Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Black Girl, Light World VII: Interracial Adoption

The thing is… adopting children from Africa *is* a fad in America, usually by White people. And my question would be “If, on the whole, White Americans cared about Black children that need families, why aren’t they adopting Black American children, the least likely children of all in America to be adopted?” This is not to say that you don’t care; what you told anonymous is true for me too, I don’t know you. But I think one of the reason that question was asked is because there is a lot of concern with Black children being adopted by White Americans, with good reason. Even well-meaning White parents cannot prepare their Black children for what it means to be Black in America. And often times those well-meaning parents have not dealt with the racism/prejudice/etc. in their own lives—that every American inherits if they don’t make a completely conscious, committed, and thorough effort to counter—before embarking on this venture, and that’s why they go so far away to adopt Black children. There is still a stigma on black people, especially African Americans.
I am not denying that many people feel a calling to certain area or people in that area, and from what I’ve read of your blog, East Africa seems to be that place for you. But as someone who cares, a better way to respond to anonymous’ question would be to address those concerns: yes, you understand that many people still have prejudicial ideas and they pass them on to their children, and anyone adopting children outside of their race needs to be extremely conscious of that *in themselves* and be ready to deal with whatever comes up, even if it touches on their own reasons for adoption, before/while they go ahead with this choice.
(Honestly anyone who is going to be a parent needs to be doing this, no matter their race or ethnicity, but the effects are exacerbated by interracial adoption and that’s a whole other blog post.)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

On Finally Catching Up To Naruto Shippuden Ep. 177



So I just finished watching Naruto, and I am entirely caught up on hulu. I've spent the last month on a Naruto binge from Naruto #59, all the way through that series and up to Naruto Shippuden #177 (that's 338 episodes or 112.7 hrs if anyone wanted to know), and I have to say that it has become one of my favorite anime series if not my favorite anime... ever. And it has been an extremely emotional ride. I admit to crying. A lot. During the Naruto/Sasuke fight at the hospital, during the Valley of the End fight, ALL during Gaara's story, when Naruto finally found Sasuke at Orochimaru's hideout but couldn't bring him home, at the end of Menma's story, during Itachi's story which effected me the most of all (OMG I was honestly sobbing, like not even like, "Oh, I'm shedding a tear at this sad moment," but like actually crying: making-the-ugly-face-and-not-being-able-to-breathe crying. It was embarrassing).

Because I've just been watching Naruto in the last month, I'm not really into the fan scene but I have noticed people hating on Sasuke, but it wasn't until Itachi's death that I understood why there was so much Sasuke hate floating around. Until then, Sasuke had been my favorite character but now... Itachi has my heart, man, for real, best big brother of the fictional world ever. I hadn't cried so hard since the end of Nabari no Ou, and please don't let me go into that! By that time in th show, I just wanted a cuddle party with my favorite tragic characters (Itachi, Lucciola & Dio, Miharu & Yoite, Menma, Haku, and Kimimaro, Kyoya, and the Hiitachin twins can jump in to fill the spaces :P). And let's not forget the Shikamaru/Asuma arc AND when both Naruto and Kakashi saw their dads, yeah, I couldn't stop the salty flow then either. (Strangely, I didn't cry at Jiraiya's death because it came too soon after the Hotaru/Utakata thing, at which I also shed copious tears and I was just too cried out). I'm not usually this much of a crier and I can't blame it on PMS because that was ALL month long, so I guess the repetition of the "this is a really sad moment" musical theme works a little too well, at least on me. Plus most watchers have time to decompress after the dramatic moment but I was just pushin' on through.

All in all, even though there were times I wanted the story to speed up and  Naruto as shinobi Jesus was a bit of a stretch for me, I really enjoyed this... experience and I really like the character development of the series. It's been a fun month, if a bewildering one for everyone else living in my house ("What?! Yes! F*** you, Orochimaru! He said before these eyes, b*tch, before THESE eyes! WHAT NOW? OH? You're dying? YOU'RE DYING? How does it feel, HUH, how does it feel!? What? Immortal? No, I don't think so; I mean, maybe it's just me, but it looks like YOU'RE DYING!" and other random outbursts, and I don't curse like, ever; Naruto definitely had me on edge!)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I hope I'm Doing This...

