, I told him off at a Starbucks while he complained about feeling embarrassed. I guess embarrassing me as a political feminist as he attempts to school me in front of men who he thinks will appreciate me servicing them is different...I guess my self esteem and beliefs are not as valuable as his patriarchal male ego.

It's coming.
He's crossing boundaries and being more of himself.

In the past when I've challenged him in conversational tones, he's explained that I'm just young and don't understand things about the world.
(Head pat (I'm not fucking joking) hug) "Don't worry, I'll explain what you have to do."
Did I mention that he's tried to explain to me about men...so Papi won't leave me for being too much of a ball buster...Since I wasn't raised by wimmin, he's worried that I don't know how to take care of a man. :)

Yeah...it's coming.
And afterwards I won't see him for another four or five years. But he really leaves no room for anything else.

More about that as it unfolds.

But, yeah, he's muslim, now. And politics or no...consciousness of islamophobia or no...him and his overtly patriarchal ways, beliefs and religion are really starting to piss me off.





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.

So, let's tease that one out a bit...

"My father, the converted Muslim, holding Shmolee near the end of the party, tried to get me to serve him and the other parent who came, a man, plates of food."

Should I be saying: "Oops! I take that back?"
or
"Sorry? I didn't mean that?"

Am I gonna balk because of worry about this foot in mouth moment?
Will I feel paralized with guilt, fear of discovery in this moment?
Will I lapse into some sort of denial based, clouding the issue response?

Nah.

I understand that this sort of moment, this kind of utterance is precisely why the uncomfortable, diplomatic, careful what you say lefties try to be really, really choosy with their words when they speak.

That action of stepping on eggshells around their/our own issues and contradictions offers a clarity about what a g'won inside us that most don't seem to want to sit with.

I re-read this after I wrote stream of consciousness.
I replayed it in my head repeatedly while I watched Dexter and later when I crawled into bed.
I was uncomfortable with the implications.
I shied away from the implications.
I wanted to disguise the implications of what I had written-no...I wanted to run and hide, completely disguising the significance of what I thought/think from view...from the gaze, understanding and political readings of others...and from myself.

I wanted to be better. I wanted to be more pure of political heart.

But I'm not. I'm just me.

I won't try and find a nicer way to say the same thing. I won't try and say that I was confused or tired.

But I can offer more words, more of what informed my choice of wordings.

To be clear, regardless of current anti-islamic climates linked to amerikkkand government coveting of oil resources in the middle east, regardless of my political belief in the existence of islamophobia...
I do understand Islam (like most other major world religions) as inherently poisoned with patriarchy...mixed with male domination at the root.

My father was raised a Black, colonized, working poor, caribbean patriarch.
He understands wimmin as inherently inferior, as prey, as slow, unintelligent, bossable and to be told.

I think he's avoided organized, male dominated religion because christianity, so intertwined with Black people's experience of colonization in the west, was the religion of his parents and probably of his entire family...a religion of domination, that was no doubt utilized to explain their control of him, their harming him as a child expected to bow not just to their will, but also to gawd's.

I remember being a tween and early teen, yearning for a "home", seeking a place to belong and trying to "find" gawd.

I used to try to get him to come to church with me. He always refused. I worried about his immortal soul and thought he would burn. Then I started having waking wet dreams, experimenting with my body...I started worrying about my own immortal soul and didn't like thinking that I would burn.

So, I gave up christianity.

My father or the Overt Patriarch, as I've come to think of him, has floated for years, struggling with oppression and rage.

I'm not sure how he came to it, but he decided to convert to islam. He seems happier. But he's still completely patriarchal. And from what I've witnessed, he's now solidly entrenched in a boys club he can get behind where, like the other religious boys clubs, the control of wimmin is considered an acceptable part of community life.

Sometimes I could just slap him. I think that having the ages old power of a religion behind him has given him the sort of legitimate patriarchal privilege he couldn't embrace in the context of christianity.

He's sort of puffed up, a man among men many of whom seem to see eye to eye about what it means to be be a man.

I see him trying to fit bits of what he has always seen as acceptable...necessary, which he know can construct as his duty to gawd, onto me.

I'm frustrated by what he's encountered as a "member" (hee, hee, that's a good pun) which offers him a framework for what he had only previously embraced as an "independent".

I understand that his conversion has not created patriarchal privilege for him. But I think that his belonging has offered him
an acceptable doctrine in which to couch and speak to his misogyny and has cemented his commitment to patriarchy.

I'm sad...well, my little girl is, anyways...a scrap of epic proportions is coming. He's gonna be really humiliated and upset. The last time we had a smack down, I told him off at a Starbucks while he complained about feeling embarrassed. I guess embarrassing me as a political feminist as he attempts to school me in front of men who he thinks will appreciate me servicing them is different...I guess my self esteem and beliefs are not as valuable as his patriarchal male ego.

It's coming.
He's crossing boundaries and being more of himself.

In the past when I've challenged him in conversational tones, he's explained that I'm just young and don't understand things about the world.
(Head pat (I'm not fucking joking) hug) "Don't worry, I'll explain what you have to do."
Did I mention that he's tried to explain to me about men...so Papi won't leave me for being too much of a ball buster...Since I wasn't raised by wimmin, he's worried that I don't know how to take care of a man. :)

Yeah...it's coming.
And afterwards I won't see him for another four or five years. But he really leaves no room for anything else.

More about that as it unfolds.

