roots of revolution

6

Making History | 1.01

Leighton Meester as Deborah Revere

okay, so the BatB gown redesign is happening

Criteria that I’ll be sticking by:

  • Historically inspired, but not necessarily historically accurate. The original animated film made very little attempt at creating a period-correct French ballgown, and it became an iconic costume that I see everywhere
  • Easy to move in - Emma Watson specifically requested something that didn’t restrict her when she danced. I’m going to leave her comments about corsetry, oppression of women, etc. out of the picture, because this at least is a legitimate concern - modern women don’t learn to waltz in hoopskirts or corsets or bustles, generally; if you’re doing a complicated choreographed routine with a half-costume half-CGI (or however they did the Beast) partner and cameras everywhere it makes sense that you’d want to be able to move around. “Easy to move in” isn’t necessarily something I worry about, but then again I’ve been in and out of corsets for ten years.
    • also like half the point of this is to prove to Ms. Watson that it’s possible for a gown to be more historically rooted AND easy to wear AND pretty to look at, so…
  • No panniers, despite the period kind of calling for them. Because I, personally, hate panniers, and this is my redesign. (Also ‘pannier’ and ‘easy to move in’ doesn’t correlate unless you’re a pro, which the intended actress is not)
  • No bustles, even though I love bustles, because “a ballgown inspired by the aesthetics and design choices of 18th-century robes a la francaise” and “massive late-Victorian bustle” do not go together. Truthfully, the original gown has something to be said for using 1860s-era evening wear as a base inspiration (much like Cinderella’s gown, actually), but the rest of the film seems firmly rooted in pre-French Revolution styles so that’s what I’m sticking with.
    • If you all would rather I do something closer in visual appearance to the original film, please tell me! I’m always game for a romp through the latter half of the 1800s.
  • This is a fairytale. If I’m caught between an option that looks nice and an option that’s more historically accurate, I’m going to choose the one that looks nice.

FOR ALL YOU LADIES WHO WEAR, CARRY OR HAVE THIS SYMBOL AS A TATT, TAKE NOTES.
THE FLEUR DE LIS OR “FLOWER OF LILY” IS SYMBOL NOT QUITE KNOWN FOR IT’S ORIGIN, BUT IS KNOWN IN MANY PLACES, MAINLY FRANCE ALSO WELL SEEN IN LOUISIANA. OVER THE YEARS IT HAS TAKEN MANY MEANINGS, BUT BY IN LARGE IT HAS BEEN KNOWN TO REPRESENT FRENCH ROYALTY AND WITH THAT ASSOCIATION, STRENGTH, PURITY  & POWER.  
THE CHRISTIANS, MAINLY THE CATHOLICS USE IT A SYMBOL OF THEIR TRINITY AND AT TIMES Mary THE MOTHER OF THE NAZARENE. THIS PASSAGE GIVES A BRIEF REASON AS TO IT’S ADOPTION AND EMBRACE BY FRANCE:
The fleur-de-lis’ symbolic origins with French monarchs may stem from the baptismal lily used in the crowning of King Clovis I.
An ancient legend tell, a golden lily flower given at his baptism to Clovis, king of the Franks (466–511), by an angel or even the Virgin Mary. The lily was said to have sprung from the tears shed by Eve as she left Eden. The lily flower was a symbol of his purification upon his conversion to Christianity.

DOESN’T SOUND SO BAD RIGHT?  WAIT, THERE’S MORE. THE FLEUR DE LIS LATER BECAME AS THIS PASSAGE ILLUSTRATES: The dark code was an arrangement of controls received in Louisiana in 1724 from other French settlements around the globe, intended to represent the state’s slave populace. Those guidelines included marking slaves with the fleur-de-lis as discipline for fleeing.
THAT’S RIGHT, MARKING SLAVES. NOW IT COULD BE SAID I’M MAKING A BIG DEAL OUT OF THAT DARK LITTLE PIECE OF HISTORY, BUT  GIVEN THAT THIS LITTLE TIDBIT EFFECTED A WHOLE GROUP OF PPL NEGATIVELY…. LET’S EXPLORE.

