More Quotes from Hood Feminism

Some powerful thoughts:

1. Feminism that encompasses all the issues that impact women, from poverty to criminal justice reform to living wages to better protections for immigrants to LGBTQIA issues, is feminism that ensures voting rights for all as a foundational issue.

2. For marginalized people, feminism is failing them by being so focused on whether middle-class white women have what they need and want, but not on protecting voting rights for everyone else.

3. Because institutions are not designed to help parents raise high-needs children, it becomes much easier to argue that children with disabilities are a burden to be avoided instead of addressing the paucity of resources.

4. Anger can be cathartic, motivating, and above all else an expression of the innate humanity of any community. Demands that the oppressed be calm and polite and that forgiveness come before all else are fundamentally dehumanizing.

Please read Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot, by Mikki Kendall. Straightforward, practical; applies ideas to real actions for including everyone in building feminist momentum for all marginalized communities.

Juneteenth

Happy Juneteenth, everyone!

I have to admit, I didn’t know about this part of history until I was an adult. Like, in the last five years. Same goes for the Tulsa Race Massacre, which I had to see dramatized in Watchmen in order for it to hit home. I’m embarrassed about that.

It feels weird wishing others to be happy on this day. Especially to those whose enslaved ancestors suffered firsthand. While it is a celebration of freedom, so much oppression and pain are connected to that. But I do hope Black people will be able to find happiness.

On days surrounding today and the anniversary of George Floyd’s death, resources for learning about Black History flood my social media. I’m so very grateful for that. I use those resources throughout the year to find ways to take real action, to turn abstractions and intellectual exercise into practice and heart for my fellow human beings. I’m learning not to be performative. I’m learning to listen better to know better, so that I can do better.

It’s still a work in progress. I hope we all can help each other.

May 25

I didn’t do a lot today, but I am exhausted.

This evening we went to dinner to celebrate Reilly’s nephew’s high school graduation. That guy is so smart and talented. He’s gonna go far. We’re all so proud of him.

When I picked Z up from school today, her teacher told me that Z had cut off some of her hair. It wasn’t a lot, just a small lock, like something she would keep in a scrapbook. It’s not even all that noticeable, and totally something she would wait until the end of the school year to do. Teaching moment first. Funny later.

She still teaches me more than I teach her.

Today is the anniversary of George Floyd’s death. His murder. It’s been on my mind, and I’ve spent the past year changing my mindset and changing behaviors. I’ve learned of his family, his legacy. The continuous racial injustice. As a society, we still have a long way to go. As a person who has barely scratched the surface of understanding, it’s important for me to keep learning.

Everyone needs to keep learning.

And do better.

Humanity depends on it.

Tired, but I don’t know if I can sleep.

Gotta try.

Friday, About Damn Time

I just booked a short camping trip in June. Close by. Yearly tradition, though we usually camp around July 4. And we didn’t do it last year because: pandemic. Very excited to be spending some time outdoors. With limited cell phone service. Woo-hoo!

Whenever I’m not thinking about the sheer crappiness of the world or the utter heartlessness of people, I’m actually in a great mood. Like, I’m allowed these moments of joy amidst the morass of …morassness. My family, my friends, my work. My hammock. My back yard. We’re not super rich; we’re pretty regular people. Still: this is privilege.

I’m reading a book, Hood Feminism, by Mikki Kendall. About halfway through, so far some really powerful points made. A few foods for thought:

Sometimes being a good ally is about opening the door for someone instead of insisting that your voice is the only one that matters.

We also need to stop normalizing hate and stop assuming hate speech is harmless, regardless of who it targets or who says it.

We can’t afford to keep pretending mental health issues stop at the boundaries of whiteness. Instead we have to be ready, willing, and able to embrace those for whom mental health is a struggle and to make sure that we aren’t contributing to their trauma under the guise of being helpful.

Even though I’m not Black, I did spend part of my childhood in poverty, and I observed and experienced systemic oppressions without really knowing what they were. And now I want to help so that others don’t have to live some of the experiences I did. If you can, check out this book.

And now, because it’s Friday, let’s throw back to my dazzling review of Rebecca Black’s hit song, “Friday.” Click this link, and … just prepare yourself for some overt tongue-in-cheekiness. Happy Friday, everyone. I’ll check in tomorrow and for the following 85 days, at least. Practice makes better.

Oh, dang. I just thought about posting while camping in June, limited cell phone service and all. Looks like I’ll have to plan ahead.

A Comment I Made on YouTube, then Deleted

Last Wednesday I watched this panel, previously recorded:

They discussed Black activism and broader inclusion in the arts. These 90 minutes are well worth your time.

As soon as the discussion finished, I left these remarks in the comment section:

This discussion was so insightful, and so necessary. This is the day after riding on the cautious optimism of the Chauvin verdicts, then going to bed with the news of Ma’Kiah Bryant and waking up this morning angry. I’ve been trying to learn how to support Black people, to empathize deeply, to unlearn the ingrained racism that I grew up with while – as an Asian American, in this past year particularly – feeling unsafe as I read headlines of Asian hate. Navigating all these human paths, all the nuance, is so important. Listening to the wisdom of all the artists on this panel was encouraging. I loved how you all supported each other and acknowledged the process of becoming better, being intentional and uncomfortable, chipping away slowly at racism in the arts, making small, deliberate yet significant efforts to be more inclusive, to create belonging in lesser represented groups. I wish I knew about this series sooner, but I will go back and watch the previous episodes. Thanks so much for this.

I let the comment sit there, not knowing what to expect. There weren’t a ton of views at the time. Mine was the first and only comment. After a whole day with no other engagement with the video, I began to feel self-conscious about my comment. Did I say something wrong? Did I offend anyone? Was this video not for me? Should I have pointed out how vulnerable and willing to learn Hilary Hahn was by expressing to this all-black panel how much she didn’t know yet? Perhaps, to all these questions.

By Friday morning I decided to delete the comment. I felt that it wasn’t my place to say anything. And I’m perfectly fine working behind the scenes. (Obviously in my own blog space I feel more comfortable.)

Anyway, that’s all I have. I do want to see more diversity and representation in the arts. More access to opportunities. Better funding for access. An eventual unwinding of privilege to allow for truly equal opportunity for all.

I don’t know if this makes any sense. Just sorting through thoughts, I guess.

But I do want to donate to organizations, like Project 440, whose mission centers around opportunities in the arts for youth in minority groups.

If you have the resources, you should donate, too.

The Derek Chauvin Verdict

On all three counts: GUILTY

I’ve seen numerous opinions that I agree with discounting this as a victory, because an actual victory would be George Floyd still being alive, being there for his children. Living as an equal citizen as anyone else in this country.

Not calling out for his mother under the knee of that police officer, not crying out that he couldn’t breathe. That’s a tragedy. Black people continue to crawl from under this shadow. They may never completely be free from it. What a horrible thought.

Still a long way to go. But it’s something.

Keep working, keep fighting.

Black lives matter.