(edited and reposted from 5/31/09)

Never express yourself more clearly than you are able to think.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Mo' Music

1. To Lose My Life by White Lies
2. Don't Die in Me by Mirah
3. There, There by Radiohead
4. Barcelona by Soft Complex
5. The Sparrows and the Nightingales by WOLFSHEIM
6. Drowning in You by Pluramon
7. Binary Love by The Rakes
8. To the Sky by The Cure
9. Thursday by Asobi Seksu
10. Fuschia by The Mission Veo
11. Stairway to heaven ("In Concert" Live Version) by Led Zepplin
12. What Do You Go Home To by Explosions in the Sky
13. Where Does the Good Go by Tegan and Sarah

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Monday, July 5, 2010

Some of My Favorite Songs by One of My Favorite Artists

Black Girl, Light World VI: "Post-racist" Racism in Fashion

Instead of opening with a quote or beating around the bush or building my argument step-by-polished-step, I'm just going to come right out with it:

It is not cute.
It is not fashionable
It is not ironic.
It is not artistic.

It is racist.

In an industry that is still entrenched in racism, how can anyone think that blackface  is okay? I could almost ALMOST understand that thought process if the fashion industry was known for being racially equitable. But it's not.
In fact, this industry is notorious for being one of the most obviously racist. And this begs the question of why blackface?

Several of the comments on the articles about blackface assertively posit that this act in fashion has nothing to do with the history of blackface, but one of the thing these people forget is that the use of blackface to mock Black people isn't "history,"

example 1
example 2
example 3
example 4
example 5
example 6

It happens now in this day and age and not as infrequently as one might think. This insistence to revive racist practices while claiming not to be racist strikes me the same way as the White people who are so eager to justify their supposedly nonracist use of the n-word. My question is why are you so eager to use it? If you are so nonracist why are you so eager to revive the obviously prejudicial behavior of the past? Why is it such an issue that you MUST use blackface? Why not violetface, greenface, or burnt-indigo-vermilionface? No one has been able to come up with a satisfactory answer--or any answer--that I have been able to find in search of blackface in fashion. If someone want to point me in the right direction so I can know the reasoning behind these choices, I would greatly appreciate it.

Why paint models to be darker skinned when there are already models with darker skin? They aren't "representing" Black people are required to do that. They aren't "representing" anything but stereotypes of people's cultures. They aren't trying to inform bring awareness to others' cultures because the most logical thing to do there again would be to find, I don't know, actual Black models. The only thing being done is misrepresenting images of black people and blocking black models from jobs they should have since their skin tones are OBVIOUSLY what's needed for that particular show/shoot.

Oh that's right I forgot, it's those pesky African phenotypes, you know the fuller lips, broader nose, perhaps a flatter bridge, differently shaped bodies that challenge the reigning boyish (nonexistent) figure ideal. Things that might mess up the designer's  artistic (read starving androgynous Aryan) vision.

"So," the fashion industry says, "we have a few black models, we've let them succeed. We've met our quota and that gives us license to do whatever the heck we want! We're not racist anymore even though we often state specifically that we only want Caucasian models for runway shows, and feature Caucasian models more than anything in magazines, even though there are more than enough models of color looking for work. Tyra Banks did the blackface thing, so even though we are still racist and hate letting more than a few Black models through our couture lined gates, it's okay for us to perpetuate false images of Blackness (in an artistically ironic way, of course) and deny real images of Blackness in a single stroke."

The fact remains that Blackface is offensive. It is offensive BECAUSE IT OFFENDS PEOPLE. There is no reason, logical or artistic for putting people in blackface and it offends people. If it wasn't offensive, I and the others who have already done so wouldn't be writing blog posts about how it has offended them and others wouldn't be agreeing. Stop the madness!

In conclusion let me post a quote from Womanist Musings that is more eloquent than I can be on this topic:

When “Hey Hey It’s Saturday Night” did it, they defended their actions by saying that Australia is culturally different.  When Chuck Knipp decided to dress in drag and perform the Shirley Q Liquor show, he claimed to be celebrating Black women.  It was such a celebration that he named Shirley’s nineteen  children after venereal diseases and discount stores.  Not to worry, Knipp is a gay White male and as such could not possibly have any kind of bias or privilege.   There is also the infamous example of Blackface spearheaded by negro sell out Tyra Banks on “America’s Next Top Model”.  And every Halloween, some jerk decides that Blackface constitutes a costume.

Each incident is followed with a faux apology and the statement that the guilty party either did not know that Blackface is offensive, or that they didn’t mean to be offensive. Sometimes it is claimed that this art, and therefore; falls outside of the normal bounds of human decency.  While I agree that good art challenges boundaries, when it reaches the point of reducing the humanity of another, it is no longer art; it is a defacto statement of White supremacy...
No matter what the situation is, Whiteness will always defend its right to oppress as evidenced by the comments on this story:
Oh diddims... so people like Beyonce and Rihanna can get lightened, wear fake hair and air brushed to the max no one flutters an eyelid but when it's the other way round there is an up roar.

