Wednesday, June 30, 2010

South End Press Seeks Editor/Publisher (Brooklyn, NY)


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South End Press

Search begins April 2010. Application deadline July 30

South End Press is making moves. We have opened an office in Brooklyn, NY. And we're hiring. We are currently seeking qualified applicants to join our small, majority women and majority people of color collective as Editor/Publisher.
You know how to bring attention to struggles and the people engaged in them. You love books. You care about social justice. Blend your avocation and vocation at South End Press, the 33-years-young political publisher of nonfiction books that advance critical thinking and action for radical social change. We are currently seeking qualified applicants to join our collective. With the other collective members, you would work to manage the business, acquire manuscripts, and edit, produce, and promote books. Interviews begin June 15, application deadline July 30. People of color and LGBTIQ people strongly encouraged to apply.

Required qualifications:
• Three years of publishing, editing, or promotions experience
• Demonstrated commitment to and knowledge of progressive and radical politics
• Familiarity with progressive and radical media
• Demonstrated ability to manage and direct long-term projects with strict timelines
• Excellent organizational and interpersonal skills
• Excellent writing skills
• Proficiency with computers, including experience with word-processing, desktop publishing, database, and spreadsheet software. Familiarity with Adobe software a plus.

Preferred qualifications:
• Knowledge of the book trade
• Organizing or media experience within communities of color and/or LGBTIQ communities
• Marketing or fundraising experience
• Experience working collectively

Responsible for:
• Working autonomously and collaboratively within a non-hierarchical structure
• Acquiring, editing, producing, and promoting non-fiction books on subjects such as: transnational feminisms, anti-racist activism, queer politics, international politics, green politics, anti-capitalist struggles, prison abolition
• Managing business departments (marketing/publicity to start, others e.g. production, rights, finances possible on a rotating basis)
• Sharing management of the business, including budgeting, collective decision-making, and office maintenance
• Communicating with current and potential authors and media contacts

Salary: $44,500
Additional 20% differential for editors with children or elders at home. Full health/dental benefits, public transit pass, four weeks paid vacation per year. People of color and LGBTIQ people strongly encouraged to apply. Send resume and cover letter, preferably in digital format and pdf if possible, to Alternatively, you may send by post to: Personnel, South End Press, PO Box 24773, Brooklyn, NY 11202-4773 or FAX (800) 960-0078. NO PHONE INQUIRIES, PLEASE.


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Dating While Feminist: Anatomy of an Intellectual Affair


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via The Crunk Feminist Collective by crunktastic on 6/30/10

Recently, I had a five-hour ice-cream date with an intelligent, ambitious, chocolate cutie, with friendly eyes and a great smile. Yep, I said five hours. He's a great conversationalist, wonderful at asking questions, and pretty interesting himself. He showed genuine interest in my career, my research, and my recent career-related travels. He respects my intelligence, told me so in not so many words. Awesome, right? This is what feminists have been fighting for.

Yes. But these days me and my well-educated hetero feminist friends have two categories of male-female relationships, if we have them at all. There are those of us with intellectual affairs and those of us with just, um, affairs. Never the twain shall meet. I am in the first category, and let me tell you that the grass is looking much, much greener on the other side.

What, pray tell, is an intellectual affair? I've had so many of them, that I might as well have a Ph.D. in that, too. Intellectual affairs revolve around the episodic mind f*ck and they have all the potential to leave you feeling just as emotionally drained as an ill-thought sexual liaison. In an intellectual affair, your mind, rather than your body, is your biggest asset. That's all the person wants you for—the amazing insight you have, the way you make them think differently, the advice you give. Ugh. Your body, however, get the short end of the stick.

Said affairs usually start like this:

You and a brother meet at an academic event. Perhaps you're both guest panelists on some discussion about Black life, culture, or politics.  You hear what he has to say and think to yourself depending on your needs at the time,  "The brother is intelligent, articulate, and cute to boot.  I wanna get to know him better." And if you're honest, you probably also think, "Wow. He could get it." The brother sees you and thinks (apparently, and I'm most certainly speculating), "Wow. She's attractive and really, really smart. Probably couldn't pull her though. I don't have enough degrees [money, etc, etc]." There are basically three types of dude reactions in this scenario: dude A will ignore you entirely. Dude B the educated, but intimidated jerk will attempt to diminish you to make himself feel better. Dude C has hometraining and considers himself progressive. He respects strong, intelligent women. His mama probably is one. So he befriends you. For you, it's the start of a beautiful friendship with tantalizing possibilities. For him, it is and will only ever be friendship, because he perceives that you are more intelligent and accomplished than he. And that makes you friendable, but not datable, and certainly not f*ckable. Why the two are mutually exclusive is absolutely beyond me.

