queer. afro-latina. radical womanist. opera singer turned domestic violence & sexual assault counselor. pan-africanist. hiv harm reductionist. english teacher in korea. coffee addict. vegetarian. whipper of my hair. bjork and opera lover.
The Diverse City Fund works to nurture community leaders and grassroots projects which are acting to transform DC into a more just, vibrant place to live. Through our grantmaking, we identify, support, and connect people in communities of color who are engaged in change work. We support the development of community-level social change by funding projects that have less access to traditional funding sources. We are run and staffed by volunteers.
My first priority in a relationship is not to fall in love, but to establish trust, camaraderie, and mutual goals. Without those, the fiercest love could burn my life down like a flame unchecked. With those factors fully engaged, they set the parameters and romance becomes a blaze bound by the standards we’ve set.
It took me almost a month to get into it because of reasons, however now I’m loving how helpful and more confident it has made me become.
FYI: This book has absolutely NOTHING to do with weight loss.
I need to get this book.
i really want to see it but so scared of it being triggering. thoughts?
I was afraid of the very same thing, however those are the VERY topics that she covers and helps you get through. I’m still early in the book, however she covers how to deal with people’s unsolicited comments, how to overcome feeling like a clueless newbie in implementing new body movements, the positive benefits of body movements (strength, endurance, mood lifter), encourages you to find new and fun ways of body movements (not just suffering at the gym like we’ve been taught), and more.
Overall, this book provides a fresher and better perspective of why and how to implement body movements into our lives as well as how to deal with some of the struggles that we may run into whilst doing so.
score. thanks for the feedback, i will definitely check it out. i will look on kindle! i have been working out a lot lately, and i feel like like i’m fragile/walking a thin line around body shame. thin line? i see what i did there.
It took me almost a month to get into it because of reasons, however now I’m loving how helpful and more confident it has made me become.
FYI: This book has absolutely NOTHING to do with weight loss.
I need to get this book.
i really want to see it but so scared of it being triggering. thoughts?
Hugo Chávez is the first president in Venezuela’s history to claim and honor his Indigenous and African ancestry.
Since the first election of President Chávez in 1998, reforms have been gradually instituted to address the problems faced by the Afro-Venezuelan community and to extend to them important social, political, and economic rights.
(See Chavez’s interview about how he recognizes his African roots)
That whiteness is taken to be synonymous with privilege and social power is evidenced by the very existence of white trash as a social category … No other ethnicity is doubly marked as trash because it would be redundant within the American class system. Only socially and economically disadvantaged whites need be double marked as trash in order to distance them from the dominate standard of whiteness. White trash is a necessary social category within the logic of the American class system in order to maintain the sense of middle- and upper-class white culture as inherently superior.
ELIXHER is an award-winning online destination for Black lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer women. We are committed to making ELIXHER self-sustainable. Donate to our campaign here: indiegogo.com/projects/elixher-magazine.
Even if it’s just a reblog, it will really help guys!!!!! Trying to get as much spotlight on this as possible.
Black queer women trying to get their thing funded? CLEARLY I need to reblog this for my followers!!!!
i wish i had a #dcrapecrisiscenter hotline card on hand for moments like these. dammit, why did i change wallets?! #dcrcc
@JFierce omg, hi beautiful!
RT @crunkfeminists: "Women have to do so little to be declared “man haters”. All we have to do is name male violence for..." http://t.co/FJ…
@alesiaaaa omg, him and mindy kaling are *those* poc.
we could call Lauryn Hill's lyrics "anti-gay" but as usual, it's trans*, especially #TPOC who get thrown under the bus @TheRoot247.
@alesiaaaa donald glover makes so much more sense.
@alesiaaaa LOL. i read that as danny glover at first.
yes, @so_treu. the desire to be "seen" and to be seen as "different/better/nicer/prettier" by white folks is so strong for some poc.
yikes, @baddominicana o_O
yes! and won't own that it's totally dehumanizing. RT @so_treu man it's so funny to me how certain POC will celebrate being a token.
