pan-of-michaela asked:

If I'm white, how can I avoid being racist, and be an ally for people of color instead? And I'm very sorry if any of this comes off as offensive

I am not offended. I also do not subscribe to the notion of “ally,” in the sense of how it is used here.

Ally implies partnerships, agreements to combine or unite as a force, to receive mutual benefits. One group can still dominate, or receive unequal benefits, though both may receive “mutual” benefits. Mutual and equal do not mean the same thing. Mutual can still leave the aggrieved party (in the context of your question, this would be black/brown people) lacking, though both parties “got something,” (a mutual benefit).

As such, “allies” fail to realize that even when mutual benefits are received, the dominant culture can, and often does, benefit MORE. In this sense, I just don’t use the term “ally.” It simply does not represent a complete tearing asunder of racist systems of oppression. People are either willing to do the necessary anti-racism work, or they are not. The word “ally” does not fit into this for me. Don’t misunderstand; I don’t have a “problem” with the word. I just do not use it this way. If you are doing the work, and “doing it right,” you are anti-racist (not my ally). You do it because it is the right thing to do and not because of any benefits you may receive. In actuality, if you are “doing it right,” you will probably LOSE benefits, and this is why so many people do not seriously try to eradicate racism.

Things you can do: Speak up, no matter how uncomfortable you are, no matter where you are, and call out racist crap when you see it. Educate yourself about oppression and racism. This means READ… a LOT. Boost (amplify) the voices of those black and brown people who talk about racism. Amplifying doesn’t mean you add your thoughts to what you amplify. Just share the material.  When you read about someone who made racist comments, take the time to call or email their school, employer, etc, and voice your outrage. Hold these cretins accountable. Perhaps, most importantly, remember these conversations and actions need to start with you… in YOUR spaces… at home, school, work, relationships, circles, etc. In the USA, racism started with white people, so address it at its root.

I want to apologize to you because I am dealing with a dying grandmother, and I will not be able to respond to any further inquiries you may have in the coming days. In fact, this is the last thing I saw before leaving the house. Feel free to ask further questions in a week or so. It took a lot of brain power to respond to you, but I didn’t want to leave you waiting. I’m headed to the hospice center now. 

Thank you for dropping by my inbox.


I’ve just gone through Vera Bradley training for the fall. I’m ashamed to admit this, but there’s actually a pattern coming out that I LOVE. I adore this pattern. It makes me a little angry, though, because it’s called Sunset Safari but it looks more of an Indian design while the inspiration “sizzle” video showed very tribal, African sources of inspiration- clearly some of the motifs are Mehndi inspired! Not exactly African… you may think you come off as cultured, upper class American Vera Bradley women, by naming patterns like “Versailles, and Baroque, but you’re kind of failing right now.

It is clear that the majority of the world’s people have not received the memo, but many scientists have been saying for decades now that biological races are not real. They do not exist. They do not occur naturally. We made them up. Generations after generations of children have been taught to believe in races as if their existence is a matter of commonsense knowledge and something nature forced on us. Meanwhile, scientists keep saying that we are one species and that’s it. We are not a collection of biological races or subspecies. Races, they say, are cultural creations rather than biological realities. There are no walls between us except those we imagine.”

 - Guy P. Harrison from Race And Reality: What Everyone Should Know About Our Biological Diversiry


This totally tubular tuber is neither from Jerusalem nor an artichoke. Like many trendy indie rock bands these days, its name is a complete misnomer and misrepresentation of its personality (we’re looking at you, Tennis and Girl Talk). In 2002 this perennial plant won “best soup vegetable” at some obscure festival in France, which one can only assume is the Cannes version of hipster foods. Think of them as potato’s sweeter, nuttier cousin from Portland, Maine who works in a yarn shop. Be warned: their high inulin levels can cause major flatulence and tummy aches, so if you’re trying to impress the speakeasy “mixologist” out on a date, do not order the goddamn brioche-crusted fish with Jerusalem Artichoke puree and pumpernickel croutons or you will totes blow it. (Literally.)

Actually, describing it as a cut is a misnomer. The administration’s ten-year plan actually calls for an increase in the national security budget over the next decade — but it would scale back the 18 percent boost previously set for that period.

As Obama made clear in a brief speech while standing with Panetta on January 5, “the growth in the defense budget will slow, but the fact of the matter is this: It will still grow.”  Panetta likewise said on Jan. 26 that the administration’s initiative represented “a real cut in terms of what our projected growth would be.”

Here’s the backdrop: Between 2000 and 2009, the average annual growth in national security budget authority was around 6 percent. That made spending go up by around two-thirds, to nearly $720 billion. Today, national security accounts for more than half of so-called “discretionary” spending — the portion decided annually by Congress.

Before Obama announced his plan, the Pentagon was counting on annual budget increases over the next 10 years – totaling roughly $500 billion, according to Panetta. While the new plan calls for its spending to drop in 2013, the budget would then revert to growth, administration officials say. They have not said what the average annual increase would be from 2017 to 2021, but two senior administration officials who asked not to be named said the result after 10 years would still be a larger budget, even after inflation is taken into account.



Perhaps I was right, or perhaps I was not

I could not bear to write another shameless poem

If you would witness the tapestry of these words

You would find yourself orbiting around these moot binaries

I would type this down on a blank texture

For all the words I have lost in every space and line breaks

Which not all of them hold true

The fate of my existence still lies within you

- Pilyang Husband