Sunday, October 30, 2011

A detailed account of why you didn't get laid:

Dear Asian Kid from Thursday Night,

I think your name was Patrick, but that's unimportant. Kid seems more appropriate. I know there's no way you'll ever see this, but maybe by writing this, I will help someone else out who might be planning to fuck up the same way you fucked up and thus end up with zero fucking in his immediate future.

The situation: It was somewhere between 1:30 and 2 am. We were on the dance floor at my eating club. I was dancing in a circle of sorts with some girls of mine and you came over and joined our circle. I semi-recognized you from when I'd been on tap duty earlier, and I always feel bad for lone dancers on floors full of circles, so I didn't side-eye you out of our space. I also (somewhat racistly, oops) figured you were trying to dance with E, and was preparing myself to be entertained by her shutting you down. But then the song changed and you disappeared from my peripheral vision, and all of a sudden there were hands on my hips and a groin perfectly poised for me to push up on, and I was surprised, but it was on. 

I was mildly impressed by your ballsy approach, just starting to dance with me rather than asking me to dance, despite the fact that you were this skinny Asian kid who was shorter than me and whom I'd never seen before. It had been a while since I'd danced with a man who was sexually interested in women (which I presumed you were, given the situation), and I saw no reason not to back up on you. The music was bumpin and we had a nice rhythm going, so I'm not gonna lie, I kind of liked it when you slid your hands forward and wrapped your arms entirely around my waist. When one song ended, we transitioned seamlessly into the next, a feat I'm usually unable to accomplish. (My grinding abilities increase exponentially with my levels of drunkenness. Part of it is probably drunken recall, but most of it is just a drastic lowering of inhibitions--which I what this semester/year is devoted to anyway. When I am wasted, I am not shy.)

 You somehow maneuvered us over to a column where I could push up on you good, and I was running my hands up my thighs and playing with my skirt as you inched your hands closer to not-in-public zone, and you leaned in and said, "You're so fucking hot. Do you wanna get out of here?" 

Dude. We didn't even know each other's names. What kind of girl do you think I am? "No, I'm alright." You questioned this response somehow, and I said I don't really roll like that. That could have been the end of our encounter, but you didn't stop dancing when I dashed your dreams, so neither did I. The couples started to break apart when the DJ played "You're a Jerk," and you asked me if I could jerk. I said no, but that you could if you wanted to, and you said you didn't want to let me go. I was simultaneously flattered and creeped out. 

After "You're a Jerk," the DJ played Rihanna's "What's My Name?" and while we were singing along, you--in the one truly smooth move you played all night--leaned forward and whispered into my ear asking, "What's your name?" I told you, and you told me yours, and then you asked the question that let me know I needed to get out of this embrace of yours asap: 

"Do you go here?" 
RED FLAG. ALERT. ALERT. Of course I go here, why, where the fuck are you from, kid?  "Yeah...I'm a senior." 
"Wowwww. I'm a freshman at Rutgers."
 Seriously?! *cue record scratch*

I leave that one unanswered, and he starts going on again about how fucking hot I am and at one point even says something about my "booty". I know, I should have been long gone by this point, but it was a hardcore case of My mind's telling me No, but my body, my body is telling me ye-e-esssss! It felt so good to be dancing with someone who wanted me and feeling that he wanted me (not like that, you dirty minded scoundrels), and I felt like people were watching me give it to this guy (which turned out to be true, based on the comments I got on Friday), and I wanted to continue both of these things for as long as possible. I felt hot, but I also felt kind of skeeved out...I just let hot win for a while.

Then we made our way to the tap room and he got another beer and K ran over to tell me "Get your man, girl!" You came back over and I asked what brought you to Princeton tonight, since you go to Rutgers and all, and you said you were here with some friends, but they left and now you "have nowhere to spend the night," as you tell me in a voice that's begging me to take you home with me. Brain screams, 'ALLOWABLE LEVELS OF CREEPINESS OFFICIALLY PASSED, ABORT MISSION LET THIS GUY MAKE YOU FEEL SEXY!!! REPEAT, ABORT MISSION!!!' You started asking where I live and whether that's close to here, and I try to counter by asking where your friends are staying, but you "don't know". And then, by the grace of alcohol, you have to take a piss, and I run over to K and beg him to save me. He laughs me off, so I decide to run upstairs and hide, and he doubles over laughing as I run off.

I wait upstairs for a few minutes, hoping that you'd lost interest/found someone else to sketch on, and then made my way back downstairs and joined another circle of girlfriends. E said K explained that I was running away from you, and thus when you tried to join my new circle, my girl J started grinding up on me to prevent you from taking that spot. Later, a female friend whose name also starts with K and one whose name starts with B both took on this role, much to the delight of a male friend, R. You were across from me in the very large Pianoman circle, looking cockblocked, dejected, and like you were so drunk you were barely supporting yourself. I felt less skeeved out and more entertained when I realized that, and as soon as the song ended, I grabbed E and we walked home arm in arm, laughing at you all the way. 

You were doing so well in the beginning. You made me feel sexy and wanted and were a good dancer. I was horny, and though it was an unfortunate time of the month for sexytime, I might have at least made out with you if you'd just shut the fuck up and danced with me. If you'd made me feel like hooking up with you was my decision because you made me feel good, rather than like you were trying to worm your way into my room/pants. You shot yourself in the foot, kid. Boys and their stupid mouths.

When I was telling him about how I wanted to get away from you the next day, my friend C made a joke about how this dude wasn't even a 16, meaning that I'd had 16 drinks and still wouldn't sleep with him. But it was really his attitude that was past a 16, not him.  

Halloween Adventures

So last year around Halloween time, it dawned on me that for the first time in my life, I was going to be celebrating with a group of people who I am comfortable enough with to be a slu...scantily clad for Halloween. After much perusal of the interwebs, I decided to be a sexy nurse, and to make a long story short, my friends and I had a great night (as evidenced here), I got a ton of compliments, and all was well with the world. And as the relative size of my boobs has become a meme and a good 20% of my club has seen me naked, it was clear that this year's costume should show even more skin. I wanted to find a good cop costume (because handcuffs sound like a fantastic idea), but then Amazon had a great deal on a sailor costume I liked, so sexy sailor it was. 

