Thursday, December 31, 2009
-Winter Semester was pretty cool
- Had my own room
- Met my now good friends
- learned Bachata
- NCORE (definitely one of the amazing parts)
- Twittering with awesome ppl
- NCORE (because it was two awesome :D haha im punny...not really)
- Cut my hair
- Got into Graphic Design program
- So far, I've been able to keep my standards when going out
- Summer job at my old elementary school as a camp counselor
- BEAUTIFUL summer period
- picnic with my sister included
- Went to Phantom Ranch and sat in a meadow while reading and watching bumblebees
- roomed with a decent roommate
- failed epically at any attempt to establish a relationship with a man (as per usual). mostly due to a combination of fear and shallowness
- discovered twitter
- resulting from NCORE, started going on blogs and websites one race and pop culture.
- learned for the the first time about Elon James White, TWIB, and iLL-Literacy
- Started to really invest in hip-hop
- got closer to my neosoul roots (lookin at you erykah badu)
- started writing poetry again
- got appendicitis and spent 2 weeks in the hospital
- had stomach pain for the remainder of the year
- VP of Hapkido but only being able to go for the first 3 months
- learned bachata
- learned from my NCORE class and from my awesome teachers
- changed for the better
hold on, my mom says its time to go out so i will finish later
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Anyways, a lot has been happening. Back in New York with the extended family. It's weird how everything has changed but if I dont think about it, I can transform (only temporarily though) back into the person i was only a few years ago. By that I mean when I hang with my cousins. I can, for a few moments, knock out the awareness that i have been trying to arouse, and enjoy my cousins jokes, silly antics and such. Sometimes it's okay because we really are just silly. however there is always a word or a phrase that wakes me up again like "wait, did she just say that?". before i used to rant, rave, and scream about it but all that got me was silent treatments and a really terrible time in new york. i dont just want to get by though by being silent. i dont do silent. but my cousins are in love with their ignorance. try to tell them that something is wrong, they shut down. there really is no talking to them about stuff that matters. so like a good little uncle tom, I sit and ignore their ignorance because when I try to say something, it only shuts them down. so im not sure what to do about it.
anyways i am having fun. especially when just watching silly videos on youtube.
-Oh great, I had been wondering whether my mother could still punish me if im no longer a teenager. i've been arguing with my parents alot more lately. especially my mother. i admit that i have been a lot more self-interested since i got home. being away at college has really spoiled me. no waiting for other people to get stuff done, my schedule being up to me and no one else, not having to put up with habits and bickering from my sister and parents. of course i've missed my family but i never really missed living with them. I've missed my house and cat but i didnt miss being stuck in the house with chores to do that arent things i have done myself. especially doing everbody else's dishes. definitely havent missed that. it's not necessarily that i am just lazy and hate doing work. it's more about the fact that my parents groan about cleaning up after ourselves, yet when messes are made by them, they expect me and my sister, but mostly me, to cleam up, telling us that it is our chore. i ask to have like a specific idea of what they want me too do around the house but it gets changed up so much that times that i thought i was done, they come up with more stuff to do
and i know im ungrateful and spoiled but really mom cant you carry up your own damn suitcase? you are not needy nor weak. groceries i understand, cleaning up the family dishes when i've used my share, fine, but cleaning up a room that i havent seen in 3+ months just because my sister can keep her stuff clean?
and yes, i totally own up to the fact that im a selfish, spoiled brat. but damn, there are some things that i think people should be able to take care of themselves.
right now my mom is mad at me for not answering her when she was calling me. thing is that i had my headphones on at the times so i couldnt hear her (i had turned them up to tune out my little sister. also she is mad at me for not helping move the table when i have been moving it my own damn self for that past 4 days.
so i am choosing to let them go to my cousins house without me because a little space to think is appreciated. and also im kind of tired of relatives at the moment
Anyway, many times in the class, the main professor has said repeatedly that classes on race or gender are okay as side ventures but you cant grasp the full perspective of economy, capitalism, and government unless you take a course like his that focuses on class...so modest.
This phrase i have thought about a lot all semester. My opinion about it stays the same, that you cant grasp the full perspective of economy, capitalism, and government without investigating the intersections of race, class, and gender, because that is what the U.S. system is based on.
So, picture this: I am at a study session for the final, which is being taught by the TA I previously mentioned. After the session is over, I chat with the TA, along with a few other students. The topics were about Capitalist systems of government and the effect of alienation on it's citizens to keep capitalist labor running. Students start to leave and there is only me, the TA (white), and another student (also white). As we talk about the Sociology class in general, the TA mentions again the benefit of having this sort of "general" class. I responded with the fact that what was taught in class I had previously started to learn already through the courses and programs on race and it's intersectionality with class, gender, government, etc. He, at first, tried to get me to deny that i had learned such things from a "race class". And then he started talking about how issues of class, capitalism, and government cant be solved through learning about race. Race was more or less, a side business that would get solved later when issues of class were solved...yeah.
I tried to explain to him how my perception of class is one that can not be seperated from race or gender. he didnt get it. Instead he repeated how because of my "preoccupation" with race, I could see the bigger picture. In fact, because I was black, I was in fact, biased. I attempted to point out how neither of us were unbiased in this argument. Him being a white male was just as much a bias. (the student who was listening to this argument wasnt happy with this inference either)
And then he pulled the "I'm part Irish and the Irish werent white" trick. Key term in that phrase "werent". The I basically countered with how Irish and Irish Americans are very different and although Irish isnt white, Irish American certainly is. I tried bringing up the book "How the Irish Became White" but he switched back to the original subject.
He started to focus on specific arguments to prove that class was independent of race. like how is your black, you are not necessarily poor, but if you're poor, your poor... Which basically was his entire argument.
I tried to explain to him again, how i believe in the theory of intersectionality and how a "solution" to class inequality could not come without dealing with race because they are part and parcel of the same big picture. it was this perspective that i dont think he ever grasped. he kept saying how class and race were seperate. (and then accusing me of saying that race was the most important aspect when i say no such thing. I just didnt discount it as some "side accessory" to be dealt with later. which means never)
I even attempted a metaphor because at this point, I wasnt trying to change his opinion. I was just trying to get him to see my point. whether he agreed or not. but he refused to see it. I used Gumbo as a metaphor (i know, i know, but i was really hungry at that point. it was like 8pm and i hadnt had dinner yet.) Basically Gumbo or class, isnt gumbo unless it has all the ingrediants that make it gumbo in the first place. Class isnt just on category, it's a label meant to identify certain experiences and elements that does not exclude race or gender.
but eventually i gave up. he wasnt hearing me.
Monday, December 7, 2009
Let go, let go
Let go of your investments in the time, space, and feelings you shared with them. I tried to warn you before didn’t I? I told you that as good as it was then, they would eventually drop you at a time where you’re the most vulnerable. See that’s why it’s been just you and me. Which in essence is you and you. Just let go of the laughter inside of the inside jokes and let go of the hugs, the kisses on the cheek, let go of finally being part of something other than your own pity party cause you weren’t even invited to that. Its not that they don’t like you, its just that they didn’t care, something that you always suspected, something that I always told you. But you decided that since you never trusted before, you should probably start. You’ve always been left out, remember?