But, yeah, he's muslim, now. And politics or no...consciousness of islamophobia or no...him and his overtly patriarchal ways, beliefs and religion are really starting to piss me off.





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.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

I'm tired of white people handing down rules of conduct...

Henry Martyn Robert.
May 2, 1837 – May 11, 1923.

His vision of rules of engagement, rules of order.

His rules of order, not mine. I will not obey them. I will not follow them. I will not be governed by them.

I refuse to respect those who attempt to punish me for not acquiescing to his desire for a sense of order completely representing his colonial values and culture.

Rules of muthafuckin order?

I'm scared to read 'em. But I think that since his rules have probably shaped quite a bit of how all the little high school and university debating champeens, the university group exec members and the not for profit agency supa dupa stars understand about what it means to disagree or keep tha peace...
and since his white, male, affluent class informed views have probably created no end of havoc in supposedly "civilized" circles in "civil" society, I should check out what his vision of keeping the peace looked like.

I'm angry with him. He's dead and long gone. And I'm really pissed at what he done did.
















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.

Stinkapee's dinner and a movie...

A few weeks ago Stinkapee decided that she was going to have a party. We said: Okay. A date was picked, we helped her figure out the list of children she liked and wanted to spend extra time away from school with and the Hello Kitty invitations were handed out. Friday some of her friends showed up. We bought chips and baked chicken and halal pizza and strawberries and pineapple and light rye bread and short bread cookies and macaroni salad and potato salad and soya ice cream and five different kinds of juice and a dvd player and two movies.

The kids came. The dvd player wasn't compatible with the tv...we got on demand movies. Shmolee went for dinner with overt patriarch Nana who is convinced the sun shines out of his bum.

The kids played and jumped all over Stinkapee's "master" bedroom/playroom. They played hide and seek. They played in Stinkapee's indoor tent. They played with her tea set and with her doctor/butcher tools. They ate mostly the chips and the pizza and the cookies and the berries. I hung out downstairs with the parent who stayed and with Papi's parents.

It was surprisingly uneventful. No injuries. No fights. Lots of giggles. Lots of fun. They facilitated all their own interactions. Almost no spills and when there were, they cleaned up after themselves.

My father, the converted Muslim,
holding Shmolee near the end of the party, tried to get me to serve him and the other parent who came, a man, plates of food. This of course was just after I had been talking to that parent about gender and not believing in gender codes. There's such a thing as patricide, right? Hee......hee......hee.........muthafuckin hee. Since he was holding Shmolee, I brought him one dry up piece of pizza, put it on the couch next to him and took Shmolee from him.

I've been talking to Papi about what it means that he hasn't yet developed a personal constitution that offers up a remade vision of his own masculinity. My father comes with the one passed down for centuries if not thousands of years. He sees five minutes in front of his face and doesn't have the skill set to link his lifelong pain to what he understands of his own masculinity.

He can't have Shmolee. Patriarchy can't have Shmolee. I don't know how I'm gonna shield him from the shite Nana the Overt Patriarch and Nana the Covert Patriarch and Papi the confused Patriarch, come bearing.

I'm in truce mode with all of them right now. The knives stay in the kitchen draw. The cast iron fry pan is tucked away there, too. They can still walk into the house, though, that will have to change once Shmolee gets verbal, I think.

When Ophelia showed up to the party as invited...with Nana the Covert Patriarch who wasn't invited...I took a deep breath, focussed my attention on Ophelia and tried to avoid engaging with him as he slept with his eys open.

When he finally spoke to me, I started talking to Ophelia about Papi's therapy, how much his therapist loves working with him and the two books he likes almost as much as he likes "I don't Want To Talk About It" - "Iron John" and "Wounded Boys Heroic Men".

I got up and picked the books of the book shelves and slid them across the table placing them right between Ophelia and Nana The Covert Patriarch. I watched him gazing out and down from the corner of his eyes as I continued to talk to Ophelia (but mostly to him) about the only possible things I could talk to him, as someone not inflicted on me due to biology, who I really don't want to engage with, who, due to my relationship with Papi and with Ophelia, I end up dealing with from time to time - I talked about men, pain, trauma, their relationships with their fathers, their inability to speak about their emotions.

He was silent. For the best.

My father will not go down that easily. I told Papi that my father thinks he is going to grow old and live with me.

He can't live with me.

He wouldn't survive.

I'm figuring he'll live down the street in an apartment...down a long, long, long street, a long, long, long time from now. I'll come visit every day...and then go home.

But he's still young. So, I'm thinking of moving away from Toronto while Stinkapee and Shmolee are in their formative years and while I'm still breeding.

When he's about seventy-five or eighty, I'll move...closer.

But I digress, I wanted to finish off writing about Stinkapee's party...
One of the parents, the one who stayed, seemed surprised about us organizing a party for Stinkapee that wasn't a birthday party. I explained that she doesn't have family and cousins and siblings to hang out with on the weekends and so, we have to offer support if she's going to spend any social time with other kids she likes.

He was like: WHoah. You're having a party for your daughter just so she can socialize?

And I was like: Yeah, we're all about Stinkapee socializing...

The next day...yesterday, I had a headache and it was raining. So, we stayed in, watched kids cartoons, napped and snuggled while Paps went to work. He felt yucky about missing the party. He was at work until late.

Yesterday Stinkapee had a massive fever and no other symptoms. She's better today, but still cranky. So, I'm just watching to see what works its way through her system.

