Tuesday, July 7, 2009


there's this.

...and my current favorite:

oh, and how could i forget...

Friday, April 10, 2009

the motherlode

i am fully aware i haven't blogged in well over two months. maybe i'm getting better at managing my anger, and have less of a need to blog? heh. well anyways, yesterday i hit the motherlode, if you will, as far as things that make me angry enough to rant about for pages. its called the motherlode blog on the new york times. or more specifically, this post by guess blogger "nicole sprinkle" (more on ludicrous last names in a bit).

so to summarize as briefly as possible. this is an "essay" (scare quotes to indicate that its neither well-written nor well-argued) by a white woman who married a colombian man, had a child, and began to systematically destroy her child's life by filling her with self-loathing. or, to put it in the words of so many of the commenters on the blog, it is a "brave and courageous" essay which takes an "honest" look at race, and should be applauded. apparently now the standard for decency when it comes to race relations is something along the lines of "i'm a huge fucking racist, but as long as i admit it, i'm being progressive." die.

ok i digress. so i was originally planning on just pointing out some of the horrifyingly racist things the author throws out in this essay as though they're no big deal (hoping her child will be just hispanic enough to get a scholarship, exoticizing her american-raised husband by expecting him to speak to their child in only spanish, worrying about the negative effects dominican nannies might have on her child's upper-class development, etc etc etc barf). As i went through the blog listing "things i found terribly offensive," though, the list grew so long i began to suspect i might be there forever. so i'm scratching that, and i'm just going to try to make a very broad point about this essay, and the incredible sadness i feel for this poor, poor child.

the main point of this essay, and the crux of my anger, is the idea that as a wealthy, white, straight parent, you are within your rights to try to mold your child's life to look more like your own to 'protect them' from adversity. Parents want their children to be happy, and for some reason they think the only road to happiness is the one lined with silver spoons which they themselves traveled. I doubt there are any such parents reading this right now, but i'll throw out some advice anyways: your child will never be happy if she knows her parents only love the white part of her, the straight part of her, or whatever other part they might most identify with. This "Sprinkle" woman (henceforth known as Cupcake McWhitey) seems to think that if she micromanages every aspect of her child's development, teaching just enough spanish to be charming and exotic, but not enough that anyone would question her whiteness, not enough that anyone might EVER discriminate against her, her child will have a great life. this is incorrect. if no one ever discriminates against her, that child will have a terrible life because she will grow up to be a person of color who is completely unaware of the racism that permeates the society in which she lives. this is tragic, because it means she won't CARE, and won't contribute to changing society in a positive way. it is also dangerous, because it means she won't be aware of the potential that someone WILL eventually discriminate against her. since of course, despite her mother's best efforts, she will still NOT BE WHITE.

i don't know that many new mothers, but i have known one too many gay friend whose parents rejected their gayness because they don't want their child to have any more hardship in life. parenting fail. in a big way. the moral of the story is, you can't change who your child is, but as a parent it is your responsibility to raise that child not to be the person you wish they were, but to be healthy and happy being the person they are. obviously raising a healthy and happy child is hard work, but if you can't even attempt to do that, you really should not have had children.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

marriage is between a man and a woman

but beyond that, no holds barred. feel free to use your legal privileges as a straight person to launch yourself into reality tv mediocrity. its the american dream.

CBS has just announced their newest reality show, "Arranged Marriage." in the show, four couples, chosen for one another by their families, will actually legally get married and the show will follow those marriages and see how they turn out. what i'm getting out of this? letting gay people get married would pretty much destroy the fabric of our society, cheapen our family values, and bring about the End of Days with some dramatic rains of fire. but straight people should feel free to use marriage as a publicity stunt, a joke, a fun activity in vegas (don't worry, you can always just cancel it when you sober up!) and whatever the f*ck else they want. sounds about right. as long as the people involved are of opposite genders, its a positive addition to American culture, and jesus will in no way be upset. score one more point for reason and rationality.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

i'm sorry jessie

you're right, of course. we have been in no way updating the blog often enough. sometimes i get lazy. so i'm gonna just post something real quick to let the internet know i haven't died, and perhaps i can get this whole 'posting' thing to become a habit again.

