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So, life is relatively calm at the moment. We're hoping to be into a new place at the end of the month & the husband is working away on art people stiff. The kids are fine. They're eating everything they can reach (which is all of the food now that kid #1 is my height!) & their school year might be delayed by a strike. But they're healthy, smart, & funny so I'll call it good. Well except for the grocery costs. I want my money back for some of that when they're grown. Because that's just fair damn it. (I might be a little bitter about some hastily consumed ice cream sandwiches that I really wanted to try, you don't know my pain) Work is work, but I'm surviving it. School is about to start again & I'm seriously considered another M.A. after I finish this one. Because I'm stupid. How goes your life?
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Read Revealing Eden yesterday & it is actually worse than I expected. Aside from everything else Foyt is a terrible writer. Her racism shines through on every page, but that’s about all that’s clear. Otherwise the plot is a mess, she peppers the book with scientific terms, but clearly doesn’t know basic biology, much less anything about DNA or genetic therapies. Add in the one dimensional characters rooted in stereotypes, the plot twist straight out of a soap opera, & the complete failure to build a believable mythos for her world & you can tell that any awards listed for this claptrap are purchased or simply made up. The offensive plot devices are all that make this train wreck remotely interesting & they’re not deployed with any skill. It’s poorly written, poorly plotted, & after a while it even fails at being offensive simply because it’s so damned boring.
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Headed to Boston for Readercon. We're driving (because we're special) so we'll be there tomorrow. First trip to Boston, so don't be surprised if I break out in tourist.
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I spent a good size chunk of today learning old family history on my grandmother’s side. Y’all there is no chance that I will be kind to ignorant racist white people today. Possibly ever. I’ve always known that my great uncle was lynched, today I found out that he was the second child my great grandmother lost to white people in the south.

His brother was murdered by a white man (this was not a lynching, it was apparently a straight up assault, possibly over a light skinned black woman that he was courting), and when my great uncle got upset then he was lynched for being uppity (though there was a convenient take over of his land as well so…), and my great grandfather sent the rest of the kids & my great grandmother away while he & my great great uncle (my great grandmother’s brother) went hunting white boys. Name changes & trips all over the country followed until the family reunited in Chicago.

Hard men in hard times doing bad shit & no sign that the women were afraid to get their hands dirty either. That’s my family history. Mind you this is all on my maternal side, I don’t know who my biological father is so I have no idea what that history could look like, but it’s clear that between my grandfather’s family & my grandmother’s we just weren’t built to get along with white people who didn’t know how to recognize danger. My aunt gave me a list of names & I’m backtracking through some very muddy waters right now.
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At work, our building is on lockdown because of NATO protestors so I'm making my own fun. How goes your day?
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I see a lot of "slavery is over, black people should move on" rhetoric on the internet. And mostly I roll my eyes & keep it moving. But I notice that people who say these things lack historical knowledge. They don't know about the Red Summer in which race riots broke out in 36 cities. The government blamed unions, Bolsheviks, & even the NAACP for what happened since it was apparently impossible to blame white Americans for the lynchings, rapes, & general mayhem that triggered the riots. In fact Attorney General Palmer filed a report that faulted black people for fighting back.

"ill-governed reaction toward race rioting...In all discussions of the recent race riots there is reflected the note of pride that the Negro has found himself. that he has 'fought back,' that never again will he tamely submit to violence and intimidation. "the dangerous spirit of defiance and vengeance at work among the Negro leaders."

Mind you, the Red Summer came after the East St. Louis Riots, the Atlanta Race Riots, some 2400 documented lynchings and countless other acts of violence that didn't receive much (if any) official attention. The Rosewood Massacre, & the destruction of Black Wall Street in Tulsa followed, and still there was no move on the part of the government to actively change the racial climate in America until the 1960's. Jim Crow laws (in effect from 1876 to 1965) were the successors to the Black codes that were on the books from 1800-1866, and if think that the Civil Rights Movement fixed everything the day separate but equal was legally abolished? You haven't been paying attention. Look at America's track record when it comes to welfare reform (and the mythical Welfare Queen), the War on Drugs that conveniently was more likely to heavily punish black offenders, predatory lending to black homebuyers, treating the pain of black children, & of course police harassment and brutality. America's got a long way to go, and ignoring the past or the present won't fix a thing. You want black people to let things? Stop supporting the systems that oppress them.

karnythia: (Default)
I wrote Avengers fanfic. It ends up smutty, but it does have a story about Clint & Natasha. Damn you fandom, I was almost free! No seriously, I'm deep in squee and so this happened.
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Just saw Avengers. About to be all the fangirl ever over it. Fell free to squee & spoil in the comments to this post. Welcome topics include every single Hulk scene & anything to do with ass kicking.
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Had my midyear review (no I haven't been there 6 months & I can't explain why I had it at 4 1/2 months), & was told to be more aggressive and not so shy. I'm sure it will shock none of you to discover that the person reviewing me has never actually worked with me directly. In other news, kid #1 is now nearly my height & must find a job to pay for his incredible consumption of food & shoes. Kid #2 has recently discovered Dr. Seuss & now demands 3 books a day. He is for sale since he's too young to work & this cute kid shit comes with a side of sarcasm. The hubby lives & works, though he's mostly just sleeping this week since he has the flu. All in all things are proceeding apace & I haven't set my school on fire despite many many moments this quarter where it seemed like the thing to do. How goes life in your worlds?
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In DC for work. Apparently trying to come down with something since I slept a good 10 hours last night. Day full of meetings ahead which does not please me, but there are fireworks tonight & I imagine I will see people for shenanigans this week. How goes your Monday?
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This is why I don’t take my kids to sit on anybody’s lap at the cotdamned mall. What the hell kind of instincts do you have to ignore to hand your baby over to a stranger that makes them hysterical? This poor kid is sitting on Pennywise’s knee trying to stay alive ya dig?
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Thinking of how little value is placed on the lives of WOC. Especially dark skinned WOC. Want to write something interrogating our higher rates of violence (sexual & otherwise), but I’m not sold I have the soul for the responses. Really. We barely scratch the surface of the difference between WOC & white women when it comes to talking rape stats & domestic violence. Childhood sexual abuse? Little more than a whisper & given the fact that many women don’t report rape by strangers or people known to them, how many kids aren’t reporting assaults to anyone? How many predators target children of color knowing that they’re the least likely to be believed or protected? How many WOC disappear or are found dead & no one bothers to really investigate what happened to them?
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I could be Rekia Boyd. Easily. I can’t tell you how many warm nights have included me hanging out in the park with friends. Just shooting the shit you know? Have we been loud? Probably. But there’s a reason it was an off duty cop “new to the neighborhood” & not a patrol car.