When my costume came in the mail, I tried it on and learned to my dismay/delight that bending over would be problematic. Thus I reminded myself that I needed to wear sexy undies. XD

We started the evening by having our Thursday night Pub dinner in full costume, so my skank-itude started early. I had a respectable six drinks at dinner, then moved upstairs to watch Ghostbusters and eat candy with some fellow 'Dranglers. During the course of our movie-watching, I finished a 5oz flask of blue raspberry UV. At some point before the party started, I had a shot of pumpkin liqueur, even though I don't like pumpkin, because shots were being done and I certainly wasn't going to miss them. Then whilst I was on tap duty, I had two shots of Chambord. Then some friends decided we were going to go (eating) club-hopping, so I grabbed my coat and my bestie and we went to TI, where I had two beers (and now I can cross going to TI off of my senior year bucket list), and then to Cap, and then back to Quad. 

At TI and Cap, I was grinding on and being grinded on by my gay friend , which was interesting because neither of us was wearing pants. My friend J got into the mix too. But my real dancing adventures started when we got back to Quad. This dude deserves his own post, though, so stay tuned for the next one.

Then on Friday, I went to a play with E and another friend C. It was a fairly trippy show, a remake of a Greek classic, and afterwards there was an afterparty with an open bar (6 drinks on the University's dime? Yes please.) and some "spooky" snacks and great Halloween decorations. The Beatles brings old people and young people together in harmony, and it's funny as hell listening to a very white guy dressed like a zombie rap a Nicki Minaj verse. E won a $25 gift card to a local bar, which we will def be using in the near future. In fact, K and I are planning to go there tomorrow night for some actual Halloween celebrating. I might even bust the costume out again...

Every time I see colorful cords,

I am more convinced that I need to own some.

Reblogged from Fuck Yeah Curls Curls Curls


Reblogged from Currently Obsessed with...

Reblogged from Fuck Yeah Curls Curls Curls

Reblogged from Fuck Yeah Curls Curls Curls
Reblogged from Treasured Tresses

Style Crush:

Reblogged from Currently Obsessed with...

Reblogged from 18° 15' N, 77° 30' W

"Who are you in the face of disappointment?"

Disappointment turns me into a sniveling creature for whom I have very little respect. I hold myself to pretty strict standards, and have this nasty habit of wanting to hold others to them too. It means I'm generally floored when people do wrong by me. And then, I'm still getting used to hearing the words, "I'm sorry" and "We regret to inform you" in academic and professional contexts, so that can be jarring, too. But I am trying to learn to take disappointment in stride, to see closed doors as opening windows and all that good stuff. 

And if I have respect for anything, it's this song.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"Every thing you do, every thought you have, every word you say creates a memory that you will hold in your body." --Phylicia Rashad

Juliyaa: The Rhythm

Reblogged from 18° 15' N, 77° 30' W

OKCupid agrees with me

that the categories we're presented with in terms of sexual orientation might be too rigid for modern life and the way people feel:

Heterosexually-identified male users:

Even more striking, heterosexually-identified female users:
 This gap between the sexes is interesting, but I suppose it's to be expected given that dominant culture still generally condemns male homosexuality, but lesbians can (though certainly are not always interpreted as such) be "cool" or "sexy". But more importantly, what does heterosexual mean in terms of these numbers for "Yes, and I enjoyed myself" and "No, but I would like to"?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The best campaign to lower occurrences of rape I've seen yet:

And in happy news, the FBI successfully woke the fuck up and changed the definition of rape. It is now gender-neutral and involves even the slightest penetration of any of the body's three main orifices without consent.  In fact, I see nothing blatantly wrong with it, though I'm sure it could be broader.
"penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim."

I know Fall is upon us, but THESE SHORTS:

Reblogged from 18° 15' N, 77° 30' W

My desktop background right now:

The most ominous words your mother can say...

...change as we get older. When we are children, "No" is the most ominous word that can come out of your mother's mouth. As we get slightly older, "We'll see," takes on that connotation (because it means your-ass-knows-the-answer-is-no-and-now-I'm-annoyed-that-you-put-me-in-this-situation-where-I-can't-tell-you-no-publicly-because-of-the-company-we're-in). Then comes "I need you to...", which is quickly followed by "How much money do you have?" 

I thought I was going to stay somewhat begrudgingly in that last stage for a good long while. I was wrong. All of a sudden, I have entered the worst of stages, that I wasn't expecting to hit for years and years, given the fact that my mother is 10 days shy of her 42nd birthday. If The Most Ominous Words Your Mother Can Say was a video game, this would be the final boss battle.

To the best of my memory, today was only the third time I have ever seen my mother cry outside of the context of a sad movie. It is the second time I can remember her voice cracking while she was speaking to me because of the overwhelming emotion. It is the only time I can remember her admitting she is afraid. It is the only time since I was small enough to need to hold someone's hand when crossing the street that she has allowed me to touch her and hold on. 

This conversation began with her asking me to get in the car. I could tell something was up by the tone of her voice, so as I was opening the car door, I started asking what was wrong. When she says the next thing she says, you think the most ominous words your mother can say are, "I'm sick." Then she gets more specific, and you learn you are wrong again.

The not talking may drive me crazy, but she didn't need to ask me to not speak of this for me to know I can't. I can't tell my best friends. I can't even tell my dad. She has asked me not to spend more time at home than I was planning to. She has asked me not to call her everyday or do anything out of the ordinary. She considered not even telling me because she didn't want to taint my senior year, and has asked me to party tonight and carve pumpkins tomorrow and live my life without being constantly overwhelmed by fear and worry. This is a tall order. I am more afraid than I have ever been of anything in the entirety of my life.

After she left, she texted me with one simple word. Smile.

