Saturday, November 24, 2007

Blog Voices This Week 11/24/07

I'm going to move away from my normal content this week. I know this means that I risk two things: first of all, buhdy might get mad that I'm not posting what I was originally asked to write about and secondly, I will make the title of this series meaningless to my content. I must admit that I'm much more nervous about the later.

But my motivation this week comes from a series that Nezua has done over at "The Unapologetic Mexican" titled Let's Have Nexus. I think the content of this series fits very nicely with the goals of Docudharma in that he is stepping above the current fray and trying to find patterns that can help us change direction. He's also trying to find common ground as a way to build coalition across different interest groups, which I think is the struggle of our times.

I'll focus on the first post that introduces the topic and then highlight the main themes in the subsequent four posts. My task here is to give you enough of a flavor of what Nezua is saying that you'll go read the whole thing. He packs a lot in most of these, so you'll really only get a feel for the thought process if you click through and take it all in.

In the first Let's have Nexus post, Nezua defines the questions this way:


What of the intersection of race and class and gender? How do we navigate these nexus of privilege and oppression?...

Because if we all are truly interested in forming an ongoing conversation that cuts away the the husk of empty discourse and scoops out the Essential, we have to look not only at the symptoms of hate, violence, authoritarian rule, and oppression, but at the seeds that inform them and keep them entrenched, as well as socially acceptable. These vines are by now thorny and tangled and hearty, but the seeds were planted long ago, and the nourishment is delivered by all of us, and every day...

The problem with a "progressive" being unaware of underlying malaise and focusing on the symptomology of same is that they not only doom themselves to chasing a whack-a-mole variety of myriad inexhaustible offshoots, never addressing the bedrock cause, but they also unwittingly lend their power to the current dynamics in place. That is, s/he unwittingly aids that which s/he professes to be against. You do not need to see the entirety of the process for it to take place, unfortunately.
For the "nexus," Nezua draws on the writing of Derrick Jensen in his book The Culture of Make Believe. Jensen finds the nexus for hate in entitlement:


I have spent the past several hours now thinking about the notion that masters "shall be entitled to their labor," and at the risk of overstating, it seems to me that entitlement is key to nearly all atrocities, and that any threat to perceived entitlement will provoke hatred.
In response, Nezua finds the anecdote to entitlement in humility:


What happens when you nurture a sense of humility in place of entitlement? You place your feet on the same ground as I. You remove racism without really chasing "racism." You remove environmental harm without getting caught up in side arguments. You remove sexism without feeling less-than as a man. You remove road rage. You remove exploitation. You remove rape. And you join with others in the understanding that you are not entitled to a damn thing. Nope. Entitlement is the antithesis of gratitude. And honestly, you are one lucky human.
The second in the series is titled Where is the kindness? In this post, Nezua addresses these questions:


Are we backing ourselves into a trap? With our surety and righteousness and protection?...

Do we really want unity? Or just to be tight and safe in our posse? Either one is okay. But do we want one and say we want the other? Do we actually want unity but not know how to work to get there? Is our safety eventually protecting us from even reaching our goals?
The third in the series is a short one titled The Path is Always Sound. Shying away from any narrow consistent path, Nezua reminds us:


But school is out. Summer is here, and I return to my heart. I trust it, and that's why you will not ever see me get stuck on any one paradigm or style or stance... Because I need to breathe free. And in the land of the heart, the air is always fresh. The water is always clear, and while unpredictable, the path is sound.
The fourth in the series is titled Love is Revolutionary. In it, Nezua discusses our lack of empathy in this culture and gets close to home in talking about how/why we engage in flame wars. Here's a taste:


I guess another way to say it is that this habit or approach is about reducing wonderfully unpredictable and complex human creatures and their realities into pre-conceived boxes and slots and theories and doing it to bolster one or more old arguments that we are pleased to continually reinforce. And in the interim, forgetting the interconnectedness of all of us. That is—and not to lose anyone in HippieSpeak, I mean this very literally—forgetting that if a person is allowed to speak their truth honestly, to the Whole, and without pressure to conform to anything/side, they will bring an angle to the common reality that the larger whole very much needs; a piece to the puzzle of what is best for all.
The last and most recent in the series is titled The Coming Battle. In this one, Nezua talks about the "nexus of evil" (my words) that we are facing.