No matter how long the time, whether weeks, months, or years, they eventually tell you what you knew already. That you just not part of them, can never be part of them and so good luck on your search elsewhere.
What? You don’t want to let go? Please baby, what are you going to do? Even if they do pick you up again, for how long will they keep you? They’ll take what you give them and give you fool’s gold of self-worth and confidence back cause hey, you never mastered the whole “achieving self-contentment” thing alone, did you? Otherwise I wouldn’t be here. So let go of the mess, let go of them, because I will always be here in the back of your mind telling you and reminding you that you aren’t worth the time. You aren’t worth their time.
Now go ahead. Sit in the corner. Make sure to get some tissue
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
UPDATE: So after talking with twitter folks i think im going to insert a subtitle whenever i find "political cerebral answers". and i am not mocking the person who told me that because she's right. i need to stop hiding behind it
(for reference Im a 19-year-old, mid-class, black woman from the Midwest. The people I will be referring to are all female and either Latino or Black, middle class or working class. However I go to a majority white, rural school so finding a group of people who wont ask me if I tan is a little difficult which is why I hang with this group so much)
SUBTITLE: the girls im with are some of the few people of color at this school and i feel comfortable hanging out with since i dont have to brush over topics with them for the sake of "getting along"
For those of you who dont know me, I have very rarely cared about fashion. I also cared little about blending in. However things have been happening very fast so even just writing this out may help.
Recently I have gained a new group of friends. Especially two in particular. People who actually seem to like being around me and when I say strange or weird stuff (which happens often) they dont give me the side eye for it. most of the time they either agree or they laugh. mostly laugh. I have had little experience dealing with people and I dont usually hang with my peers but I have been enjoying their company. However there is this one thing.
I have never grown up to love shopping, to care all that much about style or fashion other than the few occasions that i go dancing (cuz i love dancing). I dont wear makeup and rarely wear anything other than beat up white sneakers or boots. So the girls Im hanging with are trying to change that a little. When I wanted to get a outfit to wear when I went dancing, I let them "kidnap" me to get some clothes. Now though, some want me to completely redo my closet. Mostly because all I wear most days are sneakers, jeans, a one size too big tshirt and a bulky sweatshirt. The thing is, I would hate to start nursing a dependence on mainstream clothing and fashion etiquette, which i have always prided myself on not having.
SUBTITLE: I hate changing the things that I like or am comfortable doing just because other people are doing it and not because I actually want it.
One of other the things keeping me from wanting to buy more clothes, accessories, and shoes is that fact that then I would be buying (literally) into the lifestyle that corporations and society tells me i need to have as a black female: the endless nail polish, jewelry, hats, scarves, makeup etc. and i really dont want that. i dont want to be anymore dependent on a system that i despise any more than i have to be. buying clothes that i dont need has never been a mindset of mine and i want to keep it that way.
SUBTITLE: I always compare myself to my peers and I like separating myself as a sort of defense mechanism because I have always been considered strange and so instead of trying to hide it like I used to, I project it until I seem as if I am fine being different. I very rarely find people that wont laugh at me because i've been laughed at by everyone else and it still pisses me off. So I try to fake like I have embraced it instead. TV and people I have tried to be friends with tell me that I'm too out there.
But it is no lie that I despise the manipulative nature of "mainstream culture" because it puts an emphasis on normality. and people tell me im not normal.
some of the people I am hanging out with are willing to let me go as far as i am willing so maybe its just a matter of me saying "okay, im good now. im done buying clothes". cause when i talk about capitalism, racism, or the inherent system of dependency on material items to gain human interactions like friendship and love, and the the inherent privilege that comes with that, nobody really listens.
SUBTITLE: I am starting to learn about capitalism, classism, racism, ableism, and privilege and whenever i want to talk about what i've learned or theories, im always shut down.
reading this post makes me realize that i sound like a 14-year-old. then again when it comes to people my age that probably is my maturity level.
MOST RECENT UPDATE:Yeah, I make simple things complicated and oversimplify the complicated. my dilemma that i posted earlier was less about my friends and more about my continuing issues with being laugh at by my peers and, as a defense mechanism, projecting my "difference" out with false pride. still not sure how to deal with that
Monday, November 30, 2009
I dreamed of a lyrical knight, no not a knight, a “brotha’”. The funny thing is he doesn’t even hafta be a brotha. Someone “down”, someone who refuses what is pushed on to him, someone who uses words, style, and sentiment to stand strong, stand proud in the face of the forces that try to detain, mutilate, and destroy. Someone who skateboards, someone who plays street soccer, or uses spoken word to release. No, all he has to be is someone who “gets it”. Who understands to some degree the pits that hold us, the files that dull us down until we forget that what made us, forget how to look beyond what is seen and heard, make us forget how to think for ourselves. At the same time he sees his light, he sees his true worth and knows that it is his expectations that matter the most. Someone who can spit, someone who can speak, whether Chinese, Spanish, Tagalong, or English. I dreamed of someone who could dance the dances. Dances that require some kind of alternate thought, skill, and touch, like the step or the bachata moderna. Hell I would’ve taken the oh-so-cool fists up and rockin back and forward step. The men who get my heart beating arent the ones who say “You had me at hello”. No, it would be “I’m really feelin you.”. bump-BUMP . Like other privileged, middle class, light-skinned, conflicted, “TRAGIC” girl-women, I fell in love with hip-hop and the ideals I created from it.
But really, that's what happens when I try to write poetry. Nowadays songs and people who I think are deep inspire me. My poem Maple Sky? Inspired (and goes a little with the song) White on Rice by Goh Nakamura. and a few poems that I am coming out with right this instant are from feelings that I have for Spoken Words geniuses like Ill-literacy and hip hop in general. So, here the poems are.
Love’s the high school petty girl
Who uses your heart for a necklace of pearls
And shows off how she has you crippled
Smirking as the smooth surface of my mind ripples
So I'll write a bittersweet poem
about chocolate kisses and ice cold snow in
hopes that you'll never figure out what I mean.
But still it's never as subtle as it seems.
Bigger thoughts float in and out
of my brown head like cirrus clouds
against a large forehead-like backdrop of maple.
Below a forest setting of tight black curls
But it always comes back to me thinking
about how love never rises from the sinking
feeling that’s called melancholy dreaming.
What Am I Hiding?
Tucked away behind my stares and looks of…well I guess I’d call it superiority or maybe even ego. The thing is that yes, my ego is inflated but with what? Ego filled with nothing substantial or real that can combat the miles of insecurities and questions that I battle with while trying to do simple things like ordering a Peppermint Hot Chocolate. I would get a mocha but I really don’t like coffee all that much, I just get it for the chance at having something warm to hold on to, something warm to consume and make me feel content for even just a second. In reality I get a decaf, because I cant really handle the coffee itself. I love the chocolate though because chocolate, even in it’s unadulterated forms, still gives me its richness and flavor without making me deal with any unexpected side effects that I cant handle.