 The fleur de lis is a symbol that is deeply ingrained in Louisiana’s history. Seen in architecture, the state flag and on the helmets of the Saints, it’s everywhere.
   But while it is now seen as the mark of our great state, it was once used to mark slaves.
   “Code noir, those words are French and mean black code,” said slave historian Dr. Ibrahima Seck.
   The black code was a set of regulations adopted in Louisiana in 1724 from other French colonies around the world, meant to govern the state’s slave population. Seck said those rules included branding slaves with the fleur de lis as punishment for running away.
   “He would be taken before a court and the sentence would be being branded on one shoulder and with the fleur de lis, and then they would crop their ears,” Seck said.
   Seck said if that slave ran away a second time, he or she would be branded again, but with another brutality added. Their hamstrings would be cut.
   To him, this symbol only brings sad thoughts.
   “As an African I find it painful, and I think people whose ancestors were enslaved here may feel it even harder than I do as an African,” Seck said.
   Tulane history professor Terence Fitzmorris said the fleur de lis has roots in the French the revolution and, similar to other symbols, was used as a mark of supremacy.
“It was a brutal way of scarring someone and also identifying someone as a particular troublemaker,” Fitzmorris said.
KNOWING THIS, MAKES IT A LITTLE HARD TO SEE THE FLEUR IN ANY SORT OF “GLORIOUS” LIGHT, BUT IT SHOULD AT THE VERY LEAST MAKE U RECONSIDER PROUDLY SPORTING IT ESP. IF YOU CALL YOURSELF BLACK OR AFRICAN AMERICAN. IT’S ONE THING TO BE CALLED A SLAVE, BUT TO WILLINGLY WEAR A MARK OF SLAVERY AND BRUTALITY ASSOCIATED WITH IT PROUDLY IS JUST MENTAL ILLNESS. I’M LOOKING AT YOU BEYONCE’!!!

ALTHOUGH, TO BE FAIR, I’M AWARE IS MOM IS FROM LOUISIANA (ALL THE MORE REASON TO NOT GLORIFY IT) BUT HER AND HER MOM’S LINE DEREON LOGO SPORTS AN INVERTED FLEUR DE LIS, WE COULD ASSUME THAT IT’S A KNOCK AT THE DARK HISTORY THAT THE SYMBOL REPRESENTS. WE COULD……IF IT WEREN’T FOR HER PROUDLY SPORTING A COON TRENCH COAT PAINTED BY A FRENCH ARTIST BY THE NAME OF LA FORGE.

IF HOWEVER IT IS A KNOCK, AND THE INTENT WAS TO USE IT AS SAYING IDK “WE’VE OVERCOME THE ATROCITY”, THE FOOLISH IDEA OF TAKING SOMETHING THAT WAS USED TO OPPRESS OR SLANDER YOU OR YOUR FOREPARENTS AND “CLAIMING” IT NOW AS A “DEFIANT” FORM OF “EMPOWERING” YOURSELF IS JUST…….C’MON SON!

the-w-a-r-d-e-d  asked:

Sorry if you've already answered this somewhere else, but can you recommend any good books either about Iran or like essential reading. I just finished The Soul of Iran by Afshin Molavi, am starting to re-read the Shahnameh and have read some Rumi but wish I didn't have to read the translations. Any other book recommendations you have would be great too :)

Iran Between two revolutions

Modern Iran roots and results of revolution

All the Shah’s men

These are all books

:)

flowerwork (for colored girls).

“your heart is the softest place on earth. take care of it.”
-nayyirah waheed.

we need a new language.
a new way to speak in secrets
and honest pain,
space to do some flowerwork
on the inside.
to plant tenderness
along the walls of our souls,
and feed it with
sunlight
and
sage.
to bury seeds of self love
in the pit of our bellies, watch them
take
root
like the quietest revolution possible.

we are flowers in fire
fighting to stay soft.
each petal a miracle
each petal still growing
despite the concrete
this world pours into our bodies
to make sure that we stay strong,
spines straight
to make sure that when we break,
it hurts.
but still we grow here
at the intersection of
peace and wild
black girl glow,
black girl grow,
black girl bloom
so hard you break the tiny pot
they’ll try to plant you in, and
refuse to be walked over,
you’re not a daisy,
you’re not a weed,
you’re a venus flytrap.


never let anyone tell you that you do anything well,
for a black girl.
you are too much black girl magic
for their blonde cookie cutter standards,
their expectations
are an unbalanced equation
with no space for your
success to factor in.
black girl, be black, girl.
black girl be so much more than pretty.
be all that and a bag of chips wonderful,
be a blazing sunset,
the calm before the storm,
be the poet and the poem,
a rebellious quiet,
be a loud revolution blooming into itself.


for this flowerwork,
you’ll need to build yourself
a casket
of perm scabs,
skin bleach,
and used match sticks.
to bury every moment you didn’t feel good enough,
every time they’ve
put an asterisk next to your existence,
called you pretty for a black girl,
every time
you’ve been told
to identify with one petal,
as if you are not a flower.

anonymous asked:

Why is it so significant that most of les Amis are from the south?