the subject today: ignorant people and internet commenting.

so i was reminded today of a long-standing irritation i've had. i went to check some of my blogs i haven't read in a few days, and discovered that sister toldja, who i find to be occasionally hilarious, got herself in a bit of trouble while i wasn't looking. apparently this post got linked on jezebel and, in the eternal words of eddie murphy, white folks lost their motherf*ckin minds. that poor little blog, which usually gets somewhere around 5 comments on a post, suddenly had just about 150, and most of them were mad as hell. if i had to summarize them in just a few words, it would be something along the lines of "you're an ignorant racist bitch, you remind me of hitler, its your fault racism still exists in the world, and as a white person i feel personally attacked and victimized." oh, and about 70% of the comments were posted anonymously. now you see why we don't allow anonymous comments on THIS blog.

so here's the thing thats always bothered me about the internet, and the world of internet commenting:
1) people seem to think its ok to pretend like they don't understand when something's a joke, and then just go off on it like it was an article in the new york times and not a post on a humor blog.
2) people seem to think 'anonymous' means 'i can insult you personally and compare you to hitler.'

and 3, which is the main reason this whole thing fascinated/annoyed me, is that people who (and i'm gonna go out on a limb and make a WILD generalization here) in their daily lives don't give more than a passing thought to issues like racism, homophobia, and social justice in general, who spend their time reading blogs like jezebel and gawker so they can keep up on their celebrity news, but probably don't even know the website for the BBC and certainly don't have any race-themed blogs bookmarked in their browsers suddenly feel the need to get impassioned about something when it happens across their computer screen on their way to some article about natalie portman's latest romance. i'm sorry, but in real life if you came across a group of black people talking about racism, you would keep walking because you would be uncomfortable and uninterested. but on the internet you feel like you have a right to join the conversation? fuck that. this is that brownstoner brooklyn eviction blog post all over again. just because something involving race or class falls into your otherwise wealthy, white, heterosexual internet 'space' doesn't mean you all of a sudden have a stake in that issue. if you spend 98% of your time ignoring issues like that, you frankly have no right to get indignant.

i'm mad late to work so i'm gonna just end this with little to no conclusion, and just leave you with these words of wisdom: the internet is a dangerous place, people. the same person who moves their purse to the other side when you sit down next to them on the train could be getting home, logging on, and trying to make some profound point about race in the comments section of a blog. you would never know.

addition: now that i'm AT work and shouldn't be blogging, i had a great thought and a clarification: i'm not actually mad at jezebel and gawker. both enjoyable websites, and tons of normal and smart people read them. here is my point - if you're going to get righteously indignant about something, you first need to earn some kind of righteousness. so don't pretend to get indignant about something you don't talk about enough to have confidence in your own opinions. express an opinion, sure, but feel free to also recognize you're not the expert.

Thursday, December 25, 2008


If you're going to do something Grinchy, I suggest you tape it, and send it to us here. Because I'm sure it'll be hilarious. Anyways, enjoy! :P

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

the gays, the blacks, and other random thoughts

all right...i've had a bit of writers block, but it doesn't seem to be going away so i'm just gonna push on through.

the subject of this post was originally going to be proposition 8, but i feel compelled to make a detour before i even begin: i recently went to see Milk, and i need to give it a quick shout-out. the movie was amazing, sean penn was amazing, and it was so incredibly relevant as to appear almost heavy-handed. but of course, when they were making the movie they couldn't have known Prop 8 would pass. which really makes you think, doesn't it. Just a brief background for those who haven't yet seen it, Milk is the story of the life and death of Harvey Milk, San Francisco Supervisor and the first openly gay public official. A large part of the movie focuses on the fight against proposition 6 in california: a proposition which would have banned gay people from teaching in california schools. watching the celebrations in the movie as prop 6 is defeated against the odds is a pretty grim juxtaposition to our current time. you can't help but think we may be sliding backwards. if, during a time when an openly gay public official lived every day knowing his life was in danger, they could defeat prop 6 but today we couldn't seem to defeat prop 8, what does that say about the direction our country is headed?

