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Archive for the ‘race/anti-racism’ Category

All They Want Is My Money My Pussy My Blood

I am free with the following conditions.

Give it up gimme gimme.

Okay so I’m Black in America right and I walk into a bar.

I drink a lot of wine and kiss a Black man on his beard.

I do whatever I want because I could die any minute.

I don’t mean YOLO I mean they are hunting me.

I know my pussy is real good because they said so.

I say to my friend I am broke as a joke.

I am Starvin’ Like Marvin Gaye.

I’m so hungry I could get it on.

There’s far too many of me dying.

The present is not so different.

Everybody looks like everybody I worked with.

Everybody looks like everybody I’ve kissed.

Men champion men and animals.

Everybody thinks I’m going to die.

At the museum I tell the school group about Black art.

I tell them the word contemporary.

I have a nose ring I forget about.

I have a brother and he is also Black.

I am a little modern to the fault.

I say this painting is contemporary like you and me.

They ask me about slavery. They say Martin Luther King.

At school they learned that Black people happened.

The present is not so different.

I’m looking into their Black faces.

They do not understand that they exist.

I’m Black in America and I walk

into a bar and drink a lot of wine, kiss a white man on his beard.

There is no indictment.

I could die any minute of depression.

I just want to have sex most of the time.

I just want my student loans to disappear.

I just want to understand my savings account.

What is happening to my five dollar one cent.

I am free with the following conditions.

What is happening to my brother.

What if I do something wrong.

My blood is so hot and wet right now.

I know they want it.

I do everything right just incase.

I don’t want to give away my money but here I am.

It’s so stupid I have to say here I am.

They like to be on top.

I am being set up.

I am a tree and some fruits are good and some are bad.

– Morgan Parker

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Y’all I’m really struggling with this attempt to displace vaginas from feminist conversations. Honestly, I don’t think this is the move.

Here’s the thing: feminism taught me to love my vagina. (Hip Hop) Feminism gave me the courage to use the word “pussy,” when I need to make requests in the bedroom. (Cues Missy E.) But feminism a la bell hooks also taught me about the historical politics of “selling hot pussy.” Feminism taught me years ago not to feel embarrassed about telling y’all a period story and gave me the structural analysis to think about why we ask women and girls and all people who have periods to hide them or feel shame about them. Even in 2017, I still have to walk into women’s and gender studies classrooms and tell my intro students about the historical reasons for period shame. Their faces still turn beet red – all of them.

But also: we live in a world that doesn’t love vaginas. Vaginas are structurally maligned, and considered the property of men. Just ask your new president. Let us not forget the transvaginal ultrasound fiasco of a 5 years ago, when several states tried to make it legal to put a phallic like ultrasound probe into a woman’s vagina against her will. In a hierarchy of genitalia, penises are chief. Vaginas are near the bottom. And then the genitalia that intersex people have labor and languish in epistemic obscurity, by which I mean, that up until only the last few decades or so, science chose not even to acknowledge that penises and vaginas aren’t the only configurations of genitals that exist.

When I think about what it would mean to build a Black feminist framework which decenters the pussy, it gives me pause. The call is of course to decenter cisgender Black women from Black feminist frameworks. Again, this move, and the ways in which, in far left social justice spaces, such moves are assumed to be a clear mandate, a clearly desirable end of our politics, gives me pause.

From The Crunk Feminist Collective with “Pussy Don’t Fail Me Now: The place of vaginas in black feminist theory & organizing”.

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This is wonderful writing by Chiwan Choi in the Cultural Weekly, “Whiteness isn’t intellectualism. Whiteness isn’t indigenous. Whiteness isn’t anything”.

He wanted to talk to me about a problem that LARB was having. A diversity problem, by which it means a lack of diversity. He said he was told I was a person to talk to to help solve this problem, to fix this shortcoming.

But the thing is, he said they didn’t really have a diversity problem. According to Tom, people were mistaking LARB for a publication with diversity problems.

He knew this because he had gone to the Authors page on LARB’s website and counted all the faces that weren’t white. The non-white faces. Or faces that were not white white. Ya know? That’s how he was sure it was just some perception problem because he counted many not white white faces.