  Aah I’m so glad you asked!  

First I just want to clear up for my fellow translation-dependent readers that “the South” isn’t quite what Hugo says– he says they’re from “the Midi”. It’s a totally understandable translation and gets across a lot of what’s intended, but it’s not quite the same thing– a bit like an American historical reference about “the Deep South” instead of “ The South”, in that there’s some specificity and nuance there. So really, I’m going to be talking about why the Amis are, except Legle, from The Midi.  

TL, DR;  The Amis being from the Midi is another contextual clue/reminder of how much political turmoil France is going through in canon era far beyond what happens to the characters we follow, and another nod to the Amis in general *not* being naive or ignorant of the danger of what they’re doing **It may also be an attempt to remind Hugo’s contemporary readers that the South, which seems to have fallen into a stereotype of being reactionary or monarchist, was also home to very devotedly republican thinkers and activists.

Going on!:   

Like so much about Les Mis, it has its roots in the French Revolution. The Midi was the home of some of the earliest and most passionate revolutionary groups–there’s a reason the theme of the Republic was “ La Marseillaise ”, after all.  Volunteers, agitators and organizers from the Midi were some of the most active, involved–and violent– in the early phases of the revolution, on the ground level if not always at the level of elected leaders. ***

And people of the Midi were also some of the most active, involved–and violent– in the counter-revolutionary movement, from the earliest days on. 

And “on” very much means into the 1830s.

Keep reading

Little details to love about Mad Max:

The way the wives speak.

ex 1. Angharad, is that just the wind, or a furious vexation?

ex 2. I’d say it was your manifest destiny.

In the beginning of the movie, when Joe first enters the cell where the wives have been held there is one thing that sets these rooms apart from any other: books. Piles and piles of books surrounding the antechamber, lining the bedroom.
The wives, cut off from any social interaction save their own, surrounded by mountains of books to while away the time, speak like so many introverted, super intelligent, library-bound preteen girls, with brains full of vocab words they are determined to crowbar into every opportunity. They know the words work, they just haven’t had enough experience to know that they don’t really fit.
You hear Capable use the words ‘manifest destiny’ and you feel shot straight back into seventh grade and can almost picture the wives sitting around in a close circle, taking turns reading while the others listen raptly, argue, ask questions.
It’s a subtle and thoughtful touch to a group of characters that, without screaming about it, clues the audience in to exactly how long some of the girls have been kept prisoner and what their private world has been like.

8

The Maryanne Moodie team has always been crazy about the wondrous world of color. From the fibers we hand pick for our yarn packs to the hues we surround ourselves with daily, color’s natural ability to awaken our senses is profound and dynamic.

When we think about the spectrum of colors that saturate our clothing, furniture, hair, and paint products, it’s astonishing to realize that, up until 150 years ago, all color was derived from plant and animal materials. The advent of synthetic dyes in the mid 1800’s made it possible to create vibrant colors without the use of natural materials. However, synthetic processes limited the complex diversity of hues that can be achieved using natural dyes. Feeling the need to connect with the rich and global history of natural dyeing and celebrate the colorful bounty of the environment, we embarked on an ambitious venture: to create hand-dyed weaving kits made from our favorite dyes of flora and fauna.

We chose six natural dyes to showcase the range and depth of color that natural materials can produce. Paired with a mix of fibers including silk, cotton, and wool, the end result is a textural medley that would make mother nature one proud mama.

We dyed our fibers using a process known as the cool dyeing method, where the fibers are soaked in a dye pot without the use of heat. Sustainable as it is effective, this method allows color extraction to occur subtly and without the risk of damaging more delicate animal fibers such as silk and wool.

Once our yarn had absorbed the color, the we pulled the skeins from the dye bath to be rinsed and dried. Nothing quite beats seeing the fruit of your labor, especially if it means beholding a mountainous, multicolored spread of freshly dyed fiber.

But we didn’t stop with yarn – the final additions to our Natural Dye Weaving Kit are the hand-dyed logwood and indigo looms. Our logwood looms are a rich, deep magenta that still highlights the natural texture of the original pine. Our indigo looms, dipped twice in a vat of the historical dye, are a mysterious sea-blue.

