Race-Nation-Gender-Class-Nation: Forget it. Never Forget it

Pat Parker (1944-1989), poet, teacher and activist, wrote this poem: For the White Person Who Wants to Know How to Be My Friend  and had this wonderful line:

The first thing you do is to forget that i’m Black.
Second, you must never forget that i’m Black.

For any social difference that exists in any society, we can place it there, in the space of “Black.”   In any case, color-blindness, gender-blindness, mixed-space blindness, sexual orientation blindness, socio-economic class blindness, neighborhood blindness, body-size blindness, nationality blindness etc. etc. —  we have to pay attention to how quickly we may subsume, make invisible, refuse (ignore), make trivial, something that makes a difference.  Sameness is too valorized in the globalizing society.  It’s not about any particular choices we have in holding on and letting go—-because even this is an action and a series of action (holding or letting go, that is), that come from political positionings that rely on privilege, luck, ability, amount of trauma, fear, violence, and a host of other things that come from oppression and social constructions of society.

Let us not forget how completely and utterly different we are from each other.  This way, we truly understand diversity.  If we “understand,” then perhaps we do not understand difference at all.  We just consume, co-opt, and bring into our own history and culture and language and values, that OTHER.  This is a violence to that Other.

But in saying they are different, do we automatically become AFRAID?   Or do we automatically become ANGRY?  Do we automatically IGNORE?  Do we assume we can translate, communicate?   Yes we can communicate, but understanding its partiality is important.

Honor you.  Honor me.

In our difference.  Utterly different.  Utterly ourselves.  Yet somehow, we are related as humans, as that who has experienced pain.

Perhaps other things.  But do not assume equality.

Be human.

There . . . . . .  Can we allow difficulty, struggle, powerful connection and dissonance?

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‘Taint’ – afro-japanese poetic musing & Point

TAINT

I exile myself from myself.  and YOU——-Don’t see yourself as…….Tainted.   If you do….you hide it and make me tainted and I see you Sad.   And that makes you see me angry, insane.  Impossible.

When I do, I’m home.   Home is exile.  Exile because there’s no way what you call ‘home’ can be mine.

And as if home doesn’t change, morph, move into something — always unrecognizable.  It’s too late for recognition.  But I will show you something and you will recognize it for what you think and feel and hear and taste.  My body is colonized by your gaze.

We’re people-of-color.  That’s an identity that’s tainted.  But without it I completely become white and Japanese and black. Colonized by those rules of walk, talk, understanding, dance.

When I choose my ‘own’ way, I know it’s not my own.  It’s been handed down.  If so, who gives a shit?

It doesn’t matter in this so-called ‘post-social’ world of ours….alienations and displacements where people who have had communities continued in another land, another space/time and call it ‘home’ will ————look down——-down——on me and those like me.  And we can pretend to be brothers and sisters because we share.  And some who don’t look down on me,  think we are equals.   No time/space, no legacy, no sekihan, cho-cho, miso shiru, barbecued ribs, konketsuji, nigger, left unconscious dead.   I’m not allowed.  So in that time where you cannot bear my pain and it is exiled into me, we SHARE ———the colonized mind.   But there are those who do share.  There’s no need for the pain, but there’s a need for allowing and alliance.

Can we ‘Be’——with our differences?   The thousand bombs and body-part explosions, mushroom clouds and slavery whips, and imprisonments of my ancestors and the occupation of my body in heterosexual mindscapes and border-guard territories———will NOT make you superior to me. Because you don’t remember.   Forever you may enslave yourself but I remain TAINTED in your result, your gun.  Your attitude-pistol that props you up WITH it.   Instead of takuan, I eat hamburgers in that place.  But I eat takuan uh huh.   Hungry.

Forever blackened in your multicultural superiority that pretends equality.   Forever not right.  Forever imprisoned.  No matter how many songs I sing to you, no matter how many silences and gentle hands, I’m only a big penis, a tawny muscle movement, a …a…..a….a.  some ‘THING’ that is compared to your utopia. Utopia……the unconscious colonial organ.

‘Thing’ yourself with your colonized mind, until you crave, then so so tired   tired     you start to see me.  Perhaps someday….we may actually touch beyond eyes here.  Right here, and between your complete and beautiful to my complete and beautiful.  Always it is part, incomplete, moving and dancing in time.  complete is incomplete always and beautiful, but justice moans. Then we understand that we are scarred.

