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Grassroots activist, feminist, sociologist, poop talk pro, future foster mom, travel whore, thrift store junky, music and food consumer.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Chapter 2015 Review

Well, here I am. I made it through 2015. A friend said, and I quote, "...time for a little R&R while I reflect on the century that just happened in the last year/semester." That sums up my year perfectly. I cannot count the amount of times I wanted to quit adulthood this year. The 1st half of my year seems like a lifetime ago. The last 6 months was a continuous unfolding of crises. They say God won't give you anything you can't handle. Well, God, might you go test another of your subjects and let me alone for a while? *I'll keep y'all posted on whether that prayer gets answered* I want to thank the forces of meditation and solid friends for getting me through this year. I am grateful for the opportunity to blog about this past year. There's nothing like making it through rough turbulence and living to tell about it! 

South Beach, Miami
Denver - Red Rock Amphitheater
Me and my traveling self: I worked so many jobs this year I was able to reward myself with travel and shopping. my two favorite things! I went to Southeast Florida -Hollywood, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami - TWICE - (started here and ended here), Washington, DCNew York City, Kansas City, Denver, Cancun, and Portland, OR (I love this place!), and of course STL and IL (but they don't really count). I traveled to many of these places for the 1st time. I reluctantly went to NYC and absolutely loved it. I thought it was going to be dirty and smelly, rodents everywhere, and an abundance of rude ass people. It turned out to be a fabulous place. I even traveled around the city by myself. Of course I got lost trying to find my way to my friend's house, but it was just a matter of getting off that train and going to the other side so I could head in the right direction. Not bad at all for a 1st timer! My friend and her boyfriend were great hosts. I ate really well in NYC. Yes, I did. The highlight would be...I can't pick one. I did a lot!! Then I came back home for one day before heading to KC to hang out for the 1st time. I ate some good food there too. I had the best time at Karaoke, found a piano jazz bar to chill at by myself, and supported some friends who were presenting at the conference we were attending. The best time was dancing one of the nights away at some club we found. I went to Denver for the first time for my family reunion and enjoyed the hell out of my family. I have such interesting people in my family. I was there during Juneteenth, so me and my nephew went to their celebration which was quite nice. Of course it felt like 100 degrees but I enjoyed myself out there. Watching my family show off their talents was my highlight of that trip. The view from my balcony of the mountains was spectacular, but honestly I had a lot of great balcony views this year. After the most stressful summer of my life, I went to Cancun for the first time in August. Guess who still has tan lines? My back peeled for 2 weeks! I have determined they have a different sun god. I did so much in Cancun...BEST TRIP EVER!!!!!! Checked out Portland for the first time in the fall, and despite normal weather patterns for that time of year, it didn't rain the entire time I was there. Actually, I experienced the most incredible fall weather the entire time. It was beautiful, clean, and weird. I ended my year like I started it, in Southeast Florida, exploring all there is to explore. This year was my best and favorite year yet for traveling. I had never been to most of the places I went, so there were many first. Good times! 
Lesson: Trips keep me grounded. Oddly enough

Downtown Portlandia
Me and my academic self: I've been prepping for comps all year. Its so funny but I'm so serious. Thinking about comps is hard work! My comps have been pushed back into 2016, but it was necessary. I changed research topics, thought I could read 53 books in 15 weeks, and worked a number of jobs like I did not have comprehensive exams to take. I'm still on schedule so no big deal, but if they get pushed back again, I'm quitting school. I've been quitting school everyday of every semester for the last 4.5 years, by the way. I submitted my first paper for publishing. That was exciting. Now, if they accept it without revisions...I know that never happens, but if it does happen...I'll surely be too full of myself to finish my dissertation. I have another paper to finish and submit, but I'll tend to that after I comp. Comps over everything! That's where I'm at now. Isn't it catchy? Set it to some trap music and...dab. I taught 4 classes this year and all of them made me question my life choices. I taught a course at an HBCU which was...very interesting to say the least. I also attended a few conferences. I served on a panel for one, presented a paper at another conference (which is why I was in Portland), and supported friends at the other one. I'm so excited to be done with coursework. The journey isn't over, but I can see a finish line and its my favorite color; green.
Lesson: Managing other peoples emotions is hard work for an empathetic person such as myself. Empathy is indeed a double-edged sword. I absorb people's energies like light from the sun. This aspect of my person makes being an instructor especially demanding. I care way too much about my students! Or do I? It's hard to tell somedays. 