Paired with a matching yarn pack of a “warm” or “cool” colorway, the complete weaving kit is a visual feast for your eyes and weaving fingers alike. Limited edition, handmade with love, and eco-conscious, this is a great addition to any weaver’s collection. Visit our Etsy to get yours!


To offer a sense of the rich history and colors of our dye materials, here’s a teaser of each!

LAC (Laccifer lacca):

This beautiful pale pink comes from an unexpected, living source – a bug! The female Lac insect produces a hard resin, from which you can extract the dye for this blushing color. In ancient India, this buggy substance was used as a skin beauty treatment.

LOGWOOD (Haematoxylon campechianum):

This brilliant purple harbors quite a sensational history. Extracted from the roots of South America’s yellow heartwood tree, logwood was an incredibly valuable natural dye material from the New World. Struggling for control of logwood forests in the Americas, British and Spanish pirates battled over the valuable dye.

MADDER (Rubia tinctorum):

This ancient dye is also linked to early American history – the red coats of the British, originally dyed with the cochineal beetle, were dyed with madder root during the American Revolution. Madder root is also a key ingredient in the secret and complex recipe for the color “Turkey Red”, which traditionally included calf’s blood, sheep’s dung, and oak galls!

FUSTIC (Chlorophora tinctoria):
This yellow dye, derived from the tree Maclura Tinctoria, was used to dye military uniforms their khaki color during World War I.

OSAGE ORANGE (Maclura pomifera):
This beautiful buttercup color is native to the United States. Originally found in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, the Osage tree now grows across America, and the wood can even be foraged in Prospect Park!

INDIGO (Indicum):

Originally used in India, this valuable dye is now grown in the United States. Introduced by Eliza Lucas Pinckney in colonial America, Indigo quickly became one of colonial South Carolina’s biggest cash crops. Indigo is also traditionally used to dye blue jeans, although most denim you would buy today is synthetically dyed.

Chanukah Themed Starters

“Why did you light all of the candles on the first night? That’s not how this works!”

“This is the fifth time in a row you beat me at the dreidel. Either you’re cheating or I should really take you to Vegas with me.”

“It’s ironic that the holiday with roots in a revolution against assimilation has become the Jewish equivalent of Christmas.”

“I know you’re excited about Chanukah, but I think twenty menorahs would be a fire hazard.”

“How could you mess up making a dreidel so badly? It doesn’t even spin!”

“I know non-Jewish people don’t know that many Chanukah songs, but playing the dreidel song on loop for three hours isn’t a good way to try to celebrate the holiday.”

“These latkes look like hockey pucks! How long did you fry them for?”

“No, we’re not going to use money as a prize for the dreidel game. I know it’s a gambling game, but it’s not in the holiday spirit to lose your life savings in a game that could be played by children.”

“Wait, you eat latkes with barbecue sauce? I can understand sour cream or applesauce, maybe even ketchup, but your choice of sauce is just plain weird.”

yaymacbeth  asked:

Do you think Laurens would have gone into politics if he had survived? And if he had, would he have been able to further the abolitionist cause?

Since Laurens served on the SC House of Representatives multiple times in his life, I think he likely would have continued in politics if he had survived.  I think he certainly would have served at the state level, but the Laurens family was also quite well-known and influential, so he may have taken on a position at the federal level.  It would have been very interesting to see how Laurens continued fighting slavery after the war.  His plan for the black regiment was very rooted in the Revolution, so I often wonder what he would have proposed during times of peace.  I do have my doubts that he would have been able to do much in regards to ending slavery.  He faced much opposition during his lifetime, and this would have continued had he survived the war.

Vodou and Race

Race and how it ties into Haitian vodou is a very important and incredibly complex topic to write about, and it’s one I’ve been wanting to write about for awhile. I’ve been really reticent to do so for one big glaring reason: I am white. I do not want my privilege and background to take center stage when I talk about vodou, but it is an inevitable topic that is bigger than I am and that white and/or European practitioners routinely do not talk about. I understand why, at least from my perspective and experiences–for me, I do not want to engage Haitain vodouisants and people of color in conversations that are really not desired. One of my goals in my vodou community that is largely made of Haitian practitioners is to be as unobtrusive as possible to other people’s experience and practice of vodou, be it social or religious, and so I do a lot of listening and not a lot of talking, particularly when the topic of race and the participation of white folks comes up.

But, it is vitally important to talk about race and how it is tied with vodou, especially for white and/or European practitioners and for outsiders, and it is important for white folks to do the talking about whiteness in vodou, instead of leaving the burden on Haitians. Vodou has consistently been taken advantage of by white folks who exploit the practices for personal gain and the participation of white folks is routinely waved about [by white folks] as this sort of ‘going native’ trope, wherein the white person is participating in this exotic practice and lending credibility to it, even if said white person completely goes far afield from what vodou actually is.

