As a kid i was always really drawn to Mandela because he was a complex and real person who fought for justice with an unadulterated commitment. I remember learning about the ANC and being so captivated by their methods against brutality to overcome the racism endemic in South Africa that that’s where i think my desire for justice stemmed from. These movements, like the ANC, brought us to where we are today, historically. They were the ones with courage to point the finger at institutions, at capitalists and imperialists alike, demonstrating that we, as a people, demand for a better future.
Mandela was on the US terrorist list until 1994, the year he became President of South Africa. I find this tragically beautiful because it reminds of me of the very ethos of “one man’s terrorist is another’s man’s freedom fighter.” We live in a world where we think we know things, where we’re okay with the norms of society and we vilify those who want justice, the Chelsea Mannings, the Julian Assanges and the Nelson Mandelas, but they are the ones who are fighting for the world we want to live, the world which is fair and just, for all, not just those with power and money. They are the ones with courage.
I think the best way to remember Mandela’s brilliant and crucial message is to fight, to challenge, and to never stop wanting, and demanding, for a better world.
His body isn’t even cold yet and the New York times has already put out a shameful article declaring Nelson Mandela to be an “icon of peaceful resistance”. News outlets around the Western world are hurrying to publish obituaries that celebrate his electoral victory while erasing the protracted and fierce guerrilla struggle that he and his party were forced to fight in order to make that victory possible. Don’t let racist, imperialist liberalism co-opt the legacy of another radical. Nelson Mandela used peaceful means when he could, and violent means when he couldn’t. For this, during his life they called him a terrorist, and after his death they’ll call him a pacifist — all to neutralize the revolutionary potential of his legacy, and the lessons to be drawn from it.
Take, for example, Mike Lee and Will Evans, students from the U.S. and Canada, respectively, who applied to be English teachers through the New Development School, a teacher-placement agency in Beijing. Being fluent speakers of English, both believed they would make competitive candidates.
What they didn’t know is that recruiters would not be evaluating them just on their English fluency or academic credentials. Instead, they were judged primarily on physical appearance.
Yeah.. my brother was politely asked to leave his first English teaching job in Shanghai because the kids’ parents’ didn’t want a Black guy teaching their kids English.
Fly 20 hrs across the world.. no white people around.. and you still gotta deal with whiteness. I just find it so discouraging.
Yep. And guess where Chinese people get their information about Black Americans? From US media.
When I was a student in China, I would explain this to people all the time. Perplexed Chinese students would ask me, Why are there so many Black criminals in America (by which they meant, the USA)? I would say, Believe me there are far more white criminals, but where did you get this information about Black criminals? They would answer, American television, American news, American movies. I would say, Those are made by white people and are not an accurate picture.
That was before the explosion of basketball and hip hop in China, which have somewhat expanded Chinese exposure to Black folks. These days, Kobe Bryant is probably just as popular among the younger generation in China as Yao Ming. (LeBron James is second; it’s a dividing identity-establishing question among Chinese youth, “Kobe or LeBron?”) Of course, basketball and hip hop obviously aren’t enough to change overall perceptions of Black people, as we know from the USA itself.
In any case, skewed representation, racist stereotypes, and specifically anti-Blackness in US media (both news and fiction) are not only harmful to people in the US, but these perceptions also inform — and misinform — an international audience and propagate global racism.
Katie Stout’s HELLO, I LOVE YOU (2015) published by Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press - Follows a teenage girl from a famous country music family, after a rough year at home, who attends a boarding school in Korea only to get swept up in the K-pop fandom when she falls for a teen idol.
POC BOOKS TO LOOK OUT FOR: THE CHRYSANTHEMUM AND THE DANDELION (DANDELION DYNASTY #1)
Ken Liu’s THE CHRYSANTHEMUM AND THE DANDELION (2014) published under Simon and Schuster. From the Nebula, Hugo, and World Fantasy Awards winner. Liu’s young adult fantasy series that follows the story of Kani Garu, a charming bandit, and Mata Zyndu, the son of a deposed duke, who at first seem like polar opposites. But they become the best of friends after a series of adventures.