Paint Balling
E-day Party
Me and my intimate self: I'm ending this year with a new found appreciation for some folks I either did not know prior to this year or have gotten closer to this year. So many kindred spirits blessed my existence this year! I will not be name dropping, but y'all know who you are. Much love to each and every last one of you! Me and my bestie are forever one, we shall never part! We refer to each other as parallel life sisters. You don't need to know why. All you need to know is "we tight like glue!" Now about significant other(s)? A lady never blogs... My sister gave birth to my most recent niece who happens to be the happiest baby I've ever encountered. My nephew turned 10 and we went paint balling for his birthday. It was awesome. If you've never been and you're wondering if the paint balls hurt, YES. I had on a few layers and a cushioned body suit, and it still hurt. I had a 90s themed birthday party with a good friend. Nearly all of the guests participated so it was great. I spent most of the time singing 90s R&B and reminiscing about the 90s. En Vogue, Toni Braxton, Mariah Carey, TLC, Boyz II Men...and the list goes on. The 90s was the best decade for R&B! Thanks to all of my family and friends who made me feel especially special this year. From the party, to the brunch, to the gifts - THANK YOU!
Lesson: I don't even like people. Shame on y'all for making me like you! 

Grad Rights Rally
Me and my activist self: Well, the 1st 6 months of my year was spent on my way out of activism. I was not feeling it at all. I have never been so disenchanted with progressive movement. The deeper I dove into social movement and feminist literature, the more distanced I felt from my activist circle. Intersectionality, solidarity, feminism where art thou? I did not see any opportunities to develop praxis so I dove into my research and focused on reading and writing. March rolled around and I had the bright idea of starting a women's project. If there's one thing I'm good at, its adding things to an already full plate. After a series of events, I let that go at the end of July. June I decided to serve as co-chair of a local grassroots organization, which did not last long due to unforeseen circumstances. At the beginning of 2015, I pledged to no longer engage in anything that did not help me get closer to the all-inclusive movement we need to meaningfully reduce inequalities, and this role did not make sense for me so I stepped down and awaaaaay. I also worked 2 jobs over the summer which turned into 3 when I was minding my own business in Cancun and learned I would be returning home without insurance. Good thing I bought travel insurance! Thanks Ex-Chancellor Loftin - no need to take a bow - *cues sandman* So my activism took a hit. I said,  "Self...," My self said "Huh?" I said, "Self, let's reduce to 2 jobs and seriously limit your activism until after you complete your comps." My self agreed, but guess who kept attending student org meetings and direct actions...? So I never really stepped away, but I did get to stand alongside some incredibly amazing (forever young) people who really stepped it up this year. 

Planned Parenthood Vigil
Indigenous People's Day Rally
The last year has been quite the year for direct action at our campus. It seems like there was always a rally to attend. It was great to see student leaders supporting each other's causes (the one's who did), not that every cause isn't everybody's cause. Graduate employee rights, women's access to healthcare. indigenous people's rights, and racism are just a few of the causes highlighted by protests this year. 

Lesson: ❤️ History, research, solidarity: value them more than you value the spotlight. ❤️ 

2016 Projections: At the end of every year, I imagine carrying my life lessons with me into the new year, but that's how I think about life in general. I live and I learn. Once I know, I have to act like I know. So there will be no resolutions, just me living my life. I know there will be much to smile and laugh about, and much to frown and cry about, but I'll overcome the trials and enjoy the mundane. Here's to another evolution around the sun! 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


The colonists fought for their freedom during the Revolutionary War, while owning slaves. Our current power elites wage wars to fight for the freedom of other nations and albeit in the name of our own, while the not-so-free continue to exist within the borders that symbolize freedom in song and legal documents. Every other body fighting for freedom is understandable except the black one, except the brown one...unless you're fighting for the freedom of the white one. Blacks helped fight the Revolutionary War, and the Civil War, and every war that followed in hopes of being free, of being human, of being equal. But violence doesn't fit in the narrative for black & brown freedom because black and brown bodies fighting for freedom are thugs & terrorists. The only freedom fighters are black bodies who rode buses into danger, who got shot, and beat, and bombed, who needed the government to intervene on their behalf, but not for their sakes, not for their humanity, but to cease the nation's international ridicule from critics.  

Perhaps, you'd like to think a bit more critically as to why the image of blacks fighting for racial, gender, and economic equality is so disturbing to you. Why do you feel so threatened when a rock, a gun, or a bomb is in brown or black hands? Why do images of black and brown bodies rioting scare you so much more than white bodies rioting? An even better question: why is a black man connecting eyes with a white man such a threatening event? Run black man. Kill him white man. But don't just kill him. Mangle his body. Tell the rest of them and then return his body to them, so that they may see the consequence of not subjecting your body, your mind, your heart, your dignity, your hopes. Let his story remind them, let his body remind them, of their place, beneath and under, of their power, which is nonexistent. 