So yes, just for today, I blame feminism for the particularly sucky state of my love life.  If you ride or die for feminism, you will inevitably find yourself in a kind of dating quicksand, knowing that you're sinking, but absolutely unable to do anything about it.  I knew I was sunk after the first hour or so.  I had a strategy, which I had mapped out diligently with my homegirl the night before. She had said to me: "Now just let him see you. You don't have to do all that feminist stuff right up front. I mean be you, but be the regular you. He's already seen you be Dr. You. Show him the other stuff."  However much my fellow feminist friends will find such talk problematic, I totally felt her, because these are the pragmatic issues of dating while feminist. So my alert went off when he kept asking me questions about my research. I really need to shift this conversation to something non-academic. And quick! Because otherwise, I'm going to be permanently in the homegirl—unwilling sage—big sister [by virtue of superior accomplishment] category before I can say the words P.H.D.

It didn't work. Every attempt to express all the reasons why my love affair with the idea of a Ph.D. is over [numero uno being this whole terrible dating scenario, numero dos being the fact that I'm acutely aware in this moment of just how warm my diploma will not be keeping me tonight] led right back to discussing the Ph.D. Now that's partially because the brother is about to embark on the journey himself. Commendable and attractive. But I'm not trying to be his advisor. If I was interested in a professional relationship, I would've invited him to office hours or lunch once the school year starts. But it's the middle of the summer and at my invitation [because feminists aren't afraid to ask for what we want] we're having ice cream at 3p.m. in the middle of the week. Clearly, this is not a professional encounter.

So there we were talking about the plight of Black girls and boys [he used to be a teacher], the plight of Black men and women and what feminism has to say about it, the vicissitudes of the academy and how to last through it. But what I really wanted to talk about was anything but that. That's what I get paid to talk about. Let's discuss music, sports, dreams, sex, love, food.

As we walked to our cars, he told me that I had "given him some things to think about." Famous last words. They mean, "you are the sister that I will call when I need some serious intellectual engagement without all the educated male posturing that happens among me and my boys. And after I call you, I'll go call my cut buddy to handle everything else." Sigh.


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The Gift of No: Clarity and Transformation

This morning I have been reading from "The Black Unicorn" by Audre Lorde...really struck this morning by how several of the poems in that collection end with a powerful statement of what is NOT

the black unicorn is not

I am
and not white.

I am
the sun and moon and forever hungry
the sharpened edge
where day and night shall meet
and not be

I have died too many deaths
that were not mine.

for the embattled
there is no place
that cannot be
nor is.

what you know
can hurt
but what you do
not know
can kill.

freed from constancy
this house
will not stand

May I owe nothing
that I cannot repay.

and of course...

we were never meant to survive.

So this morning I am thinking about the clarity of negativity. Of expressing what is not. Or what is, in its absence necessary to make present as a critical clarity, shaping what is. No can be miraculous. The liberating clarity of realizing who is NOT the right romantic partner for you, what is NOT a fulfilling way to spend your time, that a particular job is not worthy of your brilliance, that a particular social drama is NOT worth your attention.

Or more specifically... I am ready to express some clarity. I am not willing to bequeath a world to my children where Palestine is not free. Where health, and education, and food, and shelter are not acknowledged as collective concerns. Where rape is. Where people starve in rich nations. So what does it mean to act accordingly? What does it mean to honor no?

Quirky Black Girls are not willing to conform, and are not willing to settle for the society we have been handed by capitalism.

Special shouts out to all of the new members these past couple of if you'd like to be featured on the site or if you have a project you'd like us to draw some attention to!

