Has the Opposite Sex Become Obsolete?

 

Season 3 Episode 34 Still

 

Truthfully, for this woman the answer to that question is yes, the opposite has become obsolete.  In a way.  I can’t wait for my not conceived children to meet their grandpa.  Last I checked you can only have a baby with sperm and I think that having strong men around is great.  I learned a lot from my father and my uncles.  Yet, even as a teenager I was pretty sure that women could rule the world and we would only need to keep around a few really smart, kind considerate males (in containment of course) for the purposes of breeding; both “natural” for those so inclined and the old fashioned turkey baster method. 

I was having a conversation with someone the other day and was so shocked by the questions coming out of their mouth that I decided I needed to post.  This person asked if I always knew that I was gay and wanted to know when I came out.  Answer- I came out at 28 and always knew that I was gay.  They then asked, “well don’t you miss having sex with men?” and my simple answer was No, I don’t miss it.

Interestingly last night I started watching Season 4 of SATC when Samantha starts to date Maria.  She and the girls have just met up at the coffee shop after a long weekend and Samantha starts in giving the ladies a very insightful look into the makings of lesbian sex.  We learn that Samantha has discovered every thing there is to know about the pussy.  She tells them she’s getting an education and not for nothing, a lot of women could do with a bit more learnin’ about their vaginas; gay and straight.  For Samantha, it’s just a new chapter in her sex book.  After two episodes she and Maria break up.  For me, and a lot of women who come out later in life, it’s about rediscovering who you are.

Thing is, I didn’t choose to be gay no more than I chose to be black.  I was born this way.  I did, however, choose to be straight for a very long time.  I made the conscious decision to live my life as a pseudo-straight person because I thought it would be easier for me and for my family.  Living and dating as a straight woman I had sex with men.  I will even put it out there that most of the time I had an okay time.  Other A lot of times I fantasized about having sex with women.

The first two times in the lesbo-sac were a bit rocky.  I didn’t know what I was doing and to call it awkward wouldn’t be a lie.  Then I had amazing sex and, well, let’s just say I’ve never looked back.  It’s not just about the sex, of course, it felt great because I was finally doing something that felt right.  Do I ever look at straight couples and wish I were in a hetero relationship?  Only when the realization of the ease at which they’re given civil rights and then it just makes me angry and want to work towards equal rights for all people.

While I’m not a hetero-phobe I’m definitely pro-other.  Whether that other is based on age, race, sexual orientation or religion the others out there need be recognized as equal in our society.  One of my friends posted on Facebook today that our country was ripe for a revolution and you know what?  I think we are.  We live in 2011 where a black man sits on the seat of the most powerful country in the world and last week thousands of Americans were given pink slips.  Reading in the NY Times today I learned that teachers in Wisconsin are being notified that they will be loosing their jobs, and only a fraction of them will be able to actually get those jobs back in the fall.  Women are continually paid less money and the rights of a woman to, as Representative Moore so eloquently stated, Plan her Parenthood is under attack.

While for me, in terms of sexual satisfaction the opposite sex has become obsolete we all need to stand together to make sure we’re all afforded the same rights.  Gay rights shouldn’t be the concern of LGBTQ individuals and their families only, it should be the concern of all Americans.  The rights of women shouldn’t just be a concern for women but any one who has a mother, sister, or aunt.  The rights of the disabled, the rights of the aging, the rights of unions the rights of every American should be the concern of every American.  Until we can get to that point, and as it seems we’re never going to reach that understanding, we need to rally.

Thank you to the New Yorkers who went downtown today to rally for the rights of others.  I was at work but with you in spirit.

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The Islamic Center, You and Me

Muslims pray here

 

I’ve been reading a lot of the Huffington Post lately, as it is my new-found obsession. I have been commenting obsessively about this crazy “Ground Zero Mosque” charade that’s going on in NYC and across the nation and I’m truly at a loss for words.  