Stop referencing the Civil Rights movement and its tactics as forever representative of "the way" change is evoked, especially changes in race relations. Nonviolent protests during the Civil Rights Movement were effective because they were innovative at the time. It was a tactic that illuminated the ease of provoking great turmoil and death from whites (whose value is only found in the oppression of everyone else). I was just in Washington, DC with 600 other people from across the nation protesting, marching, and holding rallies outside. Where was the media? We had to call them. Because marching and rallying is so commonplace that unless you're doing something that breaks from the usual protest, the media is not checking for you. So regardless of how you feel, those "rioters" are why we're talking about last night. Those rioters are why you have so much media coverage about the structural problems in Baltimore. Those rioters are why your fb and twitter feeds are full of people conversing about their frustrations, their feelings, their grief. So you might say that all they are going to accomplish is death, but their greatest accomplishment is that they have reignited the conversation, which is imperative if reducing inequalities is the goal. We've been too content the last 40 years, too comfortable with the injustices that wreak our communities. People in this country have always fought. The Natives fought. The slaves fought. The colonists fought. The abolitionists fought. The laborers fought. The women fought. The gays and lesbians fought. How dare you tell these young people of color not to fight?! 

I had no idea there were so many experts on evoking grand scale change. Who knew that so many people have been sitting on such vital information? Rioting is not the way! Oh? Tell me what is then. Nonviolent direct action? Peaceful protest? Oh, I see. The ways of Ghandi, but of more importance Rev. Dr. King, are more appealing to you. Is it because of the accomplishments of the Civil Rights Movement? We did get the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. Well, the Voting Rights Act has been gutted, but we did get it. The Civil Rights Act has helped a few, but black people still face discrimination. Women still face discrimination. LGBT folk still face discrimination. Nonchristians...yep you guessed it...still face discrimination. So peaceful protests huh? Like the peaceful protests in the late 50s and 60s that got people mamed, injured, eaten by dogs, fire hosed, beaten with batons and pipes and farming tools and guns and sticks, shot, bombed, and killed? A decade of that after a hundred years of lynching, race riots, massive rape, police brutlaity, "legal" executions and its no wonder the Black Panther Party generated such interests and grew so quickly! Black people were tired of being a moment away from death. And not just any deaths, but deaths reserved specifically for them.  

Disdain for "violent" measures intrigue me because as a social activists, I'm constantly trying to recruit people to the movement, but most people tell me its pointless, or they're too busy, or they're too afraid of being arrested. Arrested. Now that response acknowledges that nonviolent activists get arrested - they get injured and found dead too - just like those rioters using violence. What makes Martin's death worst than Malcolm's? They were both shot dead. Ghandi was shot dead. Fred and Mark? They're all dead, and it wasn't because of their tactics, but because of their goals.
It doesn't matter if we take the legal route: Brown V. The Board of Education 1954 brought a reign of terror to the South and over half a million whites subsequently joined organized hate groups. The last school in the South wasn't integrated until 1971. Instead of integration, most white parents opted to move to even more secluded neighborhoods or opted to send their children to private schools. --- Slaves were legally freed and the KKK was born from the womb of that decision. --- When Johnson signed those 2 Acts we like to reference all the time, Southern Democratic Congressmen made their way to the Republican party (& Neoliberalism gained momentum). Basically, people who benefit from inequalities will find a way to continue to oppress and exploit people (Not to diminish your optimism!) 
It doesn't matter if we use extralegal means like direct nonviolent action:  One of my favorite quotes from David Roediger (2008:43): For white Americans, the logic of revolution was that true independence would never be granted but would have to be seized, while among slaves freedom could never be seized but only granted. I love this quote because it captures the sentiments of why it doesn't matter the avenue chosen, as long as the goal is equality, or even to reduce racial inequality,the response will be the same. 


There are too many posts expressing disdain of the rioters. Typists are writing of "better" ways to get the racial, gender, and economic justice these "rioters" seek. So many are so sure that rioting isn't the way, that violence isn't the answer, but all I keep wondering is "Why aren't you helping them then?" If you got it figured out, why aren't you helping us all? These critiques come from people who are well aware of what it takes to get racial equality. They know there will be blood. They just don't want it to be their blood, or their children's blood, but somebody's...somebody's. These people took the red pill but not by choice. If they had an option they would swallow that blue pill in a second. They would still be plugged into the Matrix where everything still tastes like chicken. Since they can't escape the real world, they try to maintain their existence between the Matrix and the real world, but there is no such place. Typing boldly about the legal and peaceful routes for blacks to seek justice requires these people to forget and remember simultaneously. They forget Rodney, Malcolm, the great Rev. Dr., John Crawford, Emmitt Till, Rekia, Mr. Gardner, Fred and now Freddie. They have gotten too good at seeing the dead as those we must forget to stay alive - because if we remember...when we remember...we remember the sadness, the anger, the disgust that creeps into our consciousness and overtakes our psyche as it reminds us that it could be any one of our names swapped out for theirs or added to the long list of names. When we remember the fears that we always carry for our sons are conjured up. For our daughters. We fear that the rioters will be killed. Those rioters are our sons. Our daughters. What happens when they die? When they become martyrs? The status quo will continue after their lives have been claimed. Lives who foolishly believed that raising hell would solidify their humanity. These people who write with disdain for the rioters fear that the life, the only life they've been allowed to live will be over - that they will have to face the truth despite their efforts to live between realities. The truth is that their attempt to choose life, by not rioting, doesn't really involve a choice, because the only choice is between subjugation and elimination. Both are chosen by our willingness to be oppressed and our willingness to die. In a scenario like this, silly fools are those who fight to be neither. Because when there are only 2 options, you're always fighting for one or the other even when you think you're not. --- Stay woke. 


