Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The spectacle of privilege/objectification & the unrelenting white gaze (July 2015)

Note: Written 7/2015 in response to my participation in the Fremont Solstice after 6/2015

In sheer frustration over the Hillary Clinton (and others) phenomenon of "All lives matter" which may as well be translated as "MY life matters, bitch, stop complaining about black lives cuz I don't give a flying white fuck," and inspired by my friend who is female, black with beautiful, so-dark-it's-prismatic-melanin skin, I decided to naked-protest. It was foolhardy and asinine at best, had possibly devastating consequences for multiple close relationships, and, though I am glad I carried it through to the end ("it" being my naked yellow ass), I'm going to be marinating on, mourning, and healing from this for a good, long, time.

My aforementioned melanin-rich friend had a GENIUS idea that was right up my alley: to bring some real shit to the white middle class clutches of this pagan hippie parade (or so I thought)--i.e. call attention to THEIR inattention of the maltreatment of Black folks in our system--the school-to-prison pipeline, incarceration rates, death via vigilante, police-brutality, and racism as institutionalized thusly.
Because at heart I love body, bawdy and naked, and I thought--hey, I should do it once WHILE folding in my "radical," non-conformist vision that Black people shouldn’t be shot in the streets or otherwise fucked over with impunity, to support my friend's struggle. Taking as cues the multiracial Oakland PD shut down, naked women's war protesting, and some art protesting my husband (who is Black) did the day before my daughter decided she wanted to join us in the struggle by exiting the womb in her birth, as well as pics I'd seen on the internet of "#Asians4BlackLives," I finally decided I'd do the naked adventure at midnight, the day of the summer solstice, at Fremont’s Summer Solstice Parade/Naked Bike Ride.


To my chagrin, the message was lost. If my intent was, "Remember, two days ago, a white imbred fuck took nine Black lives from this earth forever," or "Remember, your honky asses swim in a sea of privilege and you don’t even care to notice all the bodies piled up underneath you," or even: "have a heart, all the white privilegeds," it was most certainly lost in a horde of creepos, assholes, exhibitionists, hos, and thugs, all of them (nearly), a skinny white boy twerking his bare ass repeatedly on his bicycle.

Circling back on it, it was like being in one of Dante's layers of white hell. So in retrospect, I'm glad my art-message-protest (a somber declaration via abstract symbols, signs, and colors, that we SEE, HEAR, and SPEAK of the evil done to Black folks, a message of unity despite our Raced-bodies as yellow and white) wasn't given as pablum to be consumed like a bag of chips while watching the boob tube--in this case, my boobs.


The Solstice was

Wherever I go, the normative white gaze follows like one of those scary portrait pictures with the moving eyes. I left my job to escape it. It perniciously sticks to and follows the ones I love, chipping at their dignity as they weather the storm of working in and for a white world.

I suppose it was my own naivete and upbringing as an asian american in this society that I thought a free-lovin' body-positive celebration of humanness thru its naked form would "save" me from the anger of continual trauma and injustice of racism (to the nation, to the world, to Black people, to my frail Asian lady body), or that I could somehow change by opening their eyes,ears, and mouths, to that favored white technique of maintaining the status quo. But I was dead. wrong.  as each "WHOO HAPPY SOLSTICE" rang out by from bikers and passers by, I grew angrier by the minute. Coupled with the obliviousness of my asian sisters and brothers in the audience and my white man friend's obliviousness to not only racism but also feminism and the purpose of our being there as a message, it dawned on me that no one, no how, can these white people be saved. It’s written all over their pervy faces and naked bodies. If empathy, love, and peace are the goal, vanity, lust, and sheer callousness reign supreme here.

Had not the shootings in SC occurred, this would have been a different experience. I would be angry, but not so angry.

When a culture dissects our parts and constituencies and puts us on display, we are violated, disjointed, sad, and alone. Discounted, abused.
That's how it went down.

The antiblackwomanness of so-called Seattle progress

How are we indicted in the most happy of recently-published Seattle spate of virulent anti-Black racism and misogynoir? : ("He even enjoyed being black (danced/shuffled his feet off) for a predominately white audience." "Relatives expressed skepticism about what, if anything, Lyles had armed herself with." To understand white liberal racism, read these private emails.

Isn't Seattle a progressive, accepting, open-minded liberal and therefore not-racist place? In a word, no. It's not.

I am not going into the anti-Black anti-Native anti-POC sentiments of our beautiful region, as others have done so well before me and Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project documents. But let me as an art historian think up just a few connections between our present crises and the past. I'm going to say it again. Gentrification is the new colonization. When you whitewash a person, a people, where does their 'flavor' go? Into an exotic, liminal abyss? To Whole Foods?

Few things to consider first, though.

1. The ongoing doucheification of the city. $$$ without limit, the lack of affordability for anyone not super rich. There is an influx of $$$ without critical thought or heart. Bezosland. The predominant demographic racially in tech white and Asian, in my experience, and also some recent African immigrants--just don't get it, or are anti Black (American) in some way. This has to do with success, a desire for personal uplift, assimilation. Efficiency. Finance above all else. This is Macklemore's city.

2. The inability of whites and people of color especially Black people to be real with each other. Just join any mom's group. Just host a party with your Black and white friends and see how it goes with both present. Just read Citizen by Claudia Rankine. The schism is real, people.