So, what am I hiding?
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Lost and Found: Reclaiming the Japanese American Incarceration by Karen L. Ishizuka.
Bad Boys: Public Schools in the Making of Black Masculinity (Law, Meaning, and Violence)
Serving Our Country: Japanese American Women in the Military During World War II, by Brenda L. Moore
The Uses of Haiti- Paul Farmer
Melal: A Novel of the Pacific by Robert Barclay
From a Native Daughter- Haunani Kay Trask
Hawaiian Blood: Colonialism and the Politics of Sovereignty and Indigeneity
Pacific Voices Talk Story: Conversations of American Experience (Volume 4)
roll of thunder hear my cry series (mildred taylor)
The Lost History of Christianity
"The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight in Heaven" - Sherman Alexie
The Presumed Alliance: The Unspoken Conflict Between Latinos and Blacks and What it Means for America
Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
The Shock Doctrine --Naomi Klein
The Next Evangelicalism: Freeing the Church from Western Cultural Captivity by Soong-chan Rah
The Motorcycle Diaries: Ché Guevara
A People’s History
Whitewashing Race: The Myth of a Color Blind Society by Michael K. Brown
Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire
Radical Possibilities: Public Policy, Urban Education and a New Social Movement
Affirmative Action: Racial Preference in Black and White- Tim Wise
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings- Maya Angelou
Yurugu: An African-Centered Critique of European Cultural Thought and Behavior.
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
Because I Know You Don't Read the Newspaper by Aaron McGruder
Shine, Coconut Moon by Neesha Meminger
Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
Ghosts in Our Blood: With Malcolm X in Africa, England, and the Caribbean
Souls of Black Folk W.E.B Dubois
Native Daughter- Haunani Kay Trask
Hawaiian Blood: Colonialism and the Politics of Sovereignty and Indigeneity
Pacific Voices Talk Story: Conversations of American Experience (Volume 4)
Melal: A Novel of the Pacific by Robert Barclay
Negro History- Carter G. Woodsen
Sex and Race- J.A. Rogers
The Possessive Investment in Whiteness-George Lipsitz
How Jews became white folks and what that says about race in America By Karen Brodkin
Randall Robinson's The Debt: What America Owes to Blacks
Untold Civil Rights Stories: Asian Americans Speak Out for Justice
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Title: The Language of Cultural Racism
Specific Purpose: To inform my audience about American cultural racism and its appearance in our language by giving historical context of that language.
Central Idea: American cultural racism is evident in the words we use to casually describe appearances, the words that we use to describe behavior and the statements we use to describe ourselves.
I. Attention: How many of you have seen advertisements for bar soap like Dove, Zest, etc?
II. Reveal: Soap advertising is an example of how things we use everyday usually have a historical context that we don't notice.
III. Relate to Audience: I am sure that all of us (hopefully) use soap.
IV. Background/Importance: Soap advertising as well as advertising in general is influenced by the audience and therefore society is broadcast’s to such as in the 1800's when Pears Soap was advertised as so powerful that it could wipe even the grimy and filthy dark skin color from an heathen African and keep a White man clean and white.
V. Topic Focus: During my time as a NCORE scholar, I have read and learned about how the images and language that we see in America’s society everyday influences and are influenced by Cultural Racism which reveals itself in many ways such as the language that we use every day to describe appearances, behavior, and ourselves.
VI. Preview: However, many people have always thought that racism is just a personal prejudice and hate towards a group but it is a lot deeper than that.
(Connective: A quick explanation of terms like racism, cultural racism, and systematic racism is needed to explain the impact of racist language.)
I. Understanding Cultural Racism, Racism, and Systematic racism is needed to understand the impact that racist language has as explained in Beverly Daniel Tatum’s book, Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria.
A. Racism is not necessarily just an individual act of hatred or superiority but also the system of advantage based on race.
B. American Cultural Racism is the cultural images and messages that affirm the assumed superiority and humanity of Whites and the assumed inferiority and dehumanization of people of color.
C. Systematic racism is basically the clockwork-like way that people reinforce racism daily, through pictures, television, and also, speech.
D. To summarize, racism is personal prejudice plus the power of society backing you up, cultural racism is the images and messages that uphold racism and systematic racism is the way that these images and messages are repeated.
(Connectives: Some may be wonder “Ok but how does that apply to us and things like pop culture?” and in response I ask you to look at this image.)
II. American cultural racism is apparent in the words we use to casually describe appearances.
A. I was in my Design 102 class preparing my project when I heard a girl talking about a party she went to say, “She was chink-eyed after her 3rd drink.”
B. Chink eyes is used to describe a person who has their eyes squinted together and who people think look “like a Asian” (Examples: When on is intoxicated, tired, high on drugs etc so much that their eyes are squinted or half closed.)
C. The word chink is a very derogatory term referring to people of Eastern Asian origin and came about during the Yellow Peril hysteria in the U.S. during which Chinese laborers immigrated to the United States and were put through much discrimination including the Chinese Exclusion Act which banned any further Chinese immigration.
D. The description of a person being a "chink" or a person who has their eyes squinted is essentially mocking and a direct attack at people of Asian descent.
E. The imagery itself is depicting the stereotype of people of Chinese descent all having "squinty" eyes.
(Connectives: Now that we’ve seen how cultural racism pops up in how we describe appearances, we can look at how it can appear in how we describe behavior)
III. American cultural racism is apparent in the words we use to describe behavior.
A. When describing others many people use the term "acting black" when engaged in stereotyped behavior such as being skilled physically as in sports or dancing
1. The phrase is historically relevant in the fact that from times of slavery, to segregation, the post civil rights era, and the current age, black people are stereotyped as being physically gifted but extremely unintelligent and ignorant.
2. In the movie Hellzapoppin', black servants are portrayed as simple-minded and child-like but good at dancing as the film shows them lindy hopping. .
B. There was a backlash against the movie Transformers 2 specifically against their portrayal of the Robots Mudflap and Skids who were acting in people mind’s as “black (“ghetto slang, gold teeth, etc) and were portrayed as always joking with each other and good at combat but simple and unintelligent (“We don’t read much”)
(Connectives: Many times when I have talk about issues such as this one with my peers, I am told that there is no need to be so politically correct.)
IV. American cultural racism is how we describe and exonerate ourselves.
A. Cultural racism is historically evident in how we refer to ourselves as not bothering to be "politically correct".
1. When I answered my teacher’s question about what was better to say, black people or African American, he then stated how he saw no need to be so politically correct all the time anyway.
2. Black is more inclusive of the presence of people with African ancestry who are not American or just African American.
B. Politically correct is a term that was first used as civil-rights backlash as explained by Will Hutton of The Observer.