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Pig Reviews the Year of the Horse

Overview: I did a lot of travelling this year. Very surprising considering I made less money this year than I've made in 5 years. I went to Omaha, NE, Fayetteville, NC, Chicago, Champaign, IL, Gulf Shores, AL, Murfreesboro, TN, Kissimmee, FL, Dallas, TX, Washington D.C and of course STL and my home town. I was able to visit friends and family I haven't seen in years and years! This will definitely be remembered as a pivotal year in my life. I turned 31 and despite keeping it pretty low key, I received the most gifts and birthday shout outs ever. I've made more new friends this year than any other year in my life. I'm a networking beast now! I went indoor skydiving, roller skated for the 2nd time in my adult life, attended 2 of my family reunions, checked out Universal Studios, swam in the blessed gulf of Mexico, got to attend a women's equality conference, and somehow managed to keep my body from killing me. I lived life this year.

I also had to learn to let people I love dearly live their lives. It's not easy for me to cut ties with people I care about, but letting them live turned out to be allowing me to live too, which brings me to my next point. I learned so many life lessons. I am currently into yoga and massage therapy. Began reading about chakras, which I've always heard about but never really dove into, and can't stop telling everyone how much I've learned about women's health. I buy all organic, unprocessed foods. I rediscovered my passion for cooking. On top of all that, I'm working on accepting people for who they are and working with them. I'm not good at being fake, but there's nothing fake about treating people accordingly. This was an eventful year for me. I'm a broke college student trying to reconfigure how I understand and process info about the world and myself. One who knows anything knows that they know nothing at all. This year I learned to be okay with the fact that I am a work in progress. I will never have all the answers. 

Activist me: I have been blessed to work alongside some of the most incredible humans I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. We strategize and come up with tactics together. These people are my extended family. They have taught me so much about myself. When I dove in some 3 odd years ago, I knew I was making a life changing decision. I have gone back and forth with myself so many times in search of finding a balance between academia and activism. Finding that balance has been a very pressing struggle, however I realized that they inform each other. I need them both close to me at all times. They have been the water and sun to me the seed. I bud, and continue to bloom because of their mercy. I end this year knowing that I, and this world, will forever be changed because of events that have unfolded in this year. 

In 2011, I watched the rest of the world show up by the thousands to contest their frustrations with widening inequalities. I wondered when we too would join them. I wonder no more. I have never felt more alive, more capable, or more hopeful. Labor, faith-based, community, and student groups are joining forces; working together to show us what an all-inclusive movement looks like. When my children and my grandchildren ask where I was when the streets were filled with anger, frustration, tears, shouts, blood, courage, and bravery, I will be able to tell them that I was there. I was here. This was the year I realized that the personal is political and the political is personal. 

Friend Me: I am not your challenge. I am not interested in giving you a hard time so you can feel victorious on the rare occasion I tell you you're right. You may not speak with conviction about matters you have no expertise,educational background, and/or lived experience with. You are not an all-knowing creature in possession of objectivity. Every being high and low who meets me and thinks that they hold the key to unlock my mysterious centers can choke on some volcanic ash. I am not a thing that needs to be conquered or tamed. I really don't like people who swear they are more important than they are. All of us could die and the world would keep revolving and evolving (unless we died along with the Earth). 

I have gone through so many different phases and my thoughts about where I want to be intimately placed with others has shifted to presently not consuming myself with anxieties about it. I've tried being perfect. I have since realized that no one loves me because I am perfect, and I do not love anyone because I think they are perfect. We love each other for our quirks, the things that set us apart, that makes us "us." When it is said that you have to first love yourself, its only somewhat true. First, you have to be loved or you will never know that you can be loved as you are. Also, in a world where we are bombarded with messages and images that tell us we should hate ourselves (and buy whatever is being advertised to improve), it is an ever increasing struggle to not look in the mirror and find things that you hate about yourself. Regardless of how many people tell you that you are ugly and worthless, there are people who will and do see the beauty in you. This is why when I get compliments I accept them like a boss! Thank you, but do note that your approval doesn't make or break me. No need to interrupt your day to let me know I look good. I wouldn't be out here if I didn't. --- Note that nowhere in this monologue did I use "imperfections" or "flaws" to describe myself Hate when those words are used as descriptions for people's looks or personalities. 