Here in Durham we are kicking off the Lucille Clifton ShapeShifter Survival School based on the clarity and consensus that we do NOT want Child Sexual Abuse to continue as a cycle of domination in our communities. Find out more about the 4 components of the ShapeShifter Survivial School here:

Also to hear me talking about the power of Audre Lorde's refusal to NOT be her whole self on NPR...check this out!:

The world truly is not safe from its own transformation with Quirky Black Girls on the scene.
Corrine Stevie is not willing to leave the game unchanged. Join other QBG's in celebrating her collaborative musical genuis at this release party! :

Also here in the south we are not willing to let another Black Gay Pride happen unquirkified! Come help us plan how to quirk out the Black Pride Festival this Labor Day Weekend here!

And in ATL a crew of people of color are not willing to let the concept of monogamy go unchallenged. Join the conversation in person at this event for people of color talking about polyamory:

With love not limited by time or space (i.e. always)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Support Girls Preventing Sexual Assault


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Aishah Simmons, creator of No! The Rape Documentary, a documentary on sexual assault against black women, asks for financial support of The Girl/Friends Summer Institute, a sexual assault prevention and sexual health education program for teen girls in Chicago.  The Girl/Friends Summer Institute is a project of A Long Walk Home, Inc, established by Salamishah Tillet and Scheherazade Tillet.

Last year's pilot program was such a huge success that they doubled the number of applicants and will extend the program to three-weeks, train 15-girls, and offer them an increased stipend of $600.00.  They are working to raise $1800.  Help them get there!


Here is a slide show of the institute's work from the summer of 2009:


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Monday, June 28, 2010

Harry Potter Conference!

Infinitus 2010: A Harry Potter Symposium (July 15-18, 2010 in Orlando, FL) Submissions due January 16, 2010

full name / name of organization: 
HP Education Fanon, Inc.
cfp categories: 

Presented by HP Education Fanon, Inc.
Infinitus 2010:
A Harry Potter Symposium
July 15-18, 2010
Universal Studios Orlando, Florida
Imagine the infinite possibilities.

Infinitus 2010: A Harry Potter Symposium gives fans and academics a place to investigate, deconstruct, discuss, and illustrate the literary magic woven into the Harry Potter novels as it relates not only to the series, but also, its influence on the "real world". As a symposium for adult fans and scholars of the Harry Potter novels, we aim to promote scholarly analysis of the books, to provide forums for debate and analysis among fans of those works, and to provide professional development opportunities for teachers, librarians and academic scholars.

Proposals are sought for presentations, papers, moderated panels, and workshops on any topic relating to the Harry Potter novels and/or the fan community. We welcome formal papers as well as proposals for a variety of presentation models, including prepared panel discussions and workshops. For workshops in particular, we encourage topics that focus on audience participation and interaction.

Our conference theme this year, "Imagine the infinite possibilities," draws its inspiration from our location at Universal Studios Orlando, home of the brand new Wizarding World of Harry Potter. In keeping with this theme, we are seeking presenters who will explore the infinite future possibilities of all elements of the Harry Potter novels and the fan culture surrounding the novels.

Topics of particular interest relating to this year's theme:
• Real-world application of Harry Potter ethics
• The Future of Harry Potter in the College Classroom
• Fandom and activism: using fan culture for a greater good
• The path from fanfiction to publication
• Wizard rock and evolving fan community creativity
• Growing up with Harry Potter
• Gender issues and heteronormativity in the books and films
• The impact of slash and Rowling's revelations about Dumbledore on tolerance
• The business of Harry Potter – the films, merchandising, and the series' larger impact on media and culture
• Character studies (singularly, in "shipping" contexts, in comparison with other fictional characters, etc.)
• The treatment of disabilities in the Harry Potter series
• Time and distance in the Harry Potter series

Infinitus 2010 welcomes submissions in the following fields:
• Literary and Media Studies
• Law, Politics, Ethics
• Social Sciences
• Education and Library Science
• Fandom Studies and Culture
• Fan Creativity
• GLBT and/or Gender Studies

We also welcome submissions outside these areas. We encourage fresh perspectives and original presentations that develop these themes or other topics relating to the novels, derivative works in any media, and fandom culture. As you delve into any or all of the themes and fields suggested here, we invite you to imagine the infinite possibilities of each.