PC gone mad.. get lives people!
its not racist then when a black women straightens her hair and dyes it blonde,is it racist when whites go on the beach to get a tan,for Gods sake get a life
This is so stupid. If a melanin rich model or normal person on the street wears a fairness cream ( common in India) or tries to lighten her complexion , no one gives a hoot...but THIS causes a furore...
There is a continual refusal to put actions like Blackface into historical context because to do so, Whiteness would have to own its crimes against people of color. Skin lightening creams are extremely toxic and yet people use them because they have internalized a White standard of beauty.  It is an act of self hatred, whereas; Blackface is designed to specifically humiliate people of colour.  The two actions do not have the same goal, and yet they are placed side by side to justify racism...
Blackface has always been offensive and will continue to remain that way.  When you ignore the anger of a group of people to their obvious marginalization, it is because you have already decided that your privilege is worth more than their sense of self and humanity. 

Friday, July 2, 2010

From the Love Isn't Enough Blog by Tami Winfrey Harris

emphasis and reformatting is my own

"This little thing most black women do–
  1. covering up their real hair texture pretty much from cradle to grave, 
  2. sometimes with hair from women of other races; 
  3. aggressively speaking negatively about coarse and kinky hair; 
  4. never learning how to properly and easily care for unstraightened hair;
  5. avoiding everyday activity that might cause straightened hair to revert to its natural state–
 is ugly self-hatred that we pass on to future generations"

Friday, June 25, 2010

Black Girl, Light World V: Black Authors/Characters in Speculative Fiction

A few nights ago I was doing my usual Youtube surfing for tutorials on natural hair care and styling, when I came across the above video by AFR0STORY and she poses a question/situation that I've also pondered a a lot over the years.

I love speculative fiction in general, and fairytales & epic/high fantasy in particular. Those are the types of stories that lead me into wanting to write and the stories that instill inspire a creative spirit in me. I grew up reading and sci-fi and fantasy were the genres that I always turned to for something intriguing to read. It didn't escape my notice that most of the characters (all of the characters) were white people, or elves as white people, various aliens as animals or white people, dwarfs as white people... yeah.

I know that that affected me as a kid wanting to write speculative fiction because all my characters were at least racially ambiguous with light skin, if not white. I hadn't even really noticed that that was something I was doing. I was just writing the same types of characters that I read about in these types of books. It wasn't until I was in my late teens, that I began to question the status quo in the books I was reading--therefore questioning my own writing--and made a conscious decision decision to change that.

Part of the reason there aren't many black characters in spec-fic is because that aren't many black authors of spec-fic. Just go to wikipedia and look up spec-fic authors, then spec-fic authors of color. The difference in length between those two lists are drastic and telling. And it's kind of vicious cycle, black kids don't see characters who represent them in this genre of fiction, so they don't read those books and certainly don't care about writing them, therefore there aren't many black authors to make black characters sci-fi and fantasy. Some noted exceptions are Octavia Butler (obviously), Jeremy Love (graphic novel Bayou and others), Nalo Hopkinson, Tananrive Due, and Nnedi Okorafor (there are more, and if you're curious wikipedia is a good place to start).

I know that one of the problems that I run up against as a fantasy writer is that fantasy relies heavily on cultural mythological motifs and archetypes, and though I grew up with European fairytales as the model to work from and I'll be honest, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, The Red Shoes, Rapunzel, etc are close to my heart, those stories that are close to my heart don't represent me as a Black person or as an American (though I see that White people have no problem with identifying with princess even though there aren't any American royalty... none explicitly stated as such though there is certainly a privileged class) and when I do write a story with a black character, I don't want to just drop them in a traditionally European setting and call it a day. I want the world I build to be reflective of the background of the characters in it. But while I am African American, I am not African either, and stories about Anansi or Ituen and the King's Wife don't awaken the same... nostalgia, the same emotional investment in me, and I don't know if that's a failing on my part, if it's something I should strive to change or just realize that--for me-- this is a part of my African American experience. I learn and read about them because I do want to know, even need to know the stories of people everywhere, but they are just as unreflective because they don't relate to the culture that AAs have grown up in for the last 400 years. For me, framing a story has become difficult. Often, I have felt caught between a rock and a hard place. Where are my myths to draw from?