People who grew up in the area wouldn’t call the cops over something as mundane as people hanging out in the park. Because they know that Chicago police can be trigger happy, and no one wants that on their conscience over some hollering. I don’t buy the idea that a large group of black bodies = crime, but I know a lot of people who trumpet on & on about the joys of gentrification do. Lawndale is definitely facing gentrification as the West Loop gets to be the newest hot spot. Garfield Park & Lawndale are right there & full of big cheap houses that could be worth millions in a few years.

So, there are new neighbors who talk about how great the properties are & how scary the long time residents are even if they never quite say why they find them so frightening. The cop mistaking a phone at someone’s ear for a gun? That’s part of the same system of scary black man myths that killed Trayvon Martin. It’s so embedded in America’s collective psyche that we’re criminals that it probably didn’t even occur to this cop that black people could be out enjoying one of the warmest March days in history & that not be a reason to suspect anything more than an impromptu block party. No weapons were recovered at the scene, a woman is dead, a man is injured & has been charged with assault for standing outside on his phone. That’s what it means to be black in America.
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Had a conversation with kid #1 (12 years old), about how to handle himself if he’s been stopped by the cops, or someone like Zimmerman. Somewhere in the middle of explaining how to protect his head & neck if a cop decided to kick his ass (happened to my husband when he was 13), and how to respond if a cop calls him a nigger (happened to me at 12) I had this sudden ridiculous urge to start screaming. I didn’t.

I kept talking to him, and he mentioned racist kids at his school & how there’s one teacher who lets them get away with it, but who threatens to write him up if he says anything back. And I asked him if he wanted us to get involved & he said no because he’d already handled it. How did he handle it? He told the teacher to go ahead & write him up and then they could all talk to the principal about the things she lets kids say to him. She left him alone after that so he doesn’t want me to come wreck shit.

Which…says a lot about my kid & about our family I guess, but the reality is that it’s good that he’s learning to defend himself against the system. And shit like that is why we stay in cities & don’t live in suburbs. My parents moved me to burbs in high school, and it was a lot more than one teacher turning a blind eye to racism. I don’t have any answers for other parents of young black males. None. I’m muddling through & hoping that this can all be life lessons he never needs to use.

But, his 19 year old cousin is planning to come over & talk to him about dealing with the cops because he’s been there and done that. And I just…we’re passing down through the generations life lessons on how to handle/avoid police brutality because it’s just that necessary. And people want to claim that America is post racial, or racism isn’t widespread. How many individual acts does it take to make up a system? How many beatings, rapes, & deaths will it take for that system to be acknowledged by everyone?
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So I wrote The Crime of Being Black: Trayvon Martin and the Everyday Reality of Racist Violence in America for Global Comment. It says a lot of what I'm thinking about this case, but not everything. Because expressing everything would involve profanity & tears. Kid #1 is at that age where he goes places alone & wears hoodies & talks to girls on the phone & I just...that could be my son. Or one of his friends. Think about that when you find young black men suspicious simply for being outside in the world.
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My hair has been in twists for the last 3 months. I took it down last night & today I wore it in a big puff. After maybe an hour of work my hair has been touched three times. All by white women, all of whom asked if they could touch it while their hands were already in my hair. Two of them I know & like well enough to gently explain why hair touching isn’t okay, but the third was a total stranger and hungover to boot. Aside from the general icky feeling I have about people touching me, I find myself perplexed. What is so unusual to white women (and it is always white women), that they cannot resist touching our hair? I see lots of people with hair that looks nice & to be honest I have no deep abiding desire to touch anyone else’s hair, much less that of a perfect stranger. Mostly I think or say whatever compliment & keep it moving. So, what’s with the hair touching? Why can’t you keep your hands to yourself?
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Remember the squares everyone knitted a while ago?! They are officially a blanky & it is gorgeous! Thank you all so much for the squares, the magnets, & the cards.

Photobucket
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Kid #2 who is ostensibly autistic & incapable of conversation called me at work today to tell me about the fun he had at school. He dialed/found my work number all by himself in the hubby's phone, told me about the bubbles & his friend Brian & then gave the phone to the hubby and went back to playing. I am over the moon right now.
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Kid #1 had his first date & his first kiss today. I am not amused. OMG I am not amused.
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Our brand new landlords are in foreclosure. Yes, we just moved in a month ago. No they didn't say a word & since the paperwork was just filed 2 weeks ago, we had no idea. I just...what in the fuck? Really, what the fuck?

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