Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I envy both her style and the sense of peace she exudes.

Reblogged from 18° 15' N, 77° 30' W

The most basic problem with post-racialism (besides its blatant falsehood)

"Since the notion that we should all forsake attachment to race and/or cultural identity and be “just humans” within the framework of white supremacy has usually meant that subordinate groups must surrender their identities, beliefs, values, and assimilate by adopting the values and beliefs of privileged-class whites, rather than promoting racial harmony, this thinking has created a fierce cultural protectionism."

--bell hooks

"'Do you really love me?' means, Will you accept me in process? Will you embrace what is different about me and applaud my efforts to become? Can I just be human, strong and vibrant some days, weak and frail on others? Will you love me even when I disappoint you?"
--Angela Thomas

(via Free Bird) 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

An excerpt from a conversation with KS from the other day that I can't stop thinking about:

Me: I can think of two Black guys on this campus that I would actually date--well, that I know well and would actually date. 

KS: Is [name redacted, 1] one of them? 

Me: Yes.

KS: Is [name redacted, 2] the other?

Me: No. [High school me would have dated him, which probably explains why freshman year me was somewhat obsessed.]

KS: *ponders who the other might be*

Me: You know, I'm starting to think that not making any moves towards something happening with [name redacted, 1] might be one of the things I regret most about my time here. He's moving to [location redacted] and he doesn't really love this place, so I'm not sure he'll be around at reunions all that often and I feel like I've run out of time. 

KS: So make a move! Call him up tomorrow and be like, "If I wanted to have babies, I'd have yours, but I don't..."

...I laughed at his ridiculousness then, and confessed that I'd been contemplating trying to hook up with him just so I wouldn't have to always wonder what it would have been like, but I keep hearing him say that in my head. What's keeping me from telling him how much more I'd like to be around him, at the very least? Why did we never actually act on any of the mutually-agree-that-we-should-hang-out-more-when-running-into-each-other-at-a-party things? What do I have to lose? 

[name redacted, 2] and I agreed to have lunch sometime this week, but I'm less sure about how I feel about him than I am about [name redacted, 1].

And speaking about people I want to hook up with, I'm trying to find a non-sketchy way to reach out to the female friend of mine who propositioned me earlier in the year about making that actually happen sometime soon, and maybe this is just my frustration talking, but I've started to notice that every time I'm in the same room as the first guy I ever hooked up with at Princeton, I think about giving him a round two.

Let us remember the name of the perpetrators, too, not just of the victims.

When I look at Trayvon Martin, I see my "baby" brother, who turns 17 next month. I'm almost positive he has that same red Hollister shirt the press shows Trey wearing. My brother likes to wear hoodies instead of coats. My brother walks to his part-time job at McDonald's sometimes, and what is preventing some racist motherfucker with a history of violence like Zimmerman from thinking he looks suspicious, or like he doesn't belong? It sounds to me like these "stand your ground" laws give anyone the right to take the law into their own hands in a dangerous situation--evidently even one where you could have not gotten involved in the situation. I can't live comfortably in a world where grown-ass 200 pound White men can *murder*--let's call this what it is--skinny Black high school kids. This is just too close to home. And it's not the only case of its kind recently. I NEED people to understand that this is not an isolated incident of one crazy man. It's not even the first such incident in that county in recent years. 

There were no eyewitnesses, and the police don't seem to regard the police calls from nearby residents in which you can hear Trayvon's bloodcurdling screams for help as sufficient evidence. No one saw can't be justification for injustice. Our judicial system exists to bear witness to that which no one witnessed. We must be the voice for those whose voices have been taken away, but progress can't happen if we remember only the victims. Remember both of their names.

Monday, March 19, 2012

I would move into a building with a mural like this

Reblogged from

"In the White racist imagination, “a nigger is a nigger is a nigger.” White supremacy took different types of Africans and reduced them to “the nigger.” I’m not chasing that kind of thinking. We are diverse!  I refuse to embrace that sameness. I know my people are diverse. Black rigidity, and not Black diversity, is the real threat to Black people. When we buy into notions of Black sameness, we begin to lose. I don’t want, nor do I need, all Black people to be the same. Some of us are straight, some are gay, some are masculine, some are feminine, some of us are rich, some of us are poor, some of us are college educated, some of us are trade educated, some of us outspoken, some of us are quiet. Respect our diversity. How can you claim to love Blackness, want to fight for it, when you see us the same way White supremacist do? We are not a pool of sameness."

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Excerpts from one of the best posts I've seen about #TravyonMartin

"How do we make sense of the senseless?
 "If this were 1912 and not 2012, we would call a Black man killed by a one-man firing squad with no just cause what it is: a lynching. These days, we search for euphemisms. Self-defense. That feels so inadequate. I mean, whose selves really need defending if it is Black selves--primarily Black male selves--that keep being murdered?
"How does it feel to be a problem? It feels like gunshots, unheard screams, and a lonely, violent death.
"When scholars talk about a school-to-prison pipeline, they are not simply talking about the ways that systematic lack of educational access sets up Black people for a stint in the criminal justice system. They are also pointing to the fact that the very logic of public schools is designed to discipline Americans into a certain model of  citizenship, one that helps us to believe in the propaganda of equal rights that we are taught in our social studies classes, while obscuring the systematic inequalities that are on gratuitous display through the treatment of children of color, students with disabilities, and poor students.
"I have zero-tolerance for a justice system that deputizes overzealous white men and vests them with the power to be judge, jury, and executioner, under the trumped up guise of self-defense . If this community fails to prosecute George Zimmerman, their silence, their acquiescence, their approval will constitute an official sanctioning of his course of action.
"Even with eyewitness testimony, the police seemed incapable of seeing Trayvon as the victim. Young Black men are always the aggressors, right? Not the gun-toting white guy, who weighed 100 pounds more than Trayvon. Not the self-styled neighborhood vigilante with a documented disrespect for law enforcement. Nope. Just the Black kid, whose skin is (perceived as) a weapon.
"Trayvon’s skin, not his actions, not his character, made him a criminal. Blackness always looks suspicious. Whiteness always looks safe.
"In this post-most-racial moment*, we must seriously re-evaluate this narrative of linear historical progress that we are beholden to. No, Black men don’t routinely find themselves hanging from trees. But that might be less an evidence of progress and more an evidence of white racial adaptation. “Racial patterns [will always] adapt in ways that maintain white dominance.” – Father of Critical Race Theory Prof. Derrick Bell’s famous maxim echoes in my ears.
"Trayvon is Black. And that matters when whiteness is the sine qua non of the American legal system, when possession of a white skin is the prerequisite for justice. And it is precisely because of this deep-seated association of white skin with property, that George Zimmerman felt he had the right to “patrol” his neighborhood for interlopers and outsiders. It is not coincidental that Black men are routinely profiled for looking suspicious in nice neighborhoods “because they don’t belong there.” The battle over who belongs in neighborhoods– even though Trayvon’s step-mother lived there!—is just a modern site for a long-standing warfare over white racial entitlement to control land and every thing that moves on that land."
 --The ever-eloquent , in this post