When you boil it down to bare bones, vodou is two things; a framework for healing in a world where suffering is the norm, and the living history of Haiti and the Haitian people. I’ve written a bit about how vodou heals, so I’m going to leave that by the side for right now. The living history of Haiti, though, is another matter and it’s one that is hard to explain in a way that makes sense if you haven’t seen vodou in person, but it is what vodou is–it traces the history of Haitians from Africa through enslavement to independence.

You can’t separate the history of Haiti from race and therefore cannot separate race from vodou. Vodou’s foundation was built upon the backs of enslaved Africans who dreamed of something better and then reached out and took it. From the very beginning, white Europeans have been the oppressors–first the Spanish, then the French, then the French again post-revolution when France demanded reparations for the loss of the colony, then the US using the Monroe Doctrine, then the US again when Aristide was deposed [accounts say it was US Special Forces that ‘escorted’ Aristide out of the country during the coup d’etat], and, most currently, the US-populated UN ‘peace-keeping’ forces that have trafficked Haitian women and children. Haiti is a popular cause for white folks to rally behind in an effort to make themselves feel good, but almost nothing is actually done–see the Red Cross financial debacle post-earthquake.

Post-revolution, almost every single white European was either ejected from the country or executed. A few were allowed to stay, and they were doctors and medical professionals, a group of soldiers who had deserted from the French forces, and a small group of Germans who had been allowed to live in the north prior to the revolution and who had aided Africans escaping enslavement.

One of the lasting effects of the French occupation after the revolution has been the social stratification based on skin color. Very light-skinned or white folks are often still referred to as gwo blan/big whites and light skin and ‘good hair’ [hair that mimics European characteristics of being non-textured] is a highly valued trait. White folks in general and especially those in positions of power are often distrusted, and with good reason.

So, how does that all play out in vodou?

The biggest example that I like to talk about is Ezili Freda*. Freda is considered the Lwa who most often concerns Herself with perfection [versus love]. She is the one who helps create the best possible life in the most pleasing manner.  She IS perfection embodied, and that’s where the reflection of the history of race comes in. Freda is almost always portrayed as very light-skinned or white with straight or slightly wavy hair, as She reflects the desire and embodiment of what is considered perfection among many Haitians. That’s not to say that Haitians don’t find all shades of skin attractive, but the underlying message is that lighter-skinned and/or white folks hold the power and are able to achieve more, and that’s not necessarily wrong in the context of colonial power structures and the matrix of white supremacy abroad.

Another piece of how Freda moves in the world also reflects the reality of skin color in Haiti. She is often unhappy because nothing is as good as She would like it to be–nothing is actually perfect. When She comes down into possession, She often cries or sobs. This is not necessarily because She is displeased with anyone, but more because nothing is ever good enough in Her mind. It is never, ever perfect and She is never, ever treated how She envisions to be the perfect manner.

This diverges in two ways. First, it reflects the idea and reality that white folks have this insatiable appetite for the finer things in life, which is also not inaccurate. Haiti sees a lot of white tourism and I can’t imagine what it must be like for a Haitian who makes an average of $100/year to see white folks with designer handbags and expensive sneakers staying in gated, fenced resorts and touring their neighborhoods to gawk at the relative poverty.

Second, it reflects the reality that even a light-skinned mixed race person will not be treated the same as a white person. Part of Freda’s story is that She is always the mistress and never the wife–She is what men seek out for comfort and entertainment, but She is often not valued as much as the white woman they may seek to marry. There’s a lot about gender and sexual politics in there, too, but it’s also a comment on the perpetuation of the ‘one drop’ rule that was and is alive and well in Haiti and beyond.

Ezili Freda is not the only light-skinned Lwa–Met Agwe is considered light-skinned with light eyes–and there are a few white Lwa, including Ogou Sen Jak, who, depending on lineage, is white and French, and there is a Lwa who I am not sure is part of my lineage or who comes separate from Freda who is often white or exceptionally light-skinned.

White is also held up as a ‘clean’ color in vodou. We wear white for a lot of Lwa, take white baths, cover our heads with white during certain things, and generally hold white up as a bastion of purity. The color white is assigned a lot of power, and indeed holds a lot of power. Damballah, the Lwa who often takes the form of a huge white snake, is the epitome of this. He is considered to be one of the strongest, oldest Lwa, and His primary form is the white serpent [If He chooses to take the form of a man, He does not come as a white man]. Anything given to Him must largely be white, from the libation He takes to His food and His gifts. In possession, He is covered by a white sheet so He is protected from anything impure.

