Here is my response to the Leatherati Post on defending Racism for pay

This post is in respone to the post on the Leatherati post defending the Portland Eagle Racism for pay show. http://www.leatherati.com/leatherati_issues/2013/02/by-tyesha-best-leatherati-contributing-editor-recently-the-eagle-in-portland-or-had-scheduled-shirley-q-liquor-a-very-cont.html
This response is nothing more than a refusal to accept that not only was the act racist, but the failed attempt to justify the fact that many folks of different racial markers called it out. Blackface is racist PERIOD!What is more disheartening is the racist justification that followed the out cry. The erasure of those calling it racist by changing the topic to other comedy or queer issues is a tool of white guilt to move the conversation away from racism. We as white folks must learn to be uncomfortable that the world does not have a universal history.We as White folks must also realize that we are White and racism is not over there, it is within us. I benefit from racism not because I seek to but because I have both white skin privilege and masculine privilege. I work on my racism and internal bias everyday. But I digress, racism has material consequences for those who are POC, especially TBGLQ folks of colour, they are 80-90% of the prison population in the US, and there is a epidemic of Black and Brown transwomen being killed everyday. SO yes as Cornel West states RACE DOES MATTER in the material consequences. When was the last time you as a white person walked into a bar and was the only or one of a few person that were white? Well bars and spaces are often white spaces in the TBGLQ which in and of itself is unwelcoming to POC. And please do not throw out the “we” are all the same, “we” live in a “post-racial world” post-racial is a white term for white people to feel like we have moved beyond racism, well we have not.Finally, there is no such thing as reverse racism, bias based on gender,class, nation, sexual orientation sucks, but being white places all of those things into a privileged position, racism is about power, the power to name for others what is or is not. I stand in my whiteness neither in shame or guilt, but I am responsible to work on how my whiteness impacts the world I live in. I inherited this privilege not by my individual acts, but by the slavery and genocide that white supremacy demanded and extracted through structural and institutional practices. Again, Racism is a fact of life, how we response to it is very telling, the Eagle and those who supported the racist act, failed and no amount of justification will change that. Acting in a racist way often is not seen as intentional, but that is the lie, it is exactly its intention to hide itself from the individual preforming the act.

Advertisements

Disheartened not discouraged

As we move in to Black History Month, I find myself more and more disheartened with the racism in the TBGL communities, the refusal of many white folks to actually get uncomfortable and acknowledge our privilege. That is not to say others do not have class privilege, Nation status, as we know none of us are immune to internal bias as that is how capitalism works, divide and concur. So, yes bias exists, but revers racism is a white myth to justify white guilt for something we did not create but works to help us maintain that racism is not that bad or we live in a “post-racial” world. Yet as I write this another racism for pay event in a queer bar is planned and being supported. (It is at the Eagle in Portland Or. March 15 2013, please contact the eagle (503) 283-9734 835 N. Lombard St., Portland, OR.
https://www.facebook.com/events/446585042080945/
It must become as much of an outrage as another loss of life, hate speech, or other forms of hate. What is our responsibility as white folks to call each other out? I did not create racism, I benefit from it, I am responsible in my daily life to do something about it. I turned 50 last year and decided to speak up more than I have been which was a bit, because I have a responsibility to the future generations, I may not see a equatable but I must not let that be a reason a do not speak up. I also know it sets me up as a target from all kinds of folks, for not doing it right, saying it right, thinking some how I am better than other folks, but really so what all those things get in the way of unlearning my white, US, masculine privilege. Yes I get my feelings hurt , yes it is hard to be called out, no I am not special or smarter, or more book learned, I am someone who wants to do right and fail more ofter than not. I ask again what is are job in the dismantling of racism? How do you deal with being called out and exposed for saying, doing some thing racist? Why can we as white folks not talk about it, Being TBGL has not relevance in dealing with racism as a “I am marginalized too” yes being queer in a heternormative world sucks, but when 80-90% of folks in prison for non-violent crimes are black and brown that is a week comparison. When Black Trans women are killed everyday, my white queerness protects me. So take a stand, look inside, be active in the solutions to end racism, but first know it starts within ourselves.Yes I am dis heartened not discourage.