Buddhists Pray Here

What is Mosque any way?  What’s a shul, or synagogue?  What’s a church?  What’s a temple?  Do they make bombs in mosques?  Do they burn babies in synagogues?  Do they worship idols in churches/temples??  Nope.  We pray in them.  They’re houses of prayer.  A place for community, to eat, sing, dance, pray, meditate, enjoy the company of others.  They hold sacred texts, the architecture is often awe-inspiring, They are often beautifully decorated with stained glass, beautiful mosaics, paintings, gilded in gold.   Homes of languages, English, Spanish, Hebrew, Arabic, Sanskrit.  I digress… 

Jews Pray Here

Being a writer, I’m never at a loss of words but the words that I keep coming up with our those of a toddler.  Why?  Any parent of a 2-year-old will tell you that “Why” is one of those words that you try not to teach your child and some how it happens that they learn the singular question and the Pandora’s Box of Why is opened and you never, ever have an answer no matter how hard you try. 

I was a Why Child, my mother tells me.  Everything she said was questioned and the answers she gave were questioned until impatient and exhausted she would retort, “Because, that’s why!”  Jullian, my beautiful 4-year-old nephew, is a Why Child and as events continue to unfold before my eyes and ears I’m remembering that I am, in fact, a Why Child. 

The first I heard of the “Ground Zero Mosque” was at work at 4AM by employees who were giving me a very loose, very ignorant interpretation of what was going on.  Because they were talking in ear shot and they were being bigoted and you know, discrimination in the work place is a no-no I asked them to change their topic of conversation from racist ones to something more appropriate. 

As the weeks go on I can’t help but wonder Why American’s cannot see what they’re doing?  Let’s take a look at History, keeping in mind that I am not a history scholar, nor do I pretend to be. 

We “discover” America.  Never mind the people who’ve lived on the continent for centuries.  We come in, we over power them, we make them into savages, beasts, less-than humans.  We use our fire power to over power them and drive them off the land and now these people live in fractions of land without basic human, American privileges like education, health care, and a sense of belonging.  The entire span of the continent that is North America shrunk into spaces – Reservations we call them.  What are we reserving?  We’ve taken away a way of life, and more than that we’ve taken away a people. 

 

Next we board ships and cross the Atlantic and rip a people, my people, from their own country.  We strip them of their humanity, their dignity, their identity and shackle them in bowels of ships like cattle.  The unfortunate ones who survive the journey back across the Atlantic are then treated worse than cattle, worse than live stock.  They aren’t given rights because they are property and are treated as such.  Human beings striped of anything human in a society where a family can be broken up and sold, women can be raped, and men can be tortured. 

  

When my people are given emancipation we’re still second class citizens without the right to own property or vote and to this day a black person walking down the wrong street on the wrong night is not safe. 

 

 The Next second class citizens, women, are never stripped of rights because we never had them at all.  

 

 The thing that “marriage supporters” always forget that the purpose of marriage, originally, had nothing to do with religion at all.  It was an exchange of property and goods and ownership, the woman, from one man to another.  The Hebrew Bible is riddled with women being treated no better than slaves.  Lot offers his virgin daughters to the savages of Sodom for goodness sake!    

 

Women fought for what we believed in and still we make less money, we cannot be ordained as holy people in many faiths, we’re still seen as second class citizens and some men feel that it’s their right or privilege to call out in the streets, grab in the bars… 

 

Japanese people after the World War, Jews at any time in history.  We’re making it impossible for Mexicans to seek solice in our country when the purpose of our country was to give solice to those who came looking,   “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.  Send these, the homeless, the tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” 

 

When the twin towers fell I sat watching at home with my family like everyone else.  I remember listening to the broadcasters and thinking to myself when they said “Muslim terrorists” G-d help us.  Some blacks scoffed it off, “now someone else knows what it feels like.”  People spit bigotry and racism freely and very few opposed it.  