In contrast, the Lwa that are considered to largely be Haitian in origin [sometimes this is accurate and sometimes not] are mostly dark-skinned and They are often considered much more volatile in temperament than Lwa who are often conceived of as originating in Africa. Sometimes it is [inaccurately] held that the darker-skinned a Lwa appears in a dream, the more malevolent They are. In addition to holding subtle and not-so-subtle comments about race within Their appearances, They also reflect Haitian people directly–the majority of Haitians are not what would be considered light-skinned. Light-skinned and white people are definitively the minority in Haiti, yet they are believed to, and do, hold an incredible amount of power and social status thanks to the underlying racism that took hold during the occupation of the island by Europeans.

Haitians, however, have a loud and definitive history of not accepting colonial rule. Vodou reflects this beyond the remembrance Bwa Kayiman and resultant independence and ejection of the imperialist French. I’ve mentioned it before, but the beginning of the priye/opening prayer of every ceremony is always in French and specifically the Old French that the colonizers would have spoken. This is a covert-to-the-outsider way of remembering the rasin/roots of revolution and a clear message of ‘this held us back, now we take it and use it for own purposes’. Vodou keeps history fresh–slavery and the overthrown of the French is not distant, but lives as a clear part of current Haitian reality and memory. Vodou is a means of constant revolution as it empowers those who practice it to mitigate the effects of oppressive factors in day-to-day life.

After it was made it clear that vodou was not just something I was going to witness and have no part of, my very first conversation with my Manmi–who is Haitian–began with me very hesitantly asking if it was even appropriate for me to be there because I am white. I didn’t get to finish my SUPER AWKWARD delivery of my question before Manmi cut me off and told me the Lwa are for everyone regardless of skin color. It seemed like the question exhausted her and I’ve never brought it up with her again. She’s pretty open about the fact that she gets a lot of shit from other Haitian manbos and houngans because she has white people in her house, and not an insignificant number, either. The way she tells it, other Haitians get jealous because they assume she is very financially well-off due to having many white children and, while this is not true, it speaks to a larger issue in Haiti and the Diaspora–whites hold a significant amount of wealth while being a minority in Haiti and Haitian vodou.

Not all lineage heads feel the same way about white folks as my Manmi does. In the city where Manmi’s US residence is, there are close to twenty other active sosyetes and very few will entertain a white person attending services, nevermind initiating into their lineage. I get questions a lot from other white people about this that boil down to ‘it’s not fair that they exclude people based on skin color’, and it makes my head hurt. Like, are you listening to the words that come out of your mouth? I can’t speak for anyone else, but I find it COMPLETELY LOGICAL that many Haitians want nothing to do with white people and won’t have white people in their sosyete. Beyond the blatant history of terrible treatment at the hands of white people, there is a huge trend of white people showing up to vodou and then departing and staging ‘voodoo rituals’ or declaring themselves a priest/ess and doing and selling things as authentic vodou that is anything but. Lots of white folks can’t seem to get out of their own way and realize that not everything is up for grabs, no one is bound to teach us anything, and we do not and should not have access to every space no matter how interested or sincere we may be. We do not get points for being polite or being ‘good’.

The trend for white folks to pick up vodou is kind of scary–and I say this being a white person who has picked up vodou. There’s a lot of bullshit, and a significant amount of it is perpetuated by white folks who want to appear exotic or like they have picked up special mystical powers from being in proximity to people of color who do things that look strange and unusual if your only exposure to religion has been the inside of a church. White people often complain that vodou costs money and requires a lot of work, and that is both an expression of privilege and an absolute blindness to the fact that white people have contributed to a lot of that. Vodou is insular not just because there are ritual secrets to be kept, but because white people show up to play tourist and by ‘voodoo dolls’ and otherwise be gross. Keeping the religion insular and a lot of information bound by initiation ensures that it is easy for a legitimate practitioner to spot a fraud and keeps information that could be dangerous in the hands of the stupid and unsupervised away from public consumption.

