Tag Archives: racism
seeing space. understanding culture. and why we must fight, even as we are gagging on the Charisma Uniqueness Nerve and Talent.
This morning was trying for many reasons. but i felt good. i rode about ten miles and had some important and fierce debate.
i ove for Rupaul’s Drag Race. I am so glad that i get to escape into show- regardless of all its fuckery- because i believe that Drag and the Queers are important. We in many ways are the life blood of the culture. We are often hated because we represent a freedom that is desired and not held by so many because we are crushed under the endless boxes and ideologies of Babylon.
Are Drag queens and Queers perfect- hell no. We is just as flawed. We is just as riddled with contradictions, and evils. Just as everyone else. I think though that our unique position aand lens is one that must be seen through because there are truths taught in alienation. The outsider sees things that the assimilated cannot always because of their proximity to the seat of power. It is because of their very privilege that the privilege are blinded because they do not have to experience the world in the same manner- with the same life movings as others.
Recently the “whiteness” (white supremacy and air time of white queens has dramatically increased in my opinion and i believe that it does reflect the need for capitalism to assimilate queer lives and identities in the same way that it has/ is doing so to others that have been outcasted – People of color womyn etc. . . The price that this system will pay for not creating this false (and slight sense of inclusion) is dangerous. James Baldwin so wisely stated many moons ago, as he reflected on the Black struggle in the county, that: “the most dangerous thing a nation can do is to create within itself a body of people who have no allegiance to it.”
Thats real. Capitalism must make us feel like we belong on some level to keep the majority of folk ,who is tired, confused, lost, etc, asleep.
Media and art are key to this. Because the two things are far reaching, both in soul and in space. They are also warriors tools of our liberation. Which is why discussions around the development and use of culture must be had, in conjunction with our movings and organizing.
In response to my anger at the increasing “whiteness” on the show i was met with some very provoking emails that id like to share. Below are the messages and my responses. Holla and let me know what ya’ll think =)
once again, its all peace and love and lets keep it that way.
Remember. We’re not here to be shady, just fierce.
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anonymous asked: girl only 1 out of the past 4 winners have been white wtf are about you talking about trying to make this some big race deal.
i think that it is important to remember that while this show brings a tremendous amount joy and pride. Rupaul is one of my idols and will forever be because of her contribution to the culture and to my life. I really do believe that she speaks some of the best thoughts/ politics on finding love and alienation.
i also love Rupaul because she is Black. And i am unapologetic about that because Black queers have had major contributions to the queer world and to the larger world that are often times ignored and brushed aside- or white washed. This is the same of alot of queer communities of color. And it is important to recognize that this show- while it may just be entertainment to some also in part represents that. Rupaul and the contestants herself stand on the shoulders of that history and come from that very history.
because of the way that the society works (it is structured around what makes profit and what is “marketable”. ) the network that sponsors the show is always going to be looking for ways to increase the rating /popularity and etc… through appealing to wider audiences (this is what folks call mainstream- which historically and still today often means portraying something that is easy to consume for audiences that are either majority white and straight or operating from that lens because “whiteness” and “straightness”, in my opinion, are also ideologies in addition to physical forms. And we’ve seen this happen with a lot of shows in different forms. Some shows aren’t as popular (because they don’t reach a “wide enough” audience which in many instances means it’s very specific to a particular people and don’t have enough interest to get the ratings.
Because of this and because of the very nature of all of this. Logo and Drag Race are in a position of having to “sell” queerness to larger audiences of straight folk and this show in particular, which is built off of alot of the Ballroom scene and Black drag and/or gay history, is in the position of selling “Black queer culture” not only to a larger straight audience BUT ALSO to an audience that is not that familiar with it. In fact, the audience- as are almost all socialized to devour this countries media- is socialized without even thinking it, to appreciate the white/ western world view.