RT @ArriannaMarie: RT @reclaimuc The color of school closures across the country. http://t.co/D0HSZed6cs
RT @FeministGriote: Haiti's language is Creole/Kreyol. The oppressors forced French on us. Creole/Kreyol was our gift to ourselves.
Prisoner Correspondence Project (PCP) Seeking pen pals for queer inmates: http://t.co/HpPsT9swDt #PIC #prisonabolition #LGBTQ
spanish isn't any more "safe" for me. both languages remind me that i don't have a home. they remind of what isn't here.
i wish folks, especially latinos, would stop romanticizing #spanish. acting all like english is the [only] "colonizer's" language.
just saw a "duke's" commercial that shook me to the core. if any of y'all ever put mayonaise in chocolate cake, i rebuke you. right now.
@Donawa_Violeta bikini. passport. sunscreen. coins. lipgloss. ipad. ok. i'm ready.
i know that there are a couple different camps of thinking. there’s the white people all up and through their fee-fees, “BUT ALL WHITE PEOPLE AREN’T LIKE THAT!” camp. and the “BUT IF WE KEEP INTERMIXING, RACISM WILL GO AWAY!” (ie= colorblind/whitewashing) camp. and of course, just by having the audacity to assert power over my body, and heart i’m most likely to be called either 1. racist or 2. reverse racist. neither of which is possible. and if you don’t know why, you should stop reading right now and figure it out before you come back. clearly, i am speaking only from my experience, and and other folks of color who decide to invest in emotional, romantic, intimate relationships with white folks, it’s their business, and has no bearing on my ability to support them, stand with them in solidarity, as long as they don’t project any internalized racism my way. i love all my peeps. and all my peeps can make the best decisions for themselves, their familias and their hearts. i’m just talking about my choice.
contrary to popular belief, i don’t actually buy into the idea that “you just can’t help who you fall in love with” which i sometimes hear when people talking about falling in love, unexpectedly with a white person. i believe, like bell hooks so beautifully writes in all about love, that love is an action, a decision, a verb, and most of all a choice. we are not powerless, and love isn’t a pit we fall into. so, i therefore choose to love myself, and in loving myself, i feel like my partners are a reflection of myself, and the love i have for my (MY) community. our most intimate love grows in concentric circles into our community. of course, people define community for themselves, in different ways. the way i choose to build my community centers on the voices and lives, and protection, and safety of queer people of color. and white folks ain’t never kept me or us safe. and it’s not looking like they are about to start. so we gon’ have to save ourselves. and that may mean we have to do it without our white friends. (i should know. i currently have three white friends). self-preservation and coping is not racism. THIS is why all the black kids sat together in the cafeteria.
a common response i get from people when i say that i don’t date white folks is “but aren’t you limiting yourself/your dating pool”? but i didn’t say i only date one race. non-white folks make up 80% of the world’s population. that’s still a lot of people to fall in love with, or at least do it to before i die. i’ve spent my entire life learning about white folks, reading their books, getting their degrees, sitting at their cafeteria tables. the idea that i could assert autonomy, self-love, self-preservation, and fight against white racism by building loving community with other colored folks enrages them- they don’t like feeling left out.
i think that the reason that this bothers white folks so much is because it means immediately upon meeting me that they don’t have access to the very thing they believe (and that society reinforces) they should have access to. my body. white folks think they run this shit. lemme tell you something. it’s mine. they cain’t have it.
and even the most well meaning white folks are still impacted by power/privilege. and even when they are being actively anti-racist (here’s a cookie, white people), they get in their feelings, they fuck up. i have been so hurt, so let down, so disappointed and so shocked by my most radical white friends’ racism— the kind that sneaks up on you just when you let your guard down. we all fuck up. the difference is, i engage in critical race analysis every day of my life. at the center of the word kyriarchy, are lives like mine. and it’s not theoretical. i work at women’s organizations where i deal with cis white straight women’s “feminism” on the regular. i deal with racism everyday. i would like my house, my bed to be the one place, and probably the only place where i don’t have to deal with white racism. there are enough other dynamics to deal with. like being poly, being poor, queer, being a survivor, being a person with a history of disordered eating and having asthma. whiteness cannot come home with me. i don’t have the energy to dissect whether doggie style is actually a reinforcement of “the man’s” grasp on my economic mobility or feel like nude inspection by my lover has me back on auction blocks. i don’t want to be a fetish, an experiment, a prize. i’m not “brown sugar” spicy, or sassy. (i know, i know, not all white people are like this. k thanks, bye.) but a history of oppression, of racism, of slavery and genocide has very real, very psychic, traumatic impacts so i take care of myself by disengaging with white folks in that way.