Scarred and twisted in your so-called will to perfection.  That is perverted….tainted.  Just ‘being’ I am tainted because YOU are tainted.  Funny thing is…. there doesn’t need to be this———TAINT.  But what?

Taint me and I you.   Let’s walk y’all.

French Hip-Hop: SOPRANO featuring South Asian singer Indila: HIRO

As in most first world national languages and from their former colonies and others, the French language showcases/expresses some great rap and hip-hop and what may be called ‘black’ urban music. On my blog, I have previously shown some from Japan and Korea and will continue to show my favorites from the world over.

Soprano is one of the best in present-day France. Here is a socially-conscious hip-hop song ‘Hiro’ (hero) which brings in the pride and heartache of black and non-white histories in the world and the wish to have changed history and what creates suffering today. Many of the persons and situations mentioned in this song/video are probably unknown to most Americans but we should know them as Americans. Do our research. There is more to the world than what we see in our small worlds. As such, the song mentions 9/11, Princess Diana, the making of African nations, Gandhi, Mohammed Ali, tragic airplanes that fly despots to their locations, etc. A character from the US television show ‘Heroes’ is a foundational character in the telling of this wish, this story. I love this song. In honor of knowing history and to be in the present to ACT!

Lyrics translated originally by 15 year-old French guy (SchezMusique) from Youtube.

I have modified as best I can. IF ANYONE CAN READ FRENCH and HELP with TRANSLATIONS– I will continue to modify…….

English translation followed by the French lyrics.

HIRO

If I had had the power of Hiro Nakamura
I would have left reliving the birth of Lenny and Inaya
I would have been in Sanaa
Boycott the takeoff of A310 from Yemenia
I would have been there to see my grandfather one last time
Say to him I’ll take care of his daughter, so don’t worry
I would have left seeing Martin Luther King
After his speech, show him the photo of Barack Obama
I would have been in the temple of Harlem
Push Malcolm from the scene before a bullet reaches him
I would have been in the prison of Mandela
To say to him ‘hold out, your ideas will be of a president of south Africa’
Lover of Lady Diana,
I would have created a gigantic cork under the bridge of the Alma
I would have been in the Bahamas
Not for the holidays but to empty the hold of the plane of Aaliyah

I would have liked travelling through time

I would have liked travelling through time

I would have liked travelling through time

If I had had the power of Hiro Nakamura
I would have been there for the fight from Mohamed Ali to Kinshasa
Then, I would have been there to celebrate the independence of my Comoros
In the arms of my grandfather before his death
Then, a small tour in the Paris-Dakar in full savanna
To boycott Daniel Balavoine’s copter
I like the truths of those who wear a red nose
I would have been there to burst the tires of Coluche’s motorcycle
I would have been there to meet Mahomet in Medina
Then go to see the Red Sea, let myself pass to Moses
I would have been for the birth of the son to Mary
Two hours later, take the walking of the salt with Gandhi
I would have been there to sit down with Rosa Parks
Then to Woodstock to see Jimmy Hendrix live
I would have been at the birthday of Motown
To see Mickael make the moonwalk

I would have been in New York
To activate at 7 am a bomb scare in 2 towers
I would have been in Iraq
Teaching the journalists to shoot better with their shoe
I would have been in Afghanistan
Throw the cameras of the last interview of commander Massoud
I would have been in Angola
To go to tell the team of Adebayor not do the trip
I would have been in Clichy-sous-Bois
Disconnect the transpo of EDF before Zyed and Bouna comes
I would have been at Kunta Kinte or on Gorée
To give them guns before the colonists came
I would have been there to see the African infantrymen
To say to them that we treat their children like nasty immigrants
I would have been in Austria,
I would have done anything so that the parents of Adolf Hitler never met

Even if I had the power of Nakamura
What would I have been able to do for Haiti, the tsunami or Katrina?
What would I have been able to do for Alaska?
Everything that nature gave us
Nature will take back
So these are things which I would have wanted to change or wanted to live
So these are things which I would have wanted to erase or to relive
But are all impossible my friend
Thus I inspire a big breath and I blow on my 30th candle…

I would have liked travelling through time
But we can live only the present
We can live only the present

Lili Boniche – (Élie Boniche) 1921 – March 6, 2008: il n’ya qu’un seul Dieu

From wikipedia:

Élie Boniche – b. 1921 – d. March 6, 2008), born to a Sephardic Jewish family in the Kasbah area of Algiers, was a singer of Andalusian-Arab music. He died in Paris. In addition to writing music for commercial release, he also was a film composer.

il n’ya qu’un seul Dieu

Ethan Zuckerman speaks about ‘Imaginary Cosmopolitanism’ & breaking it

Ethan Zuckerman is a writer and internet technologies activist.