The ghosts stir. The symbols of hate and division and dominance appear more and more. Do we see/dismiss the single incidents one by one? Deal with each symptom to our satisfaction? Or do we sit back and note the larger mass, the overall pattern taking shape?...

In actuality, this division and battle forming is not just about "White Supremacy." That would be a little easier. And even then, remember, "White Supremacist Thought" is not at its core about a Nazi flag, a Minuteman membership, or a noose in the office. White Supremacist Thought disregards certain humans as less-than-human due to an arbitrary and unverifiable variant. But this post is not about nooses, and it is not about racists. I see something larger. I feel shadows flitting across this haunted ground, grabbing at any purchase. I hear, in these seemingly isolated shrieks, a call to stand.
Nezua ends this post with the clarion call:


The time is now. A rot grows on our collective bounty, ghosts again rise from this mowed-over green. If we ignore them, they continue to animate our hands when we are not looking, they continue to poison us as we sleep.

We must know we are in a new time, where what we say and do and what forces we feed matter greatly. It always has been so. But now more than ever it is time to take a position, and to make an unmistakable stand.
This statement about the "forces we feed" took me back to a diary written by infidelpig a log time ago titled The Two Wolves Within where he relayed wisdom that had been shared by a great Choctaw medicine man that taught him about his Cherokee heritage:

Cherokee Lore
An old Indian Grandfather said
to his grandson who came to him
with anger at a friend who had
done him an injustice........

Let me tell you a story. I too,
at times, have felt a great
hate for those that have taken
so much, with no sorrow for what
they do. But hate wears you
down, and does not hurt your enemy.

It is like taking poison and
wishing your enemy would die.
I have struggled with these
feelings many times.

He continued......

It is as if there are two
wolves inside me;
One is good and does no harm.
He lives in harmony with all
round him and does not take
offense when no offense was
intended. He will only fight
when it is right to do so,
and in the right way. He saves
all his energy for the right
fight.

But the other wolf, ahhh!

He is full of anger.
The littlest thing will set
him into a fit of temper. He
fights everyone, all the time,
for no reason.

He cannot think because his
anger and hate are so great.
It is helpless anger, for his
anger will change nothing.

Sometimes it is hard to live
with these two wolves inside
me, for both of them try to
dominate my spirit.

The boy looked intently into
his Grandfather's eyes and asked...

Which one wins, Grandfather?

The Grandfather smiled and
quietly said......

The one I feed.


Remember to feed the good wolf today!


Another US Land-Grab from Indigenous People Happening Right Now!

From the blog Intercontinental Cry, here is a letter from Margo Tamez asking for help for the people of El Calaboz, Texas as the Border Patrol, Army Corp of Engineers, and NSA harrass them to give up their ancestral lands in order for the border fence to be built.

Subject: Emergency in el Calaboz, Lipan Apache & Basque-Indigena North American Land Title Holders!!!

Dear relatives,
I wish I was writing under better circumstances, but I must be fast and direct.

My mother and elders of El Calaboz, since July have been the targets of numerous threats and harassments by the Border Patrol, Army Corps of Engineers, NSA, and the U.S. related to the proposed building of a fence on their levee.

Since July, they have been the targets of numerous telephone calls, unexpected and uninvited visits on their lands, informing them that they will have to relinquish parts of their land grant holdings to the border fence buildup. The NSA demands that elders give up their lands to build the levee, and further, that they travel a distance of 3 miles, to go through checkpoints, to walk, recreate, and to farm and herd goats and cattle, ON THEIR OWN LANDS.

This threat against indigenous people, life ways and lands has been very very serious and stress inducing to local leaders, such as Dr. Eloisa Garcia Tamez, who has been in isolation from the larger indigenous rights community due to the invisibility of indigenous people of South Texas and Northern Tamaulipas to the larger social justice conversation regarding the border issues.

However recent events, of the last 5 days cause us to feel that we are in urgent need of immediate human rights observers in the area, deployed by all who can help as soon as possible–immediate relief.

