New & Noteworthy: the diffusion of concepts–toast and homophobia

These articles are not so new, but I certainly think they are noteworthy. I took a week to think about why I wanted to put these two articles together: one from Pacific Standard Magazine, an exploration of the sudden spread of the hipster fad for “artisanal toast.” What begins as the author’s tongue-in-check scavenger hunt for the source of the trend, leads him to Trouble Cafe owner Giulietta Carrelli, and her fascinating life story of how intimate and shallow relationships have affected her life. The second article is from Autostraddle magazine, and discusses how homophobic polices in Africa, which its so easy for us in the Global North to look down upon, have in fact resulted from colonial influence.

Both these articles are very different in tone and address very different topics, but what they have in common is the propulsion of ideas–be they toast or homophobia and the inter-relationships along the way that facilitate their migration from coast to coat or continent to continent.

1. Gravois, John. “A Toast Story.” Pacific Standard Magazine. January 13, 2014. http://www.psmag.com/navigation/health-and-behavior/toast-story-latest-artisanal-food-craze-72676/#.UuBbo46RvRc.facebook

2. McDonald, Helen. “We Need To Talk About Colonialism Before We Criticize International Anti-LGBTQ Legislation.”  Autostraddle. January 22, 2014. http://www.autostraddle.com/we-need-to-talk-about-colonialism-before-we-criticize-international-anti-lgbtq-legislation-218306/

 

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New and Noteworthy–Justification of Inequality

1. This past week, Katie Couric interviewed trans model Carmen Carrera and actress Laverne Cox. When Katie expressed her voyeuristic curiosity about the women’s transitions, they both responded with eloquence and grace about why her questioning was inappropriate.  Colorlines. “Laverne Cox remembers Islan Nettles while Schooling Katie Couric.” January 7. 2014. http://bit.ly/19ZXgZo

2. Last week, I participated in a training on Disability Justice, and re-read this “oldie but goodie” staple of the disability rights movement. This essay fits in well with the above interview, because Douglas Bayton describes how the belief that oppressed groups are disabled has been a reason for their exclusion throughout history, and sadly a counter response has involved the oppressed group insisting that they are not disabled, not denying that disability is a valid basis for exclusion.  Baynton, Douglas C. “Disability and the Justification of Inequality in American History.” 2001. http://www.disabilitymuseum.org/dhm/edu/essay.html?id=70 

3. The radio show Democracy Now! dedicated an episode to exploring the life and legacy to Amiri Baraka, a poet, playwright, and political activist, who passed away on January 9, 2014. Amiri Baraka started the Black Arts Movement, and in the 1960s the FBI identified him as “”the person who will probably emerge as the leader of the pan-African movement in the United States.”  Democracy Now! “Amiri Baraka (1934-2014): Poet-Playwright-Activist Who Shaped Revolutionary Politics, Black Culture.” January 10, 2014. http://www.democracynow.org/2014/1/10/amiri_baraka_1934_2014_poet_playwright?autostart=true

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Correction/Reflection on August 21, 2014–re-reading this post, I’m confused about why I included the tribute to Amiri Baraka with the other two topics, and even more irritated at myself that I had misspelled his name. I wonder what I was thinking–it seems more than a little “one of these things is different than the others” since Amiri Baraka was a virtuoso who used his considerable talent in progress toward equity via the Black Arts Movement. I think I probably just wanted to write about Amiri Baraka, and I will in a future post. For now, here is Questlove’s (drummer for The Roots) tribute to Amiri Baraka in the New York Times. 

New & Noteworthy: Shattering the Pedestal

In a brief post just before 2013 draws to a close, two stories have recently caught my attention. It is funny to note how 2013 has been a year full of Internet outcry moments in response to celebrities of all sorts. There is so much to unpack in terms of intersecting oppressions due to race, class, and gender, and the links below blend wit and insight into this analysis.

1. Tim Wise’s twitter rants undermining his professed principles. Critical Spontaneity.
“Tim Wise, informed by Tim Wise.” August 15, 2013. http://criticalspontaneity.com/2013/08/15/tim-wise-informed-by-tim-wise/

2. Ani DiFranco’s plan to host her “Righteous Retreat” on a Louisiana plantation. Bitch Media. “Five Perspectives on Ani DiFranco’s Planned Retreat at a Former Plantation.” December 31, 2013. http://bitchmagazine.org/post/five-perspectives-on-ani-difrancos-planned-retreat-at-a-former-plantation 

New and Noteworthy: Windows to African American History

1. “Slave Revolt in Jamaica, 1760-1761, A Cartographic Narrative.”  http://revolt.axismaps.com/map/

2. Malcolm X Diary & Family Lawsuit http://colorlines.com/archives/2013/11/malcolm_xs_daughter_to_release_his_diaries_this_week.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

3, Barlett’s Familiar Black Quotations http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/27/books/bartletts-familiar-black-quotations-covers-5000-years.html & http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=247166538

New and Noteworthy: September is National Spinal Cord Injury & Hispanic National Heritage Month

September is nearly over, but I would like to highlight two important special interest months

1. Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month  http://www.unitedspinal.org/september-is-national-spinal-cord-injury-awareness-month/

2. Hispanic Heritage Awareness Month http://www.hispanicheritagemonth.org/

Mo’Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove

When I was growing up, I an effortless reader, a bookworm who loved to read for hours on end, losing myself in stories. Now, as an adult, I am saddened that it has become hard for me to find the time and attention span to devote to what was my beloved past time. I recently finished reading Mo’Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove, the memoir of Ahmir Thompson aka “Questlove,” the Drummer for the Hip Hop Band The Roots, and was thrilled at how Mo’Meta Blues recaptured my love of reading from childhood, truly immersing me in what I had loved and continue to love about reading–exploring a new world, in this instance the world of Hip Hop.