When the twin towers fell 16 radical “Islamic” men took the lives of thousands of men, women, children.  Jews, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Atheists, etc., etc.  Gays, straights, lesbians, queers…Blacks, Whites, Asians, Latinos… 

It was a loss for all Americans including Americans who are Muslims.  The world watched in horror remembering D-Day, The Shoah, A divided Ireland, an oppressed Germany.  Why? 

Why can’t people remember those things?  Why can’t people remember their humanity, their compassion, their love, the fact that at one time we all were “Muslim”, the “other” person, people, sex, gender, race… 

Reading history books in school, whether it be grade school, high school, or college, I remember shaking my head in dismay at the horrors that we humans have wrought upon other humans.  Rereading the Torah I shake my head still.  As a civilization we continue to do this and Why don’t we learn? 

As a Jew, we believe that Moshiach will come when the world is free of all sin, and I’m paraphrasing clearly.  It’s written far more eloquently else where.  Christians also belive that the world will be redeemed when it’s pure and guess what?  Muslims think that, too!!  

How will Moshiach come if we’re acting like savage beasts!?  Why would s/he?  I sure as hell wouldn’t.  G-d promised Noah that he’d never destroy the earth again after the great flood.  Let’s remember that Erika does NOT take the Bible for face value.  One of the reasons I’m embracing Judaism is because it’s encouraged for me to “wrestle” with the Torah.  I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again.  I bet G-d is regretting that promise right about now. 

   

   

 

Black, Gay, and Jewish Part 5

I’m rereading the book “Choosing a Jewish Life” by Anita Diamant.  I started reading it around May of this year and read through it quickly.  I had her other book, “Living a Jewish Life” and various other titles to get through so while I did, indeed, read it, I didn’t grasp very much of it.  It’s still a quick read the second time around by now when I read the Hebrew transliterations I know that I’m pronouncing the words more properly. 

One of the suggestions Anita makes in this book is that you start to make your life, your home, more Jewish by making little changes.  She suggests dietary laws, subscriptions to Jewish magazines or newspapers as well as the “normal” mitzvahs like attending temple, keeping Shabbat, and reading Torah.  Little by little I’ve been making changes to better Jewify my home and life.  My next endeavor? Magazine and Newspaper subscriptions.  I’m looking for resources that I can relate to.  Those of a liberal and inclusive perspective I more closely identify with because I’m a black Jew.  I’m still on the look out for a black Jewish publication so if any of you have suggestions, please let me know.

I’m also looking at those from an Orthodox perspective as well as a Conservative perspective so that I can learn.  I think it would be naive of me to just focus on reform and more liberal Jewish practices because if I ignore others, I’m not really “getting it” or appreciating it.  Google was very helpful in my search and my credit card is going to start to bleed soon if I subscribe to them all so I will not.  I won’t get through them all, any way.  Luckily, there are a few quarterly publications in addition to the weekly newspapers so I think I’ll figure something out.

Best thing I’ve found, though, is the openness for submissions and the writing contests!  I’ve been keeping three separate notebooks; Black, Gay, and Jewish that I write in daily so that I can better shape my memoir.  It’s great to see how the themes of belonging and sometimes feeling like an outsider in this skin of mine is mirrored in all three of my identities.  There are times now when I don’t feel “gay enough” because I don’t fit into the stereotypical mold of what a lesbian is or is not.  My childhood is filled with painful memories of peers or my parents telling me that I wasn’t black enough.  Now, as I enter Judaica stores or flip through pages of Jewish magazines I’m hard-pressed to find a face that looks like mine. 

On the other hand, I love a beautiful woman who I want to spend my entire life with.  When I see her I get happy and I feel lusty at the same time.  This fact, and my love, adoration, and attraction to women, in general, make me a lesbian.  I’m undeniably black.  I cannot change the kinky curly texture of my hair nor can I make my skin, that’s darker in the NYC sun, any lighter than it will be in December.  While I’m not formally a Jew, inside I’m starting to feel Jewish.  I actually said, “we” to Mirs the other day, instead of  “them” when talking about Jewish people.  We spent the night looking up Jewish names for our unborn children as well as for the Hebrew name I will take.  I’m leaning to Charna, which is a Yiddish name of Slavic origin that means “black.” 