Then he asked me to write something for them.

I said no. I refuse to be an extra number on their diversity count that improves their chances at grants.

We planned to meet. Then he canceled. We planned to meet. Then it didn’t happen.

Then we met finally. We talked. I told him the problem wasn’t how many writers of color LARB published. I told him he couldn’t have all white editors and solve this problem.

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These are your heroes, your American Snipers and Captain Americas in all their syphilitic charm. This is your oblivious entertainment and the parade of your own lack of imagination. This is the girl on the back of your motorcycle, your cardboard sexy. This is the bullshit you worship.

How far gone you must be. How lost in your own fantasy and privilege. How determined you must be to maintain your bubble. How unaware of your place on this planet, in this climate, of your voice and power (lived not assumed. imposed) must you be to have voted for your own lack of conscience?

We who are not immune to your nasal vocal fry, who hear your raised voice and bombshell laughter, who recognize the twang of your guitar and that robotic twist of hip are very clear on what we’re seeing. The profane mascot on your cap and shirt, rather than remove and burn, you have chosen to present to the world as a mask. You have elected a caricatured mascot. A totem to your ignorance.

Here is the proof of the internal battles you have not fought, the lines of credit you have not questioned and never intended to pay back. The thin man you saw in the forest. The clown that kept popping up in the shadows. The chair that rocks that no one is sitting in. This is your haunted house built over our graveyard. The car that won’t start. The murderous ski mask. This is your cop drama, your cowboy fantasy, your bed sheet cape and plastic boots. Your fears, fantasies and entertainment all wrapped into one high-strung effigy whose burning fire you will not be able to contain.

You have proven your enemies right.

Saul Williams. (Credit for the image to Xoaquín Torres and  Reuben Weinzveg)

 

Breathtaking!

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This, “How American politics went insane” in The Atlantic by Jonathan Rauch is the MOST interesting political article I’ve read in years, and it has broad application to the chaos of Australian politics, too. I don’t agree with it all.. but it’s right about many, many aspects and it’s a difficult conclusion to sit with. Thrillingly challenging.

Parties, machines and hacks may not have been pretty, but at their best they did their job so well that the country forgot why it needed them.

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This is very supple writing from Kiese Laymon on symbolism very structural solutions with racism. It’s a wonderful use of observational diary writing (the tension in some of them!) and… football to draw you in.”How they do in Oxford” in ESPN.

Right now, I’m eating the best squash casserole I’ve eaten in my life at a restaurant called Ajax Diner. Ajax is on the Courthouse Square, the economic and cultural center in Oxford. There are lots of white folk in the restaurant, and a number of illustrations of Ray Charles and other black bluesmen on the wall. Twice I’ve heard, “We good, but we got to get a running game.”

I keep hearing the names Nkemdiche and Laremy and Laquon and Fadol.

I’m a long way from Jackson, but the taste, the smell and the rhythm of the names uttered in Ajax remind me of home. I have lived, taught and written at a college in upstate New York for the past 14 years. In those 14 years, I’ve never heard a white man say, “Collards pretty good tonight, ain’t they?”

That’s exactly what the white man at the table next to me keeps saying. I love that his color commentary is absent any linking verbs. I feel prideful that these Oxford white folk are eating our food and talking like us, even if they don’t know it.

A few black folk who work in the kitchen come out before I leave. We nod. I don’t feel as good about them eating our food anymore.

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When some university staff members found out what I’d been up to, they warned me to restrict my walking to the places recommended as safe to tourists and the parents of freshmen. They trotted out statistics about New Orleans’s crime rate. But Kingston’s crime rate dwarfed those numbers, and I decided to ignore these well-meant cautions. A city was waiting to be discovered, and I wouldn’t let inconvenient facts get in the way. These American criminals are nothing on Kingston’s, I thought. They’re no real threat to me.

What no one had told me was that I was the one who would be considered a threat.

From Garnette Cardogan’s “Walking while black” in Literary Hub.

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