C. “It was actually perceived by many as a right-wing tactic to dismiss—or backlash against—left-leaning social change.”-Will Hutton
D. This expression was used to dismiss the need for human rights and social change in the 1960s and 70s.
E. The phrase” “politically correct tells me that their issues have no importance and do not need to be thought about.
(Connectives: Language, when examined, is one of the marks of our culture and a culture that contains Cultural Racism translates it through language..)
I. Signal the end of the speech: Hopefully, we now have seen how Cultural racism can be more than just an individual’s prejudice and include the historical context and systematic cultural support that continue racism.
II. Reinforce the central idea: As in the case of Pears soap advertising, analyzing the messages that society and the media can help us figure out how our language is influenced by it.
III. Clear closing line: Hopefully this gives people a better background to see in another light the skeletons in these phrases’ closets.
Friday, September 25, 2009
In my Graphic Design seminar, we are talking about careers in Graphic Design and the movements/principles that back them. We were going over the 20s when I noticed that all 20+ examples of posters were the same white mainstream themed. That kinda made me irritated. So after the class, I approached my teacher about maybe including slides of posters created by people who lived different (i.e. somebody who aint white). His response? "Well I dont have time to put more posters or examples in." which translates in my head to "The narratives of non-white people arent important and dont mean anything, at least not enough to include in a class that is supposed to be preparing us for life outside of school." So then I countered, "Well how about just keeping the themes that you are surrounding and just taking out posters and putting in ones that come from a different viewpoint but the same theme." So as he pondered that, I left for my next class.
So I thought I handled that pretty ok. Then, I had Sociology.
The way my sociology class is taught is very problematic to me. See the class itself is awesome because we are looking at the effects of capitalism on the individual human. However the whiteness of this human is implict if not stated. Oftentimes my teacher compares "Traditional Societies" with "Modern Societies", My problem isnt even necessarily that Modern societies are Western European based or influenced because hey, capitalism and "modern" themselves are (I think) Euro-created. What I have a real problem with though is how my teacher portrays "Traditional societies". When he talks about "traditional societies" that are European, he usually brings up slides of the Medieval times. However with non-western European societies, the same twentieth century depictions of "tribal life" (with loinclothes and spears galore) are always shown. Also we are always taught that those tribes and by extensions those countries who havent bought into "modernity" yet are underdeveloped and all run around chanting "Ai-yi-yi". We are never shown societies that are more "advanced" or at least live in a larger communities like the Mesopotamians or Egyptians. I mean, I dont see European Cavemen when he talks about traditional western european societies.
Also I have a problem with the way he polarized "traditional" and "modern" life because in all reality, there are many aspects of society that would be considered traditional and aspects of thought-to-be "traditional" societies that are "modern". I could talk about the invention of metal (not by Europeans either) or the highly sophisticated water systems developed by societies in West Africa (that Europeans societies copied and now are labeled "modern"). Anyway I raise my hand about these stereotyped and Eurocentric views all the time but usually he talks about how I cant take this personally or culturally or whatever and keeps going
So finally I approached him after class (after being blown off the first time) and asked him why European societies were portrayed this way and non-Western European societies other ways. (and then i accidentally went off on a tangent about how people of color's bodies are considered to be accessible to all via the tribal images but i didnt really mean to bring that up) anyways I got back on track and the breakdown of what he said is that this is what tribal and traditional societies are like and that he is just telling us the differences and such. and then he said how any "modern" qualities that I saw in traditional societies was most likely my wishful thinking. Then he started on the "Are you saying that Im being racist by showing these images?" and i knew at that point that he just wasnt listening. So I just left and ranted with a mentor of mine. But I am not sure what to do.
So Speech Communications has been interesting as well but at least in a good way. I have given 2 speeches so far and am giving on next wednesday. The first one was Self Introduction-themed so I gave my classmates a taste of what it is like being one of the few black females on campus and the questions I get ask and behaviors that are directed towards me. Then I gave a speech about whitewashing (or Racebending in this case) of the Last Airbender movie and the movement that is going on. Now my speech theme is based on Fascinating Issues and Concepts of Communication. My speech is on The Language of Cultural Racism. however my teacher is pretty cool and helps me with my structure and with delivering a speech in which the delivery is just as good as the content. So I like that class.
So those are some of the big issues that I have been dealing with so far this semester. On sunday I am taking a canoe trip so i can get some peace.
Monday, August 31, 2009
Ever since I started to learn more about my own identity about myself, grades have become less important to me than the content.
Parents instilled the “a person’s worth is their grades” if you did better it’s because you are better/smarter/more focused etc. even now. However students at my school were more knowledgeable about world issues that I had never given a thought. As those issues became my own, school was less about the grades and more about the content and how it applied in my life and the life of others. I’ve stopped being a drone. However this article revealed to me the parts that are still grade and praised driven. I am still a student and person who loves to get authority approval, recognition and attention. However the face has changed a little. It is still though something I am working on in seeing grades as a way of seeing how hard people work and how worthwhile they are. A good grade though has changed its face fortunately. I now identify more with people with life experience more than a diploma. My parents asked me if I would date someone who had never gone to school or gotten their GED and I replied immediately of course because I know that that person still worked hard because that is what life requires. Especially in a society that values a person more if they have an “education”. How I value a person though is if they have “smarts” like whether they know about and affect the issues in our culture and world that change both. Or are they just a say so person that believes in whatever is taught. So I have a mix of pride in my ability to get myself out of that way of thinking without directly addressing it but by directly address that part of it am I able to change it even more for the better. Part of it was my English class at my high school. Part of my high school’s curriculum was social justice so some teachers were truly interested in content more than memorization. In fact if you just imitated the book and showed no thinking process of your own and how it affected your life, you would fail. My English teacher Mr. McHenry was hated for this, including by me. I was the one who was obsessed with grades and I prized myself higher than the other students. I never really made any good friends in high school as well and I was really lonely. I got the grades though. Mr. McHenry however wanted MY opinion and then to use what I just read to support it. Also I began to admire students who I would before designate as stupid or clowns. I admired one guy named Hector. While he showed no enthusiasm for getting good grades, in fact I think he was constantly barely passing, he seemed to get the highly complex concepts that we were learning. Concepts like Othering in the White mainstream and the paradox of the way public schools teach kids not to think and then do but to do without thinking. (Because this topic isn’t new to me. Sorry but Mr. McHenry got her first)
Unfortunately through all of this talk, mainstream teaching has left its mark on me. However my view of the authority figure has changed. It isn’t “the teacher” who I am trying to impress now with my knowledge of stuff that doesn’t matter to me but the person who I feel really knows a lot more than I do about a typical subject. It’s still an unhealthy habit to constantly try to please an authority figure but it’s starting to balance and I have a feeling time will do it’s job.