These three identities are seemingly different but through the writing of my memoir and my pieces here and on VP, I’m beginning to realize that they’re not all that different because I’m making them three in the same.

Black Women I Wish Were Gay (or Just Come Out, Already) Part Deux

This is a Rant so be prepared.

There are only a few Lesbian Websites that I visit with any regularity and one of them is AE.  I don’t visit too much because as of late, the content has been a little lack luster.  I’ll mosey on over every other day and find something that I like to read, something inspiring, something about a Queer woman of color, or amazing list of books I absolutely must read this summer.  Wednesday was no different, I found a sweet article about Dyke Fashion (cut off shorts are back!) Did they ever go away?  (No)  and my favorite would-be lesbo, Queen Latifah article about her recent Upscale Magazine cover.  Here’s the AE Link. Hopefully you can read all of the silly comments behind mine.

http://www.afterellen.com/blog/stuntdouble/afternoon-delight-wednesday-june-16

Sorry you have to cut and paste but hopefully you did.  I mean, am I crazy or is it not important for Black Queer Visibility for these women to come out?!  I mean, come on!  I totally get that what you do behind your closed doors is your business but the importance of celebrity, possibly the most important thing about celebrity is the visibility.  I’m not a Black Pride, Down with the Man black woman.  As much as my father tried to make me, I’m not.  I’m in love with a Jew (which is better than white yet in some cases not, right?)  I mean, really.  But as a black woman who will be raising black jewish children seeing a face that you can recognize is important.

I don’t relate to all black people, I never have and I never will.  I don’t like it all the time when people refer to me as “sister”  on the train (mainly because they’re leering men and I find it disturbing)  I never ever quite had as much rhythm as I’m “supposed” to have and I don’t, under any circumstance, think that all black people are the same but we’re not.  There is something to be said, though, about the recognition of blackness around you.

Did I vote for Barack Obama because he’s a black man?  No.  In my opinion he’s mixed race but in this race-obssessed world he’s black.  I do, however, feel a sense of pride in knowing that he’s a black man and my president.  I would feel the same pride if Senator Clinton had won the nomination and inevitably one the presidency.

On the same token, do I feel a kinship with Ellen or Margaret, yes but when Wanda Sykes came out I was overjoyed and overcome with a sense of happiness and pride.  Unfortunately, the responders of my post are white women, and the majority of them are under 25.  Such naivety, and so much growing to do.  As much as we like to pretend that it doesn’t exist, racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, anti-Semitism is very much alive in our country.  Unfortunately with the election of our president it’s on the rise.

The tagline for After Ellen is “Visibility Matters”  Google “Famous Black Gay People” and tell me what you come up with.  I’ll wait.  First hit is the Black Voices list of 29?  Notice anything about the women??  There are a handful of black women mentioned-mostly all men.  A large amount of the black women have passed away, may all of their souls rest in peace.  Now, google Famous Gay People.  Famous and Gay is the first website with an alphabetized list of 700 famous gays.  Granted there are black folks in their too, but really?  Can you really not see the importance of Black Gay Female Visibility, people!?  Am I alone here?

Black, Gay, and Jewish Part One

Like the title?  It’s a play on Rebecca Walker’s memoir, Black, White, and Jewish, which is on my long list of books to read about Jewish Identity.  Now before you page back trying to figure out what you’ve missed rest assured you haven’t “missed” any big announcement.  I’m not Jewish, I’m still a_______.  It’s just something that I’m considering.  This considering converting issue has been a little bit of a debate as of late.  I suppose the word debate is completely wrong because no one has really been debating with me.  Folks just seem to have really strong opinions and strong reactions.  Funny thing is, most of those opinions and reactions are coming from all of my non-Jewish friends.  None of them are strongly affiliated to any religion that I am aware of.  Some of them affiliate with family beliefs, others don’t talk about religion and don’t seem particularly observant to me.  Yet, everyone’s got an opinion from a raised eyebrow of suspicion to a pointed “Why?!”  and the latest, “you should do some soul-searching” 

