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Archive for the ‘race/anti-racism’ Category

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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A Small Needful Fact by Ross Gay.

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Milo peddles a pageant of insincerity that is immediately legible to fellow Brits. Americans understand irony differently, and sometimes not at all. The crowd of excitable young and young-ish people gathered to hear him pontificate believe what he’s saying, even if he doesn’t. Which he doesn’t. And it doesn’t matter.

It doesn’t matter that he doesn’t mean it. It doesn’t matter that he’s secretly quite a sweet, vulnerable person who is gracious to those he considers friends. It doesn’t matter that somewhere in the rhinestone-rimmed hamster wheel of his mind is a conscience. It doesn’t matter because the harm he does is real.

From Laurie Penny’s “I’m with the banned” in Medium.

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Creating a political climate based on shame is an impediment to justice. Shaming is about control, not justice. The shame-rage spiral is an unsustainable burden that ensures that we are unable to mount substantive challenges to oppression. Unacknowledged feelings of shame will destroy us as individuals and as movements. Honestly, I don’t have a strong idea for how we can overcome the shame dynamic in our political spaces.  Thus far, Ngọc Loan Trần’s concept “calling in” offers the most hope.

From R.L. Stephen’s II’s “The Left’s Self-Destructive Obsession with Shame” in Orchestrated Pulse.

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