Although I have spoken critically of globalization, I have critiqued, not criticized, many aspects of the neo-colonial aspects of globalization.  The world has been interconnected for centuries.  In most areas connected by landmass, there has been an incredible diversity of trade and trade routes, and the encounters between different peoples and groups, ways of living and thinking, ways of conflict, ways of resolution, ways of continuity, ways of destruction.  In the present incarnation of globalizing intentions, there is that continuity of colonial expansion which continues the legacy of entitled exploitations, the destruction of diversity, homogenization and assimilation, and the complex and contradictory elements of cultural contact and the residues of ‘whiteness’ that create neo-liberal formations mixed with local intentions and power relations.

At the same time, the decreasing of time/space through faster transportation, telecommunications and computer and future technologies, has made global contact in more frantic and easier pace.  This has given the illusion of an increasingly global world, but in fact, as Ethan Zuckerman points out, the elites are the ones who do most of the contact and travel towards traveling and face-to-face contact.  In addition, he points out that there is an illusion of increased contact because in reality, as we have been developed in nation-state mentalities, which separate and form nations based on race and ethnicity and controlled by socio-economically more privileged, we tend to do everything, including internet searches and research, along the lines of our ‘flock.’  This points to the re-tribalizations that happen in globalization, where we tend to find those who think like us and have common interests, and depend on them for information that is ‘other.’  The ‘other’ is not just a person/body.  The ‘other,’ in the case of the internet and these modern visual/audio technologies, is also ideas and thought formations, news events and issues that are not within our own ‘flock’ way of doing research.  Even simple things like doing ‘searches’ will be done in a culturally familiar way for most of us.  This leaves out that which is outside of our domain.  For many who think of themselves as global, it may not be so ‘global’ at all.  Our patterns of in-group ways of acting in the world, performing ourselves, include aspects of xenophobia, possibly.  Put in another way, we are largely informed and shaped by society and culture(s).

Ethan Zuckerman points to the sad fact of US American media and the historical trajectory of the information we receive.  It mentions that nowadays, many US Americans prefer UK news because many feel that the US media is very limited.  He points to the decrease in international news and the fact that most news, especially in the US, is about local news and the news of countries the US has invaded (i.e. Iraq, Puerto Rico, etc.)  He also mentions that internet search statistics reveal that most searches are done across first-world (the richest nations of the world) news and those of  areas the US has invaded.  Also, in search patterns, there are some areas that are hardly touched in search patterns on the internet, and they are usually smaller countries, the Middle East and the former Soviet states in Central Asia and the Caucuses, and Africa.  These lands happen to be where western and first world interests have shaped their governments and have created turmoil.  It is understood that it is not just an accident that news and searches and general knowledge of these areas are kept out.

The colonial nature of our ‘freedom’ must be questioned.  We must question our own thought patterns and what ‘turns us on’ as far as news media, entertainment, activism, and world events.  We must question the terms through which we must become interested.  This is what Ethan Zuckerman would ask us to do.  He has been attempting to form new ways where citizens who want a globally more understanding and knowledgeable world, to actually begin going ‘outside of their known patterns’ and to be able to go outside of their language/culture, to think differently, and to break the patterns that we have been living  in order to access a more global, instead of imaginary global.  He asks us to do this to become different people, with a more varied and multiple array of stories in which to make a difference in the world and to not succumb to nation-state and corporate brain-washing when it comes to information and important issues.  We should want to go to unfamiliar places and try some serendipity in order to think differently.

My critique would be that this is a continuation of the co-opting of various cultures and knowledge for exploitative intellectual/cultural gain, personal enjoyment, without a concern for alliances, justice, friendship, political involvement, curiosity, peace.  My hope is that this is not a continuation of that energy and that is broken to create more spaces for creative thought and discussion towards alliance-building and a better understanding of our place in power-relations and history.  I think this is what Ethan Zuckerman also would want……..but I’m not going to speak for him.

General overview of who he is:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethan_Zuckerman

http://ethanzuckerman.com/

http://www.ethanzuckerman.com/blog/