it doesn’t mean we can’t be friends, and dear, loved ones. it doesn’t mean that we can’t share secrets, love each other and go for drinks, break bread, go on road trips, and work collaboratively in ending oppression. it just means i don’t want to let white folks in my panties, which is where my heart lives. and their hurt feelings about this do not kill them. however white racism rapes us, kills us, and then makes a mockery of our death by turning our mutilated effigies into cake that white people eat while laughing and smiling.
[for discussion of sexual violence, body shame and self-harm].
i have been sitting with the fact that it is sexual assault awareness month for days. seventeen of them to be exact. it’s not that i’d forgotten. after years of doing anti-violence work, SAAM is practically omnipresent. i didn’t forget about SAAM at all, nor was i completely ignoring it. instead, i’ve been thinking about how to talk about violence in a way that is new and maybe, for myself, i wanted to think about ways to talk about violence that weren’t so painful, and triggering. i haven’t come up with it yet. i don’t know if there are ways to describe sexual violence that aren’t, like violence, invasive, hurtful and traumatic. i’ve been triggered quite a bit lately. my heart feels like it’s on empathy overload. lots of tears, accompanied by flashbacks, and nightmares. my inner child is screaming for love, affection, and physical and emotional safety in a world that rarely feels safe. so i wrote my inner child a letter, to remind her that i am listening.
it’s your eighth birthday. you are spending it in your room writing stories, drawing pictures and humming to yourself. you often write stories about your abuse. you already know that what is happening is wrong, even though you don’t have the words yet. you are so smart. mijita, don’t be so hard on yourself. i can’t pinpoint when this started for you— you are the oldest child, and a virgo. i’m not sure how much of this influences your desire to be perfect, but i promise, you are perfect, right now.
i’m so sorry that you didn’t get the love and support you needed. i am so sorry that you aren’t and weren’t safe in your home. i’m sorry that you were constantly told you were bad, and dirty, and believed it. you did everything you could to be good. did you know that? did you know that you were and still are good?
i want you to know that what he did was bad. you did your best to protect yourself, and you shouldn’t have had to. you were so young. you didn’t do anything wrong. and you didn’t do anything to deserve it. it must have been so hard to laugh, and trust, even though you were being hurt in your own chaotic home. you are so brave to keep laughing. you were always so imaginative, and smart. i admire that about you. i’m sorry that no matter how many times you tried to tell your story in your own way, no one heard you. i’m sorry that when you overdosed on pills, or started cutting, that no one paid attention to what you needed. i’m sorry you went hungry so many nights, trying to change your body from the body that was abused into a new body you could live with. i’m sorry that you felt the need to pour yourself into everything you did, perfectly, so that you disappeared into perfection and goodness. you don’t have to do anything to be good. you already are. that was not the only way to be seen. i see you now.
i know that sometimes, people scare you. especially when you have never been kept safe by anyone but yourself. i’m sorry you had to do it all alone. but i’m here. and i’m listening to you. no matter how many people didn’t hear you, abandoned you, neglected or abused you in the past, know that you are safe now. and i will never leave you. i promise to be a good listener for you. i promise to trust and hear you when you are afraid. and when you are bursting with joy and laughter, i promise to hear that too. because i love you and you deserve love, safety, and happiness.
you can stop blaming yourself now.
i love you.
you are loved.
