sublime-men

[GoFundMe]

Hello everyone. On Friday, December 13, 2013, my older brother Chris was brutally attacked at work. He works for a tourist hotel in Port Maria, Jamaica, his country of birth and where he lives now. He barely escaped with his life.

[trigger warning: graphic violence]

Four armed men entered the hotel where he works. Employees ran out screaming, fearing for their lives. One of the men had a gun. One of the men had a machete. The other two were ready to fight. Fear filled the air. My brother handles information technology for the hotel. He was in his office working peacefully that day. All of a sudden, the men busted in. While the hotel has security at night, there is none during the day which impacted everyone’s safety. The men may have known this. They came for computers and anything of value. They jumped on my brother. Four men versus one man. His life was on the line. He could not run away but had to fight his way out of there. He did. He wanted to live. He managed to get the gun away from the most dangerous of the four men (which is amazing to me that he lived; so thankful). While he wrestled and fought two men on the ground as one gathered the goods, the other used the machete and chopped his hands, fingers, and head. 

He managed to escape. Body hurt. Bleeding. Pain. He got a taxi and went to hospital. The area near the hotel is desolate so he couldn’t walk to one. His hands and head are severely damaged. He needs extensive hand surgery by extremely skilled people. He has ligament, tendon, nerve and bone damage. His thumb had to be re-attached. He has a massive scar on his head as well. He’s dealing with severe inflammation and we are worried about staph infection and gangrene.

Why I created this campaign is that he is not insured and my family cannot cover all of the costs needed to not only take care of his surgery (which we need to happen immediately), but also for him to survive on. He’s a man who cannot work anymore because he can no longer use his hands for now. He has a long road of surgery and recovery ahead of him. 

We need the money for the surgery IMMEDIATELY. We need consistent funds for him to be able to survive as he goes through therapy for a while, as well. 

We need your help, love and support. Please [DONATE] and SIGNAL BOOST this if you cannot afford to donate. No amount is too small. 

Thank you. Take care. ❤

4

“America: You Didn’t Build That”

Let ‘em know! These are some of Crommunist’s tweets in reference to an article on Reason stating that America was founded by the “opposite” of victims, to which he asserts, wouldn’t that be victimizers? And if in that case, correct

This “personal responsibility” and “bootstraps” and “American exceptionalism” narrative pushed is so offensive since those who state it want zero responsibility for imperialist White supremacist capitalist cisheteropatriarchy and the related oppression while ignoring privilege. Yeah okay, whatever. It’s built on victim blaming and exploitation and genocide with a system of capitalism that could not exist as is today without slavery.

And for people of colour who buy into this narrative, the politics of respectability cannot save us. Neither can believing we are responsible for racism. 

See the collection of James Baldwin’s writing in The Cross of the Redemption for exquisite writing on the lies used to maintain White supremacy through everything from semantic warfare to re-writing history. It…explains a lot.

They are unable to conceive that their version of reality, which they want me to accept, is an insult to my history and a parody of theirs and an intolerable violation of myself.

James knew…

(And do not derail this post by mentioning the IrishThank you.) 

So this happened. Obviously Tom Joyner wants me to cry. I just read that he offered Rachel Jeantel a full scholarship to the HBCU of her choice and SAT prep prior. And, people who aren’t corrupt are needed so badly in the CJ system to help those persecuted AND to change the system. And to think, she speaks THREE languages (Creole, Spanish, English) and is from South Florida. If she returns to her area, she can help so many people as the Miami-Dade area is multilingual.

Yassss Tom Joyner!!!!!! <3

Jesse Williams LET THEM KNOW! He has always kept it 100 and speaks in defense of Black life, celebrity career to “protect” or not. And I'm not saying that there is not a price for speaking out (as some Black celebs over time and definitely non-famous Black people are punished and abused for speaking out) or that the racism itself that a Black celeb has to speak against/not speak against is their fault. It is not.

But even so, taking the politics of respectability route or conflating intraracial violence with State violence/systemic abuse/Constitutional violations route, thereby denying the reality of extrajudicial execution and State violence on Black life is the route he did NOT take.

