Saturday, August 20, 2005

Canada has a Black Governor-General? Michelle Jean? I did not know this. I believe I have been out of touch a bit....or perhaps it just hasnt been that important in U.S. news

Have You Seen This Woman?

Latoyia Figueroa's has been missing from her home in Philadelphia since July 18th.
Why do bad things happen to good people? The Baja Peninsula, owned by my dear friends Zoila and Salvador, burned down yesterday. There was absolutely nothing left.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Bellatrys has a great post on racism and xenophobia.
There are certain things that I truly hate that I will never see or experience. I will never see Nina Simone in concert. I will never see Barbra in concert. I missed all of the good things.

What We Have Learned

That the British police system is just as racist and xenophobic as they used to be.
As seen by this lynching .

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

As I am now revisiting Black Feminist Thought by Patricia Hill Collins--in the last few breaths of summer at which point I have nothing new to read, my mind turns towards an analysis of my self and of me within the context of the kind of wonderful critical discussion that Dr. Hill Collins carries out in this book concerning all aspects of life for Afro-American women and how Black feminist scholarship applies to this. I am a gay, Afro-American male, a progressive, radical thinker, a nonconformist, and a person who is dedicated to the struggle to end all forms of oppression and hegemony. As such, I am perhaps the most uncomplimentary person to the white male power structure, along the lines of such powerful and beautiful figures as Audre Lorde and June Jordan, my forbears. The task then becomes, how to overcome the oppressions with which we are burdened--how to combat and eradicate the negative imagery that is imposed upon all of us who are colored at birth, and those of us who choose not to comply with the rules and standards of a racist, sexist society.

At birth, I was refused because the color of my skin and my classification as an Afro-American. Automatically, I was pushed into that place among the Western/ Euro hierarchy where, as Jimmy Baldwin puts it, I was "blacker than sin, black as night, etc, etc." Later, as I developed into a personality and developed passions, interests,desires, I was once again, in a most brutal fashion, told that I was wrong-- and the game of surviving the brute force with which the power structure with which we daily exist became that which honed my skills of survival, of existence. This is the nature of playing the game of politics, and the personal is political--especially for those who do not fit into the ideal constructed by the white/male power structure.I can only imagine how other individuals have dealt with these realities in their own lives. The entire cycle of life that we each go through is a process of finding trying to find out who we are, to carve out identities, and to have those identities validated-- that is the human struggle and that is the ultimate thing that people strive for. To find validation. While I am still searching for many things, I think one thing that has saved me and that perhaps sets me apart from most is that I have my validation. I have always had it-- it is one thing that I do not need to search for. Now, in the nature of hierarchies, white people have their validation--which is called white privilege-- which leaves the rest trying to scramble to make up for that apparent "lack." This is the nature of oppression and of hierarchal structures. Everyone should be validated, and everyone should recieve the validation they need to go through life. As most don't, this is where the real stick of things come through in regards to humanity. This is the result of oppression and hegemony. However,I am of the belief that everyone CAN be validated and should be. I don't believe it is necessary to want or covet what others have, or to devalue one(s) self or one's community in the wake of some kind of ideal that is placed before you or that is spoonfed to entire societies. Everyone should have a knowledge of themselves, a sense of themself, and enough of that spark to muster through to achieve a sense of security and sufficiency in life. I am very glad that, despite being open and aware of three types of oppression--as an Afro-American male who likes men, and who also exist as a radical, progressive thinker, that, perhaps the reason for my development in this fashion, that I have known who I am and therefore don't require anyone else's validation. Not of my humanity. That was and has been instilled in me, from whatever force-- my forbears, my ancestors, whomever-- but it has been with me, and therefore I have been able to totally reject and refuse the dehumanization that is sent my way by the forces of oppression and hegemony. I feel in sync with myself, as to who I am. There are things I want, there are things I desire, there are things that I aim for and want to achieve. But I know who I am, and that is all there really is to do. Know who you are.
This morning on the Today Show, Matt Lauer spoke with soldiers in Iraq. Nothing but white men, with a bunch of black women standing around them, muted. Boy should they not all be castrated? These people are evil.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Candace and I have been playing phone tag with each other for a couple of weeks now and we finally got ahold of each other tonight. She wanted to know if I had seen someone around campus. I am not mentioning names for the sake of discretion. We had a long, good talk about men.Her relationship with___ was quite beautiful. It is interesting how things can get so hot in such little time, two and a half months. What they had was very sweet. I think about Candace and myself, and the experiences one has in finding and blending with people who connect with you so well. She had ____ and I had Charles, both for very brief moments in time( Charles and I hung out from early April to the time he left in late June, so thats roughly three months). Life provides some beautiful moments.
One more thing on the subject of teacakes. I took one batch out of the oven, as they were done. My grandmother yells, loudly, "put them back, put them back." What ever for? Well, I had temporarily forgotten that my grandmother does not like her food to be any color but a deep brown-- everything but rice. I remember once my sister baked a cake, it was a nice yellow cake-- my grandmother stuck that cake back in the stove saying "It needed to brown." So tonight, I asked my grandmother why she didn't like mulatto cookies. Ha.My grandmother wants it dark to burnt,no mulatto.Hahaha. Such idiosyncracies.
Tonight I helped my grandmother make teacakes. This is such a ritual--the process of making teacakes-- a holy, spiritual ritual bound into the homes of Black women whose roots extend to the south--whether they be in the city or in the rural, teacakes are a Southern Black Woman's tradition. It puts me in the mind of the teacher from "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," with her nice, plump yellow wafers. My Uncle Lawrence used to love to have my grandmother bake teacakes--he said she was the only one who could make them as his mother did. Everytime he came to Prattville, or simply thought about it my grandmother would bake teacakes for him. His eyes would light up at the thought of teacakes. My uncle was such a delightful man who took joy in everything. My great-grandmother earned the nickname "teacake"(which eeriely makes me think of Zora Neale Hurston--what an odd coincidence) from her relatives. Alas, one of the stories I remember is my mother telling of how when she was a little girl and her grandmother would be cooking or baking this old white woman who was called "Aunt Francis," would come to my great-grandmother's back door and ask her "Sissy (what she was normally called by nickname) you got some food? You made any teacakes today? You know we cousins" My mother would be standing behind my great-grandmother and wondering "who is this white woman standing at my grandmother's door?" Cooking is such a spiritual process. I love cooking as well.