i am at a crossroads. there is some coming together, and some falling apart. i have hurt and been hurt, i have loved, and been loved. i have fallen devastatingly short of expectations, and in some ways, never expected anything to begin with. i have fallen in love with myself, and with many loves, in many ways. i have thought about how to repair the brokenness. the hurt. our collective hurt. i have been thinking about the ways that we turn our hurts into love. the magic, the alchemy, the art of love, thinking about how our hearts, filled with rage, disappointments, shame, guilt, funnel through eyes, and touches, and holding, and kisses, and become streams of love with support, empathy. how, just surviving together, just being in community together with our various identities, with our different lived experiences, turns our pain into love for ourselves and each other. the ways that we nurse one another, the aches– the way that, with love, “everything copper becomes gold” [rumi]. appreciating today, the ways in which love can be transformative.
if you are genuinely interested in other people’s culture, and are not intending to mock, be hurtful and racist (even though you are) or buy into a trend, read a book about them, learn about thier history, and how that history affects their socio-political experiences today. do some political activism in collaboration with the community. not the kind where you think you are saving us, the kind that is actually collaborative. volunteer in communities you care about. help those communities dismantle racism by being responsible for your [and your peers’] actions and privilege. help prevent further colonization, imperialism, deforestation, in the cultures you are “intrigued by.” if you “don’t intend to be racist” don’t wear our cultural symbols as trends, or “costumes” because for some of us, that is a meaningful part of our everyday life. not an odd, other, exotic thing to be showcased, or exploited. there are other ways to show interest in a community or culture besides wearing it on your sleeve. do a little more research please. but most of all, if you want to wear cultural symbols as trends, use your own culture. (photo from here).
trying to find the words to describe how much i actually hate when able-bodied people (like myself) say things like “suffering from a disability” or “suffering from a mental illness.” this may be completely about nitpicky semantics, but in my personal opinion, i think it sounds condescending and paternalistic. there. i said it.
now. this obviously doesn’t mean that chronic pain isn’t painful, or that the side effects of medications don’t make people nauseous, this doesn’t mean that the physical manifestations of depression don’t make it difficult (and often physically painful) to get out of bed. but not everyone is “suffering” from their diagnosis- some folks may be. but not everyone. people are much more resilient than we give them and ourselves credit for. i don’t think people have not learned to navigate, survive, and live with having disabilities in a world not designed for them. they shouldn’t have to. but they do.
i think, more often, folks are “suffering” from ableism, and it’s trappings. folks are suffering at the hands of a society that pathologizes them, uses words like lame, retarded and crazy as synonyms for bad and abnormal, makes getting resources a million times harder, makes getting into the metro harder and sometimes impossible, keeps them from getting healthcare, restricts benefits, reinforces negative stereotypes about them, labels them as threat to society and someone (or something) to be fixed, others them socially and politically, and does everything in it’s power to prevent them from leading safe healthy, full, autonomous lives.
as an able-bodied person owning up to my own privilege, i’m in no position to decide what suffering looks like for folks living with disabilities. full stop. and i know that every person experiences their disability (physically and socio-politically) differently, and some folks with disabilities may really identify with the idea of suffering. and those voices are important. i imagine that there is not a general assembly consensus among people with disabilities around all forms of language, just like any other marginalized group. but “sufferer” is a label i don’t feel comfortable giving someone else. actually, i’m not even sure that’s a word. either way, i’ll let folks decide whether they are suffering or not. and isn’t that the basis of our autonomy? the ability to name ourselves and describe our experiences?
i think the word “suffering” coming out of the mouths of people who are not a part of that community and identity makes folks with disabilities sound unable to live happy, full lives solely based on ability- ill-equipped, less than “normal,” and therefore, less than human. i don’t think it’s ever helpful to compare oppressions, but as an example of shifting the paradigm, i might say that black folks suffered from slavery and institutions of racism. they did not, however, suffer from blackness. blackness is not the problem, just like a person’s disability is not always the problem, and isn’t necessarily a source of suffering. despite how often doctors, medical models and society will tell us that people need to be “fixed.” disability is not the problem, ableism is.
what are your thoughts about the language of suffering?
do i have this all wrong?
some cisgender men [sometimes] couple with women. this doesn’t neccessarily make them more aware of patriarchy, or exonerate them from having to address their sexism, right? it is assumed that even if a cis man dates women, he will still hold on to his male privilege. he will not lose male privilege as a result of dating women. men who date women may still be abusive or violent. dating women doesn’t automatically mean that men will never act out male privilege again, harbor gender stereotypes, or be all-out chauvanists.