And so I'm going to try to, because my mother told me to. I'm going to try to smile as much as when I first started dating my ex and everyone told me how happy I looked. I'm going to test the black-don't-crack theory with the potential for laugh lines I'm going to create. People are going to think I'm on some shit when thesis gets real and I'm just beaming away.

But don't hold your breath waiting for me to say I'm surviving without any tears.

Shoutout to my friend E.H.

for this wonderful Facebook status:
"We are brilliant and beautiful. We have been traumatized for so long that we have begun to traumatize each other. We are still our solution."
Ruminate on that.
"There's an ass grinding on me, and I have to admit--it's a pretty nice ass." -- My very drunk gay friend to me last night while we were playing the most epic drinking game you can possibly imagine.

The Fine Line Between Giving Up and Knowing When You've Had Enough:

So I've been going through a little bit of a problem since a few weeks into the school year, and I neglected to tell y'all about it for reasons I'm not entirely sure of. I hadn't resolved it or even had any real idea about how I wanted to resolve it, so I was kind of just ignoring the entire situation, talking shit to my friends about how I "couldn't even be bothered." Then, about a week ago, it dawned on me that I didn't know whether I had just had enough of the foolishness (in which case choosing to ignore the situation was enough of a resolution in and of itself) or if I had effectively given up. And not being sure which side of that line I fell on made me realize I had more invested in this situation than I had previously wanted to admit, and so something had to be done. 

It came to my attention during the last week of September that one of the organizations I'm on the executive board of on campus--one that I have, in fact, been on the exec board of since my freshman year, which is a long-ass time to be devoted to anything in that capacity--had had an executive board meeting without including me on any emails or informing me of the meeting at all. I only found out about it when some friends who are also on the board asked me why I'd missed the meeting, and they were as shocked as I was when I replied, "WHAT meeting?" 

At first, I was sure I had just been overlooked, and that someone would realize their mistake and send me the meeting notes in the next couple days or so. *waits a few days* Well, that seems to not be the case. Interesting. Then I get to reminiscing about how I was less than committed to this board last semester due to my increasing responsibilities to my eating club and the groups' tendencies to have events that conflict with each other. And on top of that, we got a wave of freshmen to join the board last year, and while I absolutely love them, a lot of things started to change when it was me, the last member of the "Old Board", and them, the newbies with ideas that went against tradition. I often felt that me-versus-them tension last semester, and I thought that if this was their these-bitches-think-they-slick method of telling me they didn't want my input anymore, then later for them and I could refocus my attention elsewhere. 

But then members of this organization's demographics kept coming up to me asking what was up with the organization, why it hadn't had a general meeting yet, why there were no emails to the list, why it seemed like the other organization our president presided over was stealing all the thunder. The only thing I could tell these people was that I didn't know, and the more I had to say that, the angrier I got that I wasn't being included. Everyone I told agreed that it was wrong of them to do me like that, and "Mmm"ed in an I-see-but-do-not-necessarily-agree-with-your-point-like manner when I told them I hadn't done anything because I didn't need this kind of drama in my already stressful enough life. 

Then a few days ago it was the president of this organization's birthday, and I thought about not even writing on her wall, but then I realized I could use this as a passive-aggressive means through which to confront her (in the most pleasant of manners, of course) about my exclusion from the exec board. My message went something like, "Happy Birthday, [name redacted]! You know, I've heard the board has had a couple of meetings, but I haven't been getting any emails or anything. Don't forget about me, please!" Y'all know that's a little kiss-ass-y for my tastes, but I meant what I said when I brought up not needing drama in my life. 

I then saw her at a meeting for a different organization on Wednesday, and she apologized that I hadn't been on the email list, and that she'd instantly emailed the secretary and told her to ensure that I was added to the appropriate mailing lists. She told me about upcoming projects and when the weekly board meetings were, and I was really glad I never did any sort of serious WTF ARE YOU DOING RIGHT NOW kind of confrontation. The meeting was this evening, and I went and found myself directly contributing, having good ideas, being asked questions...I felt like they'd missed me. My fellow board members were even impressed when I remembered our organizations student account number--they don't remember, I've been doing this shit for three years. It felt really good to be back and feel needed. 

So I guess the moral of this story is, sometimes we try to convince ourselves that "washing our hands" of a situation is better than talking it out, but occasionally what seems like a hot-ass mess is just a misunderstanding in disguise. Always know what side of the line you're on: it's fine if you've had enough, but giving up just isn't a good look.  

Friday, October 21, 2011

"If you are bored with life, if you don’t get up every morning with a burning desire to do things--you don’t have enough goals." --Lou Holtz

My friend J and I learned last night

that little things can make you inordinately angry when you're drunk and stressed out. And as we're graduating seniors who have theses to write and midterms to take and highly competitive jobs to apply for, stress is a given. Drunk is also a given. Thus, being quite rude or even yelling at our friends and loved ones and/or having full-blown emotional meltdowns may happen more often as the time between now and the beginning of April dwindles. Now that we have realized this correlation, we will try to be more cognizant and avoid potential molehills-that-could-easily-become-mountains-in-drunken-stessed-out-perspective, but for the next time or four we fail, consider this our apology in advance. We only hope the same thing will happen to the rest of our friends, so we can be even.

Style Crush

Reblogged from Currently Obsessed with...
Yeah, I kind of want this entire outfit. This is a great grad student outfit. Ah, dreaming of my grad student wardrobe. [Though working woman in the real world wardrobe has to  come first...]

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

If SHE's Black, then I'm...?

This is Danzy Senna. She wrote the book I'm reading in Diversity in Black America this week, Where Did You Sleep Last Night? She is the daughter of a White mother and a dark-skinned Black father, but the interesting roulette wheel of genetics bestowed her with phenotypical Whiteness. But get this--she identifies SOLELY as Black.
And okay, let me start this by saying that on an intellectual level, I recognize and applaud every individual's ability to adopt whatever identity best suits them, whatever fulfills them spiritually and emotionally and feels like it "fits". I applaud those who are brave enough to behave unexpectedly and go against the status quo. I am a strong proponent of the idea that everyone should be who and what they are, wholly and truly and shamelessly and unapologetically.