The safest way of having no thoughts of one’s own is to take up a book every moment one has nothing else to do. It is this practice, which explains why erudition makes most men more stupid and silly than they are by nature. I both disagree and agree with this statement. While many people I know who feel themselves book learned and knowledgeable are certified idiots, it’s because they aren’t reading the book for content about their own life. Usually I am doing exactly what Schopenhauer says. If I am not doing anything else I pick up a book or read a blog. However even though the habit back in my high school days did make me number to socialization, the habit now helps in growing who I am BECAUSE I know that the experiences go a lot farther than the book itself. It isn’t the books anymore that I think have the most knowledge but the people who wrote them. I mean, this in itself, the text we read, is a book. And as long as one has already thought past what the book says to what the author is communicating about a certain aspect of live, I see no problem with reading. Especially if one knows that reading about an experience can never replace the experience.
This article is definitely not all inclusive and seems to speak more to middle class students with the time and wealth to not only decide to not care about grades but also to take off from school when the reality for some people might be that scholarships are the only way they can get a better education to get a better job to feed themselves. It also looks out a white, privileged, middle class lens predominantly.
Friday, August 14, 2009
Do you tend to
let things happen naturally
plan your actions in advance
Well, i tend to imagine how arguments with people about certain issues will go and how i will answer points i think will be brought up. however i get irritated when there is too much planning and not enough doing. i guess the former
In your opinion most people are
unworthy of real trust
worthy of real trust
Well it depends on who "most people" are categorized as. lately most white people and some people of color that i've trusted come up short when talking about things that bother me i.e. institutional racism, american privilege, etc. so i was trusting before but now, not really. and if you are thinking "that stuff doesnt have anything to do with this question, you probably have no business reading this blog.
Do you admire people who are
stable and successful
stable and successful in my world usually means rich and privileged and not thinking about other people. and profoud people are the people who are my role models.
Do you find it
easy to talk about your feelings
difficult to talk about your feelings
easier with people who are thinking along the lines that i am but hard with everyone else since i dont know what to say to get them to understand me.
When confronted with a sudden question do you
wait for someone else to respond first
usually respond first
I like attention, i like answering questions..
When searching for a solution are you more interested in
the solution itself
i think the process is most important but when actually in the process i want the solution NOW!
Do you more often prefer to
know what you are getting yourself into
adapt to new situations
I hate being disappointed. surprised is fine but disappointed not. and my least favorite part of school is adapting in the beginning. sooo...
Are you more interested in
your own thoughts and feelings
what is happening around you
i am always looking for what is happening around me...but usually to make me better at dealing or aiding it...hmmm
Would you say that you have more
astute observational powers
hmmm, im rather ok at picking up on what is going on by observing but i also see pretty well to the heart of things, only with help though
I just realize that these quizzes are hard because im busy struggling for an ideal me instead of taking the actual me as she is.
Do you tend to
readily help people while asking nothing in return
expect something in return when you help someone
unfortunately, im not there yet.
I like to say im something because i know the good it will lead to. but i havent accepted a lot of things about myself yet.
Extroversion, iNtuitive, Feeling, Perceptive
my ideal me though was an INFJ/INFP
i wish i was a lot less loud and a lot more thinking about the things i say
I want to have been born somewhere else
Be someone else
and not have this weight of the blood and desperation of those who are forced to support my American lifestyle
I've had it easy and it has made me weak
I want to not be used to getting chocolate at any grocery, having so much food SO MUCH FOOD at my disposal
And i want not to feel incredibly privileged and selfish that I wish I didnt have things that people would and do die to have everyday
nobody deserves that and yet my lifestyle directly funds it
and i hate feeling like there is nothing i can do about it while my daily "necessities" bleed and scream.
I dont want to want this privilege because it tastes just as good as it does terrible
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
1. How in the world might I try to fix this when there are people on all sides ready to take protestors out?
2. Why would I try to follow the example of American Revolutionaries when it is their fault for the slaughter of Native Americans ( including my own ancestors) and the enslavement of Africans (and other people of color) and the drainage of resources from any country of color
3. why does this empire building thing increasingly seem like a white thing. it is the countries of color (and few white countries) that are being exploited and white countries that are doing the exploiting
4. what can i, a light skinned, black, middle class, American teen do, especially since my voice is one of the last to be heard including in my own race
5. how big of a role does the racialization of europeans and countries of color play in the "economics"? especially in who is the oppressor.
6. what responsibility as a BLACK middle class teen do I have over these events considering that even selling out is a act of survival and made necessary by the white majority power who made these exploitative decisions in the first place? I know i feel responsibility for my lifestyle and it's not all whitey's fault but just how much do i do?
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil
Last July I was baptized. Some of what I remember are how I opted out of the baptismal gown, how quick the dip was, and how members of the church started to sing wade in the water after I was done. But probably the thing I remember the most is how different my life became after that. Once I made a promise to accept Christ I immediately started making the changes I thought I needed to make in my life. Changes like not cursing, not saying God’s name as an expression and reading the Bible everyday. Bigger changes like what exactly I believed and how life works, were just beginning. Unfortunately my understanding of the religion of Christianity and of life in general was (and still is) very limited. Many times being “Christian” means being a person who does good and not just a good and decent person. Decent people still make bad decisions and hurt other people. I have come to realize that the action of doing good is a lot more important. Doing right by others meant I had to focus on doing right myself. So that is what my heart and soul is trying for. But the process of figuring this out was a long and hard one. Especially when trying to figure out what exactly is the right thing to do.
“Doing good” turns out not to be such an abstract concept. In fact, the reality is a lot more familiar. In the beginning of my time as a baptized Christian I was focused on being the “say it loud, say it proud” kind of person, the kind you see on street corner and passing out pamphlets. Church was supposed to be this big celebration cause, hey, even if no one listened to me, I knew I was right and that my sins were done. I had made it. Songs were to celebrate our victory in front of the vague and obvious evils in life like drugs, sex, money, and cable television. Fortunately my social education at Jones in regard to questioning everything taught me to look behind every curtain to find the “why”. In this case, figure out why these evils were labeled evil. Fortunately firsthand experience is not always needed, but an open mind and empathetic heart is. For example, if you know someone got burned by putting his or her hand in the fire, you understand you probably shouldn’t do it. However I wouldn’t stop at just not doing it. I would ask, why’d they stick it in the fire in the first place, how does the flame burn you, what scar does it leave afterward. Certain evils then start to have much more familiar faces.
However, something else that I figured out, is that some evils aren’t as obvious or as general. I can’t designate “acting like a good person” separate from playing video games, or laughing with my friends, or texting on my phone. It’s funny but I found that being good in fact was defined by all the “extra” activities that I did outside Sunday and church. And also I found new ways of thinking and looking at life and how we all live it.
If I bring up the subject of racism, sexism, capitalism or politics, and it’s everyday appearance in my and everybody else way of life, I feel that I am being a good person. Why? I’ve realized that these general and horrible things underline many of the things we do and think. In fact, these issues aren’t as obvious as a slur here and an open insult there. Usually, like in the case of institutionalized racism in daily life, I end up attempting to educate myself on centuries long and extremely complicated fights about issues that seemed really simple. An example? My hair.