so, why do we so often assume that just because a white person is dating a person of color, that they deserve a get-out-of-racism free pass, don’t maintain and act out white privilege, or somehow “can’t be racist” just because they are coupled with a brown person?
i’m curious. is this a realistic, fair analogy?
in addition to raping, pillaging, burning down homes, and mass genocide of indigenous people, he probably would have also hated gays as much as he hated the value and worth and dignity of all brown and black people. needless to say, today is a complicated day. it is at once a day of memorial, a day of resisting the racist ideology of the celebration of “columbus day” and simultaneously, a day of resisting heteronormative views of happy, healthy relationships, by coming out as GLBTQ.
i think that both of these “celebrations” and resistances speak to struggles for visibility, struggles for recognition, making peace, creating equity, and reparations for a struggle. this is in no way comparing a day sponsored by HRC (really, what have they done for me lately?) to the mass genocide of millions of indigenous people throughout the america’s sparked by columbus’ hap hazard, and accidental landing in “america.” but i think these two days, falling together this year, is an incredible teaching moment. a reminder of the interconnectedness of oppressions, and our struggles to fight back—even from the margins of society.
columbus is not a man i choose to celebrate. and i also recognize that coming out, for some of us, may not just be uncomfortable, but also unsafe. and in the wake of many heartbreaking suicides by our young LGBTQ family, and the recent torture of three young men in NY we have to remember, that it’s homophobia, justified fear, and discrimination that keeps people closeted. a catchy campaign slogan will not keep us safe. being “single-issue” movements will not keep us safe. only dismantling all forms of oppression will save us now. so, today, i memorialize the indigenous lives that were lost as a result of columbus’ landing on their shores. but indigenous folks are still here, still surviving, living. so, i stand in solidarity with urbanized, and reservation dwelling modern native americans (from all parts of the americas) whose families and lives are ripped apart by poverty, systematic racism, and marginalization, and false eurocentric “borders.” and i stand with queer folks. if you are coming out today- you are so brave and millions of native americans, and queers folks today are standing together in solidarity and righteous anger, saying “down with celebrations of columbus, and down with homphobia.”
i’m cheating on wordpress with tumblr.
i will still be posting here regularly.
however, my new tumblr page is the less wordy version of myself.
over the past few days, a new “movement” has been brewing, almost to critical proportions. the “no wedding, no womb” discussion seems to call for (based on what i’ve read here) an end to single parenthood, and what seems to be specifically mother hood, in the black community. their premise is the “idea that a two-parent household is better than a single, struggling one.” it calls for accountability in child bearing, and sexual responsibility. ok. i can get with that. i mean, raising children IS a huge responsibility, not to be taken lightly, and who doesn’t love the ability to make sexual reproduction choices? that’s what reproductive justice is about, right?
i’ve read numerous articles by various contributors to this blogging movement. It might be impossible to read them all, there are probably a hundred of them at this point- all with slightly different viewpoints, and stories to share. each one is valuable in their own way, and there is no arguing with people’s personal experiences– so i won’t. full stop. i have also had numerous conversations with people who vehemently disagree with this movement’s theory and solutions to what may be a very real issue, worth discussing. I might even venture to say that many of us disagree about the very root of the problem.
i guess i shouldn’t really be so worked up about this conversation- it is very clear that no matter what i do, I will ultimately be a dysfunctional parent. no matter how much love, safety, affection, attention, resources i give my children and no matter how much healthy, happy, stable, well-adjusted community they have, they will underachieve because…they won’t have a father [in their very traditional sense of the word]. it seems, based on the information page i have read, that this campaign is targeted to mothers who co-parent with men. only. wait. maybe i can’t get with this.