My mother informed me, as I got back into cell range out of Redford, TX, on Monday, November 13, that Army Corps of Engineers, Border Patrol and National Security Agency teams have been going house to house, and calling on her personal office phone, her cell phone and in other venues, tracking down and enclosing upon the people and telling them that they have no other choice in this matter. They are telling elders and other vulnerable people that “the wall is going on these lands whether you like it or not, and you have to sell your land to the U.S.”

...

My mother is under great stress and crisis, unknowing if the Army soldiers and the NSA agents will be forcibly demanding that she sign documents. She reports that they are calling her at all hours, seven days a week. She has firmly told them not to call her anymore, nor to call her at all hours of the night and day, nor to call on the weekends any further.She asked them to meet with her in a public space and to tell their supervisors to come.They refuse to do so. Instead, they continue to harass and intimidate.

At this time, due to the great stress the elders are currently under, communicated to me, because they are being demanded under covert tactics, to relinquish indigenous lands, I feel that I MUST call upon my relatives, friends, colleagues, especially associates in Texas within driving distance to the Rio Grande valley region, and involved in indigenous rights issues, to come forth and aid us.

Please! Please help indigenous women land title holders resisting forced occupation in their own lands! Please do not hesitate to forward this to people in your own networks in media, journalism, social and environmental justice, human rights, indigenous rights advocacy and public health watch groups!

Margo Tamez

I can't claim to know alot about what is going on related to this border fence building. But I have heard about it running straight through backyards, environmental protections given the shaft, and ancestral graves dug up. When is it finally time to stand up and say "STOP THIS MADNESS?"

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The myth of consumption

Sometime in your life, hope that you might see one starved man, the look on his face when the bread finally arrives. Hope that you might have baked it or bought or even kneaded it yourself. For that look on his face, for the meeting of your eyes across a piece of bread, you might be willing to loose a lot, or suffer a lot, or die a little, even.

Daniel Berrigan

I read this quote for the first time this morning in an amazing diary by Hillary Rettig and OPOL titled Giving Thanks for Progressive Activists and its been on my mind all day. I've been thinking alot about the myriad of myths that we respond to almost automatically without much awareness. When we read a quote like that, it resonates deeply. We know it is truth. And yet the myth that getting more for ourselves will somehow make us happy is how we tend to live our lives.

We've all had the experience of giving something meaningful to someone in need - be it emotional or physical. And we know that it brings a sense of happiness and meaning that can never be matched by our own possessions. So I wonder why we, as a culture, never seem to learn from these very real experiences we have.

I know that a big part of the problem is the bombardment of the media in creating the illusion that their products will bring happiness and fullfillment if we only work hard enough to have the means to purchase them. But I still believe that IN OUR HEARTS, we know this is a lie. And still the cycle goes on.

There are actually a myriad of complex issues that get in our way of giving rather than consuming, not the least of which is that we don't spend much time around those who are truly in need. Giving money to an organization that is going to give that man/woman/child a piece of bread means that we never see the look in their eyes and we loose that life-changing experience Berrigan is talking about.

But really, I think that what is ultimately at the root of our need to consume rather than share is fear. On the surface, its fear about what others will think of us if we don't have what we think that they think we should have. We need to prove ourselves worthy - to have somehow "made it" by the kind of possessions we have.

And then on a deeper level, there is the fear of not having enough. The myth of scarcity that Lynne Twist talks about in her book The Soul of Money. If we thought there was enough for us, we might be more likely to share. But we've never learned the meaning of "enough"...so we always need more.

Anyway, these are just some rambling thoughts I've had today, sparked by the quote from Berrigan. What I hope to take with me is the anticipation of the look in the eyes of someone who's hungry and I just happen to have a loaf of bread. That's the thrill I want to anticipate.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Blog Voices This Week 11/17/07

From the Boston Globe this week: Blog is Beautiful: People of color challenge mainstream views online:

These intellectual challenges to mainstream and other viewpoints are some of the opinions Latino, Asian/Pacific Islander-American, and black bloggers are exposing on a growing number of sites focused on social, political, and cultural issues. The sometimes facetiously named blogs range from Angry Asian Man to The Angry Black Woman. Readers can find Latino viewpoints at Guanabee, The Unapologetic Mexican, or Latino Pundit. Those interested in information from an Asian angle head to Ultrabrown, Zuky, or Sepia Mutiny. Sites created by blacks include The Field Negro, Too Sense, and Resist Racism....