A prayer in the Wind…

I welcome the challenge to push beyond my comfort, to dig down in that place solid in my willingness. Though I posses the stubbornness, let me seek my humility as the light towards awakening. May my passion for understanding be met by the gift of unlearning those ideas that burn my soul and chain my heart. I ask that breath return between my bones so that I might stand upright in my healing, always seeking that which is my salvation, my own humanity…May I know that false pride lies in the ego dance and that I am neither my praise or my blame, may the dance between the two always grow smaller… I wish blessing to you and the knowledge that you matter ♥

Some links to folks doing Great Work

Here are a few links to some great organizations do work that might be of interest to many of you. I keep put links up off and on and when I learn how I will link to some readings. Stay Blessed
World Trust.org is a wonderful educational organization offering great tools for dialog in the goal of racial equity.
“Through education rooted in love and justice, World Trust is a catalyst for racial equity. World Trust produces programs and seminars based on our films that open minds and hearts. We offer the skills to perceive and challenge the internal and external system that reinforces racial oppression. We believe that suffering perpetuated by racial and economic divides is, at its core, the result of a disconnect from our collective humanity. This disconnect plays itself out within ourselves, in our relationships with others and in our institutions and structures. We use the powerful combination of film, dialogue and transformative learning to create new understandings. In addition, we work to heal the wounds of racism by building community and cultivating the practices of love-in-action and respect: kindness, non-judgment, compassion, deep listening. World Trust sparks individual learning and links it to a growing collective will that is committed to change.
http://world-trust.org/

CUAV: Community United Against Violence
MISSION
Founded in 1979, CUAV works to build the power of LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) communities to transform violence and oppression. We support the healing and leadership of those impacted by abuse and mobilize our broader communities to replace cycles of trauma with cycles of safety and liberation. As part of the larger social justice movement, CUAV works to create truly safe communities where everyone can thrive.
Therefore, our liberations are fundamentally connected. Our work seeks to build lives, relationships and communities organized around individual and collective possibility and self-determination for everyone.
http://www.cuav.org/

Queers for Economic Justice
Mission
QEJ Mission Statement
Queers for Economic Justice is a progressive non-profit organization committed to promoting economic justice in a context of sexual and gender liberation.
Our goal is to challenge and change the systems that create poverty and economic injustice in our communities, and to promote an economic system that embraces sexual and gender diversity.
We are committed to the principle that access to social and economic resources is a fundamental right, and we work to create social and economic equity through grassroots organizing, public education, advocacy and research.
We do this work because although poor queers have always been a part of both the gay rights and economic justice movements, they have been, and continue to be, largely invisible in both movements.
This work will always be informed by the lived experiences and expressed needs of queer people in poverty.
http://q4ej.org/

Brown Boi Project
Mission
The Brown Boi Project is a community of masculine of center womyn, men, two-spirit people, transmen, and our allies committed to transforming our privilege of masculinity, gender, and race into tools for achieving Racial and Gender Justice.
Masculine of center (MoC), which, in its evolving definition, recognizes the cultural breadth and depth of identity for lesbian/queer womyn and gender nonconforming/trans people who tilt toward the masculine side of the gender spectrum�including a wide range of identities such as butch, stud, aggressive/AG, macha, dom, trans masculine, boi, etc. (B. Cole, 2008)
http://www.brownboiproject.org/

Whitenoise Collective
What is the White Noise Collective?
We are a collective of people dedicated to racial justice that explores how internalized sexism and heterosexism show up in the work of anti-racist activists, educators and allies. Through blogs, workshops and monthly dialogues, we collectively investigate patterns common among people at this intersection of white privilege and gender oppression from our various unique relationships to it. We encourage and welcome participation from people who do not identify as white or female.