One writer that has helped me be much more flexible in the way I think of myth and incorporate that in my stories is Jeremy Love. Bayou is one of the best stories I've ever read and Love structures the story using traditional Southern folktales and myths and while I was reading it online (don't worry, I'm buying it and Vol. 2 as soon as I get my 2nd paycheck!) it was like something shook loose in my mind. I can do this differently. I can mix and match. So fine, this story reaches out to you, this other character, and that setting. I can mix it all in if I want to, I just have to "make it work." I do want to familiarize myself more with the works of the Black authors above, and glean from them how to approach what, for me, is a conundrum.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

This is Me Being Real

I have had it drilled into my head for the last six years to be real, so here it is:
  1. I am angry that a close friend of mine did my sister wrong and lead her along until he got booty-blinded by a mixed girl
  2. I am angry that that mixed girl was also a friend of my sister's and that neither of them feels the need to realize/admit their wrong
  3. I am angry that the above close friend chose that girl over my sister even though she is continually a bitch
  4. I am angry that he thinks himself so alternative, when in reality he is just alternative enough
  5. I am angry that the above mixed girl and another mixed girl whom I also grew up with, have a superior attitude over me and my sisters who are "100%" black (as if any African American can ensure that they are 100% anything), and treated my sister like less than  because she was not a virgin--
  6. even though they were also sexually active and giving their boyfriends head and letting them finger them, and struggled in other ways sexually. The above couple now act like they are the holiest purest things ever and when people commend them for that, they never mention that they struggled to wait in any way. But still treat my sister like less than because everyone knows about her but no one knows about them.
  7. I am angry that those girls patronized me for years because I wasn't a threat to them, what with me being fat, black, and unattractive
  8. I am angry that I still feel beholden to them because they were there for me and my sisters when my mom died, even though they have continually done us wrong since then
  9. I am angry that certain people feel like they can say whatever they want and attack people's character  in a soft voice and feel that they aren't being aggressive, but a darker-skinned person who speaks louder than they do is aggressive even if the comment itself is not in any way an attack on their person or character.
  10. I am angry that all my white and mixed acquaintances are getting married or at least in stable relationships, but there is only one black girl in sight with a good man interested in her.
  11. I am angry that this is the status quo at every single "multicutural" church I've been too
  12. I don't understand what happened to my friendships, well maybe I do. Superiority and Inferiority complexes kept people from truly trusting each other, and even though there was opportunity for change many of us dropped the ball. And over the years nothing changed.
  13. I don't understand why all this can't just be in the open. The fact us people don't like to own up to their behavior and they especially don't like being accused of racism/colorism, preferential treatment, whatever.
  14. I wish all those girls would have the experience my sister had in Peru so they could gain some understanding. (Until recently, I was the darkest person in this group of friends; when they all went on a trip to Peru, Peruvians would come up to my sister and say "Your friends are so beautiful" or ignore her altogether as they fawned over the light-skinned mixed girls. On that trip she came to understand how I felt a lot of the time when I was out with the girls, because here in the U. S., while she has recognizably African features she is considered red-boned enough to be attractive, and she is actually an attractive woman; but in Peru she was considered way too dark/ethnic-looking to be really attractive).
  15. I think it is ironic that a lot of the issues that have cropped up in these relationships have to do with race, even when almost all of the people in these relationships self-identify as black and as Christians. I think it is ironic because I believe that this may be the #1 least dealt with topic in the American church today and even intraracially, the effects of racism can be seen in a bunch of young Southern African Americans who want to love God, want to love each other, and love music.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Eternity is my desire

”He hath set eternity in their heart,” said the Preacher, and I think he here sets forth both the glory and the misery of men. To be made for eternity and forced to dwell in time is for mankind a tragedy of huge proportions. All within us cries for life and permanence, and everything around us reminds us of mortality and change. Yet that God has made us of the stuff of eternity is both a glory and a prophecy yet to be fulfilled.

A. W. Tozer--Knowlegde of the Holy

Friday, May 14, 2010

JANUARY 3, 2010

From Servant to Son--Galatians 4:1-7 esv

1I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave,[a] though he is the owner of everything, 2but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. 3In the same way we also, when we were children,(A) were enslaved to the elementary principles[b] of the world. 4But(B) when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son,(C) born(D) of woman, born(E) under the law, 5(F) to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive(G) adoption as sons. 6And because you are sons, God has sent(H) the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" 7So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then(I) an heir through God.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

A message and a dream

I was listening to a message by Corey Russell on the knowledge of God, and the entire message is awesome, but one part in particular struck me. He was quoting A. W. Tozer What happens when a natural disaster strikes? What happens when the things I've built my life and my identity around are swept away, my books, the laptop, my clothes, my music? What's left? These are the tools that let me do what I'm supposed to do and be who I am supposed to be. Or at least that's how I feel about them. I express myself on my blog and on Polyvore, I read about race, religion, philosophy, literature, and marriage, I read recreational fiction of other people expressing themselves, and I know this is who I am, Marie without a book isn't Marie.