The soul-searching comment came from my sister and the funny thing is, I’ve been wanting to tell her to do that for 10 years!  I’m not getting into that shit because it pisses me off.  I will say this, you’d think that the one person who maybe would save the judgement call would be her.  For all of her faults, my frustrations and anger at her decision making I’ve tried so hard not to pass judgement on her.  Here I am making an adult decision that would virtually only affect me and my future children and she’s judging me as though I’ve announced that I’ve decided to worship Satan. 

Rant about my sister is over.

There is a saying that goes, “Not all who are lost wander.  Not all who wander are lost”  This is the perfect metaphor for me and my life.  It can be and has been said that I am always searching for something.  That something is most definitely, without a doubt, my identity.  I’ve been searching for what and who Erika is for as long as I can remember.  It occurred to me about 5 years ago that I was looking at myself right in the mirror-but I’d chosen to ignore me.  I was talking and I wasn’t listening.  Instead I was really, really good at making myself into the mirror images of everyone around me.  I’m astoundingly good at making myself into what someone wants me to be, a.k.a, what’s comfortable for them.  As a result, I’m still a wicked-good liar.  It was going to happen that way, I’ve spent the majority of my life lying to appease others.

There was something amazingly cathartic about leaving home.  For some it is unmentionable, something you’d never do, never consider, never an option.  For me, it was my only choice.  And it’s not that I’m turning my back on my parents, my home, my history per se moreover I’m allowing myself to better appreciate my parents, my home, my history.  In terms of coming out I made a choice.  I could live the life I wanted to live privately and continue to lie to my parents or I could live the life I wanted to live openly and risk losing them.  Knowing my parents I was quite certain that I wouldn’t lose them but rather my history of molding myself into the image of others would be thrown back into my face. 

My coming out letter (I don’t recommend sending a mass e-mail) catapulted a serious of heated e-mails zipping back and forth through the internet from my father to my cousins to my mother and always back to me with the great and amazing horror that became the “Reply All” button.  In the end those who know that I’m gay either don’t talk about the fact that I’m gay or have forgotten the entire incident.  My mom knows who M is and that we’re together.  She’s even gone as so far as to tell me which US cities are gay-friendly.  Yet, when I told her that I wanted to talk about something with her this weekend in DC she asked if it was about my “condition.”  Okay, I don’t think she actually said condition-she actually said “situation” which is equally appalling, like it’s some sort of under the table, back door, dirty family secret I wasn’t to discuss.  (Am I a dirty family secret?)  Seriously, everybody know’s I’m a homo!

I told her not to worry, M and I weren’t married or engaged yet and she breathed an audible sigh of relief.  So when I told her that I was thinking about converting to Judaism she dismissed it, as she’s done with my sexuality.  I suppose I understand, I have thrown a lot of things her way but the reaction that I got was a bit unexpected.  Maybe it’s because I chose the words, “considering” rather than just saying, “I’m converting”  The reason I did it in that way is because I’m still not sure.  I’m strongly leaning in that direction but I only stepped foot into a synagogue last week and the idea of not doing any type of work on Shabbat is still daunting.  I’m already knee deep in shit at work for the mention of applying for the Peace Corps (did I mention that part, too?) how am I going to explain to my boss that I need to start observing Shabbat?  I’m sticking with my guns on this one. 

Everything.  Literally everything from playing grade school basketball, to running for class president, to attending UD, to pledging a sorority, to my brief stint as a pagan has been to fit in to whatever group I wanted.  This living my own life thing is harder than I imagined and it’s taken until now, 30 years old, for me to feel comfortable with rejection of those closest to me, my family.  So welcome, readers, to this fun new world of self-discovery.  Black, Gay, and Jewish will be weekly observations and I hope you enjoy it.

Is it bad that I didn’t know about the TS Car bomb, or bad in a good way?