These sites - many of which launched in the past year, although a few are older - have become places where people of color gather to refine ideas or form thoughts about race relations, racial inequities, and the role pop culture has in exacerbating stereotypes. The writers often bring attention to subjects not yet covered by mainstream media.

(links added)

I thought this week we'd take a look at the blogs that were highlighted in this article to find out what's on their minds lately. So lets start at the top and work our way down.

From Angry Asian Man we learn that John Howard may become the first Australian Prime Minister since 1929 to lose his seat in the House of Representatives. Seems those screeds against Asian immigrants might not work in a district that has become 41% Asian. Couldn't happen to a more bigoted guy!

Angry Black Woman has a few words about the tension between in-group condemnation and condemnation from without.

Guanabee posts a video he describes this way:

Boquillas del Carmen, a community in the Mexican state of Coahuila, has been turned into a veritable ghost town thanks to strict U.S. border security laws - a ghost town, that is, save for one angelic sound. The sweet, sweet crooning of Victor Valdez.
Did you know that Nezua at The Unapologetic Mexican is doing movie reviews for Pacifica Radio? (someday we'll be saying we "knew him when." LOL) I've linked to his most recent post about "Lions for Lambs," but you'll have to click through to find out if he liked it.

In reference to the article up above, Latino Pundit says he's tired of the "brown thing."

We have "Bush-isms" and Ultrabrown has "Mush-isms" straight from Islamabad. But just like ours, some of his are more offensive than funny.

Kai from Zuky shares the poem "Pylon" by Gerald McCarthy in honor of Veterans Day.

abhi over at Sepia Mutiny has a wonderful tongue-in-cheek take on two of our recent attempts to track terrists here in the US: (1) the LA "Muslim Mapping Project" and (2) the "track falafel sales" project. I wish I had a nickel for every time in the last 7 years I've said, "if it weren't so tragic, it would be hilarious." But there I go again...

It was at The Field Negro that I saw a promotion for the documentary film Desert Bayou that records the experience of Katrina victims who were settled in Utah. I will definitely have to check that one out!

dnA over at Too Sense takes on Juan Williams' binary and simplistic commentary. And I just gotta love the digs he got in about Mr. William's employer, Faux News.

And finally, Resistance over at Resist Racism is looking for reassurance that she's not the only brown person who feels nervous going to the airport these days. She might appreciate this bit from Dahlak titled " "Just Another Routine Check."

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Lessons Learned

As I mentioned last week, my friend and co-worker Pakou Hang lost her bid to unseat an incumbent on the City Council. I had a chance to talk to her yesterday about the election and she is pretty devastated. But the disappointment is not so much in the fact that she lost, but how it happened. Pakou managed her campaign the old fashioned way - true grassroots organizing. For an election that only produced about 5,000 votes total, she had over 400 volunteers on the ground working to get out the word and the vote. This was extremely encouraging in that just a few weeks before the election, no one had seen or heard much from her opponent, the incumbent.

But just a week before the election, things began to look a little more dark. You see, her opponent had two significant groups in his camp: the city's police federation and the local Chamber of Commerce. We're talking money and muscle. The first sign of what these folks had planned was a radio ad that broke just days before the election saying the police federation backed her opponent because he was the candidate who was "tough on crime." We'll never know who paid for the ad, but I think its pretty clear that the only folks who can afford that kind of media is the Chamber. While our community has its problems with crime and it is the top concern of most voters in local elections, overall this is a pretty safe city, as urban centers in the US go these days. The tone of the ad was definitely designed to "gin up the fear" about this issue though.

But the most disturbing turn of events happened on election day. Pakou reports that several precincts in her ward were circled by police cars all throughout the day with some officers challenging voters and election judges. This is even more significant than it might have been in other areas because, as you can see, Pakou is Hmong and was mobilizing the very large Hmong community in her ward. They are even more intimidated by a police presence than other communities because of the ways they were traumatized in Laos prior to immigrating to the US.

We'll never know if these activities were the reason Pakou lost the election, but its clear that while she was organizing the grassroots, her opponent had other tactics in mind for winning the election.

As I talked to Pakou yesterday about all of this, it came to me that this could be the lesson she and other progressives need to learn. I think its natural for people to project their own values and beliefs onto their opponents in political races. We see this all the time with the rabid right accusing the left of all of the things they are actually doing.