Presentation formats include, but are not limited to:

To submit a proposal for Infinitus 2010, please send an email no later than midnight EST on January 16, 2010 with the following information:
• Name of presenter(s):
• Email address(es) of presenter(s):
• Phone number of presenter(s):
• Title of presentation:
• Presentation format (Lecture, Panel, Roundtable or Workshop):
• Time needed for presentation (20, 50, 80, 120 minutes):
• Presentation proposal (fewer than 500 words):
• Presenter biography (fewer than 150 words):
• Equipment and materials requested (e.g. whiteboard, projector [LCD or overhead]), if any:

For Formal Programming questions that are not covered here, please email us at For more information on Infinitus 2010: A Harry Potter Symposium presented by HP Education Fanon, Inc., please visit our website at

This symposium is an unofficial event and is not endorsed by Warner Bros, the Harry Potter book publishers or J. K.
Rowling and her representatives.

"I said nothing. I was beginning to realize that he loved the woman - to her...


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via maia medicine on 6/28/10

"I said nothing. I was beginning to realize that he loved the woman - to her misfortune. There was no shame in raping a black woman, but there could be shame in loving one."


From Kindred

When I read this paragraph, my heart skipped a beat. This, as we say write in our social media short hand. THIS.

(via simplyann)

Oh. This sparked a revolution in my mind 3 years ago. At that point, I really began to understand what it meant to be a Black (slave) woman in America.

(via herzundseele)


(via blackamazon)

Yeah my brain made something of a "duuuuuuude" sound when i read these sentences.  

(via jadedhippy)


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fauxrealtho:fuckyeahbeardedladies:(via marielos)Need my...


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she had a precious childhood. and now she is harnessing her...


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via p . s . on 6/28/10

she had a precious childhood.

and now she is harnessing her grace in adulthood.

she's amazing.


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(via afro-art-chick)


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healingsakina:(via afro-art-chick)


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healingsakina:katataksrainbow:thecupcakecriminal:Wow my...


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via maia medicine on 6/26/10




Wow my grandfather was this complexion…beautiful!




Wow I have never seen people with a complexion this black. Which is one reason I want to travel! See new cultures learn about other people's way of life…

(via yagazieemezi)

 Er…..actually you can find Black people of any SHADE everywhere. You don't really need to travel to another continent, but travelling IS always fun to learn more about people!

Bless Jesenia's heart.
I love how their fabric contrasts with their skin. And i like how the first one is cheesin'. Wut sunscreen?! PSH! They don't need that! So pretty!


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healingsakina:katataksrainbow:fuckyeahblackbeauties:it was...


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(via exiledsoul, blackfashion)


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honeyedfire:iba yeye...


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via maia medicine on 6/26/10


iba yeye mi




With mine, I will but at that size, baby girl will be on my hip not back.



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little reminders!


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via p . s . on 6/27/10

little reminders!


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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Lucille Clifton Sunday ShapeShifter Rebirth BroadcastL Birthday Edition

This week…in honor of Lucille Clifton’s first birthday since her transition to starshine I offer the first of a series of weekly Sunday Rebirth Broadcasts in honor of Lucille Clifton! Today’s exercise is based on her powerful survival poem “won’t you celebrate with me.”

Lucille Clifton Sunday ShapeShifter Rebirth Broadcast: Birthday Edition from Alexis Gumbs on Vimeo.

This series of broadcasts is part of the Lucille Clifton ShapeShifter Survival School:

In honor of the great poet Lucille Clifton, who was also a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, a mother, an artist and self-identified Amazon warrior through her poetry, the Lucille Clifton ShapeShifter Survival School is especially designed for families that are committed to ending childhood sexual abuse and all forms of gendered violence. Informed by Generation 5 and the regional plan of the Atlanta Transformative Justice Collaborative, the ShapeShifter Survival School is part of a holistic process of ending child sexual abuse by creating healing community.

for more details on the 4 components of the ShapeShifter Survival School look here:

And finally…no one delivers this poem better than Ms. Lucille herself.

Happy Birthday Lucille Clifton: Announcing the Shapeshifter Survival School

Introducing the Lucille Clifton ShapeShifter Survival School in Durham, NC!!!!

In honor of the great poet Lucille Clifton, who was also a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, a mother, an artist and self-identified Amazon warrior through her poetry, the Lucille Clifton ShapeShifter Survival School is especially designed for families that are committed to ending childhood sexual abuse and all forms of gendered violence. Informed by Generation 5 and the regional plan of the Atlanta Transformative Justice Collaborative, the ShapeShifter Survival School is part of a holistic process of ending child sexual abuse by creating healing community.