i don't actually think, though, that we're sliding so far backwards. prop 8 was a pretty horrendous setback, but i do believe its only a matter of time before gay people have the right to marry and this whole mess is a thing of the past. until then, though, just a couple of thoughts on the whole prop 8 thing:

1) I saw Sean Penn interviewed on Charlie Rose about Milk and various other things, and just wanted to paste a quote that I thought was particularly compelling, and also more eloquent than we've come to expect from our television sets. When asked about prop 8, Penn said,
"When they talk about it, its just a word, and ‘why not leave the traditionalists to their word?’ Well, you know, there’s 13 year old kids still today hanging themselves because the reach to identity is still too far, because they’re homosexual, or whatever the issue is….and we can’t give up a word? To save that kid’s life? It’s a national shame"
aw. Sean Penn.

2) there has been a LOT of talk about the role of black people in passing prop 8, and it just seems like its time for someone not-crazy to weigh in. people have blamed obama for not supporting gay marriage. rightly so. he really did not come through in any way shape or form on that issue. Sure, he opposed prop 8, but as a writer for Salon pointed out, "not so loud that anyone can hear him."

even so, there seems to be this sense that black people, rushing to the polls to vote for obama, tipped the balance towards prop 8. while that theory has since been disproven (it would have passed with or without black help), the fact does remain that 70% of black people surveyed voted in favor of prop 8. thats a lot. but i'm not completely sure why everyone was so d*mn surprised. homophobia in the black community is not a new issue, but everyone seemed to be trying to make it a new issue, to the detriment of logic. example: Charles M. Blow, "visual columnist" for the New York times, and currently trying his hardest to knock bill kristol from his current position as 'kaya's least favorite columnist,' wrote this piece in which he seems to imply that its not homophobia that's the problem. in fact, its not even all black people. no, black WOMEN are the problem because they're so scared of being alone forever that they have to lash out at gays for decreasing the pool of potential mates. um, what? wrong. illogical. also pretty damn sexist. i give that twenty-five fails for charles m. blow.

this type of logic-stretching seems to really be going around, though. so the black community is homophobic. everyone is trying to focus in on one issue that makes it so: maybe its the 'down-low' phenomenon (boo, hiss). maybe its that black women just can't find a man (hiss, boo). maybe it's the church (hmm...). but at the end of the day all of these arguments fail because they're trying to simplify a complex problem into a sound byte. sure, many churches have played a role in the pervasive homophobia in this country (i'm looking at you, mormons). but other churches (what up, episcopalians!) have made serious progress in fighting homophobia. just like white people, black people don't all belong to the same church. "the church" is not the problem. but i guess its not that quotable to say homophobia in the black community is influenced by homophobia in certain religious communities, homophobia in mainstream hip-hop which is, of course, encouraged by wealthy white funders, and a complex history of desexualization and hypersexualization tracing roots back to slavery that creates a lot of baggage around black sexuality and gender identity, among other things. and of course, nowhere in any of these discussions has it even come up that 'black' and 'gay' are not mutually exclusive categories. hm. i know we all want to make our point quickly and get published, but its possible certain issues would result in more productive conversation if we actually engaged with the complexity of the issue at hand rather than trying to fit it into a cute and simple box.

more on this later. i think i'm significantly late to work. i'll just leave you with this:

3) just for your enjoyment:

Friday, November 14, 2008

count it higher!

stay tuned for a for a fairly long post that's currently in the works, but for now, one of my all-time favorites...

Friday, November 7, 2008

this somehow seems appropriate...

i was feeling low, i was kind of blue. but that's all gone because of something new!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

From the heart

I'm only 23 years old, and I realize that my short time on this Earth has shielded me from many of the injustices that my people have faced in the U.S. However, as a Black Woman I recognize the rich history that we have- my mother was among the first bused into white schools in my hometown of Columbus, Ohio, my grandmother grew up on the land our family share-cropped in Tennessee and my great great great grandfather fought in the Civil War and, with his brother, used their compensation to buy the land for what became one of the first freed-slave communities in Dickson County, TN.
Even with a past filled with progress and achievement, my family, like many others, deals with many of the issues that plague Black Americans: poverty, drug use, crime, broken homes, etc. I grew up plainly working class with my mother and my sister, and while she did everything she could to give me all that I needed and always let me know that I could do anything if I set my mind to it, I always had a small bit of doubt that I could really make it.
I've had the good fortune, upbringing and support to have achieved some of my own dreams already in life (graduating from college and moving to the city to try to start my career)- but never really knew just how bogged down by doubt and lack of confidence that I was. I never knew how deeply ingrained those feelings of low self-worth and helplessness were in my psyche- until I felt a great deal of them lifted when it was announced that Senator Obama would soon be President Obama.

