Aug 23, 2006

Camp Genocide

Was it the sweet scent of flowers
that made you rip into her
over and over and over again
until she coughed up blood
torn and bruised
as you took turns
torn and bruised
as you took turns
torn and bruised

Camp Liberty
where War Crimes read
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
where young flowers are
soaked in kerosene
and set on fire
where those kinds of bodies
are disposed and decomposed

where American heroes still sing the same old tune

"Mistakes" happen
in the name of freedom
"Incidents" forgotten
in the name of freedom

But that fragrance of flowers
it lingers though
Tell me
Can you smell her?

These words are for Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi, the fourteen year-old Iraqi woman who was gang-raped and killed by four GIs. Article 32 hearings are currently taking place at Camp Liberty, a US base in Iraq. See this article by Robin Morgan.

Aug 18, 2006

Dating White Men
White man danger...He's come to stay

For most of us women of color - that is, those of us whose politics are such that make us aware of the everyday, oppressive power dynamics embedded into the system and the social relations of our society- have complicated internal "negotiations" (for lack of a better word) when it comes to being intimately involved with white people. As a straight woman of color whose politics are one of anti-oppression, I have a difficult time seeing myself dating, or being in a serious relationship with a white man. Now, I have done it before, and who's to say it won't happen again. I'm open to the idea. However, there are also reasons as to why I'm hesitant.

I started thinking about all of this again recently. I've been talking to a few friends who have just ended rocky relationships with major power struggle issues. These friends are all women of color dating white men. These are beautiful, strong-willed, women with some serious ambition. They are kick-ass women who, despite the many obstacles in their lives, have continued doing what they do - whether it's their music, their art, their writing, their academic endeavours, their business ambitions, etc.

Now here comes the kicker. When it comes to reflecting on their relationships or involvements with the white men, most of these women (I've been there too) feel that we are too demanding, too aggressive, and basically see the issues at hand only as interpersonal; so, it all becomes a matter of personality conflicts or clashing personal baggages. Now, I agree that the interpersonal thing is partly true. But when it comes to being a (straight) woman of color, there are wider systemic issues and some major internalized shit going on in terms of our positionality in our relationships with white men. I'm not saying this is untrue when it comes to dating men of color, but that is a whole other discussion that merits another blog posting.

So for some women, the internalized shit, and the wider systemic power dynamics embedded in race-gender relations, often translates into "interpersonal issues." Whether we aren't aware of it, or choose to ignore it, this is where a major part of the problem resides. Women of color who are intimately involved with white men have to address the race-gender power dynamics so deeply embedded in their relationship. I'm not saying this is something that needs to be brought up all the time, but there needs to be some serious discussion about it at some point. Without it, how can there be trust and growth between the two people? If racism and sexism are just some of the realities of living your everyday as a woman of color, then how can there be no discussion on these issues when it comes to being with a white man?

Having said that though, in most cases, the white guys just don't seem to get it. And if they do, they choose not to be self-reflective and work on their shit. So I don't know folks. All I know is that there are many amazing women I know caught up in situations where they are compromising, self-doubting, and questioning the hard work they've done on themselves to get to where they are. For us women, the confidence, the belief in ourselves, the perseverence, the resilience, is an everyday struggle. This struggle is a part of us. Not recognizing this struggle, which is so damn integral to our being, is not right. Compromising all the hard work we've done on ourselves, and for ourselves, is not right. It just isn't.

I realize we can't help who we fall in love with. But come on now, oppressive power dynamics and all the isms that go with it don't just magically stop at the door to your relationship. Just because you are a white man and you love a Brown woman doesn't mean everything's cool. It's precisely the opposite. You have some serious work to do in terms of challenging yourself, un-learning and re-learning, listening, paying attention to your positionality in the relationship, and how you can be oppressive without even being aware, and how you can be supportive in ways that you didn't even know.

When it comes to women of color who are involved with white men, just cuz there's love doesn't mean it's all good. Really and truly, there's some serious work to be done.


ps. In case you didn't catch the song reference in the title, it's from an Elton John tune (1980). And to all the white men, I was being a little tongue-in-cheek guys, calm down.

Aug 2, 2006


The Sixth Edition of the Radical Women of Color Carnival will be held at Mamita Mala's on August 9th!

August’s hot summer edition will feature privacy, public information, and raw honesty on the net. Specifically we will be addressing how sometime for many of us RWOC bloggers our raw honesty can be taken out of context and can even trivialize our public life as women of color. We all have many facets, multiple identities. How much of that gets compromised (or not) when we write online? How much of us have to compromise many of our raw thoughts, emotions, past pains, etc? When, why and what is the value of self-censorship? Is it fear of real life merging with virtual life? How blurred/static is that line anyway? How does this all play into how our day to day resistance to the state of the world/nation/state/humanity manifests in our real world actions?

Any forms of self-expression are welcome (including poetry and visual art) and can be sent to Mala by Saturday, August 5, 12 a.m. EST. E-Mail Submissions to

For further information see the call-out details posted on Mamita Mala's website.

Aug 1, 2006

Ding Dong Reminders
Bleh, This is Gonna Sound So "New-Agey"
I Can't Stand the Celestine Prophecy But...

Have you ever noticed strange coincidences happening at certain transitional points in your life? When you are open to the changes in your life (and making them), open to endings, closures and new beginnings, open to the highs and lows, open to just being and not struggling against the flow, then you begin to notice certain happenings or reminders (or whatever you want to call them). These could be about lessons you need to learn, or simply a sign telling you you're on the right path and to keep doing what you're doing.

For the last couple of weeks, I keep being reminded of my first ex-dude from way back-in-the-day. Whether it's other people mentioning his name, or me taking the wrong turn and accidentally driving past his old place...he has entered my mind a few times. Funny enough, I don't have any feelings for this person, no anger or bitterness, no residual emotions, not even on a reminisce vibe, or a plutonic level, or even on a curious "I wonder how he's doing" tip. It's been way too long and too many other love affairs in between; he's just a "been there done that."

So, I'm trying to figure out why is he popping into my life at this point in time. What is the meaning of it? Is it just a case of strange reccuring coincidences? Or am I being reminded of something I need to deal with? Perhaps a lesson I need to learn? Or maybe I'm reading into things like I always do...

Anyway, whatever it is, I wish him well. Granted he was a "Ding Dong" (to use a friend's term), he meant well and loved me.

But as for all the recurring reminders of said Ding Dong,
I guess I'll just let them be and maybe i'll figure it out...
or then again, I could always call James Redfield and see what he's got to, ya, NO.
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