The ShapeShifter Survival School has 4 components:

Lucille Clifton Sunday Rebirth Broadcasts: Every Sunday starting on Lucille Clifton's birthday (June 27th) and going until November 7th Lex will video broadcast a poem by Lucille Clifton and a survival reflection/activity.

ShapeShifter Poetry Intensive for Parents (Saturday August 21st 10am-5pm) CHILDCARE AND MEALS PROVIDED (email if you want to do childcare or donate food or photocopies!)

For all parents and caregivers and survivors of sexual violence who are committed to ending child sexual abuse this poetry intensive will allow participants to reflect on Lucille Clifton's ShapeShifter series and other poems that deal directly with her experience as a survivor of child sexual abuse and to write and share their own poetry of healing and transformation.

Suggested donation: $25-100 (monetary and in-kind donations welcome at any point in the process...we encourage asking for donations from your families of origin and communities as a way to share your vision with them of creating a world free from child sexual abuse)

On Tuesday August 24th participants and allies will reconvene over tea to check-in in a loving affirming space and to make handmade ShapeShifter booklets as a fundraiser for the continued work of the ShapeShifter Survival School .

On Wednesday September 15th we will have another check-in about the process of sharing this work and bringing up the topic of child sexual abuse in our communities.

Everett Anderson Storytime Week! (Monday September 20-Wednesday September 22) (ALL AGES INCLUSIVE DONATIONS WELCOME!)

Lucille Clifton wrote a series of books called the "Everett Anderson Books" for her children and other children that discuss difficult issues, including the loss of a loved one, internalized racism and sexism and witnessing abuse as child. With dinner and cookies and milk we will read these stories together and do a series of activities designed to help us create ways of sharing difficult and important stories across generations in our communities. We believe that sharing stories, truthtelling, is a key practice towards ending child sexual abuse and all cycles of violence in our communities.

All Souls ShapeShifter Story Making Day (Sunday Oct 31st 11am-6pm) (ALL AGES INCLUSIVE...SWEET DONATIONS WELCOME!)

Replete with costumes, candy and storymaking stations this will be a chance for us to make our own collaborative illustrated community story about transformation, facing what scares us and creating a world free from child sexual abuse and all gendered violence. Our beautiful story and our beautiful process of creating together will be a resource for us and for superheroes everywhere.

Applications for the poetry intensive coming soon! Email to express interest in participating, donating a scholarship or donating food, money, photocopies, DV tapes and other forms of love!!!!!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Notes From Kansas: by MobileHomeComing Interviewee Angela Denise Davis

*Note: We are thrilled to be practicing intergenerational love and we are learning from the best. This piece is a beautiful reflection by MobileHomeComing Interviewee Angela Denise Davis about FINDING her mother's garden.

I know there is a poem in this somewhere. It almost got lost this evening when my mother did a final spray over her garden and did not notice that my laptop was on the patio table.

My mother’s back yard is full of flavor: an old kitchen, ceiling fan turned sideways on a patio column, a black mailbox that peeks from the grapevines, an umbrella on the deck that leans to kiss the umbrella on the patio, and a striped snake whose presence is the reason for a container of mothballs on the table. I wish I had a camera.

Her back yard is her sanctuary. I find shelter in a chair that is snuggled by a palm plant and a family of pots – terra cotta, green plastic, clay, metal, and those invented out of found objects.

She is out there in the morning and in the late evening when the sun is less brutal than at mid-day.

I watched this evening as she cut down wandering vines and swept the patio clean. My father will have work to do tomorrow. I ask if I should put the cut greenery in the garden trash can.

“No,” she says.

“Mama, dad ain’t gonna like seeing this stuff on his fresh cut lawn,” I tell her.

She just replies with a chuckle that he needs to see all the work he should have done. She said he would never recognize her work if she didn’t leave the pile in the yard. She is right, of course. My father says she works too hard, but he enjoys the creation of vines structure and spirit as much as she does.

I listen as the water from the faucet trickles into a bucket she has slid under the attached hose.

“I don’t like to waste water,” she informs me and I take the bucket into her garden. The Marigolds did not get rain last night. They will thrive in their homes made of the holes in the cement blocks that line her rows of tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, and okra.