My hair use to be permed and in shoulder-length braids. The hair in my braids was mostly extensions. When I went away to college I read the Autobiography of Malcolm X, a fantastic book that I recommend that everyone should read at some point in their life. Some things that this book taught me was how ingrained my feeling of inadequacy about my hair was in my outlook. It just seemed normal. Birds flew, bees buzzed, black girls got perms. However a look at why I put perm into my hair was revealing. To sum it up, to have “coarse” and nappy hair is always considered wild, unprofessional, ugly, etc. And that’s because it isn’t straight. In a culture that has taught me that I am not as attractive as the silky haired blondes on TV, I had swallowed hook line and sinker that my hair had to be “tamed”. Even though my daily life, I rarely thought, “Oh I want my hair to look like a white girls, that was my mindset. People including kids from the age of 5 to teens to adults, have told me up front that my hair used to be so pretty and that now I don’t look female. The whole term “good hair” should show everybody what I mean. Good hair usually describes long and straight hair. Some people have said, it’s just a fashion but categorizing good hair and bad hair says something else entirely. Having short and essentially “black” hair is supposed to be ugly. I decided though that any hair on my head was to be appreciated, because it’s me. Some people tell me that my short and kinky hair looks too “black”. But my question is, what’s wrong with being black? Why is being black being ugly? Well, I just decided to be beautiful.
Now this is not an attack on anyone that does or does not have a perm. But my point is that for me, I decided that there was nothing wrong with my hair. There is nothing wrong with having straight or nappy hair. But I wanted to let my hair and therefore myself just be without making it into something else to be beautiful. This is what I mean by questioning everything. Something so seemingly simple as hair can be a lot more complicated and given some serious thought. It is our everyday activities that can reveal how we think of other people and ourselves.
Now this “hair explanation” probably seems a little self centered. But think how many girls are told their hair is ugly because it isn’t long or straight enough. How many teens have been teased because their hair is “too nappy’ or even the reverse, black teens whose hair is straight are attacked for being too white. How many commercials on TV feature long and straight haired girls looking beautiful? How many natural haired black women do you see on music videos, magazines, or commercials? This all helps shape how our young women think of themselves whether black, white, Latino, whatever. And this is also, to me, important in forming my idea of whether I am doing good or not. Am I helping a young black girl be strong in who she is or am I, even silently, reinforcing the stereotype that long straight hair is the only hair that can make her beautiful?
Many subjects that seem small, like hair, can be factors in knowing how to treat people like they are worthwhile human beings and not people who aren’t as pretty, aren’t as American, aren’t as smart, aren’t as rich etc. Looking at what is going on behind the scenes, to me, has been one of the most important things I feel that God has taught me. As kids and teenagers, we have the responsibilities of attempting to figure out both our parents world and our own. We can’t figure out where to go if we don’t know where we’ve been. Fortunately we have help from young adults that went through the same thing. One thing you figure out as you get older is that everything changes and that we inherit the world that our parents lived in. Someone who put that into song is Lauryn Hill. Now since I am getting up there in my years, I am not sure how many of you still remember Lauryn Hill, but I found that she really connected with youth because she was one herself at the time. One of her songs comes into mind called Everything is Everything.
I wrote these words for everyone
Who struggles in their youth
Who wont accept deception
Instead of what is truth
It seems we lose the game,
Before we even start to play
Who made these rules? were so confused
Easily led astray
Let me tell ya that
Everything is everything
Everything is everything
After winter, must come spring
Everything is everything
Sometimes it seems
Well touch that dream
But things come slow or not at all
And the ones on top, wont make it stop
So convinced that they might fall
Lets love ourselves then we cant fail
To make a better situation
Tomorrow, our seeds will grow
All we need is dedication
I remember as a kid, loving that song. But as a teenager, it started to become more of an anthem then just a good song to listen to. I remember her especially saying, let’s love ourselves and we cant fail to make a better situation. Making sure that we ourselves we are being treated as someone worth something can give us a better idea of how much others are worth as well. “Love others as you love thyself.” Meaning, don’t put yourself or anyone else in the gutter. It’s a hard thing to learn within the context of school, friends, significant others, and people we just cant stand. However if you need help, some of the best people you can ask are sitting right here. Even as we question and take steps in this world that we live in, we can still ask for help from people our age or older. Sometimes even kids can give a untouched and raw insight because in their minds are the reflection of our culture. So let’s be the ones who not only can say “I’m a Christian” but someone who God and those who may or may not live within him can proudly say, they’re good people.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
1 Thessalonians 5:21-22
Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil
Last July I was baptized. Some of what I remember the most are things like how I opted out of the baptismal gown, how quick the dip was, and how members of the church started to sing wade in the water after I was done. But probably the thing I remember the most is how more complicated and different my life became after that. Once I made a promise to accept Christianity I immediately started making the changes I thought needed to make in my life. Lesser changes like not cursing, not saying God’s name as an expressions and reading the Bible everyday. Bigger changes though were just beginning. My idea of what a Christian was supposed to act, think, and be like was (and still is) very shallow. Being “Christian” many times meant being a person who did good and not just a good and decent person. Decent people still make bad decisions and hurt other people. The action of doing good though, I have come to realize is a lot more important. Doing right by others meant I had to focus on doing right myself. So that is what my heart and soul is hinged on. But the process of figuring this out was a long and hard one. Especially when trying to figure out what exactly is the right thing to do?
Doing good turns out not to be such an abstract concept. In fact, the reality is a lot more concrete. In the beginning of my time as a Baptized Christian I was focused on being the say it loud, say it proud kind of person, the kind you see on street corner and protesting in front of abortion clinics. And church was supposed to be this big celebration cause, hey, even if no one listened to me, I knew I was right and that my sins were done. I had made it. Songs were to celebrate our victory in front of the vague and obvious evils in life like drugs, sex, money, and cable television. Fortunately my cynical education at Jones in regard to questioning and “de-constructing” everything taught me to look behind every curtain to find why. In this case, figure out why these evils were so bad. Fortunately firsthand experience is not always needed but an open mind and empathetic heart is. For example, if you know someone got burned by putting his or her hand in the fire, you probably shouldn’t do it. However I wont stop at just not doing it. I would ask, why’d they stick it in the fire in the first place, how does the flame burn you, what scar does it leave afterward. Certain evils then start to have much more defined faces.
However, something else that I figured out though is that some evils aren’t as obvious or as general. Most times being good (or a Christian) does not only fall into a certain action or a certain behavior. I can’t designate acting like a good person separate from playing video games, or laughing with my friends, or texting on my phone. It funny but I found that being good in fact was defined by all the “extra” activities that I did outside Sunday and church. And also I found new ways of thinking and looking at life and how we all live it.
If I bring up the subject of racism, sexism, capitalism or politics, and it’s everyday appearance in my and everybody else way of life, I feel that I am being a good person. Why? Because these issues aren’t as obvious as a slur here and an open insult there. In fact, I’ve realized that these general and horrible things underline many of the things we do and think. Usually, like in the case of institutionalized racism in daily life, I end up attempting to educate myself on centuries long and extremely complicated fights. An example? My hair.