Most recently, there has been this growing practice to take Haitian culture out of vodou with the goal of making it accessible to white folks, which is gross, or only utilize the aspects of vodou that are palatable to white people, which is also gross. Most often, it is removing the liturgical language of Kreyol–which removes a LOT of meaning and information that someone who doesn’t speak Kreyol doesn’t realize they are missing–or doing away with animal sacrifice, which is a key component of initiation, agreements with Lwa, and baptizing a temple. Not including these things leaves you with something, but it’s not vodou.and it will result in ceremonies that are missing the pieces that make them work as religious ritual. Vodou is plenty accessible if you are white, the Lwa want you, and you are willing to do the work.

The key bit is being willing to do the work. The Lwa can shout in your ear all day that They want you to be a priest or want you to do <insert vodou thing>, but if you aren’t willing to put in some sweat equity and deal with being uncomfortable in a space that is not oriented to white folks, none of it matters. Being a part of Haitian vodou requires Haitian community endorsement–if you don’t have a community behind you, the gate will not open for you. Part of vodou is this living contract between the Lwa and Haitians. If you cannot get out of your own way as a white person, deal with your own stuff, and refrain from offending the Haitian folks you are working with to the point where they don’t want to deal with you, then no amount of intervention from the Lwa can help you.

I also get asked a lot if I, as a white person, am ever uncomfortable at services and the cold hard truth is that sometimes I am. Much of my discomfort is amplified by the fact that I am visibly queer and gender-non-normative, but sometimes it’s because I’m white and visitors at Manmi’s services are not happy to see me there. When I started with vodou, there was a HUGE amount of culture shock for me because I had never spent extensive time in a cultural space that didn’t have white folks as a big part. I missed out on a lot of cultural cues and didn’t understand others, like how the concept of personal space is often different for many Haitians, and it left me really out of sorts for a bit. I had to do a lot of work–and will always have a lot of work to do–to get out of my own way because there was no way I could have remained a part of vodou if I wasn’t willing to shift my worldview, dig at my own ingrained white supremacy, and orient myself to the idea that I was not going to be the default center of everything and not everyone is going to be okay that I am present. I think it’s easy for white people to take that–people not being happy to see us–as a personal insult, but that’s the effect of privilege on world view.

Of course, I can only talk about race in vodou as a white person, so my view is skewed by that. I have no idea what it is like to be Haitian, or Haitian in the United States where white supremacy is so cemented into everything. I think it’s important, though, that white practitioners take the opportunity to talk about how race and colorism relate to vodou because it is too often delegated to people of color to teach and educate about race and how white people have and continue to perpetuate white supremacy. Being trans is not a comparable experience to being a person of color, but the best way I can relate to it is that I fucking H-A-T-E teaching people about gender identity and trying to explain how and why I and other trans people should be granted the same dignity and respect as cisgender people. I can’t imagine what it’s like to have to do that about your skin color or country of origin.

The Lwa didn’t have to pick me up and the lineage I’m a part of didn’t have to welcome me, so I feel pretty indebted to the Lwa and the Haitian community. Part of how I try to express that is writing as much as I can about my experience and understanding of vodou, and that includes writing about race and colorism. I don’t want to be the center of that sort of writing, because it’s not about me as an individual, and I hope that any errors or unintentionally privileged statements only reflect on me and not on vodou at large.

*It should be noted that my discussing Ezili Freda should not be taken as criticism of Her, but merely illustration of Her backstory. I adore Her and owe Her quite a bit, and find Her equal parts gorgeous and terrifying.

come join me in robot hell

In case you were wondering I’m still deadly fucking serious about More Than Meets the Eye being a legitimately fantastic comic. It singlehandedly turned around my general opinion on Transformers over the course of a week. An opinion which until that point had basically been “I’ve seen the first Michael Bay movie and didn’t like it, and also isn’t this all based on an 80s cartoon that was designed to sell toys to kids, I literally do not care about this thing.”

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This country is in serious trouble. Our economic system benefits the rich and large corporations and leaves working families behind. Our political system is dominated by billionaire campaign contributors and their lobbyists and is moving us in the direction of oligarchy. Our media system, owned by the corporate world, spends enormous time and energy diverting our attention away from the most important issues facing us. Climate change threatens the planet and we have a major political party denying its reality.
 
Clearly, the struggle to create a nation and world of economic and social justice and environmental sanity is not an easy one. But this I know: despair is not an option if we care about our kids and grandchildren. Giving up is not an option if we want to prevent irreparable harm to our planet.
 
We must stand up and fight back. We must launch a political revolution which engages millions of Americans from all walks of life in the struggle for real change. This country belongs to all of us, not just the billionaire class.
 