There is always work to do in this space my mother has created. This evening she wants to place hooks on the beams of her patio roof.

“Who does this when I am not here, Mama?” I ask with the answer already in my head.

“Oh, your dad,” she says. I know that she does not always have the patience to wait for him, though. Tonight, I make sure that she does not over exert herself and reach for the drill in her hand.

I step on the small, metal stool and place the drill over my head, reaching as high as I can. Three hooks later, we place the ferns and other potted plants just beneath the lattice covered with wild vines. She tells me that anyone from Alabama or Mississippi would know the name of the mass of greenery that hangs from the patio roof like a blanket of leaves. I tell her that I will ask Mary Anne about the vine which my mother thinks may be named Ms. Astor.

The night was closing fast around us, but I would not go in the house until my mother was trailing behind me. I knew that she could always find more work to do before calling it quits. She will be 70 years-old next January. She has more work in this life than she will ever finish.

“We’ll get the rest in the morning,” I tell her.

This week has been full of heart work. We have grieved the loss of her niece, my cousin. It has been a loss that has made our distance more regretful. Here, in her green world we seem to be finding our way back home to each other. We are two women working on reconciliation. Perhaps, we are planting new ways of being mother and daughter. I hope so, but do not invest too much time in expecting what the harvest of these days will bring. I am simply satisfied with the knowledge that we have planted something new between us here in her back yard even though there is more work for tomorrow.

-Angela Denise Davis

Friday, June 25, 2010

Take No Prisoners: The Policing of Black Girls


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via The Crunk Feminist Collective by crunktastic on 6/25/10

On June 16, two Black, female, Seattle teenagers were arrested and detained for jaywalking.

Marilyn Levias, the 19 year-old perpetrator, unwisely chose to resist arrest. When her friend, 17 year-old Andrea Rosenthal, intervened on her behalf, the arresting officer, Ian Walsh, punched Rosenthal in the face. She was charged with third degree assault; after apologizing later that day, she was still forced to endure a lecture from the officer about keeping her hands to herself.

Many folks in the blogosphere and news outlets have debated the rights and wrongs of this issue. Certain things are clear. It is never wise to resist arrest, even when being arrested for something ludicrous, like jaywalking. It is never okay to put hands on an officer who has taken an oath "to protect and serve," even if he is more invested in protecting his power and serving his interest than taking care of your well-being.

No, Andrea and Marilyn did not make the wisest of choices. Prevailing wisdom says that lack of wisdom is a hallmark of late adolescence. And unlike Officer Walsh, these girls are not getting paid to protect the public trust. Their job is to be happy-go-lucky, carefree teenage girls. His job, I reiterate, is to protect and serve.

In our national conscience, however, Black girls are always servants, never served, always villains, never victims. Do you think two carefree, adolescent white women cruising the streets of Seattle would have been subject to this officer's harassment? Could he have so easily sucker punched a blonde, blue-eyed, co-ed?

The ease with which this officer responded to these girls as enemies, instinctually punching Rosenthal as though she had surprised him in a sneak attack, can only be explained by the pervasive operation of a white supremacist discourse that sees Black bodies as threatening and dangerous, and therefore worthy of excessive force.

When I watch the video of this incident, the only person I see attempting to diffuse the situation is a young Black man, who grabs Rosenthal away from the officer and from her friend. He is the one who de-escalates the situation. It goes virtually unnoticed, since Black men are visible in cases like this only when they are being criminal.

We will continue to see unjust, unchecked, excessive forms of violence against Black and Brown folks in this country until we rethink our methods of policing. I am reminded of the summer after I graduated from college, when an officer threatened to club me in a Wal-Mart parking lot because my friend and I parked briefly in a no parking zone, with the permission of store security, to retrieve a package that she had inadvertently left behind.

For that officer and many others, these encounters cease quickly to be about rationality. They become a power-struggle, which the officer can win because he has a state-issued gun and billyclub. If you choose to ask questions or insist an explanation be provided, more often than not, you are met with a threat.

While I recognize police officers risk their lives, everyday, for little fanfare and even less pay, I think they, too, are victims of a policing ideology demanding they "kick butt first and take names later." Force before thought equals needless carnage, pain and death. But that's taking a rational approach.