But for all my fancy talk, I find it...difficult to accept this woman as a Black woman. Hell, even as a woman of color. People are going to look at her and SEE White, and while it isn't fair to expect her to be defined solely by the identity others impose on her...I am struggling to find a way to look at her and see that we are members of the same group (well, more than just being American women). If we are both Black women, then...

what do all Black people possibly share?

Part of me is firmly invested in this idea that we must all share something. There must be something that binds us all together. I know that race is a social construction--trust me, NOTHING proves that to me as much as the very existence of this woman--but it's still IMPORTANT to me. But, as a friend pointed out to me today, it's only important to me BECAUSE of the history of discrimination and racism that has plagued my people and other racialized groups. Had there never been racism, there would likely be no concept of race. (Which came first, the chicken or the egg?) So is caring about race just validating the historical White man's claims? Am I hurting us with my pride? Holding myself back with my self-identification? 

No, I can't believe any of that. It would label Blackness as problematic, and that's something I'll never ever co-sign. But a bandwagon I may have to get on is that Blackness is, above all else, a mentality. I think that for my sanity and so that everybody can't just go around claiming it, it is a mentality informed and passed on by at least some genealogical and familial background--you can't just pick up a book about Black peoples and start to identify with any sort of validity. But as I already believe that people of color are generally more likely to understand the world in certain ways, it's not an impossibly far leap from there to Blackness is a state of being. 

The problem, though, is states of being can't be objectively measured or quantified. You won't recognize someone's state of being as they walk down the street. You will recognize the color of a person's skin and try to typify them as such, but I think I need to accept that race runs a whole lot deeper than that. (I had a similar such moment a few weeks ago where I counted one more Black person than I thought was on the Sprint Football team, and he turned out to be Indian.) Because she identifies entirely as a Black woman and associates most dominantly with Black communities, is she not in some ways "more Black" than many Blacks (not that I really like to put Blackness on a spectrum, but for the purposes of this thought experiment...)?

So as I embark on a small journey to acceptance, I will say this: Danzy Senna is a Black woman. I am a Black woman. My African friends on campus may or may not be Black women, depending on how global your definition of Blackness is and how they self-identify. There is diversity in Black America.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Can I be MADE into a person who owns fabulous dresses?

Where do women even find these gorgeous pieces? Want isn't a strong enough word; I NEED. (And that actually applies to this entire outfit, because all of that jewelry is ON POINT and totally my style. Except the earrings, maybe.)

Reblogged from Quirky Black Girls

Sunday, October 16, 2011

I'm kind of in love with this song:

Sometimes I want to live my life in neon colors:

Reblogged from Currently Obsessed with...


If I can successfully get a fro-hawk to look like this, I can die happy. And I might wear it EVERY SINGLE DAY. 



I've bemoaned Disney's presentation of femininity and relationships in the past, but this is something I've never considered: Disney's teachings of masculinity to little boys are just as problematic.

Oh hell yes!

Reblogged from PostSecret

An unexpected wave of nostalgia

There is a person sitting directly behind me in the library. His presence is in no way a problem to me. Even more surprisingly, his arm around my shoulders during our Pianoman circle (don't worry about it) was not problematic. I am more comfortable with him around than I imagined was possible, given the circumstances. 

But about an hour ago, he took his hat off and sort of hit it against the top of his head a few times--maybe to help himself focus, maybe to drill a point home, I don't know--and this like, briefly filled the air between us with the smell of the inside of his hat, and I caught the scent and involuntarily breathed in really really deeply. I hope he didn't notice. I didn't even know that I was familiar with that scent, let alone that some part of me that seems to be deep down in my belly MISSED it. 

It was a little disconcerting. But I suppose being reminded of who and what you used to be and how that person in those circumstances used to feel always is.
"One way I combat racism is by claiming my blackness as positive and in no need of justification." -- Malcolm Shanks, student at Brown University

His article addressing White people in classes that discuss identity who are uncomfortable talking about race is pretty bad-ass. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Yesterday, in seminar, the white girl in my AAS class told a funny story

Well, it was immediately funny to about half of the class (3 or 4 people) and our professor. The rest of the class chuckled along a half-second later, but I remained puzzled. I tossed the little anecdote around in my head once everyone was done laughing, but just couldn't quite figure out what was so funny about it. Not being afraid of a little classroom embarrassment, I decided to ask to be enlightened. 

Her statement was this:
"When I moved back to the US from Asia, I remember being so embarrassed when I was going somewhere with my friend and I was like, "Your Dad drives your car?!"
What was so outside my range of understanding that I could not comprehend was that she was used to having a driver.

I, on the other hand, distinctly remember phases of my childhood in which we didn't even have a car. Imani Perry was telling us about a trip she took some students on to Chicago, and how almost none of them had ever been on public transportation before, and some of the kids in our seminar nodded along like they sympathized, while my own face was screwed up with incredulity.  (What a great demonstration of the contextual nature of comedy--humor depends entirely on social capital.)

I know I shouldn't be surprised, but sometimes I forget what kind of people I'm dealing with in this place.

Professor Perry also made an interesting statement while those of us from money-less backgrounds were prefacing various statements with that fact--she said that by virtue of being here, we are among the ranks of the Black upper-class. 

I had a conversation in a Sociology seminar last semester about social class at Princeton. A lot of the people in that class were from more privileged backgrounds than myself, and the dominant viewpoint of the class was that Princeton serves as this great equalizer, where you can't tell what class anyone is in because we all roll through in Princeton gear and it's just not that big a deal. I voiced a dissenting opinion, and highlighted the ways in which Princeton serves to propel those from lower-class backgrounds into higher social status.