I also think that progressives, who believe in grassroots politics, tend to assume that their opponents do as well. We can be naive in too often believing the best about the opposition and don't prepare for the low blows they are capable of using.

I think its time we learned our lesson and wise-up a bit. That doesn't mean we need to join the opposition in the gutter. We just need to loose the naivete that tends to hold onto believing the best about people and prepare as best we can for the low blows.

During this Bush administration, we've seen that no matter how much we try to comprehend the depths to which they are willing to go, they continue to surprise us with their capacity for evil. That's why I embrace alot of what passes for "tin foil hat" theories. We've never been wrong when we've thought the worst. I think our errors are usually in the other direction.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Blog Voices This Week 11/10/07

I don't think that I'll usually have a theme for this weekly essay. But I recently saw a video in my travels around the net that inspired one for this edition. The video was made by Sudy at A Womyn's Ecdysis:



There is a movement underway on these blogs. And today, I'd like to give you just a small taste of some of its power.

But before we go to specifics, Mandolin at Alas! A Blog has done some remarkable work to give us a glimpse of this movement's breadth. There's really no way to summarize this piece, just go take a look and thank Mandolin for the amazing amount of time and love it took to do this.

By now I hope you're seeing that the theme for this week is the diversity in the feminist blogosphere. So I'd like to start with a story that was widely covered this week by women of color, but not so much by the MSM and progressive blogs. Donna, over at "The Silence of Our Friends" talks about it in her piece Virgins, Whores, and the Sliding Scale of Our Humanity. In a nutshell, a Philadelphia judge, Teresa Carr Deni, threw out rape charges in a case she recently adjudicated because the victim is a prostitute, and instead called it "theft of property." Donna has some wonderful commentary on this story and the price women pay for their sexuality.

I'd like to visit "elle, phd" again this week to take a look at her diary Waiting.... Elle lives in Louisiana about 100 miles from Jena. She relays several stories about situations going on in her area that leave her saying this:

It occurs to me that I am cataloguing, watching, and waiting for shit to explode in my little corner of the world.

Something is going on here in my home region, something created by the nature of race, gender, and class relations here. Everyone is whispering, but no one is talking.
At "Rachel's Tavern" atlasien has a diary titled White Guilt, White Resentment that gives us a picture of the psychological development of racism. This is one powerful piece, so I hope you'll go take a look.

One of my favorite finds this week is a blog called "Black Looks." They are taking a comprehensive look at the struggle of black people around the globe with a special focus on women. You'll find interesting, off beat stories like this one titled Umoja: A community of women in Kenya. The post inlcudes a short video that is introduced this way:

The women of Umoja are survivors of rape and women who have been ostracised by their families and communities. In Umoja they have come together to form their own community, working for themselves making crafts and on the land. Their choice to stand independently of men has resulted in further abuse and threats but the women are determined to stay and make their community work.
It was at "Black Looks" that I learned about Black./Womyn:Conversations a.film.by: tiona.m. This full-length documentary explores a range of Black lesbian experiences from activism, racism, gender roles, coming out, marriage, and patriarchy. You can see lots of clips from this beautiful and courageous film at the blog linked above.

If you'd like to hear from one of the young women who is part of this movement, visit "Tigera Consciente" and check out the short film she posts in The Power of Independent Youth Media: Girls Like Me. This film, which was produced long before Imus made his racist/sexist comments, interviews young black women about the unique pressures they feel. But perhaps the most powerful part of this video is when the young women making it re-create the 50 year old experiments of Dr. Kenneth Clark during Brown vs. Board of Education where young children were asked what color of doll they preferred. The result...well, just go check it out.

Finally, Aaminah Hernández at "Writeous Sister Speaks" asks all of us to just Listen!. Here's how she introduces what she wants to say:

I am really struggling right now with trying to navigate the delicate balance between educating non-Muslims and others about my culture and beliefs etc. and not wanting to be forced to be a spokesperson. While I constantly recommend that if you want to know about a group of people, you need to go to the source with your questions, I also find myself tired of the questions.