My relationship with God and my relationship with people. My ultimate purpose in Christ and how he would have me live to fulfill that.

Sunday June 6, 2010     10:12 am

I just dreamed that Rose was going on a trip to some kind of camp with this lady and some other non gay girls. It was like they were 9th graders. Either way, the lady Mom of two of the girl, and Dad were taking forever long talking and chatting, so I go back inside after helping Rose pick something to wear on the trip. On the right side of my house there is a door into a spare room blocked by shelves full of books, but you can still see into the room and I could see this girl eating a huge plate of cake redheaded very bright, almost unnatural. Then I saw another girl who looked exactly the same. And I was startled to see the first girl much less the second. When I saw the first girl i shouted "hey!" and when I saw the second girl, I guess I thought they might have been demons, so I shouted, "Human or not!"and the first girl looked at me like i was crazy. i realize that she's one of the girls going on the trip with Rose. She tells me Dad and the Lady, their mom, i think have been and will be talking for awhile and explains that the second girl who was sitting at a table is her twin and that she is deaf and mostly mute, but she can read lips so we try to have our conversation so that she can see our faces and sign sometimes.

Some of the other girls, except Rose, drift in while they are waiting , and we talk about blogging and fashion and fiction, and time passes and some weird sexual stuff. For some reason, the phrase never say never keeps coming up or something to that effect. When they are thinking it's almost time to go the first twin starts actually introducing me to the girls because we've all just been talking so comfortably that names never actually came up. The when she starts signing and speaking to the second sister sister (Marnie or Marney, I think) She signs and struggles to say, "Johana, fashion, blogging, steam, and something to do with gears." and everyone kind of astonished because that was a lot for her to say/try to say and the first, older, twin says, "well if you can catch everything during conversation then why do i have to explain it to you?"

Another girl says, "Do you know what happened to her, why she's like that?" I say no then the dream changes because they are telling me the story. Apparently, she and her mom/sister were at the same hotel of this very popular rock band. However, the lead singer had some kind of mental/moral breakdown
and he kidnapped the girl and tortured/tried to torture and maybe possibly rape her i don't know the girl telling the story kept saying he did horrible thing but whenever i asked what those things were it was like they didn't hear me or were ignoring me and just kept on with the story. Anyway after that both he and she disappeared. They only know what happened because i guess evidence of her was found in his room and there was a ton of blood. Weeks passed and neither the singer nor she was found so everyone thought that she was dead. One day this blonde dude was beating up and hurting these kids in an alley behind the rundown hotel. The kids came running into the alley to hide from them but he saw them like 4-7 of them and started throwing bags of rice at them (i know, i know but this is a dream, not EVERYTHING can make sense) one of the bags of rice hits a kid and pins him on the dirty nasty alley floor and it starts to fall open, which wasn't unusual because so did the other thrown bags of rice. but this bag had instead the body of the singer who was now in his fifties, bald, and dead and the body of the deaf twin sister who was now older and blonde, though this was in the past. at first it looked like the girl was dead too, but her eyes started moving and her head was jerking and it freaked out the guy who was hurting the street kids and then she managed to untwist herself from the position she was in, in the bag and crawl out. An ambulance was called and the rest is history though now she couldn't speak and could barely hear. But this segment of the dream ended with a early fifties brown haired lady,, looking like a politician driving by the alley in a black limo years later. She rolled down her window, and stuck out her head to say "Never say never" with a small smile and a wink, then drove away. Somehow I knew it was the deaf twin sister. Then I woke up.

The End.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Music of the Day

Drowning in You by Pluramon

Can you hear me call?
Did I take too long?
Is it dark or bright?
Can you see me falling down?
I'm drowning in you, my dear
If I turn back time ,
If you were all mine
I am feeling cold, I don't want to be here where it's lonely
Did I need too much? I can't feel your touch
Have I paid my dues? Why can't I go back to you?
Think I hear your voice, I don't have a choice
So I'm going home ruby river flowing as I'm going
where I'm not alone