My sociological education here is unparalleled, but sometimes I wonder whether the social education I'm getting here isn't just as important: I've learned so much about different kinds of cheese and tea, the proper way to pop a cork, how to pronounce "crudite", what Brooks Brothers is, how to be an effective bullshitter and a functional alcoholic. I have taught people how to read a bus schedule, how to get various stains out of fabrics, where to look for streaming television shows or online coupon codes. Maybe equalizer is the right word. Maybe both sides are gaining the social capital we need to interact with the other half. 

I don't know how to drive. We're getting to the point where I may never have the opportunity to learn. ...Will I be the person with the driver someday? 


Thursday, October 13, 2011

I met Forest Whittaker on my way to class today.

Saw a group of my favorite professors (Imani Perry, Daphne Brooks, Eddie Glaude) hanging out in the lobby of the African-American Studies building, so I walked over to say hey, when lo and behold the guy from Panic Room (not even what he's famous for, I know, but it's what my head instantly shoots to) is in the middle of this circle just chatting it up with Daphne. 

I run upstairs to tell my classmates and we come back downstairs and start awkwardly lingering outside this circle, not wanting to interrupt but also not wanting to miss this opportunity. Eddie Glaude tries to shoo us upstairs, but of course we retreat all of 3 inches and continue to ogle. Eventually I guess he notices us and breaks away from the professors to come over and say hi--what a gentleman! We each introduce ourselves and he shakes our hands and then more people show up so we run away giggling like schoolgirls and give our fellow classmates the chance to meet him before class starts. 

Then we get back to our room and start talking about how like, if we were normal people in the real world, running into a celebrity would be such a big deal. I've met so many famous people here (Philicia Rashad, Toni Morrison, Tavis Smiley, Joyce Carol Oates, CK Lewis, Frankie Muniz, The Far East Movement, now Forest Whittaker, and that's not even counting my famous professors...) that I'm almost desensitized to it. I just introduced myself and was cool...and that's CRAZY when you think about it. 

Oh, the things Princeton has done to me. And damn, this place is awesome.

Ideal womanhood?

Reblogged from Indie. Radiant.

I'm So Uncultured:

Black Enterprise Magazine released a list of the top-grossing Black independent films of all time, and I've only seen two (maaayyybbbbeeee three) of them. This disgusts me, and I'm pretty sure these need to work their way onto my viewing list immediately. In my defense, I spent considerable time and effort searching for Spike Lee's She's Gotta Have It this summer and could not find it anywhere on the internet, even legal places like Netflix, so if you've got any kind of a hookup on that one, lemme know.

The list, if you're interested:

-Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song
-She’s Gotta Have It
-Precious (I have seen and written an academic paper about why I don't approve of this.)
-Hotel Rwanda (I mayyyyyy have seen this, but that means I should probably watch it again.) 
-Paid In Full 
-Ray (I have seen this.)
-Daughters of the Dust 
-I Got The Hook Up

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Esquire named Rihanna the sexiest woman alive

I'm flip-flopping between wanting to RAVISH her and wanting to BE her, but either way this picture screams sex and all I can say is DAYUM.


(1)ne Drop: A project i'm DEFINITELY interested in:

You know anything that touches upon what it means to be Black today will find its way onto my radar sooner or later. When academics and artists join forces, what can result but beauty and a sense of the profound? This project aims not only to challenge people's understandings of Blackness, but also to challenge the way we expect understandings to be challenged, and that in and of itself is beautiful. Watch the promotional video:

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

It's National Coming Out Day

and so I've decided to call your attention to a change I recently made to the description up at the top of this thing that very few (if any) of you probably even noticed: I added the only really extant in certain social circles red-squiggly-underlined term "heteroflexible." 

I think I've mentioned my overall disaffection for labels before, but in case you've forgotten, in my humble opinion, people are incredibly complex and sophisticated individuals, and we simply don't lend ourselves to be put into boxes well. As more and more social barriers start to break down, identity is becoming a much more amorphous structure than it has been in the past, and a lot of us have trouble checking little boxes on forms as a result.

Gender is an easy box for me: I am decidedly female if not always decidedly feminine. I check Black/African-American on race-related boxes, because that's how I identify, but sometimes I wonder if I should check multiracial when that's an option, because it's technically the truth, but only in the way that it's the truth for all people who share my historical background. Household income boxes will probably start to confuse me in the near future, because when do I start counting myself as a household of one rather than a member of my mother's household? (I probably should already, given that she doesn't claim me as a dependent on her taxes. Oops.)

Recently, the hardest box for me to check has been Sexual Orientation. The options are generally Straight/Heterosexual, Gay/Lesbian/Homosexual, and Bisexual, though more progressive forms give lots more options (Pansexual, Asexual, Queer, Questioning, Polyamorous, etc.). I feel sort of homeless when presented with only the main three options--none of those really describe quite how I feel regarding sexuality and who I'd be open to having sexytime with. 

A test I took on OkCupid that most likely has little to no scientific bearing told me I have a "straight preference." An ex from high school, who was bi and was the first person to encourage me to really explore my sexual identity, decided I'm "dickly but not strictly." (I still really like that phrase.) The way I see it, at least at this point of my life when I haven't been exposed to anything else, I am interested almost entirely in relationships with men. I'm just also not at all opposed to relations with women. I'm certainly not going to run away screaming from such a prospect were it to arise. I'm not even gonna front, I'm still pretty upset that my almost-threesome never happened (though the spontaneous consolation prize was quite enjoyable), because I was really anticipating the space to test that part of myself out. I' And I'd like the chance to act on that openness. But that doesn't sound like bisexuality to me; being bi means being equally attracted to men and women to the point where you want to pursue relationships with persons of either gender. As I get more in touch with myself and what I want, there's a chance that could someday describe me, but it doesn't now. 

Basically, I love me some men, but I'm open to experimentation. I hope that doesn't sound like I'm planning to use anyone. K says it just sounds like I'm greedy--though he wasn't that kind--and maybe that's also true. But hey, I like pleasure. I like giving it and receiving it and there's no real way you can make that sound like a bad thing to me.