Thank you, sir. ❤ 

9

D'Angelo and The Vanguard - Black Messiah

I am in love with and in awe of D'Angelo’s new work of art, Black Messiah, and I shared a few thoughts about it on Twitter, as seen above. It is glorious. It is medicine. It is rage and it is calm. Passion. Beauty. Truth. I also mentioned last night that it feels right on time, despite the 15 year gap in album release for him. I needed this album right now, more than I knew, until I heard it…if that makes any sense. D'Angelo really has created something remarkable; feels timeless, yet acutely pertinent, like a clock set to the right time, but ticking in the past, present and future all at the same time.

I love how he described the title and direction of this art:

Black Messiah is a hell of a name for an album. It can be easily misunderstood. Many will think it’s about religion. Some will jump to the conclusion that I’m calling myself a Black Messiah. For me, the title is about all of us. It’s about the world. It’s about an idea we can all aspire to. We should all aspire to be a Black Messiah. 

It’s about people rising up in Ferguson and in Egypt and in Occupy Wall Street and in every place where a community has had enough and decides to make change happen. It’s not about praising one charismatic leader but celebrating thousands of them. Not every song on this album is politically charged (though many are), but calling this album Black Messiah creates a landscape where these songs can live to the fullest. Black Messiah is not one man. It’s a feeling that, collectively, we are all that leader.

I’m not going to dissect each song right now. I’ll leave that endeavor for other writers. I don’t really have a desire for the scholarly at the moment, but instead a desire to experience something truly fresh and truly healing, in totality. I love all of the songs though; my first impression is that my favorites are “Another Life,” “Till It’s Done (Tutu),” “Really Love,” and “1000 Deaths." Like, this is all I’ll be playing for a while; real talk. Already set on my computer, tablet and phone (as seen above); ready to go! I want it on vinyl too. Perhaps as a holiday gift to myself.

You need this album. Trust me. You need this album more than you know. At least I did.❤ 

4

12 Years A Slave Wins 2014 Best Picture

Steve McQueen y'all! His joy is infectious. Though he didn’t win Best Director personally, 12 Years A Slave won Best Picture at The 86th Academy Awards. Lupita Nyong'o won Best Actress In A Supporting Role as well and John Ridley won for Best Adapted Screenplay. Chiwetel Ejiofor didn’t win the Best Actor In A Lead Role though. I wish he would’ve. He is profound in this film.

It’s one of the most beautifully brilliant and devastating films I’ve ever seen in my life as a Black woman; so much so that I have a moratorium on discussing it online. I only do offline with people I know and trust. I’ve only seen it once and…I am still not okay. However it deserved the award for sure. Every element came together for that film. 

Congrats to them all. ❤

Jesse Williams' Powerful Words On Jordan Davis, Racism and The Dunn Trial

The talented and brilliant actor Jesse Williams had some really important things to say about the Michael Dunn trial for the latter’s cold-blooded murder of teen Jordan Davis and attempted murder of the other people in that car. Speaking out isn’t new for Jesse since he does work to create equal opportunity and access to education for young Black men, has mentioned how important learning accurate history is for people in America and wrote a poignant essay severely critiquing historical inaccuracies and the larger implications of such regarding the film Django Unchained

The short interview on HLN that I am referring to occurred before the enraging verdict that is not holding Dunn accountable (mistrial) for the murder of Jordan though there were some attempted murder charges that he was convicted of. In less than 6 minutes in this video, Jesse explained the reality of the dehumanization of Black bodies and lives from several angles. 

Jesse critiqued the White Gaze when he mentioned this:

People feel tired of this criminalization of the Black body. It’s the tradition in this country and people are kinda just feeling fatigued about constantly having to go through this all year, every year since the beginning and founding of this nation. This is a tradition in this country when people are able to go ahead and kill Black people because they got sassed–because we were inconvenienced–and we become a victim of a fantasy.

and also mentioned this:

This fantasy of what the Black body does and can do has become more important than the reality and we pay for it with our lives.

Jesse alluded to how this should be treated as a social problem:

This is not a Black problem. This is a White problem. This is an American problem. This is a societal problem. People should be outraged that a man is able to instigate an interaction with kids and then shoot them when it doesn’t go well. It should be an outrage for everybody.