As my Shaykh says (granted, in relation to deeper matters, but this is broadly true), “if you come to me with your cup full I can give you nothing; come to me with your cup empty so I can fill it up”. When someone decides to engage a Muslim (or other group) in dialogue, claiming to want to learn and understand, it is necessary to come empty and ready to accept what you hear.
I hope this little tour around some of the blogs written by women of color has been as enlightening for you as it has been for me. As always, we just scratched the surface. I'm hoping to continue listening and learning more from these wonderful sisters.

If you'd like to learn more about the blogs shown in the video above, here are the links:

Fabulosa Mujer
A Womyn's Ecdysis
Broken Beautiful Press
Having read the fine print...
Hermana Resist
The Silence of Our Friends
los anjalis
No Snow Here
UBUNTU!
The Primary Contradiction
This Is Not My Country
Feline Formal Shorts
She Who Stumbles
Tigera Consciente
Vox ex Machina
Taking Steps
Brownfemipower

Now front-paged at Docudharma

Friday, November 9, 2007

Multipolarity: An End to US Hegemony??

I posted this a few months ago at Everybody Comes from Somewhere. Lately I've been thinking it sums up the only place I see much hope these days.

A few months ago I ran across this quote from Glen Ford on The Black Agenda Report:


There's a term going around in the corporate media called, "multi-polarity." It's really a euphemism, designed to describe the death of white supremacy over the planet. It's been a long time coming - more than five centuries, since the European invasion of the rest of the continents began, resulting in the death of untold millions of people. Whole civilizations were wiped away, to make way for a northern European global sphere of influence. Now that era is coming to an end.<...>


China, India, Brazil and South Africa have joined in a political and economic compact to resist the domination of the United States and Europe. The political-economy of capitalism dictates that these nations must be dealt with. The social realities of the United States dictate that it cannot raise a military force sufficient to suppress the dark masses. Europe learned this lesson a generation ago. Now it is time for the white supremacist Americans to learn the same lesson: they cannot rule the world.



This sounds interesting. I wanted to learn more about "multi-polarity," so I did just a little bit of research. Turns out it is actually a concept that was developed by Jacques Chirac several years ago. Here's how wikipedia defines it:


Multipolarity in international politics describes a distribution of power in which more than two nation-states have nearly equal amounts of military, cultural, and economic influence.


Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Keep an eye on Pakou!!


I've been pretty busy this week with not much time to write. But I have to say that this morning, I'm really disappointed with one of the City Council Ward Elections that took place yesterday in St. Paul. My friend and co-worker Pakou Hang lost her bid to unseat an incumbent 46% to 54%.

Pakou, however, is one of those young people that will change the world. She is full of life, enthusiasm and energy. At the same time, she has a HUGE heart, is incredibly smart and one of the most organized people I've ever met. For today, she will not be serving on the St. Paul City Council - but look out world - Pakou is coming!!

And to my friend Pakou: Rest today. But we'll be looking for you tomorrow when its time to get back to changing the world - one little corner at a time.

This one's for you, because it so beautifully sums up what you're all about:

Monday, November 5, 2007

Remember


James at Mahatma X Files reminds us that today is the 402 anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot that was the inspiration for the movie (and earlier graphic novel) "V for Vendetta." I found this to be one of the most powerful movies I've seen in a long time because it speaks to the heart of what I think is going wrong in our culture today...the ascendency of fear as a driving force.

I'd like to join James in remembering the words of the character "V" in the film that are so poignant for our times today:



How did this happen? Who's to blame? Well certainly there are those more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable, but again truth be told, if you're looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror. I know why you did it. I know you were afraid. Who wouldn't be? War, terror, disease. There were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense. Fear got the best of you, and in your panic you turned to the now high chancellor, Adam Sutler. He promised you order, he promised you peace, and all he demanded in return was your silent, obedient consent. Last night I sought to end that silence. Last night I destroyed the Old Bailey, to remind this country of what it has forgotten. More than four hundred years ago a great citizen wished to embed the fifth of November forever in our memory. His hope was to remind the world that fairness, justice, and freedom are more than words, they are perspectives. So if you've seen nothing, if the crimes of this government remain unknown to you then I would suggest you allow the fifth of November to pass unmarked. But if you see what I see, if you feel as I feel, and if you would seek as I seek, then I ask you to stand beside me one year from tonight, outside the gates of Parliament, and together we shall give them a fifth of November that shall never, ever be forgot.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Blog Voices This Week 11/4/07

When I first found blogs in 2003, they were a place I felt at home and not so alone as our country beat the war drums and went on to "re-elect" (??) this criminal administration. I needed a sense of community to shore up my sanity and found it in some of the larger Democratic and progressive blogs.

