If you know, then you know. If you don’t, then you’ll catch up.
“I am really tired of the American Church conflating its age-old anxieties with the bodies of Black women, anxieties born out of sexist and racist presuppositions, with calls for conservative morality. The African American Church, in particular, has come to think that the respectability politics around proper public moral self-presentation that we created as a strategy for negotiating a violent post-Emancipation world is synonymous with a theology for living. The White Church needs to grapple with its sexualized racism and racialized sexism. Lorde help them.”
In other news, and I posted this on Twitter earlier today, someone please bless me with the name of the scholar who discussed Beyonce’s penis at the Queerness of Hip Hop conference at Harvard earlier this academic year. I need do a praise dance in their name while flipping my Yaki their way because my life will never be the same again. Amen. Amen. Amen.
…and then a 2 Broke Girls ‘Spectacular’ followed, redeeming wounded white womanhood (or something)…
…but thankfully Kid Fury laid me out with the TRUTH: “Beyonce is the Blueprint.” (H/T @MoyaBailey)
…even if she did get blamed when this happened….
…but it wasn’t her. It was just New Orleans, once again, reminding the entire country that infrastructure is nothing to take for granted.
This Superbowl was as American as it gets, y’all. Take notes.
Sometimes what you need is a quiet corner to sit and think in.
I’m not talking about writing. Writing is a 5K run you do every morning because the afterglow tastes sweet and clean.
But I’m all out of words and writing and grammar these days. I’m exhausted because I’m still having the same conversations about guns and rape and prison I was having ten years ago. Meanwhile Hadiya Pendleton died. And I didn’t know her and I didn’t know the forty-three other people shot and killed in January (as logged by Red Eye) but I love her with the love an oldest sister holds for her siblings. And Chief Keef was sentenced to sixty days in a youth detention center for holding a gun (at a gun range, in a video interview) and I have no love for him, really I don’t, but he is a child so the love I have for him is the love a future mother has for her sons.
That’s just Chicago. One little city on the coast of one little lake. Then there’s Delhi, Santa Maria, Cairo. I want to re-read Joy James and Arundhati Roy and Alice Walker, put a pillow over my head and sleep the rest of the winter.
Sitting in my room, black girl colored indigo, I imagine how it must feel to feel safe. To see an outrage instead of an everyday. To trust, if blindly, that when you scream someone, any fucking one, will come running.
What a silly, small, meaningless thing. Safety. A simple, impossible desire.
But I want it. I want to walk outside and feel control and be an ecstasy of black heritage. I want it this month. I want it every month. I want to lick and roll the ratchet around in my mouth and lock arms with my own futurity. I want to be assumed to be the one left standing at the end of the war. Instead of the slave following the caravan. Or one of the faceless dead.
I’m so foolish. I thought I was here for writing and done with blogging. What the hell are words for if they can’t do basic shit like heal a wound, stop a bullet, or wipe a tear?
But I’m at a bottleneck. And what else is blogging for?
I just wrote about violence. And I don’t want to add to any of the media hype surrounding recent events.
I only want to say this:
We need to get clear about what we call for when we call for mental health reform.
We need to be careful. Because it sounds like we are putting it in the same category as gun control and school security. And that is a dangerous correlation to make. Putting those three things together constructs a symbology of state violence we are not being proactive about deconstructing.
Reforming mental health services–what does this mean to you? Does it mean we see someone walking down the street, talking to themselves, and we call the police who lock them up–just this time in a facility and not a jail? Does it mean we target the young, white boy wearing a black trench coat or the hyperactive black boy running around the room or the too skinny girl sitting in the corner gazing out the window? Does it mean we create holistic, community-centered alternatives to institutionalization and overmedication? Does it mean we build higher, thicker walls around our schools, workplaces, and homes to keep out “the crazies” but forget to deal with the fact that mental illness is, as Rha Goddess once said, literally in the damn water. What is treatment, recovery, and rehabilitation in a world where we tie mental health reform to jail and the police aren’t always friendly to those of us who are black, brown, queer, poor, homeless? We want to feel safe but how do we create safe spaces and community acountability without setting up new and even more dangerous stigmas?