But she's happy. Every few minutes she's been telling me that I'm the best mama ever. Then we hug and kiss and giggle.

I know everyone thinks I'm a massive hard assed shrew.

They're right.

My political motto is no quarter, because I've got kids who I love intensely and an inner child I am learning to love all of whom I want to grow up and exist in a different world than the one I grew up in but also a different world than this fearful, controlled silenced, denial filled world I'm presently living in.

With my daughter's and son's smile, shining light, hope, well being hanging in the balance...knowing what I've encountered and the sad, terrifying contradictions I've seen unfold on the left, there is no space to simply be the best mama ever. With so much hanging in the balance, I will not back down.

I'm the bestest, fiercest, most cuddly, kissingest, fucking militant, pissed off and completely dedicated to taking whatever risks necessary muthafuckin mama bent on change.

Still hoping that some Reloaded contributors offer themselves up without a direct invitation.

In the meantime...

Here's a fragment from one of my first Refried/Remixes which I am now choosing to Reload.

Papi points out that at this point I'm basically saying the same muthafucking thing over and over and over and over again in the hopes that people will understand the links I'm asking people to make between their pain, their coping strategies, their beliefs about themselves, their beliefs about the world, their politics, their relationships, their alliances and the moments when they either choose to speak/write or remain wordless.

I think Reloaded is an invitation to travel back with or without me...into this blog or more importantly, into your own lives and to put the evidence of your travels on your own blogs to infect one or many of your readers with a kind of personal political change meme.

Sunday July 15, 2007
"After I wrote the post about my beginning to create passage rituals for Shmolee Goncharole and Stinkapee, I told Papi's mama, Ophelia about what I'm planning. She was at Stinkapee's naming ceremony. So she knows I can pull this off.

Ever the historian, she linked it to the descendants of Black slaves who, in Ontario marked the spots where their ancestors crossed the 49th parallel from one bloodied part of Turtle Island to another, where they began to experience something they called "freedom" which could also have been understood by them as their implication in a continent wide genocidal land theft project...but wasn't. sigh...These descendants venerate these places and pass on the memory of their journey from slaves to colonized Black settlers.

Yesterday I read more of Bury my heart at Wounded Knee...they didn't have a chance...the white folks stacked the deck and tied their wrists without shame...behave or die...behave and die...get out of hand and be hunted, starved and watch your families...little teeny babies shot before your eyes...try to keep the pax north amerikkkana and be hunted, starved and still watch you families including teeny babies murdered in front of your eyes...

Then I watched Everything Is Illuminated. What's wrong with human beings? Why are we such nasty, treacherous, shameless, shameful, dishonest, psychotic animals...animals not used as a slur, but as a grounding in what we try to pretend we're not.

When Ophelia and I talked a few days ago, she talked about there being no passage rites linked to slavery and beyond that she can think of. We discussed church rituals of passage as inadequate and agreed that there was no guidance mechanism offered to us by community, family or parents to expose us to carefully guarded and passed down resistance knowing and values.

I talked about my "classics", my sacred books being things like This Bridge called my back, Home Girls and Our Bodies Ourselves.

I talked about the irony and Ophelia agreed (sharing a memory of coming to north amerikkka for the first time and seeing white people actually talking to their kids and asking their opinions) of the people who colonized us, destroyed our families, undermined our parenting abilities, attempted to crush the foundations of our spiritualities as tools utilize to connect us each to each other, to the ancestors and to our futuretime descendants...the shear arrogance and irony of the descendants of these psychotic people turning around and offering Black people or any other colonized, mass murdered and exploited people parenting advice, positioning their approaches as superior epitomes of what it means to parent.

I said that I knew someone was going to make noise about my expecting my children to absorb probably over 20 books all dealing with resistance, the political and colonization before they turn 16. I said that I know that as an impassioned Black mama whose voice is infused with power and emotion, I will be seen as needing to learn from pale mamas, middle-class mamas, more well educated mamas who speak in hushed, strangled, disassociative tones to their children passing this off as gentleness, sheathing their rage in almost unrecognizable auditory disguise.

We talked about layering Black people's experience of trauma and abuse, familial attack at the hands of white people and their minions of whatever shade or culture, over top of my willingness to question Black parenting norms. I talked about not wanting to filter my understanding of my parenting ability through a eurocentric, middle-class, oppressive lens that would always construct me as unfit, needing to be tamed and quietened in order to better perform colonized motherhood. I talked about one ill-fated acquaintanceship with a light-skinned Black woman who tried to say I wasn't nice because my voice was too hard. Hee, hee, hee. Ophelia and I agreed that I trace my mamawork and departures from what I understand as oppressive parenting from a grounding in my Blackness where I am seen as way too permissive, way too "soft", way too lenient, sparing too much of the rod or the whip, questionable in terms of parenting effectiveness.

And so...
I walk yet another razor's edge (how many of these fucking blades am I going to need to get sliced by?) where white liberal rad parents frown because I do not mirror what they know and have been taught colonizing misconceptions and assumptions included...
But where the people I come from may be equally discomfited by what I chose to teach my daughter in order to protect her psyche from the culmulative effects of her people's colonization as perpetuated by the system and internalized only to be maintained also by us.

sigh...
Last night as I painted the (absolutely hideous seventies lacquer brown) kitchen cabinets (until six bumbacleet thirty in the morning) I remembered crying inconsolably as I watched Everything Is Illuminated a few hours earlier.