Then came flame wars and I found myself detached from any particular community. But I still felt like there was something here in this land of blogtopia that I wasn't ready to give up. So I started to venture out to some of the smaller blogs - especially those written by people who looked and lived differently from me - and found a whole new world. I sometimes feel like the globe is at my fingertips and all I have to do is sit on my couch with this screen in front of me to explore it all. That works for me - given that I've always leaned more towards the couch-potato kind of challenge.

So in this weekly series I'm planning to do, I'll take you along with me and try to just scatch the surface of the wealth of information, experience and beauty that is the blogosphere.

First of all, Alas! A Blog has a breakdown on Racial Diversity in Presidential Campaign Staffs. Care to guess who has NO people of color working for him? How about a guess on which racial group is not represented in any of the campaigns? Click through to find out if you guessed right.

Angelina and Brad might want to take a look at a guest column written at Jane's Blog that turns the tables on the issue of cross-cultural adoption a bit to help us see some of the challenges more clearly. Go check it out and walk a few blocks in those shoes.

Vox ex Machina has a roundup documenting cases of College Racism. I'd suggest you start this one by scrolling down to take a look at the size of the list while you ask yourself the question, "Why do we have an educational achievment gap in this country?"

According to the MSM, the response to the California wild fires vindicates the federal and state governments after the shame of how everyone responded to Katrina. But would you be surprised to learn that racism played a role in how victims were treated in Southern California? Nezua has the story over at The Unapologetic Mexican in Racism in a Time of Need.

You might have heard that Document the Silence asked us all to wear red this past Wednesday, October 31st to break the silence about violence against women of color. Many blogs picked up on the challenge and wrote about it this week. Check out what elle had to say about it in her diary titled simply Be RED.

In fact knowing, feeling, experiencing the ugliness of words, as so many women have, is one reason I support documenting the silence. Because I want the silence broken. And I want it broken by words we have learned to use to support, build up, nurture, preserve, love each other.

Because I am worn out by the alternative.
Janna, a new contributor at Citizen Orange tells us about a photography exhibit by David Bacon titled Living Under the Trees. In it, he documents the migrant workers who are living in tents, right next to the wealthy of California, in order to harvest the food that you and I find at our grocery stores.



One thing I haven't heard much about since 9/11 is how African American Muslims have been feeling in this age of hype about Islamo-Fascism. If you'd like to hear one man's take on that, I'd suggest a visit to Tariq Nelson's blog and his diary titled What Happened to Good Islam?. From the 117 comments to this post, I'd say that this is a hot topic in the American Muslim community.

Since this week we not only celebrated Halloween, but Dia de los Muertos, I'd like to stop by Latino Politico where Man Eegee takes us on a beautiful trip to visit his ancestors in Of Russian Thistle and Headstones.

Looking back 48 hours or so, I can only smirk at how odd a person I've become. Mundane moments to everyone around me can turn out to be powerfully instructive memories to my very identity and worthy mile-markers on my path to reconnecting to mis raíces. Resting now in the tierra, surrounded by nature in its various forms, are keys to the door that I keep trying to unlock.
And finally, if you haven't found the blog No Impact Man yet, I'd suggest you make it a regular stop. Colin, who lives with his wife, daughter, and dog in NYC, decided to take up the challenge to live for one year with no net impact on the environment. He's been writing about his experience daily covering everything from alternative activities he found to do with his daughter to tips on worm composts. The year is set to be over in about two weeks, so you'll want to pay close attention as he will probably be drawing conclusions soon. He has a recent diary up on Environmentalism Means Less Deprivation that is particularly powerful. But before you leave his site you MUST check out the photo essay here to see an amazing interaction:



Yes indeed, it is a wonderful world. And with the blogosphere at our fingertips, it's all only a click away.



ps: I was asked to front-page this series on Sunday mornings at Docudharma. So I'm hoping that sends more eyeballs out into the diversosphere.