I can admit that every once in a while I crave attention in the worst ways, but it doesn't consume me because for the first time in a long time, I feel like I am exactly where I'm supposed to be, doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing. I've spent a great deal of my mind power pondering the complexities of my relationships with others, and one of the big conclusions I made this year that has helped me dearly is this: we're never taught how to be or that we could be "just" friends with those we are told we "should" desire. Well, its not only possible, but it can be really easy if both of you understand that being good friends does not mean you will make a "good couple" (whatever that means). I have 2 male best friends. We tell each other we love each other all the time. They know more of my business than any other people on this earth (minus my best girlfriend of course!). Contrary to some recent voiced concerns, I do not have my walls up. I just know better, so I do better. This year I lived like a human with feelings. I need people to love me and I need to love people.
2015 Me: I will take the lessons of 2014, one of the most challenging and exciting years of my life, and apply them in my life forever more. Life lessons if you will. My Chinese horoscope says next year will be a bit calmer, and I hope its right...it was this year - like freakishly right this year!! I will not shop 'til I drop. I will make it the year of financially responsible me. Its not like I'm completely irresponsible, but that is definitely an area of my life that can use improvement. Hell, this year I swore to stop shopping at Walmart and I did that! Giving up one-stop shopping was indeed a challenge of all challenges. 

Monday, July 14, 2014


This blog post is in response to the foolishness I came across this week. So apparently there are women in the US who feel pretty strongly about feminism such that they are anti-feminist. You have to see this for yourself! (click here) The amount of hearts that translate into likes by women illustrate how successful backlashes against feminism have been. We live in a society in which the quick go-to's for such displays of ignorance are attributed to lack of education. Lack of education does play a role, but what plays a larger role is the diffusion of media. Note that this link sends you to a (social) media site! As I read the cards, being the feminist that I am, I did not get angry, but rather amused at the claims being made. These women obviously do not know what feminism is at its core or what feminisms are in practice. Lets take a moment to address a couple of these claims about feminism shall we?

I regret to inform you...well not really...that your gender IS a political category. Feminism did not do that. So whether you want to acknowledge your agenda as such or not, it is what it is. I will just forward you to debates on reproductive rights. Whose bodies are being debated? I'll wait. 

There has been a longstanding debate amongst feminist as to whether men can be feminist, but feminism isn't some agenda to make women the dominant group over men. This conceptualization of feminism ignores that feminist theorists have spent the last 40 years trying to figure out how to get us to a postgender world such that people are allowed to be different and equal.This conceptualization also ignores the role feminists have played in getting people to see that patriarchy hurts men too; albeit hurts men more! 
Let's get serious about feminism for a moment. What is feminism? I'll just provide a brief review below. I don't provide more because I know how conservative skeptics work. Conservative refers to people who want to keep things as they are or who want to return to some mythical time of the past that never happened. Skeptics think everything is debatable and all new information is biased. I'm a skeptic EXCEPT I am also a critical thinker. If you claim to be a critical thinker then you have to be OPEN to new information and possess a willingness and desire for more information on a topic. Thinking really hard about things does not make you a critical thinker. Sorry to disappoint you! So conservative skeptics will read the info below and think "that's just her opinion" or "of course, she'd say that because she's a feminist." For all of you who think you know or want to learn more about feminism, seek out the books listed after my 2 cents.  

Tales from the Crypt (b/this Tumblr page is ultimately claiming feminism should die)
The women’s liberation movement was far more complex than the civil rights movement and arguably so because of how the civil rights movement played out for its women participants. Women’s participation in civil rights and anti-Vietnam War organizations led to the conception of women’s organizations and the women’s liberation movement (Gelb 1996:16-22; Peet & Hartwick 2009:241). There is a difference between what people think feminism is and what it is by definition. I offer you general descriptions from two different sources:

Peet and Hartwick (2009:240) --- Feminism is made up of several diverse social theories, political movements, and philosophies. Most of these adopt a critical stance toward the existing social relations, especially gendered relations. Feminist theory looks at the origins, characteristics, and forms of gender inequality in order to focus on gender politics, power relations, and sexuality. Feminism is consciously political and activist. Its politics centers on immediate issues like reproductive rights, domestic violence, maternity leave, equal pay, sexual harassment, discrimination, and sexual violence as well as such long-term issues as patriarchy, stereotyping, objectification, and oppression.

Myra Marx Ferree (2012:294) --- Feminism is about “activism for the purpose of challenging and changing women’s subordination to men.” “Feminism is a goal, a target for social change, a purpose informing activism, not a constituency or a strategy. Feminist mobilizations are informed by feminist theory, beliefs, and practices…” She goes on to say that “[f]eminism as a goal can be adopted by any gender” (294).

We can see from these definitions that feminism is a complex concept. Be weary of any attempt at describing feminism in a sentence or two. At the foundation, there is the understanding that gender equality is imperatively incorporated into any efforts claiming to be feminist, but that is not ALL feminism is. We're humans, and humans like brief explanations and categories. We like to pretend that everything can be simplified when in actuality nothing is as simple as we want it to be. Nothing.