I’m going with Bad in a Good Way.  There are some things that I don’t think about on a constant basis and terrorism is one of them.  Every since I heard That Fucker Formerly Known as the President, talk about “terrists” and their threat to our country I stopped worrying about terrorists and their threat to our country.  I’m no fool and I’m definitely not naive.  I am fully aware that there is terrorist activity in the World and some of it goes on right here on the soil of the good ‘ole US of A. 

For instance, in Arizona, it is now legal for state governing officials to terrorize people who look like they could be an illegal immigrant.  I’m not quite sure what an illegal immigrant looks like but I sure as fuck won’t be going to Arizona any time soon.  The thing that pisses me off about that is that I actually wanted to go to Arizona in the near future.  Something about the desert, Native Americans, cacti, the desert.  Some how, though, I fear that with this dark skin, this nappy hair, the suspicious way in which I drive my car  that I’d most likely end up behind bars than posing next to a Saguaro cactus.

The other day I got a phone call from a panicked associate because she was running late.  Ever the strict boss-lady I put on my most severe tone and asked, “And just why are you going to be late, ___?”  Her response, “Because the NJPD just searched my duffel bag because I look like a terrorist, it must be my Arab eyes”  I’m not sure what nationality this girl is but she definitely could be of Arab decent which means that she’s a terrorist.  I’ve gone through Rockefeller Center with HUGE suitcases, duffel bags, empty bags and breezed right passed the NYPD table with not a second look.  I’ve also seen women with full head coverages and no purses being stopped by cops.  Clearly, I’d be the terrorist in that situation.  Woman with huge bag vs woman with no purse and head scarf-GO FOR THE ARAB!!

As a black woman I suppose I should be a little bit happy to see the “heat” deflected on another ethnic minority but I’d rather just give the man a huge middle finger in defense of all people of color-head scarf or not.  My associate, who’s not a terrorist but happens to look like one, is the sweetest girl you will ever meet.  She’s humble, a little awkward and has a heart of gold.  She doesn’t look threatening at all and on her way to work she gets stopped for over fifteen minutes just by how she looks?  The fact that cops in Arizona can stop and arrest someone for looking like an immigrant is preposterous.

If I were a white guy right now I’d go fucking nuts.  There’s an episode of the Boondocks in season one when two guys go into a convenience store to rob it and turn to accuse the Arab-looking man of having a gun.  He clearly does not have a gun and the white police officer who happens to be strolling in doesn’t see a gun either.  The original two guys continue to claim to see the gun until finally Officer Frank (Whitey) “sees” the gun and they shoot at the owner of the store.  If you’ve not seen the episode-watch it right here…It’s amazing start around the 4 minute mark if you want to get to the scene I’m talking about

It’s funny and provocative, as the Boondocks often is, but there’s something very telling there.  Thankfully, I’ve only been discriminated against based on my color a few times.  Pretty fucked up sentence, eh?  But it’s rare that a black person, and a black woman for that matter can say that.  I know a lot of people who have been discriminated against more than I have.  It’s almost as though none of us are safe these days.  It was such a huge step when we had not only a black man but a woman as candidates for the presidency.  You’d think that with a black man in office that the world would begin to see color as just a part of someone rather than what makes them.  Instead, our president is barely called by his rightful name from most right-winged Fox News watching Americans and half of them think he’s a terrorist based on his Arab name.  In this progressive country with the first black president  anyone who’s skin tone has even the slightest amount of melanin is looked at as illegal, a terrorist, or out to rob or rape you. 