Work Style Crush

The lovely Natural Belle

I'm slowly becoming more and more aware of what it means to be made cognizant of myself as a target of discrimination based on my womanness.

Things I Can't Stand Number Next:

when people don't believe that a man and a woman can be close friends without romantic feelings lurking under the surface on one or both parts. 

My best friend on this campus is a man. Since wresting that title from the women on this campus who used to share it, he has also managed to supersede people from home who have known me since the days of Lunchables and Sailor Moon. Not only do I never feel like I have to pretend to be anything I'm not when I'm talking to or hanging out with him, I also never feel like I can't be anything I am--those are very different sentiments, even if they initially seem like two sides of the same coin, and I've actually never had that before. We can communicate with just a look, and finish each other's sentences, and I feel like he truly and thoroughly gets me. I have this wonderful feeling of home-ness when I'm around him or talking to him that I hope never dissipates. 

But I'm not romantically interested in him in the least. First off, while I recognize that he's a beautiful man, I'm not attracted to him. Sometimes we party together and will find a section of a dance floor to dance around each other in, but I can't imagine actually touching him while we're dancing. I find the thought of grinding with him both disturbing and hilarious. I actually can't even bring myself to imagine kissing him. I don't even want to think about his dick. Even typing this has me skeeved out. We very rarely make physical contact of any sort, but I can come to him crying because my boyfriend just dumped me or because my mom is going to be in the hospital for a month and he will help me put myself back together again with just his words and the way he cares.

But when I casually mentioned to two of my former roommates that he and I had talked about maybe living together next year if he also got a job in D.C., they started making skeptical and disapproving faces at one another. I asked them what was wrong, and they both said, "Nothing." It was obviously something, so I pressured them on it, and M finally said, "Don't you think living with him is a bad idea?" I don't understand why it would be, and said as much to them. They launched into this big spheel about how living together will bring feelings that I don't know that I have to the surface and how I'll be jealous seeing him with other girls and yada yada yada. I was listening to them spewing this nonsense and this scene from Awkward Black Girl actually played in my head:

They could have asked things about how neat/messy he is, or whether we fight about silly stuff that would get really annoying in a shared space. They could have brought up the fact that living with J almost destroyed our friendship sophomore year, which is both valid and relevant. But no, these bitches--who actually know me quite well--basically went straight to this idea that I'm already in love with him and just in denial and how living together would force me to quit playing.

...The fuck?!

I wanted to rebut that I didn't fall for either of them when we lived together, even though we were very good friends, but Idk how much they know about my recently embraced non-heterosexuality and didn't feel like putting my shit on blast in the middle of an already tense conversation.

I don't understand why people assume that having a very emotionally intimate relationship with a person is, by definition, a precursor to wanting a physically intimate relationship with that person. Do I love him? In some ways, more than I've ever loved anyone. In other ways, not. at. all. There are countless ways to love a person, and I don't think any of them necessitate any other. It deeply offends me that these ladies seem to think I'm incapable of non-romantic love with a male-gendered person I like to share various aspects of my life with.

[Temporary break from the break]

I left my flash drive in my dorm, so am stuck at work until 5 with no way to work on my thesis. Thus, I have time to say the things I've been meaning to say! 

Expect rapid-fire posting over the next three hours, and then I will return to Excel, STATA, and Word to thesisize. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

"Taking a Break"

My so-called Spring Break has begun. If you're anticipating wild stories of myself being scantily clad in a warm climate and hooking up with all sorts of men and women, I'm sorry to tell you that that kind of Spring Break exists only in my dreams. In real life, my "break" will always appear in quotation marks because it's a joke. I don't have a "break," I have a thesis. It's due in exactly four weeks, minus about 3 hours and 25 minutes. And I have a full draft of it due in 10 days. 

So I'm sorry to have to do this to y'all, but I need to concentrate on this other thing right now. It will be hard to stay away, and I might have to be like the frowsy dude who still tries to smash while y'all are "taking a break" and post sporadically (I can reward myself with a post every ten pages or so, right?), but I'm effectively taking a week and a half hiatus from the internet.

See y'all on the other side. 

I swear Ryan O'Connoll lives in my head.

"I just don’t want to wake up one day and feel estranged from everyone. I don’t wake up one day and ask myself where everyone went."
--The man who doesn't know he's my internet BFFL, in this Thought Catalog post

This is one of the things that terrifies me the most about becoming an adult in the real world. My friends have jobs all over the country. Hell, someone really important to me is moving to fucking Thailand. It's hard enough to keep up with my friends on campus who aren't in my eating club--how will I stay in touch with friends who aren't in the same time zone? I can barely manage to coordinate times to eat with people who live on the same campus as me most of the time, and you're expecting me to transition easily into this new world where if I want to see my close friend who just got a great job in Ohio, I'm going to have to get on a PLANE? I don't know how to be ready for this.