Nancy Hewitt edits No Permanent Waves; a book about how subsequent-generation feminists like to think of themselves as doing something new, when they are instead, participating in an ongoing discussion of (gender) equality. So whenever you're wondering about the difference between 1st, 2nd, and 3rd wave feminists just be mindful that its women distinguishing themselves and not really a "matter of fact" distinction. Also, if you identify as a feminist or claim to be an expert on feminism, please check this book out. Doing so will prevent claims that have already been taken, which eliminates the need for you to perpetuate anti-feminist discourse.

Despite the disputes of authenticity and claims of ingenuity among feminists, feminism has really asked the hard questions and pushed us further in conceptualizing ourselves as human beings. So just like anything you may think you know all about, such as race, class, gender, sexuality, you don't know all about it. If you would like to become more knowledgeable about the knowledges of feminisms then I've listed some books below to get you started. Enjoy!
Gary, Ann and Marilyn Pearsall (eds). 1996. Women, Knowledge, and Reality: Explorations in Feminist Philosophy, (2nd ed). New York and London: Routledge.

Hill-Collins, Patricia. 1991. Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment. New York: Routledge.

Faludi, Susan. 1991. Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women. New York: Crown Publishers, Inc.

Ferree, Myra Marx and Aili Mari Tripp (eds). 2006. Global Feminism: Transnational women’s activism, organizing, and human rights. New York: New York University Press.  

Hawkesworth, Mary. 2012. Political Worlds of Women: Activism, Advocacy, and Governance in the Twenty-First Century. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press.

Hesford, Victoria. 2013. Feeling Women’s Liberation. Durham and London: Duke University Press.

Hercus, Cheryl. 2005. Stepping Out of Line: Becoming and Being Feminist. New York: Routledge.

Hewitt, Nancy (ed). 2010. No Permanent Waves: Recasting Histories of U.S. Feminism. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

McRobbie, Angela. 2009. The Aftermath of Feminism: Gender, Culture and Social Change. Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE Publications, Inc.

Mohanty, Chandra Talpade. 2003. Feminism Without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press.

Morgan, Robin (ed). 1970. Sisterhood is Powerful: An Anthology of Writings from The Women’s Liberation Movement. New York: Vintage Books.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

no mic - free write: The Struggle is Real

One of my best friends saved my life when he told me that I was human. Such a simple thing to understand right? Its actually quite disturbing when I think about how much time I've spent dissociating myself from this very concept. Mostly, because I am a very passionate person. Things affect me on a level society tells me they are not supposed to. I suppose a society based on Neoliberalism and Capitalism will do that. Work, work, work. Everyone must be productive --- and productivity is reduced to producing goods that can sell. But in Capitalism, all things can sell. Key word is "can" b/some things those in power are not interested in providing a legally recognized market for. Everything in our lives is regulated. Every. Single. Thing. The key is keeping work separate from your personal life. As if everything on this planet isn't interrelated!!!

If I have a kid, there's a time limit on the length of maternity leave, IF I am even granted leave at all, on how long I can take off work, what position I can come back to work to, and the terms for leaving work if something comes up with my kid(s). Regulating love for your family.

If someone I love dies then the company I work for sets the parameters for the time I get to mourn. There are stipulations for what qualifies as appropriate mourning set by society as well. No break downs please! You can't be crying at work. For goodness sakes, put some concealer under those eyes! Regulating death.

And love. Love is marketed in a marriage scheme accompanied by tax breaks. This is a different sex organs - same everything else (race, religion, class, etc) only club because the "son of man" whose most popular name means "all hail to Zeus," said so. He did say that right? I couldn't find it but I'm sure its there. Nevermind our pituitary gland 's hormonal production having a say. Regulating "personal" relationships.


My emotions surge through my veins like fire looks when ignited down the path of a spill. My emotions tire me out. The brain power I have to use to keep things in a positive perspective is where all my calories meet their doom. Even still, pretending I don't feel is harder than allowing my feelings to flow freely. I guess I'd rather feel the destruction, the hurt, and the disbelief. I have to take the good with the bad right? These amplifications mobilize my thoughts and help me appreciate the other end of the spectrum that much more. When its good its really good! This might be a good time to confess that I am a really anxious person - in case you haven't figured that out by now. I have feelings. I am human. I might not be able to control how I feel as well as I'd like, but I can control how I respond to those feelings, for the most part anyway. The 1st step to coping is admitting you have a problem right? Well, I have an emotional problem. I feel everything. I carry my feelings with me like my lip balm. I like being around people who are okay with this. 