To give you all a brief overview my hair use to be permed and in shoulder-length braids. The hair in my braids was mostly extensions. When I went away to college I read the Autobiography of Malcolm X, a fantastic book and one I recommend to everyone sitting here. Some things that this book taught me was how ingrained my feeling of inadequacy about my hair was in my outlook. It just seemed normal. Birds flew, bees buzzed, black girls got perms. However a look at why I put perm into my hair was revealing. To sum it up, to have “coarse” and nappy hair is always considered wild, unprofessional, ugly, etc. And that’s because it isn’t straight. In a society that has taught me that I am not as attractive as the silky haired blondes on TV, I had swallowed hook line and sinker that my hair had to be “tamed”. The whole term “good hair” should show everybody what I mean. Good hair usually describes long and straight hair. Some people have said, it’s just a fashion but categorizing good hair and bad hair says something else entirely. Having short and essentially “black” hair is supposed to be ugly. I decided though that any hair on my head was to be appreciated, because it’s me. Some people tell me that my short and kinky hair looks to “black”. But my question is, what’s wrong with being black? Why is being black being ugly? Well, I just decided to be beautiful by being “ugly”.
Now this is not an attack on anyone that does or does not have a perm. Some of my best friends have perms. But my point is that for me, I decided that there was nothing wrong with my hair. There is nothing wrong with having straight or nappy hair. But I wanted to let my hair and therefore myself just be without making it into something else to be beautiful.
Basically what I am trying to say in this long explanation of my hair is that the subject of why I got rid of my perm took a few minutes to say but in my daily life, I rarely thought “Oh I want my hair to look like a white girls”. And even though I may not have expressly said that, that was my mindset. This is what I mean by questioning everything. Something so seemingly simple as hair can be deconstructed and given some serious thought. It is our everyday activities that can explain how we think of other people and ourselves.
Now this “hair explanation” probably seems a little self centered. But think how many girls are told their hair is ugly because it isn’t long or straight enough. How many commercials on TV feature long and straight haired girls looking beautiful. How many natural haired black women do you see on music videos, magazines, or commercials? This all helps shape how our young women think of themselves whether black, white, Latino, whatever. And this is also, to me, important in forming my idea of whether I am doing good or not. Am I helping a young black girl be strong in who she is or am I, even silently, reinforcing the stereotype that long straight hair is the only hair that can make her beautiful?
Tons of seemingly small subjects like hair can be factors in knowing how to treat people like they are worthwhile human beings and not people who aren’t as pretty, aren’t as American, aren’t as smart, aren’t as rich etc. Looking at what is going on behind the seems to me has been one of the most important things I feel that God has taught me.
**Update** my mom just told me that my sermon is next sunday, not this sunday. wow im kinda slow but that means i can get more input! yay!
Saturday, July 25, 2009
A subject that is strongly reflected in my kids was the subject of my hair. If you are just tuning in, I recently decided to cut off my permed hair and rock a short do. the reasons why is a whole other note that I have written but it involves Malcolm X and my own indifference to looking "good". Anyway people's outward reactions were either along the lines of impressed or angry that a girl like me who had "long good hair" would cut it completely in favor of very short kinky hair. but my resolve to go natural is tested daily by reactions to my hair and how i think people look at me now. people have been less comfortable with my and my social conscious outbursts now that i am a "natural" black young woman. and for first impressions, im looked at with more wariness and caution than before when i was just another light skinned, long haired, girl. whether with long, extension filled braids or my permed hair.
Now the kids at my summer camp reacted in a stronger manner than my peers and other adults. kids still liked me ok (cause im a complete goofball) but i was clearly more intimidating. i was constantly mistaken for a boy or kids would ask me why i didnt look more like a woman. especially the male children. I had one little 6 year old who i had really liked tell me that i should get longer and straighter hair because my short kinky hair looked "nasty" as he slept on my shoulder, i wondered what his parents were like and what kind of people he was surrounded with.
for the first time i didnt feel very pretty. in fact for a few brief seconds, i considered, not getting a permed, but getting extensions again. fortunately that moment passed but i wont forget soon how beauty is looked at and what my going against the grain looks like to other people.
the fact that it only takes me 5 minutes to pick and spray my hair and 10 minutes to wash it though is luxury that i love.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
What we were talking about was the Gates case with the idiot white cops that were called for a supposed break ins. also my mind is stuffed with the recent racefails of the past two weeks, what with sotomayor's confirmation, the philly pool incident, and now this. and all i have heard white people say is that everybody (meaning black people) are blowing this all out of proportion and just like to play the race card. and i've had it.
and now i hear my mother talking about if Gates had just stayed inside his house and not yelled at the police officers, he wouldnt have been arrested. which ignores the whole inequity of the police being there in the first place what waiting. but after the argument was over, i felt guilt, anger, and irritation at both my mom and myself. my heart doesnt regret what i said, but my mind does.
So what my head knows is that:
1. my mother lived through the 60s and 70s. so even though she is a middle class child through and through, she stills went through much rougher stuff that i have ever. so for me to judge her feels wrong and that even if i truly believe that she is brainwashed (which i do), i owe her much more respect than i gave her
2. mothers desreve more respect
3. good mothers even more so, and my mom is the best.
My heart feels:
1. being middle class has basically placed my mom in the mindset of most middle class blacks, especially considering her attitude towards working class blacks, her prejudices against other people of color groups, her general ignorance of the world outside where we live.
2. i spend most of my time reading up on the stuff going on.
so im torn and irritated that this is a problem period.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
2. Being Black means something whether one thinks it does or not.
3. I never want to want a cookie for recognizing and/or acting on injustice.
4. My own racist/sexist/homophobic/etc thoughts need to be recognized, owned up to, then eliminated the best I can.
5. It turns out that Yeshua (Jesus) was right. I do have to be willing to give up everything, friends, family, expectations, to do what is right.
6. Punishing and berating myself isnt the same thing as humility
Monday, June 8, 2009
Keynote Speaker: Ron His Horse is Thunder- Mitakuya Oyasin (We are All Related)
Fantastic speaker. I mean, he had so many stories to tell and just his experiences in life completely astound me. Now from what I remember, Mr. Tasunka Wakinyan is the great-great grandson of Sitting Bull. Not only that but his siblings were a mix of Native American, African American, and Latino ethnicities. Not only that but his was one of the Greensboro 4, Joseph McNeil, who staged one of the first sit-ins in the 60's. Mr. Tasunka Wakinyan also grew up in HARLEM, New York. I mean I just found him so amazing to be at the center of so much greatness. Anyways, he was also talking about how Native American colleges need to have more teachers who are Native American and who teach more about how studies in school can apply to being Native American and the experiences that they do and will go through. For example he told us this story about how there was a trial with these people who wanted this land in the mountains however some Native Americans were outraged because the land had belonged to them hundreds of years ago. The opposing side tried to claim that the tribe had not occupied those mountains and the tribe proved them wrong through Astrology. Basically they could recall the position of the stars from that mountaintop hundreds of years ago, which matched the project position that the scientists had come up with.
