I’m the kind of person who likes to be by himself. To put a finer point on it, I’m the type of person who doesn’t find it painful to be alone. I find spending an hour or two every day running alone, not speaking to anyone, as well as four or five hours alone at my desk, to be neither difficult nor boring. I’ve had this tendency ever since I was young, when, given a choice, I much preferred reading books on my own or concentrating on listening to music over being with someone else. I could always think of things to do by myself.
I normally wouldn’t do something like this, but given the dismissive and disrespectful response we’ve received from the people responsible for producing and proliferating this offensive image for daring to speak out, I’m coming to you all for help.
The offensive image above was plastered across the halls of my law school and put on the internet as the cover photo as a joke to advertise a party. Given this nation’s history of using black women as props, mascots, and metaphors, women of all colors and those standing in solidarity with us were offended by this. Reasoned replies on the Facebook event explaining that the photo was offensive were deleted. Some who had their comments deleted were ignored. Others were sent dismissive and disrespectful responses explaining that the photo is “camp,” a joke, and bemoaned the fact that “we lost Joan Rivers too soon” because perhaps then we’d understand why this is apparently funny.
Because it was clear that honest and open critique would be silenced and ignored, myself and three other black queer/female students wrote an open letter outlining why the above image is racist and sexist and asking for an apology. Since posting the open letter, the people responsible for the image have not apologized, but have put up one response essentially reprimanding all of us who have voiced our opinions for daring to speak out in a way, tone, and forum of which they do not approve. Their response mischaracterized our critiques, were indicative of entitled and privileged thought, and were emblematic of the very issue our letter was meant to highlight and explain.
It is clear that those responsible for this image and for making the halls of my law school a hostile and alienating space will not apologize for or acknowledge their behavior until they are made to see that what they have done is offensive and not okay.
Please help by reading the open letter, sharing it, and reblogging this post to help us make clear that this type of mascot-ing and mocking of women of color will not be tolerated.
I leave you with an excerpt from our letter:
…This is not just racist or sexist in a theoretical, these-kids-can’t-take-a-joke sense. These images, when controlled by the wrong people (here, racially unconscious white men) are harmful to those of us, particularly to black women, who enter the halls of Berkeley Law and other law schools fighting a nearly insurmountable presumption that we do not belong, lack merit, and are ignorant and incompetent. Now, images of bodies like ours and dance forms which first found life in the minds of our sisters, for which we have been defamed, ridiculed, called outside of our names, and punished for performing and merely being associated with, have been stolen, bastardized, and reduced to jokes and posted for the consumption of the privileged white heterosexual men walking the halls of an elite, top-ten law school. These are institutions which have been historically hostile to us, but which we (perhaps naively) hoped could be a site of our overcoming. It hurts. It is a slap in the face–a reminder that our presence is only desired in the symbolic form of props, mascots, and metaphors.
Depression is stupid and not a thing that makes me a better writer. One time I went a whole year without writing and I stayed in bed and drank. Fuck your Bukowskisms. I want sunlight and love and running down some street I’ve never been on where it’s warm and cool at the same time and I’m smiling. I want nothing to ever be bad again- and I don’t mean that I want a life free of conflict, I mean that I want a life free of meaningless conflict. Not being able to will oneself to take a shower or leave the house is meaningless. There is nothing to be gained, no lesson to be learned from that kind of life. My heart is stale, my prose is stale. Give me fire if you want to hurt me. Give me something I can taste. There’s nothing romantic or mysterious about where I am. There’s nothing here worth holding onto.
Today, Ferguson is prepared to “keep it moving.”
In face of the ordinance that mandated protestors not stand still while protesting, the community rode bikes #BlackBrilliance
You can tell a Saints game is on when you can hear your neighbors from all directions screaming in unison from their homes.
New paradigms often require a bit of new language. This is certainly the case with the neurodiversity paradigm – even the word neurodiversity itself is still relatively new, dating back only to the late 1990s. I see many people – scholars, journalists,
How to talk to your daughter about her body, step one: don’t talk to your daughter about her body, except to teach her how it works.
Don’t say anything if she’s lost weight. Don’t say anything if she’s gained weight.
If you think your daughter’s body looks amazing, don’t say that. Here are some things you can say instead:
“You look so healthy!” is a great one.
Or how about, “you’re looking so strong.”
“I can see how happy you are – you’re glowing.”
Better yet, compliment her on something that has nothing to do with her body.
Don’t comment on other women’s bodies either. Nope. Not a single comment, not a nice one or a mean one.
Teach her about kindness towards others, but also kindness towards yourself.
Don’t you dare talk about how much you hate your body in front of your daughter, or talk about your new diet. In fact, don’t go on a diet in front of your daughter. Buy healthy food. Cook healthy meals. But don’t say “I’m not eating carbs right now.” Your daughter should never think that carbs are evil, because shame over what you eat only leads to shame about yourself.
Encourage your daughter to run because it makes her feel less stressed. Encourage your daughter to climb mountains because there is nowhere better to explore your spirituality than the peak of the universe. Encourage your daughter to surf, or rock climb, or mountain bike because it scares her and that’s a good thing sometimes.
Help your daughter love soccer or rowing or hockey because sports make her a better leader and a more confident woman. Explain that no matter how old you get, you’ll never stop needing good teamwork. Never make her play a sport she isn’t absolutely in love with.
Prove to your daughter that women don’t need men to move their furniture.
Teach your daughter how to cook kale.
Teach your daughter how to bake chocolate cake made with six sticks of butter.
Pass on your own mom’s recipe for Christmas morning coffee cake. Pass on your love of being outside.
Maybe you and your daughter both have thick thighs or wide ribcages. It’s easy to hate these non-size zero body parts. Don’t. Tell your daughter that with her legs she can run a marathon if she wants to, and her ribcage is nothing but a carrying case for strong lungs. She can scream and she can sing and she can lift up the world, if she wants.
Remind your daughter that the best thing she can do with her body is to use it to mobilize her beautiful soul.
Fat people have sex. Sweet, tender, luscious sex. Sweaty, feral, sheet-ripping sex. Shivery, jiggly, gasping sex. Sentimental, slow, face-cradling sex. Even as you read these words, there are fat people out there somewhere joyously getting their freak on. Not only that, but fat people are falling in love, having hook ups, being crushed-out, putting on sexy lingerie, being the objects of other people’s lust, flirting, primping before hot dates, melting a little as they read romantic notes from their sweeties, seducing and being seduced, and having shuddering, toe-curling orgasms that are as big as they are.
Instead of insane, say unreal.
Instead of crazy, say unbelievable.
Instead of calling someone a psycho, call them an asshole.
Instead of stupid, say awful.
Instead of dumb, say bad.
Taking ableist language out of your vocabulary is simple and will help widen your vocabulary.
Only the strong go crazy. The weak just go along.
Someday you’re gonna look back on this moment of your life as such a sweet time of grieving. You’ll see that you were in mourning and your heart was broken, but your life was changing…