So, heteroflexible. On forms that have an other, I write this in. On others, I check both Heterosexual and Questioning when possible. If I only get one choice and Queer is an option, I pick that, though I don't think I'm mature enough for a Queer identity yet--it seems so grown. And on particularly conservative forms where I'm only given the first three options, I begrudgingly pick straight because it seems more appropriate than just also doesn't seem like it fits. A female friend of mine surprised me by agreeing with these same sentiments in a conversation we were having about how exclusionary the word "straight" feels with a straight male friend and a gay male friend at our eating club the other day. It made me wonder how many other people feel they're at fuzzily defined points on the spectrum. 

Reblogged from Black Youth Project
Love you, love who you love, and don't let the type of human someone else loves affect your love for them. That's the whole point of today/this week/life in general, man.   

And he was calling US brainwashed?!?

I have yet to mention Herman Cain during this entire election season. Most of the times that I am made aware of something he has said/done, I sigh, roll my eyes, wonder how any self-respecting Black people are Republicans, but generally keep it moving. Most of the time, his assorted statements of ignorance aren't worth me getting all riled up about. 

Today is NOT one of those times. 

Let me begin by saying that I'm not fundamentally at odds with the goals of like, various iterations of the racial uplift movement. I am right alongside Tupac when he says, "We need to change the way we eat. We need to change the way we live. We need to change the way we treat each other." We as individuals and collectively as a people need to take responsibility for our actions and lead our lives in ways such that the flipside of success is not death or jail. We need to create families that work (regardless of whether they resemble the nuclear family), we need to stay in school, we need to pull our fucking pants up. (That last one is just a pet peeve of mine.) We need to understand how to generate wealth and capital rather than just income. BUT all of that is just part of what needs to be done; we also need the various government institutions we interact with on a regular basis to stop being inherently over-suspicious of us, we need due process under the law, we need school systems to not give up on us before we can not give up on them. I'm not asking for anything special, but the whole damn game needs to be changed before we can say it's fair.

Anyway. Back to Cain. This man tried to use the old tired claim that because he knows individual Black persons who have risen to the top of whatever field and blah-de-blah-blah, racism doesn't hold people back. He tried to say we don't actually want to succeed. 
“I have seen blacks in middle management move up to top management in some of the biggest corporations in America,” the candidate explained. “They weren’t held back because of racism. No, people sometimes hold themselves back because they want to use racism as excuse for them not being able to achieve what they want to achieve.” 
And you know, if that was all he'd said, I wouldn't be writing this right now. There are a lot of people who just skim the surface of race/class-based societal issues like this and see culture as a viable excuse. I pity them for their disregard for the institutionalized history of either accumulation or dispossession on the part of members of certain groups, as well as for the way they can totally ignore the distribution of social, cultural, and material assets, and I pity the larger population for being under their influence. I can't even entirely fault them for their ignorance, because in this country we aren't taught to look deeper. 

But that's not all he said. No, this might-as-well-be-named-Uncle-Tom Negro brought himself on CNN, opened his mouth, and said,

"I don't believe there is racism in this country today that holds anybody back in a big way."
*cue record scratch*

Sir. SIR. Pause. Rewind. Let me make sure I understand the words that just came out of your mouth. In the face of unequal drug sentencing mandates, 46% of Black males between the ages of 16 and 35 being unemployed, more Black men in jail than in college, reputable sociological documentation that it is easier for an ex-felon White man to get a job than a Black man with no record (see Devah Pager's Marked), the fact that Black men still earn only about 70 cents on the White man's dollar, that hate crimes are happening all over the country, that the newest wave of feminism has called women the "niggers of the world" during Slutwalks, that race is still directly linked to poverty, that studies confirm that having an ethnic name or "sounding ethnic" makes one less hireable, that even at schools like Princeton, Blacks are more likely to take time off than members of any other racial category, that the housing crisis has affected Blacks disproportionately, that there are still places in this country where the color of my skin alone makes me feel I need to continue? We could do this all day. 

Post-racialism is a concept I'm uncomfortable with in all but its tamest forms. Post-racism, you've got to be fucking kidding me. This is America. We were FOUNDED on racism. It didn't magically just disappear because a disproportionately low percentage of Black people have beaten the odds. It's systematic. It's ingrained. We've been working on changing things since the Abolitionist movement, and I'll be damned if fool statements like this are going to lead people to believe we can stop now.

We've come a long way.

I don't have a wealth of memories of my ex-stepfather that could be construed as positive, but one of those few happened in the toy section of a department store. It wasn't one of the stores we regularly shopped at, and it wasn't a toy store...if I remember correctly, it was my cousin's birthday the next day, and we were wherever we were trying to find a cheap-ish gift to bring to her birthday party. There weren't very many Black dolls at the store, and while they were choosing between a few dolls, I pointed at another to ask why she wasn't being brought into consideration. 

This doll was a fabric doll, rather than one made of plastic. She had a very wide, very round face, with a pretty flat head. Her nose was puggish and also quite wide. Her hair was some knotty short thing that, to the best of my current understanding, was meant to represent what happens when you let your fro try to form locs naturally. She was wearing some kind of dowdy dress. In short, she was just not cute. But I was an inquisitive child like I am an inquisitive adult, and thus I asked, "What about this one?" 

My ex-stepfather stopped the conversation he was having with my mother. He looked from me to the doll and back again, and in a rare moment of actual parenting, decided to use this as a teaching moment rather than an excuse to beat my ass. He asked my mother if she had a mirror in her purse. She produced one, and he told me to look at myself. I did. He then said to look at the doll. I did. 

"Does that doll look anything like you?" he asked.
I hesitated. "...Not really?" 
"No. It doesn't look anything like you. But that's what They think you look like, and it's what They want you to think you look like. So no, we're not buying that doll."

I didn't really know who They were at the time, but I had the distinct understanding that They were bad people and I wanted nothing to do with Them, and that maybe They didn't like me (or my cousin) very much. We bought a different doll and went on home. 