So, while I do not excuse the behavior of these young women, I sympathize with them. They reacted to this officer as though he were an enemy, because for so many people of color, police officers are public enemy #1. And, if the enemy of my enemy is my friend, then the enemy of my friend is my enemy. Andrea rolled hard for her girl. As do I.  I commend her sentiment even though I vigorously reject her approach, desiring she remain in the land of the living.

If this had been two young Black men we would have been outraged, and rightfully so. Police brutalize Black girls, too. RIP Aiyana Stanley-Jones.  Black girls, too, are worthy of our rage.

To see the original post and other good reads on race, visit Race-Talk.


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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Be Still and Yes: Patience, Transformation and Badass Warrior Ancestors

In the name of Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press, June Jordan's anti-imperialist collection of poems Living Room, and Barbara Smith's priceless anthology Home Girls I am called to remind myself and you. Sometimes the most radical thing you can do is to stay your ass at home.

(Public sphere/private sphere dichotomies be vanquished.)

This piece of Black Feminist Herstory that I am about to share is not so old. Last year before a superstar Black Feminist Panel that we planned to present at the National Women's Studies Association meeting in Atlanta...sista revolutionary mentor comrade (y'all might know her as the creator of NO! the documentary about Black women and rape) Aishah Shahidah Simmons let us know that she would be staying home. As much as she wanted to come be with us and praise the name of Toni Cade Bambara at our We Are the Ones We've Been Waiting For panel...the real lesson the Toni Cade was bringing was a radical self-care, stay your ass at home, this is a marathon movement for transformation not a mad dash, reminder.

So Aishah stayed home.

Now when the universe collaborates to keep my stubborn behind at home, despite my ferocious will to be EVERYWHERE, I know it is Toni Cade making her lessons known. Asking again and again. Do you really want to be. Well?

Toni Cade has been active these past couple of weeks. Everyone I know has been experiencing changes in travel plans, from oil leaks, to passport issues, to being sent back across the Atlantic because of technicalities around documents, to being hit by a car while riding a bike, to identity theft, to oversleeping...and in my case to a robbery and accident that have caused the beloved Revolutionary MobileHomeComing Vehicle to be laid up in the shop with a huge hospital bill.

Despite all of this we remain shaky movers, unstoppable road warriors, dare I say...STRONG BLACK WOMEN. But today I am aware of my warrior ancestors working in subtle and complicated ways. Toni Cade especially, weaving the message, you don't have to be everywhere, home is a place, sustain your body and spirit for the long the form of all my money heading to a mechanic in Atlanta for this RV repair and my frantic plans for a MobileHomeComing presence at Harlem Pride and the Dyke March in NYC squashed. I am a stubborn student. It takes all kinds of malfunctions for me to get the message.

Stay home. Regroup. Regenerate. Remember that summer is eternal. Sigh.

So I'm getting it. And as soon as I reached out to folks about my decision to cancel this trip to NYC (did I mention I'll be missing Afro Punk!!!!) donations started streaming in for the RV and I got a message from Sallie Mae that my next payment on my student loans isn't due until 2018. Okay ancestor warrior divas. I'm learning to listen. I promise it won't take so much drama next time.

So this is what I want to share with you, honor yourself, your passionate and motivated self, by listening for when the universe is asking you to rest up for the long journey of total transformation. Be still know that the energy of the universe is working through us even while we sleep. Be still and say NO to the nagging compulsion that whatever we do is never never enough. Be still and say YES to the knowledge that as the Combahee River Collective taught us "Black women are inherently valuable" which means that our value to each other and to our movement is not based on how many things we do, how many places we can be, and how frantically we run this planet.

Be still and YES.
What is the universe telling you? What is available for you to say YES to when you are still?

As QBG's we are in a place of celebration...check out QBG' Moya's excellent pictures from the Gemini Jam in Atlanta

Some pics from the first leg of the MobileHomeComing tour to amplify the genius of queer black intergenerational community:

Painting the RV:

Kick off in Atlanta:

MobileHomeComing in Detroit:

How you can donate to Sojourner the Revolutionary Vehicle's hospital bill: Make a donation to the A Black Queer Mobile Homecoming - An

Yes yes yes. We are beautiful. Black Women are inherently valuable. I'm being very still because I know that. Be still and yes.