“My mother said I must always be intolerant of ignorance but understanding of illiteracy. That some people, unable to go to school, were more educated and more intelligent than college professors.”—Maya Angelou (via xxxi-i-mcmxcii)
When my sister and I were kids, we used to play next to (and sometimes on) the dumpsters in the parking lot while my mother cleaned offices. At the age of twenty-two, my mom was a single parent of two small children, putting herself through college while working as a waitress…
“So what we have here in Ms. Savage’s post is an expression of concern about the rise of “gratuitous” diversity… framed by a call for more straight white men. And what we have in Mr. Davidson’s call for “minority”** characters who genuinely represent their own background is… the very gratuitous superficiality that he claims he doesn’t espouse. Because, well, he only demands that “minority” characters justify their existence in a given narrative. Only women and people of color (etc.) risk being less-than-genuine for appearing alongside dragons and spaceships without reason. There has to be a point, see, whenever people like me pop up in fiction. We’re there only to “expand our experience and knowledge”, to educate; we can’t just be kicking around for the same reasons white men would be. I mean, really: if we’re not doing something black (or gay or Jewish or whatever), why are we even there? Because, amirite, God knows we’re not marketable. - See more at: http://nkjemisin.com/2013/12/concern-trolling-and-gratuitous-diversity/#sthash.aFx1j1qx.dpuf”—
“So, yes, for the fucking love of God, movies matter. TV shows matter. Novels matter. They shape the lens through which you see the world. The very fact that you don’t think they matter, that even right now you’re still resisting the idea, is what makes all of this so dangerous to you — you watch movies so you can turn off your brain and let your guard down. But while your guard is down, you’re letting them jack directly into that part of your brain that creates your mythology. If you think about it, it’s an awesome responsibility on the part of the storyteller. And you’re comfortable handing that responsibility over to Michael Bay.”—
aww you hurt the poor wannabe white male dudebro writers’ feeeeeelings!
Ahaha yeah basically, when I was reading some of them, I was like “Whoa, I definitely struck a nerve somewhere…”
One of them was literally this 3-4 convoluted paragraph message explaining why I was so “wrong” in rejecting this query, you crushed my dreams, blah blah blah. And the kicker? The message was addressed to an agent who’s not even with the agency anymore. So, when I was reading the entire thing, I couldn’t help but think:
Another sarcastic mofo was like “thanks for the prompt reply” (Note: the reply was sent about 3 months after the original query but hey I wasn’t even at the agency when he queried and was just assigned the month of August earlier in September…)
Also this is totally a fragile white male dudebro thing cuz I’ve gotten replies from female writers too, but none of them were particularly vindictive and were pretty nice and all like “thanks for your time and consideration” since the agency’s policy is like it may take awhile, but hey we promise to get back to every single query. Instead of having your query looming out there in cyberspace forever, because some agencies won’t even reply to original queries and agents only reply to projects they’re interested in…
Still, these male dudebro writers have awakened the beast within this slumbering intern.
I was entertaining the thought of putting together a query “shit list” in case any nightmare cases try to re-query the agency again and give it to the next batch of interns or something to warn them ahead of time. Seriously considering that idea now…
Most women leaving violent relationships return at least once because their self-authority has been eviscerated and replaced with a partner’s authority. Think Stockholm Syndrome. Rihanna probably needs support, not criticism, and her return could be a cause for teaching, not despair.
This is a microcosm of the frequent difference between the original battered women’s centers that were or are run by survivors, and some of the current Family Violence Centers run by people with degrees. The survivors supported women in making their own decisions — because they themselves knew from experience. The second too often repeated the problem by telling women what to do one more time.
Gloria Steinem’s response to Lena Dunham name-dropping her during some vomitous hand-wringing concern trolling about Rihanna
If you mock and belittle and insult a DV victim for being abused or staying with or going back to an abuser, you are telling them that their abuser was right about what other people think of them and how little support there is for them from others so idk enjoy living with yourself if you like talking about how you’re “so done” with a woman for being “so stupid” or whatever
And you’re the one who’s “sending a bad message” to young girls because the message you’re sending is “I will completely abandon you if you’re ever in this situation and I might say it’s all your fault too.”
”Q.U.E.E.N.’ definitely is an acronym,’ Monae explains during an interview at Fuse HQ. ‘It’s for those who are marginalized.’ She says the ‘Q’ represents the queer community, the ‘U’ for the untouchables, the ‘E’ for emigrants, the second ‘E’ for the excommunicated and the “N” for those labeled as negroid.
'It’s for everyone who’s felt ostracized,' she adds. 'I wanted to create something for people who feel like they want to give up because they’re not accepted by society.'
