29 11 / 2012
I work at a place where they have a library concentrated in Eurocentric literature as well as art. They have conferences, lectures on what the same old dead white men did in Europe who the hell cares how many years ago. However, they also have some interesting events like Chamber music and acoustic concerts in this room with wooden walls that is supposedly sound enriching to hear. I was scheduled to work on the day that the Israeli Chamber Project (http://www.israelichamberproject.org/icp_en/) and I was pretty to excited to finally hear them play.
Then the attacks and continuation of genocide on the Palestinian people in Gaza forced me to reconsider attending. It wasn’t easy, but I ended up saying that I would not be able to work that day. I really need this job and it didn’t seem plausible to try to take this to th head of the institution and tell them about BDS (movement sympathetic to Palestinian struggle which calls for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions). I event thought just ending up working that day and thinking, “what will this change if I don’t go”. But even though its a very small step, I chose to lose out on this hours. I am not making myself the victim hear, but this is practice in learning to roll with someone’s punches and learn to take some sort of hit. I had even thought about sharing the info with the local activist group at school in hopes of them coming to protest at the library, but I didn’t want to risk it.
Hopefully my attitudes we’ll mature and I’ll be willing to not only say I’m in solidarity with oppressed peoples, but actually risk something too. For more info on the BDS movement, visit: http://www.bdsmovement.net
17 9 / 2012
"Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place."
20 8 / 2012
This is not a ‘DON’T VOTE FOR OBAMA’ post. Vote for him if you want, don’t vote for him if you don’t. Voting is a personal decision and people shouldn’t be browbeaten into being ‘proper citizens.’ As long as you aren’t voting for Romney or aren’t decrying Obama for dumb stupid and racist reasons, I have no beef with what you do in the ballot room.
This is not a post that apologizes for the brutality and the sins of the Obama administration. This is not a post that placates to the simplistic thinking of liberal, establishment politics. This is not a far-left critique that undermines what this administration has meant for women, people of color, and other marginalized folk— nor does it ignore the REALITY that bargaining with the establishment is essential for hundreds of million of people. This post also doesn’t misunderstand How Politics Work— when I say ‘Obama,’ I don’t mean the man, I mean the institution of the American presidency. One man cannot and does not do much.
What I want to do here is talk about the myopic way we criticize Obama and his imperial ventures, and the apologetic way we discuss his presidency w/r/t people of color. But the brunt of this critique is not on marginalized people who are responding to real changes in their life— whether good changes (affordable birth control) or bad changes (families getting deported, homes getting bombed).
It is more about the conceptual space where we interact with Obama and evaluate him as good/bad/unworthy/fantastic, and how we can better understand the limits of such a space.
03 8 / 2012
"When I want to know what misogyny is, I don’t ask a man. When I want to know what racism is, I don’t ask a white person. When I want to know what homophobia is, I don’t ask a heterosexual. When I want to know what transphobia is, I don’t ask a cisgender person. When I want to know what ableism is, I don’t ask an able-bodied person. The contours and definitions of oppression are best articulated by the oppressed."
22 7 / 2012
Until the day I die I will always be “reasonably suspicious,” a possible drug-cartel member or illegal immigrant. I will never be waved through border patrol checkpoints which not dot Southern Arizona like those in the car in front of me.
Even the books I read and music I listen to or art I enjoy will be used against me in a court of law, as it was in the Ethnic Studies trial in Arizona.
And despite the race of the mass shooters, from Jared Loughner to James Holmes, or to other murderers outside of Tucson such as Shawna Forde and Jason Bush, white supremacist members of the Minutemen that killed Brisenia Flores and her father while also shooting her mother, the Sheriff Arpaio lovers and TEA Party will never start fearing their grandkids even though Russell Pearce and Jan Brewer have sons in jail.
It is the brown person that must be feared. It is Latinos getting educated in Mexican American Studies that plan to “overthrow the US Government.” And it is us who are the cause of the financial meltdown. It has nothing to do with the billionaire bankers and their bailouts, but mythical welfare collectors who we all picture as black and Latino.
Just as with other mass murders, the media will focus on this for another 15 minutes and then it will be forgotten. Then another murderer will be spawned, and we will wonder once again why it happened.
Perhaps if Americans started looking within, and at all cultures and races, rather than focusing as Arizona does on the evilness of Ethnic Studies and bilingual education, or whether people living here peacefully for decades have the proper paperwork, then we might prevent future tragedies.
But this would require us to look beyond the illusion, the American flag or the crucifix in the house and focus more on what type of weapons your neighbor has and why. Their internet ramblings and conspiracy sites they visit may be more dangerous than a banned book by Rudy Acuña read in TUSD.
This will never happen."