Over the past two years (in which we do see a drastic increase in production value, funding, promotion, etc. . we have also seen a decrease in queens of color that are viable contenders for the title. we have also seen an dramatic increase in white queens receiving access, air time and fame to/ from the show. And i believe this is because this helps to make the show more acceptable- more consumable by the masses. Male bodies of color have increasingly become more objectified and de-humanized. The pit crew was never much but they really have been blatently reduced to dick shots and i do not think that this was a mistake that these are two men of color. I definitely don’t believe its a mistake or coincidence when i look at how my brother’s bodies are treated in the gay community and the larger community.
Does this mean that white queens have no talent or place? No. Not at all. White queens have also had great impact and left brilliant legacies in the world of drag (on and off the show) But we do need to talk about access and privilege. Who has access to the means to get exposure? Who has access to create their own spaces? Who makes/ enforces the rules in this space? These questions are real to me. Because beyond the realm of this show- these queens are real people and lead real lives to have roots in all of our communities and socializations. Black and Brown folk and queens of color in general are on the shit end of these questions and that must be recognized. If we were to ignore that it is easier to receive attention and notability for white queens than it is for others… if we were to ignore that white queens in most cases do hold access to greater wealth and have the power to define these spaces- ones that dehumanize, objectify, and ultimately alienate a lot of queer bodies of color- there we would be affirming racism by ignoring material realities.
It is also a sore spot for me because this show was not built exclusively by queens of color but they overwhelmingly (and i will say by far were responsible for the popularity and success before the immense funding came. the first two seasons the ones that set the stage for it become bigger and bigger in later ones) This contribution is also due in fact to the legacies and ways that drag has been shaped in particular communities of color: the Black and Brown Ballroom, Puerto Rico, Laos, The Philippines. It would be a mistake to just look at my post in the context of who has won the show. Im reacting the the body and entire spirit of this beautiful show.
And as i see gentrification, genocide, and the like threaten the lives, cultures and livelihoods of folks of color- i cannot look at this show and not see it as apart of that process of stripping access and reinforcing the lines of privilege- who has it and who doesn’t. This process is not new and in fact a very historical process by which new ways to see/bring cultures to the larger view ultimately become exploitation for profit, disrespect and appropriation. And in this process important space,which was fought for and validated through the expressions and lives of people of color, is taken and altered. Afterwards those who were instrumental in making these spaces are often left – unable to make a living off of their inventions and even denied the praise and respect they so rightfully deserved.
And this is because this show and all media/ art are reflections of the culture and it’s intentions. I don’t want to blindly watch a show. My reactions, i feel are very rational and i would also like for you (if you message me again to do so with respect and not immediate assume anything about what i think.) And lets not use the discomfort to create harm.
im so down to share- talk discuss and disagree but lets do so kindly.
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Anonymous asked: You sound jealous and poor.
And you would appear to be a punk because there isn’t a name behind this comment.
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“words can never hurt you. only your perception of those words.” – Jynx. Spoken like a white person
Apparently, as a white person, I am immune to the negative effects that some words have.
Please forgive me for never checking this privilege. Never again…
Oh god. Comma splices, sentences ending in prepositions… That was a mess, dude. Reading it almost hurt my eyes. Perhaps you’re right about me [the honky] needing glasses. Why don’t you check your “eyesight privilege”?
I’ll have you know that I don’t just identify as being white. I’m actually transethnic, bicurious, postindustrial, transpermic, bifocal… and don’t even get me started on my headmates.
I also find the words “white” and “folks” racially charged [TRIGGER WARNING]. They remind me of my ancestors, who were often called names and made fun of by people of color. Did I mention that I’m transgenerational?
Clearly you don’t realize the hypocrisy of “struggling” to break from the “oppression” of words while simultaneously labeling someone as “this white person”. So explaining it to you would be an exercise in futility.
I’d say that not everything in this world is black and white, but looking at your post history, you seem to think it is. I blame people like you for ongoing racism.
#1. last time i checked when ever folk started going on and on about a correct way to write they usually were feeding into some kind of white supremacy. because there is no one way to express of speak a tongue- especially one like english in the United States (because it isn’t even in the original form.)