Sometimes it seems to me like life is this grand process of gradually getting comfortable with a group of people until you feel like you can be yourself and everything is wonderful and then getting wrenched away from that group and having to start over somewhere else where people don't know you or get your references, then gradually finding and coming to love people there and being wrenched away again. Thinking like this makes me want to be a hermit. But even hypothetical future self-induced hermithood wouldn't keep me from feeling like I'm about to lose the best relationships I've ever had.  

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

"White Solipsism"

(n.) The tendency "to think, imagine, and speak as if Whiteness described the world."
--Adrienne Rich, as cited in Elizabeth Spelman's Inessential Woman: Problems of Exclusion in Feminist Thought, pg. 116

*clears throat, as if preparing to say something profound*

Fuck. that. shit.  

Monday, March 12, 2012

Post-racial is the dirtiest word I know.

I cannot, in fact, think of a single word with the same factual inaccuracy and potential to do great harm. 

When we were out visiting other eating clubs on Saturday night, something we rarely do, KS and I saw no less than three Black-female-White-male couples dancing and making out. This prompted KS to comment on our "post-racial" society. I wanted to slap him upside the head and remind him that the caramel color of our skin serves as a legacy to the history of such interactions in our family trees and communities more broadly, but that's too serious a conversation for the club, so I just rolled my eyes and reminded him that I'd fucked a White guy too, but that didn't mean I thought we as a society or me as a person were "over" race.

I didn't need a reminder as to why I don't think we're there yet (and have little faith, really, that we'll ever GET there), but the news gave me one anyway, in the form of Trayvon Martin.

Trayvon Martin was a 17 year old high school junior. Trey, as he was known by family and friends, was visiting his father and stepmother in a gated community in Orlando, Florida, two weeks ago. During halftime of the basketball game he'd been watching with his father, he decided to walk to the local convenience store to pick up some snacks. On his way back to his dad's house, he was spotted by George Zimmerman, a 28-year old White man serving as the Captain of the Neighborhood Watch in this gated community. Zimmerman found the sight of a young Black man walking alone through his neighborhood--never mind the fact that this young Black man was his neighbor's SON--so "suspicious" and threatening that he called 911 to report the activity and jumped into his SUV to follow Trey. The 911 dispatcher told Zimmerman to stand down and let the police handle the situation from there. Zimmerman had other ideas, though. He confronted Trey, who supposedly gave Zimmerman a bloody nose during their altercation, and fatally shot him in the chest using the black Kie Tek 9 millimeter semi-automatic pistol he was carrying.  The medical examiner found only Skittles, Arizona Iced Tea, and $22 in Trey's pockets, but Zimmerman is claiming self-defense, and the authorities seem to believe him, because more than two weeks have passed, and no. charges. have. been. filed. against. Zimmerman.

I'm going to say that again. This White civilian--a Neighborhood Watch captain--thought a young Black kid "looked suspicious" as he walked down the street, so he shot him dead in the middle of the street on a Sunday evening and is getting away with it.

 [Excuse me while I control my tears and rage, as I'm at work right now.]

From the Oxford English Dictionary:
Lynch (v.): The practice of inflicting summary punishment upon an offender, by a self-constituted court armed with no legal authority; it is now limited to the summary execution of one charged with some flagrant offence.
Show me one person who says this was not a modern-day lynching and I'll show you a goddamned liar. A community watchman has no. fucking. authority. to. murder. a. teenage. boy. But the police aren't filing charges against this man--who directly defied their orders and KILLED A MINOR. Show me one person who says race doesn't matter anymore, and I'll show you someone who is deaf, dumb, and blind. Trey was a KID. He was walking down the street with Skittles and iced tea. And just being in that neighborhood--where his father LIVES--was an offense worthy of taking his life. My father used to live in a gated community in Fort Lauderdale. If I were a boy--because, don't forget, racism and sexism can never be fully separated, and Black men supposedly present more of a "threat" to White society with their very existence than do Black women--could I have been Trey Martin? The story Trayvon Martin's mother is telling now is the same story told by Emmett Till's mother, by the mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters and husbands and wives of the nearly 3,500 Black Americans who were lynched in the US between 1882 and 1968, and by the families of contemporary LGBT persons who have been killed by mob violence for their existence as non-heterosexual beings. 

This is vigilante violence. This is MURDER and no one is doing anything. This is Jim Crow. This is sexualized racism and racialized sexism. The lack of response from the police and the mass media? That's institutionalization. This is literally not being safe in one's own body. This is oppression. This is hatred. This is why I do not fault my friend OO for telling me he needed a break from all the White people. Tell me race doesn't matter, or that people don't need to be afraid. I DARE you.

*drops mic, walks away*

[Meanwhile, on a smaller scale, Tumblr is threatening to take down Dumb Things White People Say for being "abusive" and "harassing," while the vast majority of the blogs spewing White supremacist bullshit that DTWPS posts screenshots of have been defended by the Tumblr administrators as free speech. And click here to see what some White person evidently thinks I'm learning in my African-American studies classes (I don't want this picture staring back at me for a week on my page). I'm done.]    

Friday, March 9, 2012

Two things I've read recently on come correct have me thinking about female sexual discovery.

I will quote them for you in full.

