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Posts tagged "Audre Lorde"

Every time Willow does something to her hair the Black blogosphere goes crazy. One of the biggest reasons, I think some Black people have an issue with the Smith’s form of parenting is because this form of parenting doesn’t fit the “normal” Black parenting model. Too many of us either believe that we are either raised by The Huxtables, The Evans, or a crazy Madea. I call attention to these two tv families not because of their class and socioeconomic status, but because these are the two parenting styles that many of us believe that all Black people interfaced with. The Evans were strict and didn’t run a democratic household. While the Huxtables appeared to be more democratic, and tended to rationalize with their kids more, but at the end of the day it was Claire or Cliff’s way. The Smith’s in my opinion are not adopting a new parenting model, it simply may be new for many of us who are Black and Brown. Will and Jada don’t treat their children like objects that they posses or facsimiles of themselves. They see their roles as parents in relation to their kids in a more egalitarian fashion. Will and Jada approach their power as parents differently, their power that doesn’t seek to silence or oppress the power and individuality of their children.

Willow as a little girl is learning that she is a force to be reckoned with in this world, and that her gender, and gender presentation will not serve as impediments. Jada who is now championing the cause against human sex trafficking, of which girls are disproportionately victims, understands that women need to own themselves fully, if not someone else will. Girls are being trafficked at an alarming rate and not just abroad, but also in our own backyards. In the U.S. alone 80% of human sex trafficking victims are women and girls and 50% are minors. Jada is making the conscious choice to take her daughter along with her on her journey to help end human sex trafficking. In a world where little girls are raped, stolen, and sold as a commodity, hair isn’t all that important. Sometimes I wonder, have some of us adult Black women forgotten what it’s like to be a little Black girl in a white heterosexual patriarchal society? Again to quote Lorde, “easier to crucify myself in you than to take on the threatening universe of whiteness…” Our Black bodies and Black psyches are always being assailed and violated. Healthy validation is often hard to come by in these streets riddled with harassment. Therefore, let us save our vitriol and condemnation for more important things like the perpetuation of rape culture or Donald Trump.

Raising Willow,” The Feminist Griote 11/23/12

I wish to raise a Black man who will not be destroyed by, nor settle for, those corruptions called power by the white fathers who mean his destruction as surely as they mean mine. I wish to raise a Black man who will recognize that the legitimate objets of his hostility are not women, but the particulars of a structure that programs him to fear and despise women as well as his own black self.

For me, this task begins with teaching my son that I do not exist to do his feeling for him.

Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider, “Man Child”. The essay “Man Child” was originally published in 1979 in Conditions: Four (via sproutedink)

(via theeducatedfieldnegro)

Yep, we snagged an interview with anti-racism activist Scot Nakagawa, whose posts, “Blackness Is The Fulcrum (a/k/a “Why I, An Asian Man, Fights Anti-black Racism)" and "We All Live On Food Stamps,” are getting lots of love around Tumblr and other parts of the innerwebz. The first part of our chat is at the main blog. In this second part, Scot talks about his favorite thinkers, his organization ChangeLab (and how we can support it), and whatever else was on his mind when I interviewed him.  

Who are your favorite thinkers, both in and outside of anti-racism? Why? And is there something in their work(s) that you wish they would’ve covered?
My favorite thinkers? I’m a giant fan of Audre Lorde. I found my voice as a writer in part through reading her. I’m also a great admirer of the work of James Baldwin. The Fire Next Time was written the year I was born, and I’ve been reading and rereading it for the last 30 years or so. Ella Baker and Septima Clark are organizers and strategists I have great admiration for. I was able to study Septima Clark some while I was at Highlander where she originated the Citizenship Schools in the 1950s. Those schools played such an important role in the Civil Rights Movement due in no small part to her brilliance.
Manning Marable was also a hero of mine, as was Derrick Bell. And I’m really inspired by the literature of the revolutionary movements of the 1960s. Even with their flaws, especially around issues of gender and sexuality, those leaders wrote for and about a social movement. They saw the world through the lens of hope and in terms of practical solutions, including just inspiring people, and not just in terms of criticism. What they left behind gives me the juice to be creative and keep working.