My question to myself?
Would I spit on the resistance knowledge I hold dear if someone was holding a gun to Stinkapee's and Shmolee's head?
I painted and thought.

It's easy to do that knee jerk, five minutes in front of my face, fluffy teddy bear mama thing and say: "Yes, I'd definitely spit, spit, spit, spit and spit again if they would spare my children."

But I recalled the elder woman in the movie, the keeper of all her village's lore, the only "out" survivor who stayed on the spot of the massacre for the rest of her life and carefully treasured every last bit of her Jewish people's memory, contained and catologued in boxes, but also inside herself the memory of those who had died. She lived with only ghosts as companions.

Filled with purpose and a sense of duty she remembered without rancor...
When the nazis came her father would not spit on their beloved book, The Torah. Her pregnant sister was shot and died because her father who valued the knowledge and the spirit would not disrespect what he and his people held most dear.

They were all going to be killed. Even the men who spit and their children they attempted to protect by acquiescing were killed.

Because her father would not spit and paid for the value placed on that special book so high a price, his remaining daughter who survived understood the lesson, received the communication, took on the responsibility in earnest and made keeping the memory her life's work. Because she understood the significance of the price paid, she stayed and held the memory just in case another "collector", one wanting to store the memory of resistance brought from past into present should come asking.
(Everything Is Illuminated contained a theme stretched across time conveyed through myth, the idea of a parent being called upon to make the ultimate sacrifce, their child to show the power of their belief...I thought about the recurring image of parent's being asked to sacrifice their children before God inquiring after Abraham's son as suitable sacrifice, there was Agammenon's daughter Iphigenia sacrificed so that the Greek ships could set sail for Troy...)
(Parallels between Jewish people surviving their holocaust only to become oppressive settlers tormenting other people on their own land and Black people surviving hundreds of years of Middle Passage horrors only to end up becoming part of a the colonizer's racist and genocidal land grab project abound... understanding that no one other people has been simultaneous torn from the land and deprived of language, culture, spirtuality and forced to rebuild from scraps of memories...)

...And still, as a parent carrying as best I can the essence of an understanding of these layered contradictions I still ask: Would I spit?

Shmolee and Stinkapee as oppressed dark-skinned humans already live under threat of different sorts of literal and figurative death daily. The resistance knowledge and tenacity of their mama is what teaches them to value the resistance lessons contained in their history and herstory, this is what protects them from some of the harm of colonization and props up their backbones until they have sufficient knowledge and power to do it for themselves in memory of the people who died or survived so they could be born out of the Middle Passage, carried in trust for those who may come searching in future generations.

If I chose to spit, I would be cutting a defiant thread that connects us past/present/future. I would be killing the possibility of them fully understanding what it means to resist. I would be damaging probably irreparably their taking on ethical and conscious responsibility maintained by individuals who sometimes have to pay dearly even as they keep eyes on a prize they may not live to see or celebrate. I would be killing their spirits only to watch them creep, zombie-like through life confused occupying existences emptied of meaning and personal power.

If I refused to spit even under pain of (their) death, I would have to comfort myself with the bigger picture, future sight of other smart, gurgling, sweet, emotional Black babies born to mothers not me, who, in better times, might not be offered such a horrible challenge pitting the love of a parent for their child against the survival of a whole people's spirit and belief whatever the cost.

Painting, I realize figuratively, I have actually refused to spit on my beliefs and values, refused to buckle...eyes on the prize.

Nonetheless I do talk to Papi and to Ophelia off and on about just giving up and drugging myself into benign smiling, self doubting acquiescence. She doesn't think I have it in me. Although, we both agree there's a lot that complicates my political resistance that brings pain that on bad days, I'd dearly like to just medicate away...

Still think about my relationship with my father, unexpressed anger towards my parents which has been hidden, obscured from my own view, therefore guarded, contained, held inside me still, the writing I've done on this blog this week and exchanges with Pretzel and CJ..."

This oldee contained within an oldee is...






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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Moral Panic in blogland...

"…In essence, a moral panic is an exaggerated concern about some ‘social problem’. Among the characteristics of every moral panic are the alleged breakdown in public morality described above, a heightened level of public concern, which is often feverish, exaggerated estimates of the numbers of people allegedly affected by the problem, a distortion of aetiology, and democratization of the condition’s occurrence, such that no particular class, race, ethnic group, or any other socially constructed category is singled out as differentially affected (Goode and Ben-Yehuda, 1994; Thompson, 1998)…"
I found this quote at Rose's Place in reference to something going on in Manitoba.

The quote resonated for me, though, in relation to something else.

I thought about the furor in blogland over the seeming disappearance of "courtesy" and "nice" communication among bloggers.

It seems that now that so many people have joined the "party", there is less agreement about the rules for participaction.

Enter: The folks who have been here the longest, or those who have managed to accrue the most clout.

For the common good, they have decided to define blogger interaction and engagement rules....for us all.

Makes me feel safer.

I thought about so many ("in" members in various blogland cliques crossing political lines) trying desperately to figure out how best to stem/control/eliminate/ignore this runaway tide of of new blood, recent immigrants, foreign nationals (reference very purposeful...I figure, maybe someone will take the hint and get wise...) who don't play according to the same rules.