What's crazier than anything is that I feel bad for people who don't feel like I do. So I am an emotional mess, but I'm okay with that. Feeling everything is better than feeling nothing at all. This is so much better than being a sociopath...I think. Besides, I ain't no stinking robot. I was borned by a Western doc with his Western know-it-all expertise on birthing babies. He said, black mother you will need a c-section b/I don't have time for this baby to come naturally. I was yanked from my mother's belly into those welcoming hands. That just about explains how I feel on a daily. I don't control anything, so stop asking me what I intend to do in the future and expecting a detailed answer. I intend to cope with whatever shit storms I must. I read the memo on individualism but I burned it up with my candle flame. Watched it shrivel up and die. Now that me and empathy have become such good friends, I never want to leave her side. She needs me as much as I need her. Who knew? <end rant>

Friday, July 26, 2013


The most common knowledge is usually inaccurate information passing as knowledge. For instance, everyone knows that if you get burned, you should put butter on it. WRONG. Butter actually holds heat and will increase your pain 10 fold. Everyone knows that if you eat something too spicy, you should drink water. WRONG. Milk or sour cream fare much better on returning your orality to normal. Everyone knows that there is a debt crisis at the federal and state levels. WRONG. There is a revenue crisis because wealthy people and corporations are not paying taxes, and in some cases getting tax refunds in the millions.

As in all things that rely on what people think they know, the response to an action or inaction will follow suit with what one believes to be true. For instance, if I think butter is supposed to soothe the burn then I will put butter on my burn. I will soon realize that it is not helping, and that my burn is only getting worse. Will I, A. Seek out better information and try an alternative solution or B. Continue to melt butter on my burn? In this analogy, the butter exemplifies the austerity measures currently being employed throughout the world according to the common knowledge enforced by the IMF, World Bank, and US Treasury. Austerity measures have been pushed in numerous countries over the last 30 years and has not succeeded in any one of them, but nevermind that. "This time, this time it will work!" is still the philosophy, despite the ratio of attempts to successful implementations being "too many:zero."

Despite these policies not proving effective, there are still political and corporate leaders asserting that social welfare programs established during the Great Depression to protect people from the perils of Capitalism should be cut: Foodstamps! Medicare! Medicaid! Social Security! Who needs to pay taxes? Let's just privatize all these things and charge people what the market declares they should pay. Never mind that speaking about "the market" implies that its a "thing" completely detached from people. The "market" develops out of people passing policies that show obvious favoritism for certain products being bought and sold. Ever wonder why there's not more efforts going into renewable energy? I'm sure it has nothing to do with people who have gained their fortunes from fossil fuels donating to political campaigns and giving other kickbacks.

Since 'politician' has become a certified way to get wealthy then it follows that the phrases "its just politics" or "politics as usual" have come to mean that a particular politician's vote will likely side with the highest bidder. Let's not worry about the people who voted for them to represent their interests. Our bipartisan system is notorious for presenting issues in dichotomous - either/or - forms. Allow me to present a dichotomy: we either continue doing things the neoliberalist way or we get serious about some alternatives. The good in all this bad is that the people in this country tend to be in favor of not only keeping social programs, but expanding them, and are even willing to pay more taxes such that there is monetary coverage. This leaves me wondering why OUR politicians that we elect are not a reflection of the people they represent! The answer(s) probably has a lot to do with 'politician' being seen as a career choice instead of a goodwill carried out by a responsible and empathetic citizen.

When submerged in information such as this, one's outlook can become quite negative. Its common to think about the difficulty addressing this discrepancy when those with power have so much of it? Well, you see the thing about power is that one cannot have power unless it is given to them. Money doesn't make people powerful. Our treatment of people with money makes them powerful. --- I'm going to spare you of my rant about how people treat money and just forward you to Polanyi. You can also go back and read my previous post if you need to read about how the current practice of Capitalism, guided by Neoliberalism, distributes wealth to a few and leaves the majority of people in poverty. --- Its past time for us to take our power back and empower ourselves!!! I read posts on my Facebook and Twitter feeds all day about how pissed everyone is, but posting on social media can't be where your frustration stops. Sure, posting about injustices on social media (this blog counts too) raises awareness but unless you're providing avenues for people to get involved in the change they want to see, you're falling short. Pay close attention to this next part --> If you've been looking for organizations that take on immigration reform, labor issues, saving and expanding social security, medicare, and medicaid, working toward racial, gender, economic, and political equality, and making corporations and the wealthy PAY THEIR FAIR SHARE then check out the organizations listed below and GET INVOLVED in the change you want to see!***

American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
Alliance for a Just Society
Center for Community Change (CCC)
Community Access National Network (CANN)
Jobs with Justice (JWJ) 
National Domestic Workers Alliance
National People's Action (NPA)
PICO National Network 
Planned Parenthood
Progress Now
Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
State Voices
Women's Equality Center (WEC)

People Organized for Westside Renewal


Rights for All People / Derechos Para Todos
Colorado Progressive Coalition 


Teach Our Children
Organize Now


Northwest Indiana Federation of Interfaith Organization 


Illinois People's Action 
Organizing Neighborhoods for Equality 
Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation
Illinois Indiana Regional Organizing Network 
Jane Addams Senior Caucus 


Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement 


Sunflower Community Action 


The Micah Project

Maine People's Alliance 


Alliance to Develop Power 


Alliance for Immigrant Rights and Reform 


TakeAction Minnesota


Communities Creating Opportunities
Grass Roots Organizing
Metropolitan Congregations United 
Missouri Faith Voices
Metro Organization for Racial and Economic Equity2 
Missouri Rural Crisis Center
Missouri Progressive Vote Coalition
The Organization for Black Struggle

Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada 

New York

Northwest Bronx Community & Clergy Coalition 
People United for Sustainable Housing 
Syracuse United Neighbors
Community Voices Heard
Good Old Lower East Side 


Working In Neighborhoods/Communities United for Action 
Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative 
Northeast Ohio Alliance for Hope 
The AMOS Project


Healthy and Free Tennessee 

Virginia Organizing

***This list is not exhaustive and will be updated periodically***
***Don't ask me why they're different colors***

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Reform or REVOLUTION???

A memo dated August 23, 1971 and authored by Lewis F. Powell, Jr was sent to the then chair of the Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Eugene B. Sydnor, Jr. Powell went on to become a Supreme Court judge and the world that was "changing" so far to the left reversed and did a 180 to the right. Of course, one has to always insert things like "One cannot be completely sure..." or "One cannot show a direct causal relationship...", but regardless of how much the elite are willing to admit the impact this memo had on what became the future, any analysis of this memo has to call it what it is: a plan for business elites to follow.

This memo dates back almost 43 years!!! The amount of time it took the left to come up with a corresponding agenda....*tic toc, tic toc*...The left tend to gear toward a democratic operation of sorts, in which consensus voting is highly regarded. However, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) illustrated how that model is an epic fail for orgs of a larger capacity.This democratic stance tends to prevent a maximized productivity (Did I just use business language?). A maximized productivity requires specifics, but one of the things criticized in the Neoliberal model used by conservatives is their insistence that every problem has a technological solution, which means a prescription by an objective and rational neoliberalist can solve any problem. Aw yes, when describing the other, you are describing yourself. Point: Neoliberalists have a solution for everything, and that solution is the same regardless of demographics and geography. However, those opposed to Neoliberalism --- Socialists, Commies, etc --- believe in local solutions. So leftists avoid agendas that incorporate specific solutions to overcoming Neoliberal ideologies. The majority of leftist agendas will not contain specific mechanisms meant for everyone to engage in.

I wish it were so easy as to go back to the 60s and do all the things that pissed off Powell and his buddies in the first place, but since the elite have used Neoliberalism to reconstitute their power, most of the  venues have been closed off, closely guarded, left political liberalists too afraid to fight back, or slowed innovation in social movement tactical innovation. In fact, Powell's memo could be summed up in 3 words: BUSINESS IS GOD.  Even still, I found myself pondering the change I would like to see and, well...I didn't consider how my training in "rationality" is why I was thinking in terms of "a" solution for the world.

The biggest problem I ran into in trying to develop feasible alternatives to Neoliberalism was acknowledging the difference between ideals and practice. For a world to exist without inequalities of any kind, all of the adults would need to be massively slaughtered, characteristics of greed and selfishness would have to be eliminated via self-destruction, and a new planet untouched by Capitalism/(Neo)Colonialism would be required. I started with the question: Most people are moderates and prefer a dialogue based on reform, but should we be talking revolution? By definition, Capitalism does not result in wealth or increased wealth for everybody. Polanyi already wrote a book about this and theorists have followed suit and compiled articles and books about how the State has to be involved with the "market" to protect against the pitfalls of Capitalism. But then economic liberalism injected heroin in its veins and transformed into Neoliberalism, and the rest is history. Laws have been changed to support Neoliberalism, governments have been cuffed to it, the IMF, World Bank, and WTO are its demon spawns and the bulk of the people of this world get the pitfalls of Capitalism in continuously interesting ways: GMOs, microfinancing, genocide, too big to fail transnational corporations, Monsanto being declared as above the law, and austerity measures that would shock the devil himself.

When coming up with alternatives one has to also think about repression. For example, if a local community tries to survive outside of the economic and political structure they could easily be framed as a cult. Local solutions are difficult to generate when any conduct outside of the structure is considered a threat to the structure. Bauman has pointed out in nearly all of his writings that waste is inherent in design. There is no "perfect" solution to  Capitalism, Neoliberalism, Neocolonialism, and Globalization. By perfect, I mean that any "solution" will include a deficit of some kind or another. At least local solutions means that the people being affected can choose how they're affected.

Criticism of the left: Why are you playing defense instead of offense?

Reply to critics: If this analogy is to be used, then the critic using it should know that only one team can play offense at a time. And when the game has been bought out or rigged in the other teams favor, there are no (objective) referees to keep the playing field fair. All calls are made in favor of the offense. How does one win a game in which the adversary makes all of the rules?

Offense: Business elites
Defense: Political liberals
Referees: Government/The State

So back to that question about whether we should be talking revolution or reform...