1. "Nobody told me I had a clitoris. Nobody told me I was capable of having orgasms. For five years I was given 'sex education.' It mostly consisted of periods and condoms. It didn't talk about consent. It didn't talk about the actual mechanics of sex, about arousal and lubrication and oscillation. It didn't tell me a single thing about relationships and it didn't tell me I had a clitoris. I only know now because of the internet. Nobody entrusted with my care and education has ever told me that the female orgasm exists, or about the parts of my anatomy necessary for it. I didn't find my clitoris until I was eighteen, after six years of active sexuality. That made me angry."
-- (Source) (via)
2. "Although most boys figure out how to bring themselves to orgasm by age thirteen, half of girls don’t have their first orgasms until their late teens, twenties, or beyond. Teenage girls widely agree that they get the message loud and clear that masturbation is something boys do, but girls don’t, can’t, or shouldn’t. The cultural focus on intercourse tells young women to expect they’ll begin to experience sexual pleasure once they have sex with a man (whether or not they’re even interested in sex with men). Nearly all teen boys, on the other hand, experience sexual pleasure long before they get their hands—or other body parts—into a partner’s pants. Despite the massive advances in women’s equality, young women’s sexuality is stuck in a surprising paradox. Young women are sold provocative clothes but aren’t taught where to find their own clitoris. Many girls give their boyfriends oral sex, but are too uncomfortable with their own bodies to allow the guys to return the favor. It’s still a radical act to say that women need and deserve access to information about their own sexual pleasure—not just about the risks and negative consequences of sex."
-- Dorian Solot, I Love Female Orgasm: An Extraordinary Orgasm Guide. (via)

Let me begin by stating that I do not, in any way, want to belittle or invalidate the experiences of the first woman, and/or women who can identify with that story, or those of the young women describe in the second passage. Secondly, I am all kinds of entirely in support of revamping the sex education system in this country to like, actually be somewhat useful in people's lives. While it was not really my experience at all, I recognize that we live in a culture that denigrates or, at best, avoids the topic of female masturbation, and if you know anything about me, you know that this pisses me off. 

All of that being said, I just...fundamentally don't understand how one can get to adulthood (or near-adulthood) without knowing one's own anatomy. Yeah, okay, maybe you don't know the WORDS for what each body part is called, because sex education sucks in this country, but I guess I'm just struggling with the concept of needing to be "taught" that one has a clitoris. I don't remember when I learned the word clitoris. It was probably in high school. But I've known that touching/rubbing a particular spot down there feels ah-ma-zing since I was about 8 years old. I think I discovered it accidentally when I was taking a bath or going to the bathroom or something, but I had already been exploring my body. I very distinctly remember my stepbrother, who is a few months younger than me, once making the argument when we were small children that girls pee out of their butts, and while I knew that wasn't true and explained that there was another hole. Very soon after this conversation, I decided that I wanted to know more of what it looked like, so that I could better debunk my silly brother's arguments, so at the next opportunity of a full length mirror (in my aunt's room at my grandmother's house), I dropped my pants, bent all the way over, and looked at myself upside down with my head between my legs. 

I don't remember my first orgasm, but I know that it was most likely in about the third grade. I hadn't needed anyone to tell me these body parts existed in order for me to explore them, and exploring them led directly to pleasure, so I explored rather often. The first time I was ever even exposed to the concept that some people thought this was a bad thing to do was in a book on puberty that was probably called Your Changing Body or something equivalent that my mother bought for me after I first got my period (at the age of 9). I feel like there was like, one page about masturbation, and somewhere in it it contained the line "Some girls don't like to do it," or something similar. I felt sorry for those girls then, and I still do.

I guess what I take issue with in these passages is the implied idea that one needs to be formally introduced to something to have any conception of it. It gives me the eerie sense that a woman's sexuality is something she needs to be taught or GIVEN by someone else, rather than something inherently part of herself, and that doesn't sit well with me. I never really got the "masturbation is something boys do, but girls don’t, can’t, or shouldn’t" thing--in fact, I can't really remember it ever being mentioned at all, besides by my female cousin once when we were eleven and twelve, so where does that message come from? I'm not denying its existence--I believe them--I just want to know from whence it stems so I can know what to take issue with and how to fight it. I feel like I discovered my own sexual nature and the ability to pleasure myself organically at a young age like these passages suggest boys do, and I don't understand why so many women didn't have the same experience.  

Style Crushes

Reblogged from “Pretty is something you're born with.“
Reblogged from The Curvy Fashionista
Reblogged from Instant Vintage

Politicians seem to be struggling to understand, so I'ma reblog some photosets.

“I was a young woman with an evolved mind who was not afraid of her beauty or her sexuality. For some people that’s uncomfortable. They didn’t understand how female and strong work together. Or young and wise. Or Black and divine.”
--Lauryn Hill, via come correct
“Hence I have no mercy or compassion in me for a society that will crush people, and then penalize them for not being able to stand up under the weight.”
--Malcolm X

Why do you assume your children are straight?

I think that more kids have 'crushes' on persons of the same gender than would report having done so as children when they're adults, because we're socialized to call those feelings 'friendship.'

This came up in conversation between me, Choosing Pancakes, and JB a while ago. I wrote it down because I really liked what I had said, and figured I would elaborate on it at some point. As I rant about a little in my guest post over at Met Another Frog this week, I hate that we live in a culture that assumes heterosexuality. Even more than that, I hate when people try to justify the assumption of heterosexuality by saying that the vast majority of the population is heterosexual. First off, majority rule should never be used to effectively erase the minority's existence from public discourse or recognition. That's just a fact. But secondly, and more throw-off-your-understanding-of-how-the-world-works-y, that argument ignores the fact that living in a culture that assumes heterosexuality socially encourages people to assume heterosexuality on a personal level too. 

Members of the LGBTQ community often respond to others' questioning about their sexuality with denial; I know I did. I honestly don't know how my friend CC even dealt with me, unless she recognized my denial/rejection as the early stages of self-acceptance; I remember having an incredibly problematic conversation with her sometime at the beginning of my sophomore year about how I'd be uncomfortable living with a lesbian (a disgusting blanket statement I no longer endorse in nearly any form, the one remaining form being living with a lesbian who was interested in me but whom I was not interested in, because that would just be awkward). I remember junior year being at a party and her flat out asking me, in front of KS, whether I was bi-curious. I brushed it off, but she could tell I was bluffing.

