Friday, December 25, 2009

Remember Your Past, But Honor The Good

In the section of Monica A. Coleman's book, "Making a Way Out of No Way," that I am reading, she is discussing the importance of remembering our ancestors. Our ancestors still influence our lives and it is important to remember their lives, although one should only honor and repeat the parts of their lives that was positive and loving. She talks about how so many African Americans today do not know much, if anything, about their own ancestors and how detrimental that loss is. As an adopted person who does not know much about her birth parents, I have strongly identified with this aspect of many African Americans' lives. I know that my adopted father's side of the family's ancestry is Welsh and that my adopted mother's is French. In fact, I can through her claim famous roots - she is related to Meriwether Lewis, of the "Lewis and Clark" fame and she is related to the horrendous slave owner who cut off part of Kunte Kente's foot in Alex Haley's "Roots." When I first heard that as a teen, I was at first horrified, but Coleman says that all stories of our ancestors are important, for there is something to learn from each-just not always something to honor. I also know that on my birth mother's side there is ancestry from English, Swedish, and Irish peoples, but that is really all I know. There is a yearning inside of me to know more about where I come from and an unsureness about whether to adopt my adoptive parents', i.e. my real parents, ancestors as my own, for some reason.

Besides always feeling a kinship to African Americans for this reason, I have also always felt a kinship with Langston Hughes after reading his poem, "The Negro Speaks of Rivers."

I've known rivers:
I've known rivers ancient as the world and older than the
flow of human blood in human veins.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.
I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.
I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.
I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln
went down to New Orleans, and I've seen its muddy
bosom turn all golden in the sunset.

I've known rivers:
Ancient, dusky rivers.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers
I think I resonate so deeply with this poem, because like the speaker, I have never met these people or been to these places, except New Orleans, and yet, because I do not have specific stories about deep rooted ancestors, I identify with a large group of people that have gone before me. I consider all womyn to be my ancestor and us all to be from the same family.

I really love that Coleman points out that we should remember all our ancestors, but only honor some. In the American South, one often hears about honoring The Old South's "heritage." When I was younger, my state and many other states, argued about whether it should leave the rebel emblem on its state flag, with many supporters saying that to abandon the emblem is to abandon our heritage. I say, "Bullshit!" Yes, we must remember the bad as well as the good in our heritage, but to keep the rebel sign on our flag and in many other ways, is to honor that old image and the racism and intolerance is not a way that should be honored. As this year comes to a close, let us remember the past, but choose to honor only the good.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Inspirational Quote for the Day

For example, a black man in America is oppressed in a racist society. If God is the God of the oppressed, then God is on his side. But if this black man abuses his female partner, does God switch sides to be with her? What if she abuses her child? A God who resists oppression does not love or hate, accept or despise one person in this scenario more than another. God resists the oppressive activity and calls each party to justice in their lives. (82)
~ From "Making a Way Out of No Way" by Monica A. Coleman

Monday, December 14, 2009


Peace is not ignoring the reality of the world, rather, it prevents us from seeing the world as narrowly we otherwise might. (69)
~ from Monica A. Coleman's book, "Making a Way Out of No Way."

Friday, December 11, 2009

I Hate That I Want It - Disney's "The Princess and The Frog"

I really do not want to want to see the new Disney movie, "The Princess and The Frog," but I have to admit that I do. I mean, I really want to see this movie. I do not like the fact that now that there is a black Disney princess, that now black girls are being welcomed into the open arms of commercial patriarchy. I would much rather the princess be an authentic African princess, rather than one that looks white and I really hope that no girl develops an eating disorder, because of this movie. (Yes, I know, eating disorders are all about control, but people would not try to control themselves through food and body image, if the impossible skinny girl was not the constant image in our society-they would find something else...)