It won’t outrage everyone though since Black life is regularly devalued. And instead of confronting how White supremacy has impacted Black bodies and lives for centuries, many Whites–who clearly reveal how White supremacy fosters sociopathy–will either repeatedly bring up intraracial crime and claim that we “don’t care” about it (and so much so that Black people have begin to parrot this claim as if we are responsible for ending racism) almost like a chant (as if Whites’ crime is not also primarily intraracial; as if White supremacist capitalist patriarchy has no role in why intraracial crime exists for Black people; as if this changes structural power issues that protect Whites who harm Black people in a way unmatched) or simply reveal their disregard for Black life without a qualm. Jesse revealed this about Dunn’s attorney when he mentioned:

I think it was really telling that the defense attorney today said that this wouldn’t really even be a household case if it wasn’t for the Zimmerman trial, which really goes a long way to explain the indifference around Black life. So we’re only talking about this not because a life was lost or cause a man shot 10 bullets into a car full of children but because of some other case? I mean that says more about him than anybody else.

When Jane Velez-Mitchell asked him the predictable “race relations” type of question about things being “better” over time, he responded “better than awful is an improvement I guess, but it’s still awful.” I immediately thought of something that Malcolm X once said: 

If you stick a knife in my back nine inches and pull it out six inches, there’s no progress. If you pull it all the way out that’s not progress. Progress is healing the wound that the blow made. And they haven’t even pulled the knife out much less heal the wound. They won’t even admit the knife is there.

And when Velez-Mitchell tried the “it’s class not race” liberal defense (*sigh*, one of the reasons why I wrote Black In The 99%) and pointed out Jesse Williams’ class privilege, attractiveness and influence as a celebrity (which he affirmed; he doesn’t deny his privilege) he mentioned that it is not about him as an individual but about Black people and explained why this most certainly is about race:

Having to explain why this is racial while we’re standing in our own blood is silly. It’s racial because it doesn’t happen to White people. Because…look at the crack laws. 51% of crack users are White but 95% of the people in jail for crack use are Black. Look at the fact that prison is one of the most profitable and growing industrial complexes in the country and they now have for-profit prisons that have a mandated 90% occupancy rate to make money. This is an industry and these are all fingers on the hand of a gross injustice that been happening in this country. It has not stopped. We’re waiting for it to stop and that will feel like a triumph. But there is no question that race is an issue when you look at the amount of boys that are being shot because you feel scared. Feeling threatened is not the same thing as being threatened. It’s not the same thing. We pretend that it is, but it is not. 

I appreciate the truthfulness and perspective that Jesse Williams conveyed. I could feel exhaustion in his words. “Fatigued,” “frustration” and “tired” were in his responses throughout the interview. I feel that. All I felt was exhaustion after the verdict.  I’m exhausted from dealing with the sociopathy of White supremacy, the devaluation of Black bodies and lives and the utter disregard that occurs after one of these extrajudicial killings. That the media continues to refer to this as the “loud music case” is implicating Jordan Davis in his own murder. The media is not just complicit in White supremacy, it is White supremacy. 

It’s like by the time that I feel somewhat “normal” (and what is “normal” and “neurotypical” for a Black person in America when we are despised for existing let alone for anything that we actually feel, think, say, do; I would argue that no such thing exists; I always carry all of this with me) after this incident, it will be time for Theodore Wafer’s trial (June 2, 2014-June 13, 2014) for murdering Renisha McBride. I mention her because we cannot forget that this racist violence impacts Black women as well; whether as victims too (clearly; i.e. Aiyanna Jones, Rekia Boyd) or as mothers/family members of Black boys and Black men murdered. This violence is not spared from Black LGBTQIA people either who rarely even have the media spotlight when violence happens to them. This affects all Black people and should matter to all people. The fact that it still does not and still occurs is a testament to the plague of racism and anti-Blackness in a White supremacist society.

Related Post: On Jordan Davis, The Value Of Black Children And Thoughts After The Dunn Verdict

Trayvon Martin Was A Beloved Son

I always loved this photograph. Do you know how rare it is to see a parent kiss their child (or the child lets them) as a teen? There’s a slight distance between kids and parents that often comes during the teen years as a teen tries to develop their own sense of identity and purpose. Some of it is necessary, though when extreme can create feelings of abandonment for the teen.

But Trayvon had nothing like abandonment in his life. He had parents who obviously understood how to co-parent quite well, as My Brown Baby blog pointed out, and he obviously was truly cherished and loved. Seeing the pain now in both his mother’s and father’s eyes is so hard. I feel like I know them. Why? Because their story is so common. My uncle was murdered in cold blood by the police in the 80s. I have a male relative who was brutalized by White corrections officers while incarcerated. Several Black men in my family and in friends’ families have dealt with the wrath and violence of White men and the State.