The ONLY reason we ever feel we have to bluff about our sexualities, sexual practices, and sexual orientations, is because we live in this society that drills into our heads from the earliest days that sex (and thus romantic interest and flirting and love) is something that happens between a man and a woman (insert whatever variations you were raised with regarding constructs like love and marriage here). In all seriousness, I ask you, what is the difference between best-friend-ship and "interest" when you're seven? Little kids know that they like being around certain other little kids, and I'm convinced that we'd have a lot of people who are both more versed in and comfortable with their sexualities if we didn't put a million constraints around that liking from Day One. 

Even the most idiotic advise we give to children about dating and relationships and flirting is gendered. I swear, I want to brand anyone who tells a little girl that some little boy is hitting/pinching/pushing/being mean to her "because he likes her" as unfit to be around children. You're actually just priming that child to accept physical and emotional abuse from men for the rest of her life, you asshole. But think about it--when boys fight with each other or bully each other, no one says it's because one of them caught feelings for the other. There is no idiotic insertion of romance in a spat between little girls. There is also no--perhaps fully warranted--insertion of romance into two little girls holding hands while they walk down the street. We raise our children to understand the same actions--the holding of a hand, the giving of a smile, etc.--as insignificant when between persons of the same gender, and as potentially meaning "EVERYTHING" when between persons of different genders. Yes, love and lust and romanticisim are contextual. I'll give you that. But our society demands that children be grounded in one particular context while regarding all others as deviant--if they recognize them at all.

I don't think I knew that romance and love and sex could exist between people of the same gender until I was in middle school. THAT is an act of erasure, no matter how you want to frame it, and it's not fair to anyone. Even if a child is going to grow up to only be romantically interested in persons of the so-called "opposite" gender--which is absolutely 100% perfectly fine--they should understand that interest as it exists along the spectrum of possible interests, not as the way interest works. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Style Crushes

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

"Each time a choose someone else’s happiness over mine, each time I allow someone to speak to me disrespectfully or talk down to me, each time I say ‘yes’ when I mean ‘no’, each time I say ‘no’ when I mean ‘yes’, a piece my inner-self dies inside."
--Katie, of Katie Blogs

Mid-Week Music

This is the first song I'm hearing by her, but I'm already in love.

This video is adorable.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Well then rawr

Reblogged from Choosing Pancakes

I'm one of those women (NSFW)

I'm one of those women...who loves giving blowjobs. So when Choosing Pancakes sent me a link to a Reddit thread in which women who love giving blowjobs answered a man's questions about WHY they love giving blowjobs, I felt compelled to answer. 

So when I was a teenager and first starting to speak with friends in purely hypothetical terms about sex, and a lot of them were all, "Omg blowjobs are disgusting--I don't understand how any women put their mouth anywhere near that thing omg I would never ewwwwww," I would feign sympathy with a half-disgusted snarl or just sit quietly, but in my head I was always utterly confused. I don't ever remember being AGAINST the idea. It seemed so carnal and intimate and intriguing. When I got to the point where I was interacting with porn regularly--mostly in the form of erotica because it seemed less likely that a family member might catch me in the act, and also something it didn't seem that most of my female friends were doing, not that I ever tried to bring the subject up--I loved the descriptions of blowjobs, no matter who was giving them. The combination of spongy softness and intense rigidity, the taste that was salty and just a little bitter, the ways to play around with your tongue and lips and hands. It seemed so raw and fresh and controlled and like such an intimate connection.

If I thought reading about blowjobs turned me on, I was entirely unprepared for watching them happen. Until J came along and taught me better during our "relationship" (most of which was carried out in his bed) the summer after my senior year of high school, nearly all of the porn I had watched was professional porn, the kind that comes on Cinemax late at night and features terrible background music drowning out the sex sounds. I pity my naive and misinformed youthful self. J introduced me to amateur porn; it's one of the other things I thank him for to this day. I'll never forget one afternoon, I'd gotten permission from my mom to go over to his house to "watch a movie." WE figured we should put something on so that I hadn't actually lied to my mother, and he pops in a cheap porno. We start making out with it playing in the background, but when the camera zooms in on a woman going down on some dude, I temporarily lose all pretense of interacting with J and am transfixed by the film. In that moment, every iota of my being wanted to experience that--which he caught onto, haha, but I held my own and didn't break my rule that I wasn't having sex with him. (I will give him credit, though. To this day no man has given me as many orgasms as he gave me, though the fact that he was the first person to ever touch me probably plays a non-trivial role in that. He was also one of the most sexually active teens I've known, with both guys and girls, so he had mad skills, haha.) 

By college, I was craving it. A step towards taking my sexuality into my own hands, I bought my first vibrator for my 20th birthday. It was a fairly realistic vibe, with a thick head and a veiny shaft, and from the moment I opened the package, I knew I wanted it in my mouth. Blowjob practice became a fairly regular thing, both in preparation for the real thing and just because I like the way it feels to suck on something. I wonder if it's how babies feel about their pacifiers. Now, even as a woman who has been complimented on her head game, I'm still prone to slide my vibe from vag to mouth from time to time, both to get a taste and just because I love the way it feels in my mouth.