I’m very aware that I’ve only listed black people. The Hawaiian language was considered all but dead when I was a much younger person developing my politics. Nearly all of what was available in English about Hawaii back then was written by non-Hawaiians. And the resistance literature of Asian Americans was nowhere to be found. I feel I owe a great debt to African American intellectuals. What they created helped me to name my world and find a place in it as a racial justice advocate. If I hadn’t fallen into my life in social justice, I would probably be an agriculture worker now. Not that there’s anything wrong with that on its own, but I always wanted to express myself and my outrage at injustice, and they showed me what was possible.

All right…ChangeLab. What is it, when did you start it, how does it function, how do we support the work you do?
ChangeLab is not a non-profit, which is a funny thing because we don’t have any profit. We’re supported through an investment by a visionary in the private sector who believes in our mission and our strategy of breaking schema—in other words, of thinking and acting outside of the box where racial justice is concerned. We function as a grassroots institute for racial justice, with a particular focus on promoting authentic solidarity between Asian American communities and other communities of color. We’re right now summing up research we did with Asian American progressives that we’re hoping will open a dialogue among us about racism and racial justice that we want to continue through a series of cross-sectoral meetings we’re calling Thought Labs.
For now, folks can support us by following my blog and talking back to me. Once our website is up and going, you can link to it through the blog.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?
Hmmm…well, I guess if I have the last word, I’ll just end by saying that I hope folks out there of all races who have ideas to share and stories to tell will speak up, write, perform, do whatever it is you do to express yourself and do it as loudly and as boldly as possible.The media creates a “truth” about society in which we are mostly missing except as one-dimensional stereotypes. Even progressive media makers too often draw the line around justice behind their own heels and in front of our toes. Yet we’re the ones with the least to lose and the most to gain from real, meaningful change. We’re the ones willing to take the risks, if only we can find one another and see that we aren’t alone in our oppression. Unless movements are guided by our spirits, they will ultimately fail. So pump up the volume. We need to boost the signal on racial justice.


From “There Is No Hierarchy of Oppressions” by Audre Lorde

I was born Black, and a woman. I am trying to become the strongest person I can become to live the life I have been given and to help effect change toward a liveable future for this earth and for my children. As a Black, lesbian, feminist, socialist, poet, mother of two including one boy and a member of an interracial couple, I usually find myself part of some group in which the majority defines me as deviant, difficult, inferior or just plain “wrong.”

From my membership in all of these groups I have learned that oppression and the intolerance of difference come in all shapes and sexes and colors and sexualities; and that among those of us who share the goals of liberation and a workable future for our children, there can be no hierarchies of oppression. I have learned that sexism and heterosexism both arise from the same source as racism.

“Oh,” says a voice from the Black community, “but being Black is NORMAL!” Well, I and many Black people of my age can remember grimly the days when it didn’t used to be!

I simply do not believe that one aspect of myself can possibly profit from the oppression of any other part of my identity. I know that my people cannot possibly profit from the oppression of any other group which seeks the right to peaceful existence. Rather, we diminish ourselves by denying to others what we have shed blood to obtain for our children. And those children need to learn that they do not have to become like each other in order to work together for a future they will all share.

Within the lesbian community I am Black, and within the Black community I am a lesbian. Any attack against Black people is a lesbian and gay issue, because I and thousands of other Black women are part of the lesbian community. Any attack against lesbians and gays is a Black issue, because thousands of lesbians and gay men are Black. There is no hierarchy of oppression.

I cannot afford the luxury of fighting one form of oppression only. I cannot afford to believe that freedom from intolerance is the right of only one particular group. And I cannot afford to choose between the fronts upon which I must battle these forces of discrimination, wherever they appear to destroy me. And when they appear to destroy me, it will not be long before they appear to destroy you

Playing it to the balcony.

(via jadedhippy)