But NWNW doesn’t NECESSARILY equate to marriage, per se, but commitment–a lifelong partnership between mother and father. Both are “married” to the idea that a two-parent household is better than a single, struggling one.
now, based on this definition of what constitutes “good parenting,” I completely fall out of the norms of what society and NWNW deems as healthy for children. i am so glad that it does at least mention that marriage isn’t the only option for raising children. but I am so curious about why the idea of a two-parent home is better. maybe there is an assumption that being a single parent always means a struggle. or that being single means “alone” or “without any support networks.”
also, they have made their stance on sexuality and gender pretty clear [from most of the blogs I have read]. only men can raise boys [to do manly things, of course, like throw footballs, and such]. i was also perusing, and found this little nugget of a comment, written by the founder of the #nwnw movement herself, regarding her post “funny friday: funny excuses to have kids with no daddy.” i wonder if being a lesbian couple in a long-term, committed relationship and adopting children is a funny excuse to have kids with no daddy. needless to say, i did not find this comment by her funny. at all.
Oh OH! I got another one: Having a baby with two parents is SO “heteronomative!” (Da hay-ll does that mean anyway? Should we all be “heteroABNORMATIVE?” WTF with a dash of What the CUSS and OMG. The world has gone MAD!)
so, if the person who created this “movement” cannot even be bothered to read a queer theory book to find out what heteronormative means, and thinks that challenging heteronormativity is mad, and hasn’t asked about LGBTQ parenting experiences in a meaningful [and not comedic or condescending] way, I will go ahead and assume that my voice, as a queer, black woman, who will potentially mother, has fabulous support networks and resources, is not valued in this conversation. not to mention that even for those lgbtq folks who want to get married, for many of us, marriage is not even an option.
there are so many times that we as black women are excluded from movements, but it is especially damaging for our communities to not consistently challenge patriarchy, gender expectations and class issues. i believe that we all have a stake in the health and safety of our children. i also believe that the concept of family, for most people of color is so much bigger than a marriage license or institution can hold. and who’s to say that’s less valid? as an afro-latino, who grew up with afro-latino and afro-carribean neighbors, i knew how important extended family was and is to many black folks from all over the diaspora. some of us are living with our mothers, (and fathers), grandparents, and an aunt or two. it is not uncommon in other parts of the world, to live it different types of family unit models than the one NWNW is suggesting.
how do we undo the ideas that an “institution” is going to make us better parents to our children? how do we create community responsibility in child nurturing that fall outside of institutions that often, are not in place to keep us safe and protected [just look at black incarceration rates]. how do we get past the idea that the ideal family consists of one “man” and one “woman” and move towards goals like “children have the right to good books and lives free of street harassment and sexual abuse?”
i mean, if we want to keep our children safe, maybe we should be talking about the fact that 40% of our little black girls will be sexually abused before they turn 18 [and all of the emotionally, psychological damage that can do to a child- especially when she is not believed], often by a father, or father figure. maybe we should be talking about the school to prison pipeline. or talking about domestic violence, and the fact that black women are killed three times more often by a spouse than white women. we’d talk about lack of affordable childcare, fair wages, fair housing, sexual education, sti and pregnancy prevention.
you see, there’s so much more that our community needs. we don’t need another slap on the wrist as black women. “women, keep your legs closed” rhetoric is so patriarchal, and dated. and frankly, I’m tired of the shaming, and tired of having other folks make demands on my womb. i mean, there was [and is] slavery, forced sterilization in puerto rico, anti-abortion laws, rape, sterilization of women with disabilities. no one has the right to tell me what kind of body is ok for pro-creation, and what kind of bank account, educational level or house size is worthy of child rearing. let’s talk about radical love instead. i reject the myth that queer families are not fit to love and care for children. I reject that idea that a two-parent model is the the only way we as black folks create loving families.
i care deeply about black children. i’m not saying that our children don’t need loving supports. i agree that black mothers cannot do it all by themselves. i’m through with being a strong black woman. we don’t have to be strong black women. but what i am suggesting, is that i, in fact, am my sister’s keeper. i have worked at rape crisis centers, domestic violence shelters, homeless shelters, all in love for, and solidarity with black [and brown and queer, and low income] women, and their [our] children. i care so much about us, that I believe it takes more than two parents– more specifically, one man and one woman to raise a child. it takes a loving, safe village to raise our children.