I could easily know them. That’s why I feel this way. I don’t have to know them though; Black people share the same risks and fates regardless.

One thing this has reminded me of is again, respectability politics is NOT going to save us or protect us. Respectability politics don’t work because bootstrap theory doesn’t work. We are degraded and dehumanized for our race, not our resumes. Trayvon Martin had a father, which in a patriarchal society is consistently posited as the answer to absolutely every sociopolitical problem. His mother is educated, middle class and has a job with the government. Trayvon had a quality relationship with his father who he left momentarily just to get two snacks yet never returned home. He had information in his email box about the SATs and college applications. The myth that his parents’ resumes or even his could protect him is a lie originated in White supremacy and unfortunately absorbed by many PoC. Whites proliferate this lie as well because even as Black people “achieve” “respectable” status, they are STILL degraded. What Black person can compete with the status of POTUS/FLOTUS now…and they are still degraded?

We cannot end racism alone because it is not about what we do but about who we are.

Related Posts: How Racism Makes Trayvon Martin’s Death Just Another Object For Consumption, The Verdict Of “Not Valuable" Was Delivered On Black Life. Again.

Good morning Revolution:
You are the best friend
I ever had.
We gonna pal around together from now on.
Say, listen, Revolution:
You know the boss where I used to work,
The guy that gimme the air to cut expenses,
He wrote a long letter to the papers about you:
Said you was a trouble maker, a alien-enemy,
In other words a son-of-a-bitch.
He called up the police
And told’em to watch out for a guy
Named Revolution

You see,
The boss knows you are my friend.
He sees us hanging out together
He knows we’re hungry and ragged,
And ain’t got a damn thing in this world –
And are gonna to do something about it.

The boss got all his needs, certainly,
Eats swell,
Owns a lotta houses,
Goes vacationin’,
Breaks strikes,
Runs politics, bribes police
Pays off congress
And struts all over earth –

But me, I ain’t never had enough to eat.
Me, I ain’t never been warm in winter.
Me, I ain’t never known security –
All my life, been livin’ hand to mouth
Hand to mouth.

Listen, Revolution,
We’re buddies, see –
Together,
We can take everything:
Factories, arsenals, houses, ships,
Railroads, forests, fields, orchards,
Bus lines, telegraphs, radios,
(Jesus! Raise hell with radios!)
Steel mills, coal mines, oil wells, gas,
All the tools of production.
(Great day in the morning!)
Everything –
And turn’em over to the people who work.
Rule and run’em for us people who work.

Boy! Them radios!
Broadcasting that very first morning to USSR:
Another member of the International Soviet’s done come
Greetings to the Socialist Soviet Republics
Hey you rising workers everywhere greetings –
And we’ll sign it: Germany
Sign it: China
Sign it: Africa
Sign it: Italy
Sign it: America
Sign it with my one name: Worker
On that day when no one will be hungry, cold oppressed,
Anywhere in the world again.

That’s our job!

I been starvin’ too long
Ain’t you?

Let’s go, Revolution!

— 

Langston Hughes

Poem, “Good Morning Revolution.” Published in 1932.

Just…wow. I mean…goosebumps all over my body every time I read this. When he wrote “you’re the best friend I ever had,” as if the commitment to change through collective power among the powerless is something that breathes life too…I just…I get a little emotional. That’s all. Whew.

Northerners indulge in an extremely dangerously luxury. They seem to feel that because they fought on the right side during The Civil War, and won, they have earned the right to merely deplore what is going on in the South, without taking any responsibility for it; and that they can ignore what is happening in Northern cities because what is happening in Little Rock or Birmingham is worse. Well, in the first place, it is not possible for anyone who has not endured both to know which is ‘worse.’ I know Negroes who prefer the South and white Southerners, because 'At least there, you haven’t got to play any guessing games!’ The guessing games referred to have driven more than one Negro into the narcotics ward, the madhouse or the river.
— 

James Baldwin

Um…James was not here for the MYTH that racism doesn’t exist in the northern states of the U.S. I’ve encountered so many White northerners that are like…“what racism?” Seriously. He wrote this over 5 decades ago and it’s still relevant. Many Northern Whites and Whites who live in the U.K. are deep in their denial about racism. Deep. I had a White male photographer (I’m a photographer; I used to chat with a lot of them via Twitter) insist that racism doesn’t exist in the U.K. I was like…how would you know? How? You don’t experience it. Black photographers who live there had another story to tell, however.