I’d like to say that it’s bad but it’s really just bullshit.  I forget that the civil right’s movement was only 50 years ago and while that is a long time, in the history of discrimination, prejudice, and segregation it really isn’t.  With this new law on the books in AZ it’s almost as if we’ve stepped back into time rather than move forward.  It’s easy to complain and to bitch but what to do?  What can I do?  It’s one of those questions that I don’t have an answer to.

queer women of color

About a month ago I joined a queer women of color writing group at the Audre Lourde Project in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.  The group is called Tongues Afire and there are women of every race and color from a few Middle Eastern girls, to Pacific Islanders, and black girls alike.  I should refrain from using the term “girls” here because they aren’t girls in that cutesy dumb way that the term “girl” can often be mis-interpreted.  Just to clarify, when I use the word “girl” I mean it in a young, fresh, pretty way-not to say that the women of Tongues aren’t young and fresh and pretty.  They are.  I’m getting side tracked from the point.  The point is that after our free write and before we work shopped our instructor had us write down as many queer writers of color that we could.  For some reason I heard her say queer women of color writers and then after we started listing names I heard male names in the mix. 

Thing is, without adding the men I could only come up with 3-Audre Lourde (which was pretty lame, I will admit)  Alice Walker and Stacy Ann Chin.  That’s all I could come up with.  I like to use the excuse that I don’t know that many queer writers of color or otherwise because I’m only 1 year out of the closet.  (whoo-hoo!) 

I decided earlier in the year that I was going to read “The Classics”  There are several books and stories that I’ve read through my academic years but still, so many that were not assigned reading and therefore I never took the time to read.  The Cather in the Rye and the Bell Jar are just two that I picked up and decided to read.  I’ll never finish Pride and Prejudice because I loathe it but I’m currently reading Wuthering Heights and am surprised to say that I quite like it.  When one thinks of the classics, though, very rarely to authors of color come up-straight or gay.  When I thought about it last night after we were told to think of as many queer writers of color that we could-and as name after name after name of author was read aloud and my right hand started cramping to jot them all down it occurred to me that as an adult female of color I’ve been jibed.

It wasn’t until I enrolled in an African American Literature class at the University of Toledo in my third year of college that I even heard of DeBois or Hurston or Mc Bride.  Sure you read a few Frederick Douglas essays or speeches by MLK during Black History Month but there are so many authors out there, reputable authors of various ethnic back grounds that you never hear of.  And now, as a 30-year-old trying to “catch up” on those classics that everyone is supposed to have read there isn’t an author of color among them.  What does that say about me as not only a writer but a writer of color that the classic works of literature that I’m seeking out to consider myself more well-read are the writings of white people.

I will say that my emphasis since Catcher in the Rye (which I hated) has been on female writers.  When I’m done with Emily I will pick up the other Bronte sister.  I’ve never read Jane Eyre.  Still, it’s disconcerting what we teach our children and what we’ve been taught to be “worth while” pieces of literature.  When I’ve finally published my book and grow to be an old woman and eventually die I’d like to think that a few decades after my death some brave literature professor will assign my books as required reading.  It will be nice when that happens that my grand children will continue to get a little bit more dough from their granny’s little book she wrote from her computer back in 2009.

Is it the time that’s passed that makes works from Hemingway or Fitzgerald such poignant works of fiction-or is it that men, white men at that have told us so?

Disney can kiss it

About a month ago I went to see the new Harry Potter movie with some friends.  Since I haven’t seen a Harry Potter flick since the second movie I felt a little bored, and at most times lost about what was going on in the film.  This post isn’t about Harry Potter though, it’s about Disney’s latest film about the Princess and the Frog.

I was instantly elated, as the trailer started, to see that Disney had done away with computer animation and gone back to the good ole days of old fashioned pen to paper.  My animation friend, Dez, told me this film was the first to be done this way in a long time.  I about hit the floor when I heard a black woman’s voice and noticed that this princess was a “real” live black girl!  The most black people ever to be associated with a  Disney production is the current cast of The Lion King on Broadway and the voices of Simba and one of those hyena in the original film.  I mean, come on!  Is it really that hard to make a Disney heroine black?  I was excited, I watched with girl-like joy until I noticed that the character turns into a frog for what seems to be duration of the film.

Have you seen the trailer?  The story is about a girl who finds a prince trapped in a frog’s body.  As far as I’ve ever heard the story she kisses the frog and gets her prince.  In this “twist”, though she herself turns into a frog.  I haven’t researched variations of the story of the Princess and the Frog so I can’t confirm or deny that such version exists.  All I know is that this is a huge jib and insult.