Gentlemanly to a fault, my ex went down on me before I went down on him. I wanted to reciprocate immediately, but I was terrified that I wouldn't be any good at it. Over the course of the next week or so, I was all over the internet looking up blowjob tips, reading lots of erotica and watching lots of porn, and practicing with my vibe almost every day. The next time, when he was done, I dragged him back up to kiss me--much to his surprise--and instead of dwelling on whether or not I was "supposed" to do that, I flipped him over and started kissing my way down his chest and abs. As I inched closer I said, "My turn," and he opened his mouth to say something (which I expect would have been, 'You don't have to...') but before he could form words, my tongue was licking his head and we were both in bliss. That sharp intake of breath as I closed my lips over the head meant the world to me. I won't say it came naturally, since I'd been actively working on it, but I loved every. single. second of it (except for when he wouldn't cum in my mouth but that's another story for another day). Like, I texted my best friend after he'd fallen asleep to tell her it was even better than I'd dreamed...and she thought I was crazy because it's something she does because her boyfriend likes it, but she doesn't derive any pleasure from it. I feel sorry for her. 

And I don't understand women who make the argument that it's degrading. Maybe this makes me a bad kind-of-feminist, but I'm not sure I've ever felt that I have as much power over a man as when his dick is in my mouth. He's entirely at my mercy and I'm entirely in control of his pleasure--I've never had an inconsiderate bastard try to shove me into deep-throating (possibly not unrelated to the fact that I challenge myself to feel pubes tickling my nose), and I've never felt like I'm not running the show. The sounds I can make a man make are so fulfilling. They make something in me achey and hungry and wanting more. I love knowing that I can do that to someone else. I don't really like 69 because I want to be able to focus on what I'm doing, and what I'm doing is lavishing this person with affection and pleasure in a way that is also pleasing to me. I love the taste of it and the texture and the weight and girth in my mouth. I love hands in my fro following me as I move up and down. I love...blowjobs. 

...And goddamn I need to get laid. 

I think I just came.

Everything I could ever want in a man rolled up into one gorgeous picture.

Someone, tell me, who is this foiiiiine Black man with the well-maintained fro and adorable facial hair (it seems he can't grow it in the same place KS can't grow it) PLAYING THE VIOLIN in a forest? Can I marry him and have his babies?

[I'm only half joking. And y'all know how I feel about babies...]

Reblogged from Afro.Art.Chick

At the very least, guess what's my new desktop background??? 

...I'm not even kidding.

Teach me.

“Just as young people need scientifically accurate sex education to keep them safe, so we need accurate relationship education to keep us sane. In order to move forward constructively, we need a multiplicity of relationship models to inspire and reassure us. We need trans couples on TV, we need non-monogamy champions, we need people married 40-plus years like my parents, and we need Stevie Nicks who, at 62, is purposefully single so that she can 'always be free'.”

- Jessica Mack (Women can be independent and intimate | Comment is free |
(via  come correct

Someone at Vogue Italy is an afroholic too

Reblogged from Currently Obsessed With...

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Things I fear I will miss unbearably after graduation:

“I have the deepest affection for intellectual conversations. The ability to just sit and talk. About love, about life, about anything, about everything. To sit under the moon with all the time in the world, the full-speed train that is our lives slowing to a crawl. Bound by no obligations, barred by no human limitations. To speak without regret or fear of consequence. To talk for hours and about what’s really important in life.”

Style crush. Also, she's gorgeous.

Reblogged from Currently Obsessed with...


Reblogged from Treasured Tresses

It's cool when the internet demands institutional change.

The MLA has come up with an official way to cite tweets.

What they really mean is...

Reblogged from Shuttered Window

When you design your own vision for how you want your life to be, you’re able to tap into desires that you may not have been able to see or feel before. You’re also better able to release your attachment to other people’s approval by taking responsibility for your own goals.
--Rosetta, of  Happy Black Woman

The myriad ways in which I would fuck up a child.

KS and I had an interesting discussion about this once a while ago, and I've wanted to explore it in more depth. 

1. Mommy, what's race?
A social construction based on ill-conceived notions of biological difference. Race doesn't actually exist, but the significance Western societies have placed on race for the last 4 or 5 centuries means that people's lives are still significantly affected by these categories White folks made up. 

Well what makes people different races?
Race is most often attributed to physical features, like the color of your skin, the structure of your face, or the texture of your hair. But it's silly because no "Black" people actually have black skin--there are some Black people with skin the color of honey, some with skin the color of chocolate, some with skin the color of soil, and some with skin the color of sand. We're a rainbow, but they call us all Black. Your great-great-great-grandmother was a woman with brown skin, blonde hair, and blue eyes--that doesn't make her any less of a Black woman than me.

Is it important to you that you're Black?
Very much so. 