I thought about that day when Mattel announced it was introducing new dolls in the Barbie line, who were varying shades of Black and had ethnic features, hair, and names. I bought one for my young cousin, to give her the cultural representations we struggled to find when I was her age. I thought about that day again last night, when I stumbled across this image on one of the blogs I read:
Meet Hearts for Hearts Girls' newest addition: Rahel from Ethiopia
My first thought was, 'Now there's a doll that looks like me.' Seriously, that's my hair on a good day sitting on her head right now. [There's this new trend amongst naturalistas to give their daughters' straight-haired dolls straw sets with pipe cleaners and hot water to induce the natural look, which is sooo creative and innovative and awesome, and I applaud it, but hers comes like this!] Her nose and lips are just slightly fuller than your average doll, and she comes with the outfit seen above and a more vibrant yellow top and red sarong. I think dollmakers are really starting to understand the versatility of the African diasporic experience and have started to produce representations that highlight the beauty and just accurately reflect those experiences. 

It just might be exciting when people I know start having kids and I won't have to fret about what buying a certain doll might make a certain little girl I care about think about herself.  

Monday, October 10, 2011

Can I just lust over John Legend for a minute?

Reblogged from As far as i'm concerned...

Nneka--"Soul is Heavy"

"Some see this as class warfare. I see it as a simple choice. We can either keep taxes exactly as they are for millionaires and billionaires, or we can ask them to pay at least the same rate as a plumber or a bus driver." --President Barack Obama, speaking about the American Jobs Act this past weekend

Columbus Day disgusts me.

It disgusts me like moving tables and accidentally putting your fingers on someone's gum, like people who smoke, like stepping in dog-shit, like having to clean up someone else's vomit, like ass-to-anything. I love this country, but there's a long list of shameful ways we conduct ourselves with regard to various sensitive topics, and the fact that we're still equating Christopher Columbus with Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. (as the only two non-presidential individuals to be honored with federal holidays in their names) cannot be left off of that list. We might as well add a holiday for whatever day in 1619 the first shipment of African slaves was brought to the Virginia colony, or days glorifying rapists and practitioners of biological warfare. Because, just in case you haven't brushed up on your history since the lies your first-fourth grade teachers taught you, THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT COLUMBUS DAY IS DOING.

I don't mean to sound unpatriotic, but Columbus and his crew were basically TERRIBLE TERRIBLE HUMAN BEINGS. Let's recap: He begged the royalty of Spain for a shitload of money to find a faster route to sail to India for spices or whatever shit they were trading in at the time. He gets HOPELESSLY FUCKING LOST, to the point where the journey has taken like three times longer than expected, and his whole crew is ready to make him walk the plank. Then someone's like HOLY SHIT I SEE LAND and they forget they were ready to kill him. Now, Columbus has some knowledge of India...he HAD to know that the land he had stumbled upon was, in fact, nothing like India, but rather than fess up to the fact that he had fucked up, he just started calling the indigenous peoples in this "New" world [JUST BECAUSE YOUR PASTY ASS DIDN'T KNOW IT EXISTED DOESN'T MAKE IT NEW] Indians to save face. Then, when he and the whole posse of greedy Europeans he summoned decided that the indigenous peoples were doing more of the "being in the way" thing than the "ensuring that the idiot White people didn't kill themselves" thing, they started a HUNDREDS OF YEARS LONG tradition of kicking them out of their homes. When they wouldn't leave peacefully, the SYPHILIS-RIDDEN sailors started raping the women, and the tribes were given gifts of SMALLPOX-INFESTED BLANKETS. 

And they called the Natives "savages." For the next five hundred and counting years, these people have been "in the way" of progress and modernization and wealth and greed. I suppose they're the only people in this country who have been a "problem people" for longer than Blacks have. And I just don't fucking understand what about this man or anything he started possibly deserves celebration. What is the justification for this holiday? HAPPY IMPERIALISM DAY! Happy Hey, We Got All Kinds of Great Knowledge from the Natives and then Raped Them, Killed Them, and Drove the Survivors Away Day! Happy Tap Dance All Over the Little Guy's Back Day! Happy We Will Never Ever Give Two Fucks about Minority Cultures Day! Happy Capitalism Was Built on the Backs of Racialized Minorities AND IS STILL THRIVING ON THEM TO THIS DAY Day! 

Get the fuck out of my face, Columbus Day. I can't believe he's still being lauded as a national hero. There is blatant disregard for historical accuracy...and then there is this. And the worst part is, most Americans will never learn anything but the rosy stories our elementary school teachers told us. Most Americans will never see anything wrong with Urban Outfitters's Navajo flask and 973947390847 other cultural misappropriations designed to both take money from and make money for the descendants of the very people who tried their damndest to destroy Native American culture in the first place! 
Sadly, I'm not kidding. Right, because Native Americans TOTALLY need more people to contribute to the stereotype that they're lazy alcoholics.
How can we ever expect to develop tolerance for other cultures when we still GLORIFY their destruction? WHAT ARE YOU DOING, AMERICA?!  

I just posted this video on Facebook, and Facebook informed me that 9 other friends/pages I've liked posted about Columbus day: all but one was some sort of pathetic outreach of consumer culture begging you to go shop Columbus Day sales or asking what you were doing with your day off. I bet no one was stopping to think about what we're actually celebrating and why we shouldn't be. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Something strange has been happening to me this week.

At our weekly Pub Night at my eating club, K was sitting next to me and having a beer with his dinner. Since the summer, he's been trying beers more regularly, while I've been...sitting on the sidelines in awe at this transformation. Occasionally when he or E is beer-trying in my presence, I help myself to a sip. Usually, I regret this decision immediately. But something strange happened this Thursday night...I...didn't find the experience of tasting K's beer to be unpleasant. In fact, I had a second sip to confirm, and found that I actually kind of...enjoyed it. 

And then I made the radical decision that I was going to get a Yuengling of my own, and drank the whole thing enthusiastically! I later had two cups of a much shittier beer while playing Kings, and while I didn't enjoy it as much, I could handle it. Yesterday at dinner, I had a cup of Weinstephaner with my burger and again, found the experience to be somewhat pleasurable. 