Mo’Meta Blues did introduce me to people whose lives are so different from my own in a format that felt so unique–less of a memoir and more of a hip hop song that sampled  footnotes from Roots Manager Richard Nichols and emails exchanged between co-writer Ben Greenman and editor Ben Greenberg.  But Questlove also let me return to a place I have not visited in a while, Philly where I am from.

In addition to revisiting the city where I grew up, I also felt a musical nostalgia that brought me back to the first time I heard so many hip hop and R&B artists that make up the sound track of my adolescence. It was so funny reading about Questlove’s experiences attending CAPA (Philadelphia high school for Creative and Performing Arts) where he met Tariq Trotter “Black Thought” whom he created the Roots with as part of a rivalry against their classmates who “were always singing a capella in the bathroom,” classmates who later became R&B group Boyz II Men. It was so cool to read about the Roots performing with the Fugees, and think back to when I heard “Killing Me Softly” all over the radio and school hallways.

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Listen to The Roots & other Hip Hop artists

1. The Roots https://myspace.com/theroots This is the Root’s official MySpace page and includes a YouTube video archive as well as their music.

2. J Dilla https://myspace.com/jdilla I am embarrassed to admit that before reading Mo’Meta Blues, I never knew much about J Dilla and his legacy in what Questlove called the “new Renaissance of Hip Hop.”  After reading Mo’Meta Blues, it’s been a fascinating journey for me to explore J Dilla’s website, and learn about his life and powerful influences on so many artists from Questlove himself to Erykah Badu, Common, Kanye West… the list goes on and on. A moving story of coincidence that also unpacks J Dilla’s legacy was recently featured on the Snap Judgement Podcast: http://snapjudgment.org/j-dilla%E2%80%99s-lost-scrolls   

3. OkayPlayer http://www.okayplayer.com/ Okayplayer.com, created by Questlove in 1999, defines itself as “the original progressive urban music site” and  “premier digital destination for music connoisseurs worldwide.”

Read Mo’Meta Blues and Listen to the Interview that inspired me to read it

1. Thompson, Ahmir “Questlove” and Ben Greenman. Mo’Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove. June 2013.  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000I9S6AE/ref=atv_feed_catalog?tag=imdb-amazonvideo-20

2. “Questlove on Police Racial Profiling, Stop & Frisk, the Message He Took from Trayvon Martin Verdict.” Democracy Now. August 14, 2013.  This insightful interview cemented my crush on Questlove and finally prompted me to read Mo’Meta Blues.  http://www.democracynow.org/2013/8/14/questlove_on_police_racial_profiling_stop

New and Noteworthy: 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs & Freedom

On August 24th, I participated in the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington. I had the sense that I was marching in a spiral–in the inner rung was a tribute to the past.  A tribute to the Civil Rights Heroes who marched 50 years ago, Myrlie Evers and John Lewis, who shared their resounding voices on the podium.  In the outer rung was one of many reminders of the dream unfulfilled of jobs and freedom  that I and so many were marching for, present in the fast food workers strike held the following day.

Recordings from March on Washington & 50th Anniversary via Democracy Now!

1. http://www.democracynow.org/2013/8/28/50_years_after_march_on_washington

2. http://www.democracynow.org/2013/8/26/50_years_after_march_on_washington

Present Day Labor Struggles — Fast Food Workers Walkouts 

1. http://www.alternet.org/one-day-after-50th-anniversary-march-washington-record-number-fast-food-workers-strike-nationwide

2. http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/fast-food-workers-to-stage-walkouts-in-cities-nationwide-to-demand-higher-pay/2013/08/29/a08db102-1074-11e3-a2b3-5e107edf9897_story_1.html

March set to Music

1.  http://www.okayplayer.com/news/the-music-behind-the-march-on-washington.html

New and Noteworthy: Awesome blogs from my friends & Defensora debut

The Blogs

1. The Guatemala Human Rights Commission (GHRC) visits a Qanjobal community in Omaha, NE: http://ghrcusa.wordpress.com/2013/08/14/ghrc-visits-qanjobal-community-in-omaha-ne/

2. The Health Equity and Policy Blog: http://healthequityandpolicy.blogspot.com/

3. Feminist Collective Blog: http://disruptingdinnerparties.com/

4. Two Disability Rights Blogs: Claiming Crip: http://claimingcrip.blogspot.com/ and Dealing with Dyautonomia: http://dealingwithdys.blogspot.com.au/  are written by my two talented friends who interned with AAPD (American Association of People with Disabilities) this summer, and share their thoughts on disability theory, rights, and policies as well as their personal experiences.

Defensora Debuts in the US

The Documentary Defensora, about the Mayan Q’eqchi’ community El Estor’s resistance against mining in Guatemala, debuts in the United States. The link to the Defensora website is here: http://www.defensorathefilm.com/ and my pots tagged German Chub Choc detail the awe-inspiring courage of the El Estor Community with a focus on German Chub Choc, a Mayan Q’eqchi man who sustained a spinal cord injury after he was shot in an unprovoked attack by a security guard from HudBay Minerals.