Four years ago in Cambridge, on Harvard's campus, I sat with my close friends as we waited for the results of the Kerry-Bush election. When all was said and done the room was silent all but for quiet curses and weeping.
Two days ago I cried again, harder and stronger than I did before- but this time they were tears of joy. I was happy that change would come, excited for a leader that could inspire such unity in people all over the world, and most of all HOPEFUL for the future that my little sister, my cousins and my future children will have. They will grow up in a world where anything is possible, they won't have to say "I want to be the first Black President," they can just follow their dreams and a path that has already been set.
Some of my friends and I were talking (i.e. what Kaya mentions below)- and we realize and accept that we have been a pretty cynical generation. We haven't experienced much monumental change for the better in our lifetimes- 9/11, Katrina, the War.. time and time again things have gotten worse and worse. But this is the first time for us that something major has happened. Something amazing has occurred.

This is the first time that we not only have hope- but can believe in it.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Our Defining Moment

Yesterday afternoon I walked to Whole Foods to pick up a cake, and as I walked through the Financial District in New York everything around me seemed heavy and still, as though the world was on the verge of cracking wide open. Every minute of the day felt somehow momentous, because every minute brought us closer to the moment when everything might change. It sounds so dramatic, and as I was walking to Whole Foods I remember thinking to myself that I needed to calm down, but even as I was talking myself down, I came to a realization: its true that it still remains to be seen how this election will impact the world and our futures, but regardless, this election was, for people my age, the first truly momentous occasion we have ever experienced. Eight years ago, when Bush first came into office, I was in high school. When Bill Clinton was first elected, I was seven. For people around my age, the current dark ages are really all we can remember, and as such my view of the world has largely been shaped by a sense that participation in the political process is meaningless and an ever-diminishing tolerance for patriotism in the face of the United States’ growing list of atrocities and aggressions. The mere thought that a black man could be president, that an intelligent and articulate man could be president, that someone I actually admire could be president, is a new concept to me. The thought that other countries might be inspired by anything America does is something I didn’t expect to see, and the images of people around the world rejoicing in Obama's success have made me feel, to quote Michelle Obama, proud of my country for the first time. The fact is that with the election of Barack Obama as president of the United States, we might not know what’s to come, but suddenly I find myself asked to open my mind to the possibility that it could be something GOOD. The fact that Obama could not only get elected, but could win in Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, and VIRGINIA means that fundamentally, my cynicism when it comes to the intelligence and goodness of people in general may just be wrong. This is the first moment since I first heard a friend say “people are a constant disappointment” that I’ve felt that statement might not be true. And that’s a big fucking deal.

At the same time, I think I’m essentially still in shock. I expected to cry when I saw Barack and Michelle stride into Grant Park as the new president and first lady-elect, but the image so violently clashed with the understanding in my mind that this is not what America looks like, that I don’t think I was even able to fully process the moment. The fact that the new face of America is not white, that the family in the white house will be black, is I think symbolically even more important than we can imagine.

Hm. This is getting quite rambly, no? My final thought is just this: this is the first time in my life that I’ve ever seen so many people celebrate ANYTHING in this country. I stood in Union Square last night and watched a bunch of hipster youth attempting to spread a chant of “U.S.A! U.S.A!” through the massive crowd that had gathered to celebrate, and thought it was probably the first time many of them had ever used that chant, certainly the first time I’d ever enjoyed hearing it, and even if we were experiencing the moment in incredibly different ways and for different reasons, which I expect we were, and even if the coming years prove to be no better or no different, that moment was significant.