I could go on and on about this speaker but he was just hands down amazing.
After the Keynote can that morning's sessions. At this point, I am starting to get greedy so I decide that I want to go to TWO sessions and just go back and forth. I went to both Asian Americans as the Model Minority session and Hip-Hop Criticism: Is Everybody Stupid? Both sessions were fantastic.
Asian Americans as the Model Minority:
In the beginning of this session, the speaker projected various Asian and Asian American politicians, sports players, activists, and all around famous or infamous people. I guessed like 4 correct and knew by face about 6 more (thank you 30 Most Influential Asian Americans Under 30) but I hadn’t heard of most of them.
The speaker talks about what each person did while trying to get the audience to guess. While slightly ashamed, I was very happy to be learning all of this. Then I left this session for a bit so I could go peek into the Hip-hop criticism seminar.
Hip-Hop Criticism: Is Everybody Stupid?:
This session was hosted by this awesome rapper/ spoken word artist Ise Lyfe. I mean this guy was the epitome of cool. Even his style of talking was poetic. He showed us a slideshow of various pictures he had taken that illustrated hypocrisy or something ironic or interesting about black culture and hip-hop culture. One of the most memorable slides was that of a quote by a rapper, Soulja Boy I think, who talked about how the slave owners should get some props because without them we wouldn’t be here to get all this ice and crystal...Yeah. But he was serious. What WAS serious though was Ise Lyfe would even gave us a little performance of some of his poetry and rhymes.
Around this time I headed back over to the Model Minority seminar where they were talking about this book that two Asian American women had written talking about how Asian Americans got good grades and advising the audience how to do the same. Then an argument started about whether this was a good this or not. (Totally paraphrasing right now)
after the seminar I approached the speaker about the Avatar Racebending movement and she told me to definitely email her about it since she was on her way out.
After the morning seminars, our Iowa State group (who were all wearing our I State t-shirts. there was yellow EVERYWHERE) went on a different kind of San Diego tour. The tour was called NCORE Communities Experience Tours, Experience I: Socio-ethnic Communities, Districts and Neighborhoods. A lot of this tour was made up of touring different Sand Diego neighborhoods and investigating the links between the ethnic makeup of that area and the socio economic realities and decisions. For example, a lot of highways were built cutting right across communities of color, restricting and crippling the neighborhood. We went to an area called Chicano Park, which our driver told us: "if you're not Chicano, than you shouldn’t be going there." Much of the park was painted in really vivid portraits and surreal paintings. Azteca paintings and portraits of leaders and activists like Che Quevara. I felt at this time like this was a sacred place that I even felt a little funny about riding next to.
Next we toured the Jacobsen community of which I was really impressed. We were taken to this mall like area where shops and stores had a deeper meaning to them than buying and selling. It was kind of amazing how the entire different racial group that made up Jacobsen each had a representative voice in creating this landscape. And I finally bought my first dashiki in one of the stores as well as chowin down on some carne asada with Jose. They had an open square where different huts were representative of the population that built them. One of the things I was most impressed with is how this community basically had a goal to be completely self-sustaining where all the jobs and money flowed within the neighborhood. It made me envious even because my own neighborhood Hyde Park is a self-proclaiming interracial haven. However, the class disparities are very obvious and the watering down of cultures has not skipped over Hyde Park either. In Jacobsen though, it seemed like everyone was not encouraged but demanded to be themselves, whatever culture they were a part of. They gave themselves the individual spaces to represent and keep their cultures alive, well, and most interesting, distinct. Whatever mixing there was, there wasn’t a lost of character or dilution of culture. And I envied that a little. Which made me wonder how it played out from day to day.
Once the bus started rolling through the wealthy white neighborhoods, my eyes started getting heavy, and by the time I opened them, we were back in downtown san Diego on our way to Old Town. As we passed we saw dozens of restaurants and one restaurant in particular where a woman was outside making food. Whatever they were making smelled amazing. So anyway we got back to the hotel at around 4pm.
After a quick rest in the hotel room, we went to the seminar on green living and how white the lens it when it is carried out. The New Color of Green: A Collective Voice of Change. Mostly what was talked about was how most of the time, whenever living green is brought up, most of the people leading and following it are white and why that is. Now I will admit I have forgotten some of the details about the lecture but I do remember how Mr. Jerome Ringo the host talked about how white the green movement is and how to interpret and live it for the rest of the masses. Pretty good lecture, even if a little dry.
After that, we Iowa state students had our daily meeting on what we learned and felt that day. Since I'm doing this about two months later, I can’t remember what was said. Yeah.
Anyway for dinner, some of us felt like going to the gaslamp district so I suggested going to a Thai restaurant. With that, some of us decided to go to Royal Thai while many of the guys chose to watch the NBA playoffs at some sports bar. *Cue eye roll*
so we go and chat while waiting for our food. Mostly we talk about college, dating, and stuff. And me and Liping mooned after the cute waiter :D. after a rather mediocre dinning (and some trouble over tipping) we leave the restaurant. I decided though that I could wait no longer, I HAD to go to Ghirardelli's for some chocolate. No one but Jeff, wanted to come with so we headed over to the chocolate factory. After a mint chocolate Sunday with EXTRA dark chocolate hot fudge we both head back over to the hotel just talking about school and stuff. So we're crossing the street by the hotel when some guy who was speeding down the road actually realized, hey, he actually has to stop for pedestrians (imagine that!). As he instead, weaves around us, he yells something out of his window. Since I’m a trained Chicagoan, I knew that whatever it was, it wouldn’t be good so I basically attempted to ignore him but I did here the word "crossing". I look next to me at Jeff and he looks pretty pissed off but mostly surprised. I asked him what the guy in the car said and Jeff told me that the guy had yelled, "the Mexican crossing is that way". I was mostly really peeved that someone would really be that stupid to say something like that. We started talking about what trouble that guy would have been if he hadn’t have been in a car, then I suggest that we both do the EMT stress technique thing to calm Jeff down. Then I started feeling angry at my self for not doing more and not feeling more angry than what I was actually feeling which was confusion. I wondered what made him pick Jeff to harass and not me. I mean really, I'm just as easy a target. Why not pick the black girl instead of the latino guy? And I was angry that I couldn’t feel more pissed off instead of just really irritated that we had to run into an idiot like that.
Anyway we both went back into the hotel where we met up with the rest of the NCORE people. We had missed the powwow but the dance was just starting. I go back to the room change, chill for a bit, then went back downstairs to see if they were playing any decent music. Unfortunately I was unpleasantly surprise. For a conference that was about issues dealing with race and ethnicity, the music was pretty substandard and one sided. Mostly mainstream rap played by the time I was down there. I attempted to liven things up by playing some oldies like Candy by Cameo and This is How We Do It and it was pretty cool for awhile to get some of the older people involved (electric slide included) but it went back to the rap after awhile. I tried suggesting some samba or salsa but the DJ claimed that they had played that earlier. So I said whatever and went back upstairs to get some sleep