But I thought you said race didn't exist. It seems silly to care so much about something made up.
Well, just because it was made up doesn't mean it doesn't affect your daily life. Like, your teacher made up rules for her classroom. You still have to follow them, right, even though they were made up. And it's nice having a community of people you can relate to--there are certain kinds of food or music or movies or just general culture that other Black people are more likely to have experienced than people of other races.
 So do all people of one race have the same culture? 
Well, no. People of the same race can come from very different cultures, if they're from different parts of the country or different parts of the world, or depending on how much money their family had growing up.
But then how do you feel connected to them? I don't understand.
 It's okay, my child, no one does.
2. Mommy, am I a boy or a girl?
I can't tell you that. Only you can tell yourself. Do you feel like a boy or do you feel like a girl? Or do you not feel like either? You don't HAVE to be a boy OR a girl--you can be whatever you want.
What are boys and girls supposed to feel like? What does it feel like to not feel like a boy or a girl?
Boys and girls and people can all feel however they want to feel. There's no way boys are allowed to feel that girls aren't, or the other way around.
 So is there any difference between being a boy and being a girl?
Most people raise boys and girls differently, but there aren't any inherent differences between boys and girls, except that MOST little boys have penises and MOST little girls have vaginas.
My teacher yelled at me when I used those words at school. She said to tell you that those words are for children. 
That's because your teacher thinks children are idiots. Most people do. They're wrong. I think it's absolutely pointless to not teach you about your own body and other people's bodies with the right terms. I'll write a note to your teacher.
Wait, but Mommy, you said MOST little boys have penises and MOST little girls have vaginas. So there are some boys with vaginas and some girls with penises?
Yes. And some of those little boys will grow up to be women, and some of the little girls will grow up to be men, and some of them will just stay exactly how they are. 
But at school there are bathrooms for boys and for girls. I don't know if I feel like a little boy or if I feel like a little girl. How do I know which bathroom to use?? 
Gendered bathrooms are cisgenderist and heteronormative. You should be able to use whatever bathroom you want.
But girls aren't allowed in the boys' bathroom and boys aren't allowed in the girls' bathroom! What about the little girls with penises? Which bathrooms do they use? 
Your school discriminates against them and makes them deny themselves every time they have to pee.
3. Mommy, what's sex?
Sex is a thing that happens between two or more people who may or may not love each other and may or may not be married (if they're even allowed to get married) and those people might be a man and a woman, or they could be a woman and a woman, or a man and a man, or they could not identify according to the gender binary, and there might be more than two of them. Sex often involves something called "penetration," which could be when a man puts his penis into a woman's vagina, or into her anus, or into the anus of another man. There is also oral sex, where a person uses their mouth and tongue to please another person, either by licking the vagina or licking and sucking on the penis. Sex sometimes makes babies, because when men have sex they make something called sperm, which are little swimmy things that look like tadpoles, which can join with a woman's egg inside of her to make a baby. But lots of times people have sex just because it's fun, which is perfectly fine as long as you're being safe. There are gross diseases that you can get from having sex if you're not safe, and you always have to be careful about making babies when you don't want them yet. The most important thing about sex, that needs to always be true no matter what kind of people are having sex or how many of them are there, is that the people having sex always have to both want to be having sex, or it's a very very bad and scary thing called rape.
4. Mommy, what's a church? My friend Bobby said he has to go there on Sunday mornings. We only go out to breakfast on Sunday mornings!
Churches are buildings for people who are religious. Religious people usually believe in a God, which is a being that created all of the people and the things in the world. That God is usually a man and he usually makes all sorts of rules that religious people have to follow. He usually says that if people follow his rules, he will reward them after they die, and punish all the people who don't believe in him or follow his rules?
Oh no! Are we going to get punished?
No, because religion is another made up thing. I don't think God exists, and things that don't exist can't hurt me.
How do you know he doesn't exist?
Well, I guess I don't. I can't see any evidence that he exists, but I can't see any evidence that he doesn't, either. It just seems silly to me to live my life according to something I can't see even the effects of. And a lot of the rules God makes in the Bible, or the gods of other religions make in their holy books, make me really angry. They say a lot of bad things about a lot of different kinds of people just because of the kinds of people they are, which is hatred and discrimination. People use their religion all the time to take rights away from people or to hurt or even kill them. I don't think religions are good things.
So are Bobby and his family bad people for going to church?
Not necessarily. People can pick and choose the parts of a religion that they want to practice and the parts that they don't. So if they still make good decisions and don't discriminate against people or want their rights to be taken away, they can still be good people even if they're religious.  
etc., etc.

...My hypothetical child wouldn't be able to interact with people of hir own age group until college at the earliest. I imagine intense bullying, innumerable parent-teacher conferences about what's going on at home, possible suspensions for screaming "fuck the gender binary" or regularly using the "wrong" restroom. I would encourage them to explore crushes on children all along the gender spectrum, which could be dangerous. I would have to homeschool hir if I wanted to avoid having to counter-teach and make hir unlearn the socialization of the school and hir peers. The world would actively work to destroy my hypothetical child. I couldn't bear to witness that.

Enjoying someone's company v. liking them "enough"

Two of my dear friends have been dealing with similar interesting and unfortunate situations recently. It's a situation both I and my ex went through a version of, and some might say we paid for not paying enough attention to it. 

So you have this friend, or this acquaintance, and you're trying to figure out whether your feelings for them go beyond friend/acquaintance-ship. Maybe you've learned that they have feelings for you. Maybe you just like spending time with them so much that you're conflicted about what you're feeling. Whatever. The point is, how do you know where to draw the line between liking someone as a person and liking them enough to be in a relationship with them? What are the ethics of entering a relationship for exploratory purposes? Should you have to feel some romantic-comedy-esque "spark" or intense desire before embarking on the whole relationship thing, or is it cool if you just like to kick it with X or Y person and want to make your kicking it an official thing?

I guess what I'm really driving at here is this: 

What exactly makes a lover different from a friend?

Apart from sexytime fun, of course. Because as hard as I try and try to think about what separates them, I'm coming up empty. I feel like both of the relationships I've been in were like, suddenly I had a new best friend I also got to regularly hook up with and be cutesy and publicly physical with. And even though the ends of these relationships had me feeling like a hot ass mess for days, the level of emotional commitment I felt to them can't even touch the foundations of the emotions I have for some of my friends. But saying that sex is the only difference seems...just somehow fundamentally like I'm doing something wrong, though Idk if it's my friendships or my romances. I have never found that I necessarily like the person I'm dating MORE than I like my closest friends, and honestly I'm not sure I would trust such feelings if I ever developed them. I even get conflicted about choosing to hang out with a partner over hanging out with my besties. 

But I'm getting off-topic. I begin with the above question in order to better understand the point and goal of relationships. I was at an event on Black Love on Tuesday night, and one of the icebreaker questions asked at the event was something to the effect of, what do you look for in a relationship, and my answers were basically the same things I look for in a close friendship. Which leads me to re-realize (because I've addressed this before) that I'm unsure what prompts me to turn friend/acquaintance-ships into relationships besides knowing that the other party is romantically (sexually?) interested in me and me not being actively disinterested in him (or, theoretically, her). And this question has never been posed to me directly, but I'm afraid that if someone asked me, say, what I wanted to "get" out of a relationship, I wouldn't know what to say but sex and companionship...and neither of those things really necessitates the title. I'm fully comfortable giving and receiving the title expecting only those two things though, and it seems a little bit ridiculous to me to expect anything more than those two things going into a title-based situation. 