3. Statistics I've said it before. 75% of white people ONLY KNOW WHITE PEOPLE. That's why when I go to white church and compliment the pastor--not just the pastor, the regional bishop, on his Beyonce references (when he says God is "Crazy in Love" with us about 1000x in the sermon), it's an inside joke for myself and myself alone. LOL.

My personal position as a non-Black person of color is to recognize my own brainwashing. How do I stand against anti-Black racism in my own communities? Do you know *HOW* rampant this problem is in POC communites (See: My wedding. My family. My family's church). It's everywhere.

4. Classic (that is, standard) uncritical and/or selfish, selfish self-promotion based on the degrading and devaluing of Black women. Iggy Azalea. Norbit. Tyler Perry. Black girls at the pool. --
>Black girls at school. R Kelly. Bill Cosby. Clarence Thomas. Need I say more? I wish America had a reality check moment, sometime, like, ever, and instead of seeing our nation as built on some idealistic eagles and white ladies sewing, we just bore actual motherfucking witness to the tearing asunder of women's bodies through rape and slavery and Black families. (American as apple pie). Have you seen the statistics of an African-American genetic history? It's always a white man ancestor and an African woman ancestor. Nuff said.

I admire the Netflix series Master of None's ability (written by Indian-American Aziz Ansari and Taiwanese-American Alan Yang) to explore race politics from a non-black POC perspective--the telling scene displays the complicity of non-Black POC in anti-Black racism. Main character Dev grabs a condom from a white woman' cookie jar, but get this--it's a MAMMY cookie jar. This is hella fucked up, but he *knows* it. Then he acknowledges the racism of the jar, after having sex with the white woman, who obviously has no Black friends to check her on her cookie jar racism.

Recommended art-viewing/aesthetics in response to your own deep-seated anti-Black anti-Black woman psychoses and racial isolation:
1) Beyonce Lemonade
Beyonce Self-titled
Solange Knowles A Seat at the Table

2) bell hooks (who dislikes Bey) anything.
-see Killing Rage, 'reading against he grain.'
-if you're in a stifling white environment reading teaching hope and teaching love
-if you're a woman of color recently navigating intersectionality, or someone trying to understand how a woman can also be Black, or a person can be Black and also a woman, ain't i a woman.

3) always read Anthem by Claudia Rankine. Always.

4) Sankofa

5) Being Mary Jane-center Black female experience. also so sexy.

6) Junebaby: eat there it's so good!

7) Dear white People

8) Janelle Monae music videos

9) I love my Hair (Sesame Street): Don't take white beauty norms for granted, people.

10) Empire

11) Maybe, Orange is the new black (it is about white women but has many other ethnicities of women including LGBTQ, which is rare in television, and asian anti blackness is addressed awkwardly in the poussey-soso relationship)

12) Black women i hear love Scandal, but I don't do political dramas.

13) Always Octavia Butler, Always.

14) the bell hooks and Melissa Harris Perry talk linked to above: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5OmgqXao1ng

15) Issa Rae! Insecure, so sexy and timely.

16) Chewing Gum: esp the episode with the white guy with a Black woman fetish

17) Paul Mooney on Hattie McDaniels

18) this all reminds me of a certain Mammy Sphinx in gentrified NYC and the white public art audiences' responses to it. :(
My heart is pained because my sisters are suffering. We are all to blame. If yours isn't, I ask, what's wrong with you?

Mammy Sambo float at June 17th Fremont Solstice Parade. 2017
Coon Chicken Inn, Lake City Way (North end of Seattle) menu
Racist condom-holding cookie jar in Master of None, 2017.

Protest at Coon Chicken Inn, Lake City Way built 1929.

Monday, June 19, 2017

RESPECT every boobie

Our mammophilic and gynocentric society praises the arduous work of home management and childcare. This leaves men have a boobie complex. To be more successful and respected, they wear fake breasts with an elaborate breastfeeding contraption, and often walk out with these breasts, nipples showing through their floral blouses. Some get implants but still need the feeding tube. Men who choose not to wear the fake breasts in public are thought of and judged by other men and women as a little off, wayward for flaunting their masculinity.

There are lactation clinics and breast specialists for women to chat all things boobie - - for play, foreplay, breastfeeding, support, sagging, perkiness, massage, bras, comfort measures, forums for "does your bra cause or prevent sagging with age?" Old women with saggers, flatter women with perky tits, implanters, reducers, are in free and judgment-free exchange for these important weekly town halls. The struggles of latching, feeding, clogging, all take place at homes and luxurious nursing lounges in every workplace (even small businesses and workplaces with a largely undocumented or underpaid labor force, get free resources for quarterly training and renovations, and supplies for their nursing lounges. Women receive $100,000 minimum per year for their work at home with chores, groceries, child rearing, worrying, working for her family to improve the state of house and family 120% of her time, plus an as-needed per child reimbursement for couples therapy, therapy, pharmaceuticals, and hippie medicines. Stay at home dads get $92,000 minimum per year, but we are working on that wage gap (and of course, the breastfeeding contraption is paid for--for all dads who apply via a long annoying hold line muzak process to their local state healthcare agency, where they are only occasionally made to feel inferior by the woman on the other line).

Much indebted to "On Discovery": the story of Tang Ao's discovery of the "Land of Women" in Chinamen by Maxine Hong Kingston


on deregulating bland supremacy in all american (tm) food.
Wow, lucky!!! You're eating a pungent and nutritious egg. My sugary pastry chased by listerine breath cannot compare. Fish? I wish.