...I think I'm developing a tolerance for beer. I don't know how this happened, but my wallet is thanking me already. 

Sometimes the world makes me smile:

Reblogged from As far as i'm concerned...
Some people are out protesting at #OccupyWallStreet. Some people are criticizing the protesters for not being organized/effective. And then some people, probably the most helpful people, are actually out on the ground in local businesses recognizing the struggle and trying to lend a hand where hands are needed. And that deserves commendation.

I applaud this:

Reblogged from The Write Curl Diary

Thursday, October 6, 2011

In an act of alcohol-induced bravery, tonight I streaked my eating club.  

We have a streaking society, and I am now a member. I will get a t-shirt confirming this. 
Yup, le mission to make this school year cray-cray is starting off very very well, if I do say so myself.

A girl I went to high school with is getting married the day after tomorrow.

Okay, okay, so I know some people who got pregnant and/or married right out of high school. But with very few exceptions, these were people who hadn't done well in high school, weren't going to college...there was no real reason for them to delay starting their families. This girl is different. I knew this girl fairly well, meaning she did at least some Honors and AP courses. She played sports. She graduated in the top 20% of our class, thus qualifying for the NJ Stars program. And thus, when it appeared on my News Feed some time ago that she was engaged, I had the curious sensation that this was a real engagement, not a "my-love-life-is-sad-so-let-me-be-engaged-to-my-BFF" engagement, or something otherwise constructed but not real. If I needed further proof, she started talking about wedding rings. And then today I saw a few of our mutual friends had written encouraging things on her wall and talked about pictures and the soon-to-be hubby, and with a little digging I learned their wedding is this Saturday and I was just like...




Don't we not live in that world where you go to college to find a man anymore? Okay, that was rude. I just wasn't expecting this to start happening to like, people that seemed destined to have at least fairly successful futures yet. I thought we as a generation were pushing back the marriage age to the late twenties and generally being fearful of growing up. 

My longest relationship lasted for four months. How do I know people that are getting married?!

All I can say is, "Damn."

No Question from ash H on Vimeo.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Things that make me chuckle at work:

Salt-N-Peppa Salt and Pepper Shakers. Reblogged from come correct
I feel like I wouldn't be able to get through a meal without going, "Salt-n-Salt-n-Salt-n-Peppa's here!"

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

That skirt!

Reblogged from The Style Sample
I find it more than slightly ironic that I'll have to wait til I'm a professor of Sociology to be able to afford to shop at Anthropolgie, which is where she got that skirt from.

It's India.Arie's Birthday!!!

There are few artists my life would actually be different without, but India.Arie will always top that short list. She has brought me closer together with people, most significantly my mother, and her words are always what I turn to in rough times after I talk to my loved ones. She is my ringtone. She is often my inspiration. She reminds me to celebrate myself, and thus today I am celebrating her, as she is 36 years beautiful, powerful, and strong:

Monday, October 3, 2011

I feel like I'm missing out on what might be my only chance to join a mass protest.

When I started really learning about the Civil Rights Movement in the context of African-American Studies classes here at Princeton, learning about all the discontent and political fracturing that my high school history classes and textbooks had glossed over, if bothering to mention them at all, I wanted to be a rebel. I gained enough insight into the atmosphere of the time to finally decisively cast my lot with my father, who marched with Malcolm X, instead of my grandmother, who was one of King's disciples. I would never deny that I most likely owe the very circumstances of my life to Dr. King, but regardless, I want to FIGHT.

When Princeton experienced the one big racialized incident of my time here during the Winter of my Sophomore year, I was all over the t-shirt/sign-making and wanted to draw lots of attention to the small group of us counter-protesting. I remembered hearing about the Black Student Union taking over Nassau Hall to protest the Vietnam War and wanting a tiny piece of history like that to call my own. But alas, my classmates were meek and apathetic, and our under-participated-in protest will be remembered only in the archives of the Daily Princetonian (and even those articles will be remembered more for their racist comments than for the actual content). 

No one wanted to fight. And so I started to buy into the idea that all the good causes are done, even though everything I know about the world begs to differ. Maybe out-and-out activism in the form of anything other than an academic work just wasn't for me.  Maybe "the movement" as a social construct had died out.

And then representatives from the 99% of the country that is currently being shit on by the tops of the corporations on Wall Street finally realized Marx's dreams of class consciousness and began to come together to rise against the system that is keeping us down. It started with a few angry students, and is now in its 3rd week in NYC and has spread to major metropolitan areas all across the country. Support is pouring in from all over the world. More than 700 peaceful protesters have been arrested in NYC alone. There are ingenious signs, catchy slogans, supplies, celebrities, meditation circles and chanters and marchers. 

The Movement is back, and every time I read a blog post or see an article about #OccupyWallStreet, a very large part of me aches to be there. Maybe this is our fight. I know my presence could never make or break things, that one more person doesn't actually change the game at all...but maybe it would change me. Durkheim calls it "collective effervescence," the feeling of exhilaration one gets from being in a crowd. I think I need to be reminded that people care about things. Normal ordinary people, not just those of us in the Ivory Tower. I think I need that jolt of recognition that things MATTER. I want to feel that I'm part of this larger thing that existed before me and will exist after me and has to exist, must exist...I need to feel a part of something I want to perpetuate. And I know I already have things like that, but none of them feel important the way this feels important. 

I don't hope to ever see a crisis bigger than 1% of the country owning more wealth than the other 99%, or more than half of Black and Latino men in prime employment age (18-35) unemployed, or teachers being laid off by the hundreds, or college students dropping out because tuition got too high, or people who graduate being unable to get jobs, or housing falling to absolute shit, or people interpreting abuse by the government as abuse of the government. This is our crisis. This is our movement. And I can't really justify the expense of going, but these images and words move me beyond expression.

Photo by vincemie 
Original here.
Original here.