Where does the l-word come in? (Love.) I...don't even know what that word is supposed to mean with regards to any sort of relationship, but particularly not with a romantic relationship. Do I NEED to get to that level for a relationship to be "worth it"? Can I still just use it to mean something in me resonates with something in you and I like the frequency we're vibing at? If I like the way that spending time with you makes me feel, should I just say that instead of trying to fit it into ambiguous constructs like "love"? Is that revolutionary or am I copping out? Maybe I should be trying to expand the definition of love to be applicable to all those various situations, but...even though I guess that's what I do now, I'm not entirely comfortable with that. Maybe it's a word that should retain some sort of special value, so that everyone knows what you're talking about when you use it.

How do we have legitimate and meaningful interactions when we're not even sure what we mean by the words we're using?

I'm getting off topic again, it seems. It seems to confuse some of my dear friends that I have no problem with what might be called "casual" relationships. By this I mean I can go into a relationship that I know isn't going to last and still be committed to and emotionally invested in that relationship. (This most likely stems from the fact that I conceptualize relationships as transient and ephemeral in nature, thus if I was unwilling to involve myself in romances that I didn't think would last, I would be committing myself to spinsterdom.) And yeah I guess that sounds like I'm just setting myself up to get hurt a lot, but again...that's just part of the way I fundamentally understand the game. I also get a lot of joy and contentment and comfort and satisfaction. 

All this to say, I'm unsure whether I really have even a fuzzily defined line between liking someone as a person and liking them enough to enter into a relationship with them if they expressed interest in something of this nature. I have trouble even imagining what sorts of characteristics would bring someone from one side of this hypothetical line to the other. This means I have nothing on which to even base an understanding of where people are coming from when they're averse to trying relationships with persons whose company (and maybe even affections) they enjoy. I want to understand, though...I really do. Because sometimes my perspective doesn't seem healthy to me. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

"There is no simpler or greater joy in life than touching your own naughty bits. You are always your own most reliable lover, friend and partner. No one else in the world knows just how to please you, and when you give up on masturbation then you’ve given up on pleasure."
--Jon Pressick, on Met Another Frog

Maryland officially legalized same-sex marriages today. Meanwhile, the governor of St. Petersburg wants to make it illegal to read, write, or say the word "gay".

A number of my friends are of the opinion that I need to become less US-centered. Thus, I bring these two pieces of news into conversation with one another and urge you to sign this petition to let the governor of St. Petersburg know that potential tourists won't stand for this.

On meeting Issa Rae and Angela Davis

She came to Princeton as part of her college tour, and Black folks came out of the woodwork to be in her presence. There was seriously this one chick I don't even think goes here, haha. She started talking and we all turned to each other like, the fuck is she? 

First awesome thing was they didn't have a mac adapter and needed to borrow a PC and since I showed up half an hour early to get a front row seat (I'm not even kidding), I had my computer with me and she used it to make her presentation! I got to help her set it up and everything. We watched the first 7 episodes--with my friend LC and I basically reciting the jokes from memory, oops--and then she talked a little and opened up the floor for questions. I knew a lot of the answers to the questions people asked because I read approximately 98745903703 interviews for the paper I wrote on Awkward Black Girl, but I was still cheesing ridiculously and just totally geeked out the whole time. I then got to take a picture with her 
I can't remember the last time I smiled that hard, lol
It was similar to when I could hardly contain myself the first time I was in the same room as Joshua Bennett. I don't think it's weird at all that I care more about meeting and talking with people like them than with most of the legitimately famous people I've gotten to meet due to the incredible resources of this institution (including but not limited to Cornel West, Toni Morrison, Joyce Carol Oates, CK Lewis, Forrest Whittaker, and Tavis Smiley). Those are the kinds of famous people I expect Princeton to bring to me, established successful have been around forever exude importantness with every step kind of famous people. Josh and Issa are like, famous within certain crowds only, and I never really expected to see them outside of YouTube; their works speak to me in ways that no work of scholarship can speak to me, and they're not so in another stratosphere that it's impossible for me to have legitimate interactions with them. I'm such a legitimate fan-girl of each of them.

Meeting Angela Davis was an entirely different experience. She's a multigenerational great. Being in her presence felt weighty and significant, like I was witnessing history unfolding in front of me. I just wanted to turn into a sponge and wordlessly soak up everything she had to offer. I didn't have any real desire to interact or converse with her--as much as I feel like she would hate to hear this, I didn't feel worthy. Even if her speech wasn't the most well-organized thing I've ever heard, her words were still profound and inspiring. I would have been fully comfortable to just sit and bask in her glory, but I got the opportunity to take a photo with her too:

Some highlights from her speech (which I had typed into my phone and subsequently forgotten about):
"[It is time for us to] generate a new enthusiasm...that views us all as historical actors..."
"...a commitment to use knowledge in a transformative way and a refusal to attribute permanence to things that exist in the present simply because they exist."
"As apologies don't compensate for the deeply entrenched racism in this society, neither do they erase the homophobia that has caused so many young people to commit suicide recently."
"Racism is deeply structured by sexuality, especially in regard to expectations about practices of sexuality."
"[After slavery, sexuality was] the only means through which Black people could own their freedom."
Gertrude "Ma" Rainey's "Prove it on Me Blues" as accidental activism
prison as a gendering institution
"...just sending people to prison allows us to forget about the problem"
"The family is the site of the institutional reproduction of a flawed oppressive system."
"Binarism always shuts down thinking, because it has to be one thing or the other."
"How can we dwell inside contradictions in order to turn them into productive moments of greater freedom for us all?"