I think about the "nice", "courteous" bloggers who all follow (now, who's that dead colonizer who all the coloured house negro carltons channel when they're gonna get into a debating scuffle? Robert? Roger?) some evil, rude, murderous, oppressive colonizer's rules of engagement designed to control our abilities to rebel or to advocate on our own behalfs from places of power rather than from places of pathetic victimhood where we are forced to stand wringing our hands yelping: "somebody, help me, PLEASE!"...

I'm thinking about the ways that a blogger like me who has levelled challenges inside blogland radical resistance circles can be tarred (
again, very purposeful darky reference, thank you...) with the same brush as say pornographic trolls, misogynist asshats, idiot extreme right wingers.

Why?

Oh, because there are better ways to challenge. And if I'm gonna ruffle the feathers of the cool kids, then I'm no better than a mean, mean troll or someone who hijacks a blogger's comments.

I thought about the fact that the demographics are all over the place when it comes not just to who is being accused of being caught being mean while blogging...but also when it comes to who is complaining about the impact of blogging meanies.

I took a sec to figure out the glue, what united these concerned blogland denizens. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I figure the folks doing their darndest to keep the peace and make sure that no one gets too out of line, engaging in too much direct freedom of speech and, that if they do, they're punished by being ostracised, ignored, whispered about, excluded from blogland happenings, are more united along class (wannabe or otherwise) lines than anything else.

Yeah, I wish I could do a survey to check for the social positioning of the folks at the forefront of the posses ridin' outta dodge.

Cuz differently?

Only folks with something having to do with privilege to protect would spend so much time worrying about other people fucking up the status quo and disturbing the way things should be, by just speaking out of turn, speaking out and being rude.






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From V erbena 19...

I was over at Rose's Place and found this link to a blog post from Verbena 19...

Prosecution Seeks Minimum 12 Years: If Convicted, Mohawk Shawn Brant Faces Serious Jail Time

PROSECUTION SEEKS MINIMUM 12 YEARS OF FEDERAL PENITENTIARY TIME:

If Convicted, Mohawk Shawn Brant Faces Serious Jail Time

(October 16, 2007) On Friday, October 12th, Mohawk spokesperson Shawn Brant of Tyendinaga appeared in court to finalize the details of his impending trial.

Released on bail after spending two months in pre-trial custody, Shawn is currently facing a total of 9 charges in relation to two blockades, one in April 2007, and the other as part of the Aboriginal National Day of Action on June 29, 2007. Included in these charges are 6 “mischief” charges, which the Crown has elected to proceed on by indictment.

The Ottawa-based Crown, Robert Morrison, has indicated that he intends to seek a minimum of 2 years imprisonment per charge, for a minimum sentence of 12 years in a federal penitentiary.

Shawn’s trial has been set for January 2009. He will continue to live under bail conditions that include a curfew, inability to leave the Province of Ontario, and a ban from attending any protest of any kind.

In the meantime, the reclamation of the quarry and the fight for the return of the Culbertson Tract to Mohawks of Tyendinaga – the land that lies at the heart of the recent blockades and actions – continues to hold strong. Tyendinaga Mohawks have long established a permanent presence on the former quarry site, with dozens of trailers and families living on the land on a fulltime basis. People are currently making preparations for the winter.

The severity of the prison time openly being sought by the Crown indicates the punishment the Canadian state is prepared to inflict on First Nations people who struggle for their land and their communities.

Clearly, the gravity of this possible sentence is proof that Shawn is being singled out, in an effort by the colonial authorities to crush First Nations’ resistance. The community of Tyendinaga has, through working to re-establish a longhouse, self-governance, and economic self-sufficiency, long been a thorn in the side of the Canadian state, and its project of oppression and genocide of First Nations peoples.

Asking for twelve years prison time is not about the blockades of this summer. It is about sending a loud message to First Nations people who are not interested in submitting to the exploitation of their lands and resources, nor the continued denigration and suffering of their communities.

Shawn is being made an example of, in a state response of fear and concern that First Nations resistance will continue, and will succeed in forcing the rest of this country’s population to realize that long-standing crimes against the Mohawk community of Tyendinaga, and all other First Nations communities, must be righted.

——————————-

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

——————————-

1. CALL/FAX/EMAIL:

In September of this year, the international community adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, despite high-profile opposition from Canada and three other settler states - New Zealand, the United States and Australia. Article 26 of the UN declaration states: “Indigenous peoples have the right to the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired.”

By voting against the Declaration, Canada clearly belies its on-going contempt, racism, and lack of will to negotiate in good faith with or atone for the genocidal crimes committed against the First Nations peoples of this land. Colonialism continues.

The criminalization and persecution of Shawn Brant, a Mohawk who has made great sacrifices to stand up for his community, his people, and his land, serves as a sharp and unacceptable example of this very colonial agenda.

Seeking to send Shawn to jail for the acts of resistance taken by his community is unacceptable. In turn, return of the Culberston Tract to the Mohawks of Tyendinaga is a crucial step in building a new relationship between First Nations peoples and the rest of Canada.

Write or call the Attorney General of Ontario, the Minister of Indian Affairs, and the Head Office of CN Rail, to call for the following:

We demand that:

1. Michael Bryant, Attorney General of Ontario drop the charges against Shawn Brant, who, if convicted, could face serious time in a federal penitentiary.

2. CN Rail abandon its multi-million dollar lawsuits against Shawn Brant, Jason Maracle, and Tara Green.

3. The Provincial and Federal governments return all lands that rightfully belong to the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte and immediately cease exploitation of resources on those lands, thereby committing to negotiating land claims issues in good faith, and to honest governance for all Ontarians.