My Summer at Home

I go back to Lafayette in a couple of days (Lord don't I wish I were going to New York-- or to UC Santa Cruz(I'll do that next year) and I have been in Alabama since the second week of July. It has been interesting--in a slow, rural way( I need to get OFF of I-65).I had lunch and hung out with Denise and Sandrika and took in all that has changed since the last time...and over time. I will write more about that later.
My strength comes from the Black, rich soil and from the souls of Black women.
Finding one's voice is absolutely essential. Speak truth to power and learn to names things for what they are.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Soon I wish to revisit Virginia Woolf's " A Room of One's Own."

Oh Nina, Where Are You Dear?

Goddamn this country. Goddamn the whole thing. A few days ago they released Edgar Ray Killen from Prison after having been finally convicted in June for the murders of Schwerner, Cheney, and Goodman in Mississippi in 1964. Oh what a wonderful message that sends about the ideology and the ethics of this country. It took forty years for them to do something about it and then he only serves a few weeks in prison. Hungry Blues has a great analysis of the situation. This just speaks to what I have said of this country, its values, and the true nature of itself. We need to get rid of the infrastructure that upholds the racism that has permeated this society for centuries. We need total, radical, revolutionary change. This puts me in the mind of a speech that James Baldwin gave at UC Berkely in 1979. We, people who believe in equality, respect, and human dignity and who are dedicated to progressive struggle need to partake in what James Baldwin calls "noncooperation." Listen to his speech here to find out what that means. James Baldwin Lecture and Open Forum,UC Berkeley: April 19,April 26 1979.
One thing more about Mattie Roper that I forgot to point out. She was 14 when she had her first child. She had her last child at 60.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Major Castrators

One of my phrases, that I have coined is "major castrator." I define this as a person(mainly women) who possess Anger, Passion, Fire, Commitment to Justice, and who strike directly at the root of oppression. I decided that I would make a list of the people who qualify, in my book, as major castrators. This list is abbreviated and will grow for sure. Feel free to suggest people for this list.

Nikki Giovanni
June Jordan
Maxine Waters
Nina Simone
Cindy Sheehan
bell hooks
Molly Ivins
Angela Davis
Vanesse Redgrave
Jessica Lange
Barbara Mikulski
Arianna Huffington
Barbara Lee
Loretta Sanchez
James Baldwin
Anita Hill

Alas, I deem Cindy Sheehan as the new Mother Jones!!!