If you need me these next couple of know where to find me.

Love always,

Visit Quirky Black Girls at:

blackfashion:livetobewild:(via hippieglam)


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Tex-Mex Feminism


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via The Crunk Feminist Collective by crunktastic on 6/24/10

There is a reason why the CFC is a people-of-color collective. Our sheroes come in all shades of brown: Barbara Smith and Gloria Anzaldua, Chandra Mohanty and Patricia Hill Collins, Cherrie Moraga and bell hooks. Many a feminist therapy session has been devoted to healing the divide between Black and White feminists. It remains a necessary conversation, but the future of feminism is all about us brown-hued girls. And I, for one, am much more interested in stitching a dream coat of many colors in a global community of sun-kissed sisters, than I am in rehashing tired debates about whether white women will ever get it. Many will. Most won't. I'm so trying to be over it.

Besides, squabbling about who owns feminism is so 1980s. In the wise words of Jay-Z,  "We off that."

Given our commitment here @ the CFC to Brown-skinned girls everywhere, I was absolutely appalled when my colleague shared a link this week to a clip of Prophetess Juanita Bynum remixing her famous "No More Sheets" sermon series for a group of Latina churchgoers. In the early 1990s, Bynum, a protégé of T.D. Jakes, burst on the scene calling women to let go of their unfulfilling, soul-wrenching, and sinful sexual relationships. There were to be "No More Sheets" she declared. And for any woman who's ever lain down desperate and awoken disappointed and disillusioned, perhaps that message is encouraging.

I, for one, am ambivalent about the  (unhealthy) discourse of sexuality that goes on in Christian churches today—a discourse that often traffics in guilt, compels loneliness, and demands a woman's disavowal of her sexual desire in service of being holy. But as a Christian, I'm inclined to give people of faith the benefit of the doubt, since the Church has done me much more good than harm.  SN: Dr. Susan Newman's Oh God: A Black Woman's Guide to Sex and Spirituality has been a wonderful resource in my journey to have a healthy integration of sexuality and spirituality.

But alas, this post really isn't about that. It's about the kinds of silences we participate in in the name of female empowerment. It's about the need to be vulnerable, open, and honest about our shortcomings and our f*ckups, if we are ever gonna grow and be transformed in genuine community.

So when I listened to Pastor Bynum, I found myself a.) hoping that that Sister is seeing a counselor other than Jesus about her years as a victim and survivor of domestic violence b.) disappointed that she has not capitalized on a pivotal opportunity to have a real conversation about the connections between patriarchy, the Bible, antiquated gender roles, and dv; and c.) appalled that when she chose to bring her message of healing and empowerment to another group of women of color, she reduced them to the food they cooked. "No more enchiladas!" she screamed. "No more tacos." Really! Anyone named Juanita should know better. But then I couldn't be as judgmental as I was poised to be because I remembered:

In one of the very gatherings out of which the CFC was born, about six years ago, I, too, was the perpetrator of such ignorance. Dominican CFs Susana and Crunkista used to throw amazing dinner parties for the grad students of color. I remember distinctly attending one of my first parties, and seeing the great spread of food, and announcing with classic Sagittarian tactlessness, "I love Mexican food." Then I noticed the look of chagrin on Susana's face. Uh-Oh, I thought. That wasn't too bright. These chicks aren't Mexican. You fool. At the time, the extent of my exposure to Latino culture had been my brief sojourn to Cuba and my enduring love for Tex-Mex food.

Now Tex-Mex is as American as Hip Hop. It's fast and flashy and it has flavor, but lacks character.  Authentic shit takes time. #Hip Hop Ain't Dead, but It's On Life Support. Having just returned from Germany where the food was awesome, I declare that time is out for Tex-Mex approaches to food, life, spirituality, AND feminism. So as an ex-offender, I call out Sister Bynum to do better. Her words were delivered in the spirit of connection and I can get with that. But like good sex, effective activism, and lasting community, connection takes time, intentionality, and accountability. And the process is oftentimes messy. Loving patience –like that shown to me by Susana and Crunkista when they chose not to get crunk even though I deserved it—is required.

And as for televangelism, commercial Hip Hop, and Tex-Mex Feminism, I tell you like my mama told me: everything that looks good to you ain't good for you. Period.


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