When we say “white woman,” we are referring to a dominant or mainstream identity with certain images, messages and narratives that have been used to uphold systems of oppression. It is an identity that many who have been socialized as white and female often have to negotiate with, whether by resisting, conforming, imitating, subverting or distancing. It’s this negotiation and relationship to “white women” that we are investigating, whether it is our current identity, a past or new identity, or a personal connection to people with this identity. In our dialogues and workshops we honor every body’s unique relationship to the themes explored. Even if we have never had a Barbie, we know what she looks like and what she symbolizes.
http://www.conspireforchange.org/

Who Matters when coming out!

So it is all over today, did or did not Jodie Foster come out? I watch the show, having grown up in Santa Monica many folks,friends,parents were or are in the business. These are my thoughts on coming out, please come out in your own way at your own time. I never liked or do I like the practices of outing as it can be life threatening. I do not have the right to decide for another the choice, I can encourage folks to live their lives in ways that support them.That said, I got in this discussion about Queen Latifah after she preformed in Long Beach pride about why it is or is not important. My view is this, all of us that our out have more effect on the lives of people in our world than a celebrity. The teacher, carpenter,sex worker,student, parent who is out can impact far more lives than one celebrity. Second, what right do I have to expect someone to come out, again I encourage it of course, join us, be another vision of truth, but I have no right to demand it. Jodie foster said clearly that she was out to everyone she met, what more is expected of any of us? Some of us are out in high profile ways, others of us are not public for many reason. I came out in 1979, it was not easy in high school after that, nor for the next few years till I began to build a logical family, we live in a different time, coming out is still important, but I support us as people to recall what it was like, how are safety would be effected, and the financial cost before we demand others to risks what is their lives. I worked towards a day that coming out is not necessary, that my life and the lives of my friends are not threatened with violence for their difference. I also live out so that others who might want to make the choice to live out see a variety of people that have one or many things in common. We all know that coming out does not provide a homogenous community, we see that with the current political debate in the TBGL communities. Some of us are fighting for marriage rights, some of us are fighting to abolish prisons, and there are even gay republicans. So please come out, be a beacon of visibility in your daily life but lets us not assume we know why or why not a “public figure” does not come out, and who decides what out is anyway? Is out to myself any less important than being out to you? We are all public figures we all are important, and we all make a difference. Stay blessed I am….

Coffee, Football and reflection

So I admit my love hate relationship with football,men in tight pants 😉 and Coffee is the nectar of my morning. I find self-reflection a powerful tool in my life and work. I also know I am finding and refining my voice, perspective, and knowledge. I do this both in and out of the academic environment, in fact, I find academia a bit stifling to knowledge production which is nothing new or some brilliant insight. It is in plain sight the rules of progress, jump the hoops, get the letters, then write about how messed up that process is. I come to school as a late bloomer, I was the stoner kid who could not spell in high school and barley read a whole book, and became the first in my immediate family to graduate from college. I never felt that folks in school were any smarter than those that choose other routes, I had chosen the trade of carpenter, went to school for 4.5 years but always had my skills questioned (wrong kind of school). Anyway I digress, doing work around the body,race,gender,sex and state violence sometimes becomes a difficult place to find hope that things can change, I am changing which is good, but I am loosing hope that “We” are. I am not sure what to do sometimes, I think my style offends more people than I want to, but I also think us as white folks have a really hard time looking at ourselves, our part, and our work. I am not special, nor do I find myself feeling “better’ than others, I do believe I have a willingness to stay in the trenches and as the post yesterday pointed out, no-one needs to pat me on the back or feel grateful. I do wish that the understanding the we all have internal bias did not become a competition when discussing difference. Many smarter and gentler folks are doing this work, I am one doing the work, some times not so graceful, sometimes with humor, but always will the goal of healing. Trying to write about difference is hard, it is a skill I am in the process of getting better at, in some areas I must use the big words and in others not so much, this is hard translating theory into the everyday, not for some, but for me yes. I ask for patience, feedback and love. This is a life long process and self-reflection is not just navel gazing with out action, action is required when what was unseen or unknown becomes visible. More coffee is needed and the wonder dog needs a walk, blessings