4. The Provincial and Federal Governments engage in meaningful dialogue to end the exploitation of First Nation lands and resources.

ADRESS YOUR DEMANDS TO THE FOLLOWING:

Michael Bryant,

Attorney General of Ontario

Ministry of the Attorney General

720 Bay St, 11th Flr

Toronto ON M5G 2K1

Tel : 416-326-4000

Fax : 416-326-4016

mbryant.mpp@liberal.ola.org

Chuck Strahl,

Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

House of Commons

Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6

Phone: (613) 992-2940

Fax: (613) 944-9376

ottawa@chuckstrahl.com

Canadian National Railway Company

935 de La Gauchetière Street West

Montreal, Quebec

H3B 2M9

Phone: 1-888-888-5909

contact@cn.ca

——————————————-

2. MAKE A DONATION:

Shawn Brant faces a jury trial that will likely last 3-4 weeks.

Although the two defence lawyers have generously donated their time free of charge, there are still significant costs associated with the defence. Travel and accommodation expenses will be incurred as the trial is being held in Napanee, over 200 km from Toronto. Expert witnesses need to be paid, transcripts and other documents must be obtained, and there are significant other expenses generated in mounting the defense for a lengthy and complex jury trial.

In addition to defending Shawn Brant, the campaign to have the quarry license revoked and the Culbertson Tract returned to the Mohawk community requires the maintenance of an effective presence over the winter at the reclaimed quarry site on the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. Doing this will put a substantial financial burden on the community. They will have to pay for winterization and equipping of the housing units, purchase of a diesel generator, fuel for heating, electricity and transport, additional clothing and food.

To cover the legal costs and to contribute to the winterization of the quarry site the Tyendinaga Support Committee has set a target of $40,000 for the Tyendinaga Legal Defence Fund. The money collected will be divided between legal costs incurred by Shawn Brant’s counsel, and funds needed to winterize the quarry site in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory.

Shawn Brant must have adequately funded legal representation if he is to successfully defend himself against a very determined Crown Attorney who is set on making an example of him. To adequately prepare the case, defense counsel needs funds sooner rather than later. For example, expert witness reports cannot simply be secured at the last

minute if the money happens to come in. Defence strategy is seriously impaired if we don’t know what we’re looking at in terms of incoming funds and tailoring strategy. Thus far this embattled community, in the forefront of indigenous struggle, has received little financial support for their legal battle. So it is with a sense of urgency that we request you to act on this appeal as soon as possible.

All donations are valued and appreciated.

CHEQUES PAYABLE TO:

Tyendinaga Legal Defence Fund

c/o 10 Britain Street

Toronto, ON

M5A 1R6

———————————————————

3. READ MORE:

RECENT BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

Shawn Brant: Another case of Canada’s political persecution of indigenous people (Justin Podur, September 19/07)

http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=30&ItemID=13830

Free Shawn Brant: Toronto Event: August 29/07

VIDEO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwQdz7dHeaQ

AUDIO:

http://storywordspics.blogspot.com/2007/08/free-shawn-brant-meeting.html

——————————————————————————–

4. GET INVOLVED:

If you are interested in finding out about organizing efforts to

support the Mohawks of Tyendinaga, if you would like to work with the Tyendinaga Support Committee here in Toronto or people in other cities, or if you think your progressive union local, organization, school, or faith group would like to learn more about this struggle, please visit our website or contact:

Tyendinaga Support Committee:

http://www.ocap.ca/supporttmt.html

support.tmt@gmail.com

**

Ontario Coalition Against Poverty

10 Britain St. Toronto, ON M5A 1R6

416-925-6939 ocap@tao.ca www.ocap.ca








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Is it possible to be anti-PC without being anti-left?...

I found a blog site this morning called Let Freedom Reign. It has an anti-PC blogroll.

Anti-PC.

I think this is how right wing folks refer to the agendas of the left - as Politically Correct. I think they use "anti-PC" as an umbrella buzz word to refer to anyone who is overtly and unrepentantly racist, conservative, misogynist, homophobic, classist, or otherwise oppressive and who doesn't take kindly to having their backwards ideas challenged.

But seeing this site got me to thinking about political correctness as rallying point for folks on the right, true. But it also spoke to me as a dangerous and double edged sword that has sliced me to ribbons, showering me with friendly fire on more than one occasion. Dig around on this blog and you'll find shrapnel, buck shot and hot water scalding stories everywhere...

So, when I think of political correctness, I think of all the people in real time and in blogland who I've encountered who work hard to say the right thing at the right time. I should have "right" in quotes because doing the "right" thing very rarely links to what they actually think, say or feel.

What they actually think, say or feel is understood as so completely unfit for consumption, rendered anathema by the dictates of a society concerned more with surface seeming than with substantial, layered being, that quickly scrambling for a response or action that manifests as comfortable and appropriate always ends up being the order of the day...always ends up being the politically correct choice to make.

And you know I'm all about seeming correct and proper.

I really feel personally insulted by people who come to have conversation with me, who are full of a knowing that I will bring as much of myself as I can, who bring their correct performance bent selves, hiding away as much of themselves as they can from view.

I really feel bored when I blog all out, bringing the noise, bringing overt representations of my mess to this space, taking extreme personal, professional and political risks only to have some of those who come and comment leave wordings that betray their fear of offering me something of equal potency, something just as direct...as in not politically correct.