[…] Early in my freshman year, my dad asked me if there were lots of Latinos at school. I wanted to say, “Pa, I’m one of the only Latinos in most of my classes. The other brown faces I see mostly are the landscapers’. I think of you when I see them sweating in the morning sun. I remember you were a landscaper when you first came to Illinois in the 1950s. And look, Pa! Now I’m in college!”
But I didn’t.
I just said, “No, Pa. There’s a few Latinos, mostly Puerto Rican, few Mexicans. But all the landscapers are Mexican.”
My dad responded, “¡Salúdelos, m’ijo!”
So when I walked by the Mexican men landscaping each morning, I said, “Buenos días.”
Recently, I realized what my dad really meant. I remembered learning the Mexican, or Latin American, tradition of greeting people when one enters a room. In my Mexican family, my parents taught me to be “bien educado” by greeting people who were in a room already when I entered. The tradition puts the responsibility of the person who arrives to greet those already there. If I didn’t follow the rule as a kid, my parents admonished me with a back handed slap on my back and the not-so-subtle hint: “¡Saluda!”
I caught myself tapping my 8-year-old son’s back the other day when he didn’t greet one of our friends: “Adrian! ¡Saluda!”
However, many of my white colleagues over the years followed a different tradition of ignorance. “Maleducados,” ol’ school Mexican grandmothers would call them.
But this Mexican tradition is not about the greeting—it’s about the acknowledgment. Greeting people when you enter a room is about acknowledging other people’s presence and showing them that you don’t consider yourself superior to them.
When I thought back to the conversation between my dad and me in 1990, I realized that my dad was not ordering me to greet the Mexican landscapers with a “Good morning.”
Instead, my father wanted me to acknowledge them, to always acknowledge people who work with their hands like he had done as a farm worker, a landscaper, a mechanic. My father with a 3rd grade education wanted me to work with my mind but never wanted me to think myself superior because I earned a college degree and others didn’t.
Amir Cheheltan’s REVOLUTION STREET (May 13th, 2014) published under Oneworld Publications. A firebrand tale of power, corruption, and love, set against the roiling aftermath of the Islamic Revolution, opens an unforgettable trilogy of novels about everyday lives set in contemporary Tehran. Fattah is a dubious plastic surgeon specializing in hymen repair; though it was working as an executioner during the Islamic Revolution that made him rich. When a young girl Scheherazade resembling a childhood crush — the pop diva Googoosh — lands on his operating table he becomes dangerously infatuated. That she is promised to another man — Mustafa, a respectable young man masking a chilling career at the notorious Evin Prison — fails to deter him and Fattah embarks on a mission to win her. As Fattah’s obsession escalates, his methods take him deep into Tehran’s underworld of criminals and provocateurs. Betraying all who would seek to control them, events gather a fateful momentum until none can escape their explosive collision.
Ryan Graudin’s THE WALLED CITY (Fall 2014) published by Little Brown - Inspired by Kowloon Walled City. There are three rules in the Walled City: Run fast. Trust no one. Always carry your knife. Right now, my life depends completely on the first. Run, run, run. Jin, Mei Yee, and Dai all live in the Walled City, a lawless labyrinth run by crime lords and overrun by street gangs. Teens there run drugs or work in brothels—or, like Jin, hide under the radar. But when Dai offers Jin a chance to find her lost sister, Mei Yee, she begins a breathtaking race against the clock to escape the Walled City itself. Three teens fight for survival, freedom, and family inside a shanty labyrinth abandoned by law enforcement and sunlight.
POC AUTHOR BOOKS TO LOOK OUT FOR: EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING
Nicola Yoon’s EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING (2015) published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers - The story of a girl who is literally allergic to the outside world, and who has never left her house until a new family moves in next door. She begins a complicated romance that challenges everything she’s ever known, in a story told via vignettes, diary entries, charts, and illustrations.
Amalie Howard’s ALPHA GODDESS (March 4th, 2014) published under Sky Pony Press - YA retelling of Ramayana, the epic Indian love story of Rama and Sita. Sera is Lakshmi reborn, a human avatar of the immortal Indian goddess rumored to control all the planes of existence. Marked by the sigils of both heaven and hell, Sera’s avatar is meant to bring balance to the mortal world, but all she creates is chaos. A chaos that Azrath, the Asura Lord of Death, hopes to use to unleash hell on earth. Marked by the, magic symbols of both heaven and hell, Sera’s avatar is meant to bring balance to the mortal world. Torn between her present life and her previous incarnation as Sita — the wife of an Indian god — Sera is the key to an epic battle between good and evil.