Finally FINALLY you have a story set in American in what seems to be current times-it’s not pre-colonial Native American era, Victorian England, early 19th Century France, or under the sea.  This movie is set in New Orleans circa now.  Finally there is a black woman who doesn’t sound like she’s a plantation hand or some Mamie from Gone with the Wind.  She sounds, well, like Oprah.  Finally the time has come for not only black children but black girl children to have a heroine who looks like them and you turn her into a frog?  From the way it looks she’s only really black for the first few minutes of the movie and the last few minutes.  True to Disney story telling she’ll be looking for a Prince.  Then she finds her Prince.  An obstacle will prevent them from being together and the whole movie is based around getting through this obstacle so we can arrive on the other side in a white dress for the Happily Ever After.

It’s bullshit is what it is and a sorry excuse for inclusion.  I suppose the folks and Disney are still racist, fascist, anti-Semites after all.

Random thoughts on a Sunday

These are in no particular order, but things on my mind.
1-Passing
I was chatting with my lovely lady about labels. I don’t know if I’ve said it on here before but I’m not much for labels. I think they make things confusing, or that people use them as a way to sound PC when, in fact, they’re not being “correct” at all-politically or not.

For instance, when I first moved to New York I was struck by how aware most New Yorkers are of their ethnicity, well, rather the ethnicity of others. I was asked by an associate of mine where I was from. When I told her I was from Ohio, she asked where my parents were from. I told her they were both from New Jersey, by way of North Carolina for my mother. She pressed me further until I realized that she was looking for my ethnicity. She was Jamaican. I’m black. I have no clue where my great great great grand parents are from. As far as I know my ancestors were taken from some place in Africa and brought over to the US just like the majority of blacks in the US. This next statement may make me some upset but, I have neither the desire or the time to dig deep into my roots to figure out who or where I came from. I am who I am.

But people are so quick to be PC. Rather than call a person “black” they use the term “African American” thinking that they’re correct. When, in a city such as New York, you could be offending someone of Jamaican, Haitian, Dominican, Cuban decent. It’s a slippery slope full of grey areas and nothing is black or white, or just black in this case.

So then comes the label of sexual orientation. Before I was comfortable in my sexuality, which I will admit was a very short time ago, I told everyone that I was attracted to the person, not their sex. That, of course, is a big lie. I’m attracted to girls. I like the way girls feel, the way they look, the way they smell. That makes me a lesbian. A gay, a homo, and I’m wicked proud. The issue is that when I walk down the street, dressed the way I love to dress, I get whistled at, cat called, and blessed. (The other day some guy in Bushwich said, and I quote, God bless you, Mamie)

Really? I mean, I don’t really feel the need to wear the gay label around on my sleeve but it’s who I am. When I voiced this frustration to Miriam and told her I would take to wearing a coat or a sweatshirt that said “I’m Gay” or ” I Heart my girlfriend” that I would most likely get a greater reaction to it on the streets. On the other hand, shaving my head and dressing “like a lesbian” isn’t my thing either.

A woman, gay or straight, doesn’t dress for cat calls, hoots, hollers, or whistling on the street. We dress because we feel good about the way we look and the outfits we’ve picked out. We feel amazing and look amazing, until we step foot out of our apartments to the disgusting, insulting, and degrading abuse on the streets. It’s frustrating. I’m not sure where, exactly, I’m going with this really, mostly venting. I had a point. ( Miriam just took off all of her clothes and is trying to seduce me with her naked form and ridiculously hard, perfect nipples) I think, mainly, I’m just frustrated with the fact that I can’t fucking walk down the street without dick for brains men making ridiculously sexual comments.

I had more points but a sweet sexy lady who is the love of my life in my bed distracted me from work that needs to be done and points I was trying to make. I will figure out the words and my head and put them into thoughts that will emerge in a blog. But, for now…