I note who revels in mess and who carefully, conversationally, politely, politically correctly steps around the mess I offer by offering prim and proper wordings designed to not ruffle any feathers.

The right wing anti-PCers think that political correctness is ruinous and I would have to agree with them on that point, at least.

Gather a bunch of people in various politicized left spaces in real time and in blogland, let them know that no one wants to really see who they are, no one wants to really hear what they think, no one wants to come into contact with their actual agendas for change as outlined in their dearest held dreams and I figure we've got a recipe for lefty armageddon...the complete destruction of any possibilities for radical change, change involving the destruction of hierarchical systemic power based frameworks not informed by the most fearful, narrow, lukewarm and conservative elements in our various struggles.

Because really, isn't the idea of communication as a stiffly strategic act of political diplomacy, as a surface and purposeful demonstration to be weighed and measured with the chosen word or sentence based on the "common good" that happens to only serves the interests of a privileged few who make choices about what will be spoken and what will be hidden, a thing we most often associate with corporations and high level civil servants functioning as worker bees inside government structures that allows for the maintenance of the kinds of oppression we say we're fighting against?

Isn't silence as a necessary evil something more of us were taught in our homes so that all manner of abuses and oppressions could go unnoticed, unchallenged, unresisted, un...fettered?

Don't many of us have some memory of our mothers smiling, eyes desperate/furtive/secretive/deadened, saying and doing exactly what is expected at the moment they were expected to?

Doesn't anyone remember these wimmin or their mothers, our grandmothers dissolving away before our eyes, eaten away, sickened, crazed with always having to do and say the perfectly right, absolutely proper thing so that things, events, situations that should have exploded a long, long time ago, stayed stuck, stayed together, stayed diseased and rotting with everyone concerned trapped in the sewage?

What a coincidence that so many people who understand themselves as powerful allies on the left, impose concepts of proper and appropriate communication so in line with what we would otherwise understand as silence/silencing and in so doing commit all of us to various radical nut houses where very little is dealt with out in the open and where fear of open communication,
where truthful communication about our multitudinous points of view is maligned, understood as dangerous and unintelligent?

How political. How radical. How open. How broadbased.

Yeah, I thought of joining the let freedom reign folks just so I could find a group of people completely disinterested in saying what seems right...
But the nooses, stars and stripes and burning crosses got in my way. :)






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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Wordless I am...forceps injuries...




I found these online...they're not from north america...this isn't supposed to be a racist point of pride as I don't think OBs on this end would be quite this open about the harm they have no doubt caused with forceps...I also don't mean to imply that the doctors who posted these images did so in order to critique the effects of the instruments they use...I just don't think they felt the need to hide as I found these with a fair amount of ease...here.

for truly wordless, wordless wednesday go here...






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Changed the sidebar again...

I've been thinking about compartmentalization and about how dangerous it is to blogging..especially to those who blog politics.

I've been thinking about oppression and privilege and about how compartmentalization is a deep, self destructive response to oppression that forces us to cut parts of ourselves away and store them in hiding for fear that if others were to ever see these bits, they would surely harm, call out, ostracize, hate or laugh at us.

I'm thinking about the many bloggers I've encountered who advocate for severe splitting off of the personal from the professional from the political.

I really wish that instead of poo pooing bloggers like myself who insist on mixing...no, not mixing, but instead indicating, reflecting, embracing the real life mix of issues, experiences, thoughts, perspectives, emotions that make us who we are, make us human...I wish that instead of subtly casting doubt on our sanity, on our comprehension of the political, on our ability to function as viable, powerful parts of any struggles for justice or on our abilities to contribute insightfully and deeply to any blogland discussions...
I wish they would just admit -
"We're scared of what will happen when people finally see and understand who we really are.
We're scared of what will happen to our careers if we come clean about who we are.
We're scared of seeming empty and vapid if we admit that there really isn't much else underneath here that we can claim to understand.

We need those bloggers who refuse to compartmentalize their lives to shut up so that we can continue to claim that we are the intelligent, the brave, the allies you want to have."
Why won't they just stop quoting Audre and admit that they believe there are some silences you keep no matter what, even if it kills you, even if it kills your babies, even if it kills any possibility of actually having intimate relationships with your family and friends, even if it kills your struggles, even if it kills the truth, even if it kills the world.

She was right: Our silence will not protect us.
But it does keep things feeling surface, predictable, easy to manage, nonthreatening and safe.

I say, down with compartmentalization and with bloggers feeling as if they need to blog the personal on blogsites separate from their politicized blog spaces.

Without the personal, your political is hobbled, circumcised, censored, tamed, dominated, silenced.

Without the personal your political is just a disembodied shell, a theory without practice/praxis.

Without the personal layered over top of the political, your framework is flat, untested, unblooded and shaky at best.

This is me saying:
I've been struggling with how best to organize my sidebar. Nothing quite felt right. I couldn't list off real time friends who are bloggers. Don't have 'em. I couldn't list off real time political allies who are bloggers. Don't have these, either.
I couldn't talk about blogs I love because saying I loved a blog felt empty and insufficient.

I've been thinking about the massive risk a blogger takes when they decide to blog everything, or as much as they can at once. I thought about bloggers who are practitioners/professionals/academics/career folk who insist on coming across as if they're still at the office, still in the classroom, still filling out forms, still having to impress a client, a colleague or a boss when they are blogging.