Please join the grass-roots revolution that we desperately need.
—  Sen. Bernie Sanders (I, Vermont) “For A Political Revolution”

tumblr, let’s be honest: your study habits are bringing us all down, because we are all rooting for you. I know studying can be tedious, but its the only way to dominating a subject. So here, let me share some tips I’ve gathered for safe healthy studying.

  1. Always study somewhere with enough light, and enough ventilation. Your brain needs oxygen to work properly, and lack of light will make you feel tired more easily.
  2. Don’t use food or tumblr as incentive. You can use tumblr as a short break, but please don’t use any social media site or, worse, food as an incentive to keep studying. It will make you develop an unconscious dependency to any of both.
  3. Never study hungry, and always have some fresh cold liquid to hydrate yourself. It is proven our attention and productivity is better when we are hydrated, try iced tea or water - no soft drinks or sodas, and drink a min. of two litres of water per day, try with three. If you are dehydrated you’ll get tired more quickly. You need calories for your brain to work, so eat something BUT, don’t eat to heavy meals or greasy/sugary food. Try something with fiber, try fruits, but don’t feast yourself because you need your blood on your brain, not in your tummy trying to make digestion.
  4. Take 20 min power naps once in a while. Unless you are really tired and then take a 90 min nap because that’s a full rem cycle. 20 minutes naps boost you because you rest, but never go into deep rem cycles so you don’t wake up drowsy. Take one every two hours, for example, or before changing from one subject to another (also, i’ve also read in studies that you assimilate what you’ve read better before sleeping).
  5. Over achieve within your limits. This means you dream big little bug, but know your limits well. Be honest with yourself: are you really tired or are you trying to procrastinate your way into this task? Your education is important, and leaving it behind because you are afraid to fail won’t take you anywhere: you can do this. Don’t try to fool yourself believing you’ll be able to learn that 500 pages book from one day to another. If you are a serious and avid procrastinator plan ahead. In fact, always plan ahead. Use your time well and read by bits, if you organise your studying methods you’ll have more time for yourself.
  6. Don’t overwork yourself. Most people’s attention span doesn’t go beyond twenty or thirsty minutes, so once in a short while stretch your neck a bit and take a deep breath.
  7. Don’t listen to music if it distracts you
  8. Jog or walk around a bit. I know most of us aren’t so keen on exercise, but sometimes you get distracted too easily because you have too much unused physical energy, or have been sitting in the same position for too long. Stretch a bit! Find a favourite yoga position and do it! I do the salute to the sun, and it really does the trick. Think of it this way: when you wake up you stretch, if you are feeling a little bit drowsy but don’t need the sleeping, stretch! It’ll trick your mind.
  9. Avoid heat. Don’t freeze yourself, no need to face the westerosi winter here, but condensed heat makes you drowsy. Which brings me back to point one, and point 3 - cool water or liquid will keep you a bit more alert.
  10. TWENTY MINUTES OF STUDYING AND THEN THREE HOURS OF TUMBLR IS NOT A REWARD. IF ANYTHING IT’S A RETROGRESSION IN ALL THAT YOU ACHIEVED IN THOSE TWENTY MINUTES. YOU ARE A BADASS SCHOLAR VIKING PIRATE DRAGON PERSON AND STOP BRINING YOURSELF DOWN WITH NEGATIVE THOUGHTS LIKE “UGH I HAVE SO MUCH WORK TO DO YET”, REVERSE THAT SHITTY THOUGHT AND THINK “LOOK AT THAT IMPROVEMENT! I HAVE ALL THAT BIT LESS TO READ NOW, LOOK HOW FAR I’VE COME/HOW FAR I’M GETTING”. YOU CAN DO THIS, YOU ARE INVINCIBLE AND YOU CAN DESTROY ANYTHING.
  11. Highlight, take notes, make maps. Anything that helps you remember what you’ve been reading. If your study material is too long, try to make a recap or an abstract before moving on to the next chapter so you can apply what you’ve already been learning.
  12. BE HUMBLE. Admit to yourself you don’t have all the answers, and that you weren’t born knowing. Accepting vulnerability won’t make you weak, but strong, because then you only can improve. Even if you are taking the most seemingly useless lecture take it as precious. More overly, make yourself want to study, repeat yourself everyday you can learn more, and you can be better, and you are taking one step at a time, but you’ll get there. Always remember a wise man can learn more. And even if your professor is an asshole, you’ll be learning something: what do you have to do not to be an asshole. 

Root for yourself, be your biggest fan, treat yourself like you treat your favourite character. Be a warrior.