Soul Food: “Who Am I?”

May 23rd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German pastor and theologian and a participant in the German resistance movement. He participated in plans to assassinate Hitler (despite being a pacifist), was arrested and executed. He wrote this poem a month before his execution.

Who am I? They often tell me I would step from my prison cell
poised, cheerful and sturdy,

like a nobleman from his country estate.
Who am I? They often tell me I would speak with my guards
freely, pleasantly and firmly,
as if I had it to command.
Who am I? I have also been told that I suffer the days of misfortune
with serenity, smiles and pride,
as someone accustomed to victory.

Am I really what others say about me?
Or am I only what I know of myself?
Restless, yearning and sick, like a bird in its cage,
struggling for the breath of life,
as though someone were choking my throat;
hungering for colors, for flowers, for songs of birds,
thirsting for kind words and human closeness,
shaking with anger at capricious tyranny and the pettiest slurs,
bedeviled by anxiety, awaiting great events that might never occur,
fearfully powerless and worried for friends far away,
weary and empty in prayer, in thinking, in doing,
weak, and ready to take leave of it all.

Who am I? This man or the other?
Am I then this man today and tomorrow another?
Am I both all at once? An imposter to others,
but to me little more than a whining, despicable weakling?
Does what is in me compare to a vanquished army,
that flees in disorder before a battle already won?

Who am I? They mock me these lonely questions of mine.
Whoever I am, you know me, O God. You know I am yours.

Fox News Needs Some Common Sense, Among Other Things

May 19th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Amber,

Fox News is pissing me off. Again. Their most recent stupidity is to be hot and bothered over Michelle Obama’s invitation to Common to attend a White House poetry night.

Oh Fox. Foxy Fox Fox. Must we drum up “controversies” and work as hard as we can to close our eyes and shut our ears? Must we be so ignorant?

Here’s Sean Hannity: (You can read the full transcript here.)

I imagine the conversation to have this conversation went as follows:

Hannity: “Who’s this ‘Common’ on the poets list? That’s not a name.”
Random Fox Intern: “He’s a rapper.”
Hannity: “Black rapper? Well there’s gotta be some dirt on him.”
Intern: “Well…actually, not really.”
Hannity: “Find some. Anything.”

And so all they could find was a poem on Def Poetry Jam….not even something off one of his albums. Slow clap, Fox. I’m impressed.

Errr. Not really.

Here’s Jon Stewart shutting down Bill O’Reilly (I have such respect for Stewart in this particular conversation):

 

So, Amber, after watching these videos, here are  lessons I believe Fox News and its commentators should learn:

1. Assume nothing. Especially about music you know little about. To be called a “rapper” is not an indictment. If you have to dig up obscure references then you probably haven’t found a “controversy.”

2. Stop using Jeremiah Wright as an indictment. Because whatever you say about him will be spoken out of ignorance. Just sayin’.

3. Study history.  Assata Shakur was accused of killing a police officer in 1973. She maintains her innocence (and at this moment I’m not interested in deciding who’s telling the truth – for another day), and by growing angry over Common’s support of her (and he’s not the only one) you assume that the police have always protected everyone (or even still do). We’re talking about 1973 – does anyone remember what cops and the justice system were doing back then and decades decades prior? Government-sanctioned violence against citizens, if I recall.  Simply brandishing the charge “cop killer” demonstrates your failure to understand the historical implications and every day realities of people’s lives.

4. Check your racism. Did anyone else notice that Jon Stewart named 3 white male artists who have been invited to the White House, who’ve defended those accused of murder and were never challenged? What is different about Common? Ahem.

My dream is that Fox News and its commentators will educate themselves. Otherwise I will soon be fuming again, wondering why I even bother to write these posts (don’t answer that) or pay attention to their pseudo journalism.

WTF Files: “Why Black Women are Less Attractive than Other Women”

May 16th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Liz,

In today’s WTF Files is an article written by Evolutionary Psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa that has the twitterverse in an uproar. Kanazawa wrote an article (originally titled Black Women are Ugly) for the Psychology Today website in which he cites a study that “objectively” measures the attractiveness of men and women of different races and concludes (no surprise here) that black women are by far the most unattractive individuals, you know, according to science.  *Blank stare*

When I first saw the title of the article via a link on my twitter timeline, I rolled my eyes and decided to pass, focusing instead on this article on Don Lemon (who I loooove Yay Don!). An hour later, I realized that half of my timeline was still furious and serious about holding Psychology Today responsible for printing this mess. Well, at that point, I decided I had better take a look, but to my dismay, the article was taken down. In a matter of minutes, however, a cache (linked at the end of this post) of the original post was in circulation and after reading the article with furrowed eyebrows and clenched teeth, I couldn’t help but get involved. I am especially upset that Psychology Today took the article down  with no public acknowledgment of it’s offensive and problematic nature. Once you make a public statement, in writing no less, you can’t just take it down like it never happened. That is NEVER a proper solution. When you are wrong an apology is necessary–didn’t we learn that in kindergarten? C’mon kids!

So, I’m writing this post to help get the word out. In the words of Kanye, this is “F*ckin ridiculous” as is the attack on all things having to do with black women that has been impossible to escape these past few years–from being unmarry-able to demonized baby-makers to just plain ol’ ugly…really? I’ve said it before and I think it’s time to say it again…CAN WE LIVE?!

Also, just to clarify (because I know I didn’t really get into it) this article is RACIST and it’s also pretty sexist. There is no such thing as objective (universal) beauty. That is not real, people. Do not believe the hype. As one blogger put it, even your (most likely problematic) Introduction to Anthropology  101 course should have taught you that.

You can check out Kanazawa’s article here.

Here are some blogposts to check out by those who do get into it:

Esoterica

Feministe

The Rotund

Clutch Magazine

 

Let Psychology Today know that bullshit articles of this nature are unacceptable. Email or tweet them your thoughts!

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