I don't think that people understand that blogging to save face, to hide various facets of political communities from view, blogging for business, blogging to impress, blogging to gain new clients is very different from blogging to ask oneself hard questions, to understand who you are, to understand where you want to put your energies in relation to various struggles for change or to let the spirit just fly free.

I think people get confused and complacent.

I think that because we're all taught to exist and engage at such surface levels...so as to not disturb the way things are, to keep everyone comfortable, to not rock the boat or leave someone who might have power over us feeling deeply disturbed and bent on our demise, many of us have come to the conclusion that interacting is best done in the most passive, soft spoken, smiling, hesitant, careful manner possible.

Interacting as an eggshell, tippy toeing, hesitant venture becomes the default setting for many, becomes the epitome of what it means to speak to each other and the yardstick measuring what it means to blog well.

I beg to fucking disagree. I've been noticing lots of posts on other people's sites where they attempt to encourage those who blog whole, who blog filled to the brim with all parts of their lives or as many as they can put into the mix, to back down and expose less of who they really are.

I've smiled seeing posts where people attempt to engage in change back behaviours, reverse problematizing what it means to be feminist or political while blogging...I know say that my pointing out that people calling themselves radical while engaging in denial, hiding, silencing, domination, popularity games, caused a stir.
That's alright.
When I came here to blogland and saw that small tight knit groups of people located all over the blogging left were taking upon themselves to define what it meant to be feminist, to be radical women of color feminists, to be revolutionary mamas, to be lefties, progressives...
When I saw that their definitions always lined up exactly with who they and their friends were, very rarely leaving space for someone like me to come and stand close without having a distinct sense of having worn the wrong fucking colour or style dress to the cotillion, damned fucking right I became annoyed and started elbowing and jostling for space by pointing out that their definitions were narrow, exclusionary, backward and self destructive.
How amusing...not...that so many of these people ended up claiming victim status, by indirectly saying that they, not their actions were being attacked, that they felt undermined and belittled...that they did not feel that some people's definitions were broad enough to include everyone...hee, hee, hee!

How ironic that they ended up finally sort of getting the fact that what it means to be political, left, feminist, lefty, radical mama has got to be broader, once they ended up understanding that they themselves were in danger of being excluded or at least perceived as being not particularly interesting or of note. :)

sigh...
a job well done.

And having done that, now I turn my attentions to their latest strategy for maintaining their self serving status quo.

Why be full and whole as a blogger when you can set up two or more blogs?
Why just let your friends know about your politics and your political allies know about your friends, when you can set up multiples?
Why let your friends and your allies know about your craven, nasty little pornographic bits so seemingly incompatible with your politics and your family life when you can just publish those nasty little bits under another assumed name?
Why upset the mama bloggers with your real opionions when you can just tell them what they want to hear and choke on your own bile?
Why be a blogger who is at peace with all your various parts when you can just encourage others to see compartmentalization as just a part of life, as a necessity, as integral to the cause?

Why?
Well, because compartmentalization sucks.

It's what we're taught to do. It comes easiest to us. But it comes at the cost of us having to keep track of our little lies, those lies of omission, who we need to not let see what, who we need to show a particular face to, who gets to have certain conversations, blah, blah, blah...

No matter how you slice it life is messy, messy, fucking messy.

So, I figure, rather than drive my own self crazy by creating walls within walls within walls within walls within walls within...gotta stop this, I'm making myself dizzy...

Rather than create a whole life based in varying degrees of denial, which I will be invited to smooth over with a Stepford Wife sort of smile offered even to intimates or allies I say I trust, I will just attempt to deal with what it means to be a multifaceted human animal.

An invitation extended to any blogger reading me:
As a messy, anti-authoritarian, political, emotional, university educated, homeschooled rogue intellectual, shit disturbing, parenting, decorating, cooking, drawing, writing, tip tap typing, dancing fool lefty blogger, I would like to encourage whoever is reading to blog for all they're worth.

Blog out in the open as if tomorrow is the last day of your life.

Blog as if fiercely telling it as it is is the only thing that will save you.

Blog as if writing all your feelings out in the open really will impress the bill collectors.

Blog like you need to do it as much as you need to breathe, eat, piss, shit and sleep.

Blog like it will get you off....in multiples...sighing, laughing, shrieking, wailing, throbbing...for hours...even while you're walking the streets and shopping for toilet paper.

Blog fer real.

Blog like no one else is looking or reading.

Blog like you are at the center of your blog.

Blog like you can
really be the fundamental political, social, historical change you want to see.

Blog like you understand that a legion of scared, silenced, hesitant, emotionally blunted and confused revolutionaries cannot possibly bring about any change you want to be a part of.

So, I've got a list of messy bloggers I'm going to be adding to indefinitely. Check the sidebar. Watch these people, write to them, encourage them to stay on track and to not back down, meet whatever truths you find in their blogs with truths of your own.

Right now the list is small. But I realize that I go read these bloggers not because we're always one hundred percent aligned. I go read them because I know I'll be able to feel them when I read them. That speaks to me where I am right now.

Would you like me to add your messy blog to my messy list? Just leave a comment here and I'll come over and visit your messy blog home and run a disturbed political dust bunny check under the edges of your home.

Today I read CJ again and felt fiercely happy, angry, sad, horrified and a whole bunch of other things at the same time. She's at it again - being messy.

Disturbed, messy political dust bunny signing off.




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.