#2. weak comeback. if your going to come for me then i suggest you actually come. I don’t believe in half stepping- not even in dialogue so don’t start off with some weak, racist argument.
#3 if you would stop and not consider your history to be the only one that is relevant or in existence (which is something that privileged folk are always doing having a hard time doing because the privilege of not having to think about others oppression in relation to your own blinds then from actually seeing any kind of intersections and movement) then you would also learn that the word “folk” isn’t always a slur. As a Black person from South Carolina, who moved to Washington DC, and now stays in Oakland i can say that when i use the word “folk” i am not speaking from a place of hatred or prejudice. the word for the “folk” ,for the folk i grew up with and for the folk i continue to be around, is one covered in love and not meant to be an insult. once again the privilege blinds. makes you appear to be ignorant in public when ignorant statements come from you keyboard.
#4. You’re absolutely right that #3 have a long ass break for parenthesis and more commas. you know why, because if you look up the rules that you want to reference when you attack my writing, you will see that they are being used more than proficiently. Want some examples you can take look at at home? Look into a James Baldwin book and notice the commas. Look into a Walker book and clock the structure and flow. Then come back to me. hell, even look at some damn Hemingway or Steinbeck.
#5. no where did i say everything is White or Black. My usage of those labels is very important though because I am talking about a particular socialization of privilege that white folk have that creates statements like the one that Jinx made. And privilege isn’t just exclusive to White folk- just to clear that one. If I were trying to make a specific point about patriarchy and male privilege then i would very deliberately identify how men (or folk who are male bodied) are relevant in the matter. Calling out the fact the “whiteness” is not the problem. The “whiteness” and the lack of any kind of accountability is the problem.
Also, i don’t really care if you were White in terms of the skin color because the “whiteness” im referring to is in the spirit, socialization, language, and mentality
#6. Don’t come out like a lion and go back in like a lamb. Its misleadingh to act like im attacking some “civil comment” you made. I have no time for folk victimizing themselves to dodge a point. Your response to my post (which had nothing to do with you, was not on your page, and was not sent to you by me) was sarcastic. If I have never spoken to you in my life then i take sarcasm as shade and so im gong to respond with it. If you can’t take then don’t dish.
black -the color of my true love’s hair- is also the name given to my skin. and I take that name back in pride because there is nothing but strength in this flesh. i carry on, for my ancestors, the memories and experiences of lives gone by and struggles for liberation. we sing our freedom songs to one another where ever we meet: on corners- congregation pews- jail cells- bus seats- sin shacks- chat sites- taxis- dark rooms- and living rooms.
black august is the name we have given this month. in honor of all the triumphs, tragedies and challenges that Africans have faced since coming to these shores. it is also in ceremony and remembrance of fighters that we bless this cycle.
The universe has witnessed major points of african struggle, rebirth and genius in this special month: The first official slaves were brought to this country in August 1619. A general strike of slaves was called for in August of 1843. The Underground Railroad’s founding date is in August. The rebellions of Nat Turner (1831) and Gabriel Prosser (1800) were in August. The MOVE house was bombed by the state in August of 1978. Fred Hampton and Mutulu Shakur are August births. DuBois died in Ghana in August of 1963. and Jonathan Jackson, in protest of his brother George’s arrest, attempted to liberate his kin by taking hostages in the Alameda Courthouse and was killed.
we must remember our moments here. one of the greatest tools of the oppressor is to take away our connections with one another. with our history. with our knowledge that pain and suffering are not infinite and do not have to be. we can create and dream of something better. this sky is the same one that revolutions have been dreamt under and that our revolutionary foremothers moved under.
and these are thoughts for inspiration
thoughts for revolution
the people must be free.
spells is might.
they mean no harm to the people nor are they thoughts of the sinister.
spells is power and healing and love open ended and over flowing.