I don’t believe my son belongs in jail. The chaotic environment exacerbates Michael’s sensitivity to sensory stimuli and doesn’t deal with the underlying pathology. But it seems like the United States is using prison as the solution of choice for mentally ill people. According to Human Rights Watch, the number of mentally ill inmates in U.S. prisons quadrupled from 2000 to 2006, and it continues to rise—in fact, the rate of inmate mental illness is five times greater (56 percent) than in the non-incarcerated population.
We had better get really critical, really quickly, because we are not all speaking the same language.
We don’t want another drug war. We know who will suffer–is already suffering–first.
Now that the tan is starting to fade, I’m reflecting on my #ASA2012 experience. There is a longer post in the works, but in the meantime, can we please discuss what makes conferencing so difficult????
Luckily, Moya ZB makes reflecting on this pretty easy:
“There’s so much great content at ASA but with a schedule from 8am to 10pm with no lunch or dinner breaks (with few meal options nearby) it becomes hard to sustain yourself as an attendee. American Studies can learn from its own interdisciplinary sub-fields, namely disability studies, and think about how to promote more wellness while conferencing.”
There it is folks. Time, money, stress, social anxiety (if you are one of those), politics of academe, and the drama of travel are all there. Conferencing is HARD.
But an amazing time was had by all!! If you haven’t yet, check out the Alter Egos Media Tumblr. Browse the posts to explore the life of an #AntiJemima. I’m long post-conference and I’m still adding to it so expect new things to chew on in the many moons to come.
I wonder what Alter Egos III will look like?
Headed to Puerto Rico tomorrow to attend the American Studies Association’s annual conference. The #AntiJemimas will be present and we are discussing social justice, radical womyn of color blogging, and alter ego identity. Me and my co-panelists, Treva Lindsey and Uri McMillan, are going to set it OFF.
I couldn’t make the paper format work for the media I wanted to present so I created a Tumblr instead. The better to share with the people back at home. Check it out here: Alter Egos and Infinite Literacies II.
Still, this is going to be a strange trip. Puerto Rico is a homeland and a colonized space where (a fraction of the) residents voted to join the United States as the 51st state. Contradictions upon contradictions and complications abound. And while this is a conference I generally enjoy, the event is bound to host some really inappropriate and problematic behavior. You know I’ll keep you posted.
If you are in PR, whether at home or visiting for #ASA2012, give me a shout. My Twitter is open for business: @KismetNunez.
I’m compiling material for a panel at the American Studies Association conference, happening in Puerto Rico next week. The title?
On Alter Egos and Infinite Literacies, Part 2 (An #AntiJemimas Imperative)
Read Part I here.
I’m presenting with Fleshy Prof but I’ll basically be playing myself (yeah, wrap your minds around that). And the entire family is invited: Zora Walker, the Sable Fan Gyrl, the WOC Survival Kit–even Pretty Magnolia’s fine ass.
This little intellectual endeavor comes at a difficult time. Personally and professionally, I am heavy, struggling to find my voice and stake my claim. Balancing, consolidating, and exposing the alters will be like walking into a cold classroom filled with hostile, condescending adults and stripping down to a bright red thong. It will be sexy, nerve-wracking, and vaguely reminiscent of slavery.
While pulling the material for the presentation together, I’m realizing I’m more of a practitioner than I ever thought. The #AntiJemimas are more than a project. They are a lifestyle (note the new blog title) and a survival imperative. So what does presentating a practice look like…in practice? How does it roll into the audience? Does it wave goodbye when attendees come and go? Does it LOL? Does it (O_o)?
There is touching to be done in Puerto Rico. Touching and laughing and mindstroking and healing are waiting for me. And I can’t wait.
But damn. I’m not really that much of a voyeur to be so exposed.
Visit shawtygotskillz.tumblr.com for more….
“As a Black lesbian feminist, I have a particular feeling, knowledge, and understanding for those sisters with whom I have danced hard, played, or even fought. This deep participation has often been the forerunner for joint concerted actions not possible before.”
Another historic eve. Another election.
Go out, go vote. I am.
But I’m also sitting in the lab, folded around my work, reminding myself and reminded that community is created through love making on the daily.