But damn it, Disney musicals make me happy! I love musicals and there are not as many musical movies anymore, especially ones that are purely happy. I need positive energy and happiness and in this age of economic depression, I think the whole nation-maybe the whole world-needs something that is happy and uplifting. I really, really wish that the source of the happy and uplifting was not also filled with the stereotypes and nuances of the patriarchy, but perhaps we can think of it this way-perhaps now that all girls-well, except Latinas-believe they can be a Disney princess, maybe the day will come that all girls-including Latinas-believe they are worth as much as a princess.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Inherent Racism in White Collar

Right now I am watching the show, "White Collar," and it is pretty entertaining, but as I am watching I cannot help but think about the racism inherent in the show. You see, in this show, the criminal is a white, white collar criminal and he is handsome, charming, and sympathetic. He is also given a break, as he gets to stay out of jail as long as helps the FBI. This would not happen if the criminal was a person of color. Our media likes to portray white criminals as outside the norm, which you see quite often in real news stories people repeat the saying, "I am so surprised-He seemed so calm!, " which is not the reaction that is portrayed when the criminal is of color. Also, I am sure that there are real white collar criminals that are black, but our media has to continue the narrative that all men of color are violent thugs. Imagine that the show is called, "White Collar," but that the main handsome, charming, sympathetic, male character is black. Now you know why the show would not sell-if a show does not stick to already established stereotypes, then it usually is doomed.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Ezekiel 13:10-16 - Do Not "Whitewash" the Truth!

I usually reserve Bible verses for my other blog, Hope Is Real!, but when I was reading my Bible today, this passage reminded me about the post I wrote last weekend about Stone Mountain "whitewashing" its history. Take it or leave it, just remember that although honesty can be painful, in all matters of justice, it really is the best policy.

Ezekiel 13:10-16
10 " 'Because they lead my people astray, saying, "Peace," when there is no peace, and because, when a flimsy wall is built, they cover it with whitewash, 11 therefore tell those who cover it with whitewash that it is going to fall. Rain will come in torrents, and I will send hailstones hurtling down, and violent winds will burst forth. 12 When the wall collapses, will people not ask you, "Where is the whitewash you covered it with?"

13 " 'Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: In my wrath I will unleash a violent wind, and in my anger hailstones and torrents of rain will fall with destructive fury. 14 I will tear down the wall you have covered with whitewash and will level it to the ground so that its foundation will be laid bare. When it [b] falls, you will be destroyed in it; and you will know that I am the LORD. 15 So I will spend my wrath against the wall and against those who covered it with whitewash. I will say to you, "The wall is gone and so are those who whitewashed it, 16 those prophets of Israel who prophesied to Jerusalem and saw visions of peace for her when there was no peace, declares the Sovereign LORD."

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Recovery Feminism - A New Kind of Feminism

I just stopped following another blogger who is not positive enough for my recovery. I know that perhaps one of the biggest reasons why I do not get a lot of hits on my site is because I do not spend enough time reading and commenting on major feminist sites, but life is not a popularity contest. I write this blog, because I have something to say and if I do not write my thoughts out, then I will ruminate and ruminate and ruminate. I also a person who is in recovery and is trying to follow the path that leads to serenity and so I cannot spend my time at sites that continually disrupt my attempts at serene-living.

I consider myself to be an outspoken feminist and feminism does often call us to be angry, instead of complacent over how womyn are treated, but not ALL the time. I refuse to live my life always in anger-I must be more productive than that. My kind of feminism always acknowledges my journey in recovery. I do not know if there is a already a name for this type of feminism, but I suspect not, so I am naming it: Recovery Feminism.

Recovery feminism means that I am free to stop fighting for a certain cause or reading triggering material if it is causing me harm. It means that my recovery comes first, so if what I am doing for "The Cause" causes me to get incensed to the point that I no longer want to eat or start becoming depressed, then I must stop. It means that I must strive to promote sisterhood and peace in all my affairs. It means that while anger is an option, rage and hate is not.

There was a time when I was really upset about all of my limitations due to my mental illness, and I still hate it sometimes when I know that I cannot attend a rally or protest, because I am afraid that I will become too triggered or emotional, but I had to finally realized that I will not help any cause if I am curled up into a ball. I just won't. I am committed to my recovery, which means that I must surround myself with positivity and I cannot visit blog sites, even if they are wonderful writers, who allow attacking and/or hate speech on their comments section.

I know some feminists may think that by distancing myself that I am copping out, but I sincerely believe that acknowledging and positively feeding my worth as a human being is a more than valid feminist response. Surely promoting peace and sisterhood are, right?