They is intentions sat down by our people, for centuries, under this very sun. And we existed in their embrace- guided by natural intuition and inclination. To cast a spell is to send out a thought to the universe- a blessing of peace and purpose.
bad spells. wicked womyn and forked tongues came with capitalism and the white colonizer seeking to take the resources of of womyn and people of color alike. Salem womyn. Witch womyn. Bitches they were under the male gaze. They communed with one another, prayed for one another
both blessed and affirmed one another through the healing of the Earth- our mother.
black magic. painted like the very skins who practiced it- another white myth.
my people saw sun and moon. dreamt in dirt, rose and ran in fields. laughed in the rivers i’ve hoped to know and made life accordingly. They saw signs and felt vibrations.
we honored the earth. and in turn were blessed.
a spell is a reflection of that very truth. It is a soul gift given from one to another. spells ain’t evil. They’re the makings of life.
The following was NOT written by me. This is a poem from a good comrade and friend, Mr Stewart Shaw (a powerful queer Black Oakland poet) This is in honor of Trayvon Martin and all other victims of the Maafa.
It seems that bullets really do have names written on them-
names of black boys nosing ahead just a tad
trying to smell their manhood
lick it off their top lips as they talk
to a girl who laughs at their jokes
boys who don’t know that the dark
they carry around like a badge can frighten; scare
grown men so bad they see coons and jigaboos
in every shadow
boys who think they can taste the rainbow
carry the hope of it in their hands to light their way
believes that sweet tea makes life go down easier, think
The Song of The South is just a frolicsome
Disney ditty, not the unfettered wail
uttered from their ripening throats
just before they realize hate lives, right before
the shattering shot.
They will never know the tune is also the cry
of mothers and fathers for sons who didn’t know
the walk back home from the marketplace with goodies
is sometimes a death march.
- Stewart Shaw
Martina Davis-Correia, the sister of Troy Davis, has passed on. I remember having the opportunity to hear her speak of her brother’s trail and conviction while she was on the freedom road, attempting to get Troy off death row. Something in her eyes and voice resonated deep within me. This womyn spent the last years of her life, as she battled illness, trying to undo the wrong of this Capitalist system. Moments before Troy was executed I saw Martina get in front of news cameras and declare that “the old South will not rise again”. The pure fierceness and unrelenting passion, which echo’d so many powerful Black womyn in my life, touched me. Her passing is a great loss. Please take some time in your day to remember this womyn. Bourgeois history may forget her, as it does with many of our warriors, but her spirit lives in us. Her life carries in ours and her fight continues with ours. Till the wheels fall off. Till this system falls down. A luta continua!
Our Lives, For Martina
Our lives speak soul afro progression
Cats howling at the moon over broken Colt bottles.
The sweet rhythms of the Delta.
And the rough ones in the boogie.
Shake shacks and the state hunting us.
They speak of a justice not yet seen.
And imprisonment behind red, blue and white bars.
Our lives speak Black.
And sister, our lives speak you.
Selfless and bold.
Forever pressure put on coal.
May your life be light
and your words be felt.
Our lives speak you.
We exist more and more in a world that resembles some strange science fiction. The more Capitalism develops and seeks new ways to expand, to grant more privilege to the wealthier classes, the more we bear whiteness to frightening innovations. The following video disgusts me to no end. It is the frightening marriage of patriarchy, racism and capitalism.
I can’t help but imagine some Matrix-like future where there are factories of Brown womyn giving birth to wealthy Western womyn’s babies. We see this appropriation of Brown wombs as the latest in the exploitation of Third World womyn. Intrenched in neo-liberal/colonial/western-made poverty, womyn of “Third World” countries often find themselves being the most easily exploited section of the labor force. Everyone from Coke to Apple has a share of sweat shop labor.
The masterstroke in this nightmare comes with the fact that once again the politics of capitalism play out on the female body. It is the apart of patriarchal, capitalist workings- to have womyn’s bodies as battlefields, on which social antagonisms unfold.
And still, there is always doubt caste on why feminism and queer theory are proposed as valid points of analysis in political circles. In a society where the effects of our oppression are varied and multifaceted, it becomes necessary to analyze and engage with a lens that challenges not only the class nature of the beast but the gendered as well.