It is no exaggeration to say that those books saved me: from a life of poverty, stress, depression and isolation. James Baldwin, one of the authors who most spoke to my spirit, once put it this way: ‘You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me the most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.’ That is the inimitable power of literature, to give context and meaning to the trials and triumphs of living.
— 

Charles M. Blow

Quote from Reading Books Is Fundamental in The New York Times. It’s a beautiful essay. I can relate to growing up Black and poor and getting utterly lost and happy…and sad…and happy again, in books. 

You give me this advantage: that whereas you have never had to look at me, because you’ve sealed me away along with sin and hell and death and all the other things you didn’t want to look at, including love, my life was in your hands, and I had to look at you. I know more about you, therefore, than you know about me. I’ve had to spend my life after all–and all the other Negroes in the country have had to spend their lives–outwitting and watching white people. I had to know what you were doing before you did it.
— 

James Baldwin

This quote (in The Cross of The Redemption) came to mind when a White woman stated to me You are not white, so don’t act like you have some inside knowledge of how we think or feel.” I nearly died from laughter. Seriously. The most comical statement posted on my blog in 2013. It was on a post about White women’s need to dominate Black women’s conversations online, either from the angle of tyrant (“my view matters more than yours!”) or toddler (“please spoon feed me some critical race theory, it’s your duty!”).

The funny thing is, I know some of the ones who consider themselves “allies” are going to reblog this quote, but remove my text from it, which I discussed in 10 Ways That White Feminist and White Anti-Racism Allies Are Abusive To Me In Social Media. They can’t have an actual important critique of White supremacy where they are culpable appearing on their feminist blog now…

Anyway, Black people don’t have a choice not to be intuitive. It is not a luxury; it is a matter of survival

The oppressor consciousness tends to transform everything surrounding it into an object of its domination. The earth, property, production, the creations of people, people themselves, time–everything is reduced to the status of objects at its disposal.
— 

Paulo Freire

This would be why any dialogue from something seemingly as “innocuous” (it isn’t) as cultural appropriation to the intensity of Prison Industrial Complex and slavery, is really the same conversation. It all has the same sources…privilege and objectification/dehumanization shaped by White supremacist capitalist patriarchal thinking amidst the larger kyriarchy.

theihop  asked:

Hi, first I want to thank you from the depths of my being for continuing to write. This space (along with counseling) has nursed me back to life from a very dark place. You are able to write the feelings and thoughts that I'm often only able to groan. I feel validated and convicted at the same damn time. I'm in a constant state of self-reflection and deconstructing white supremacist thoughts. My ?: Do you know of a space like this for black men interested in deconstructing thoughts? BM bloggers?

Wow. Thank you. I am glad that your needs are being met through a multi-pronged approach and I wish you the absolute best. And your words of kindness now does for me what you say my writing does for you, so again, thank you. ❤

My favorite Black male blogger is @PhuzzieSlippers at Still Furious and Brave. I included him in my Top 20 People On Twitter and Top 25 Tumblr Blogs In 2013 post. Nobody fuckin’ with him! Exquisite writing. I’ve mentioned them (it’s him and another Black man, @_BrianFoster, and @JAZonyaMINE, a Black woman, blogging together) many times on Gradient Lair.

I think @Crommunist SLAYS. I’ve mentioned him before. His current blog is great and he has a past writing Black atheist perspectives as well.

I also like @zellieimani’s blog Black Culture, and he has a Tumblr blog black-culture as well, which was also included in my Top post from 2013.

I would also say to follow these Black men/men of colour on Twitter, as sometimes they engage in critical conversation and some of them guest write at various outlets. Also, I think for some, tweeting is preferred to blogging and it can have the same impact. I mean, a lot of my writing starts as tweets and include tweets, so I’d never discount Twitter in that sense:

@djolder@DanTresOmi, @DamoneWilliams_, @CountryBoy_Troy, @tokenbg, @Crutch4, @MC_Brooks, @OwlsAsylum, @sirjamesa12, @tha_lance_man@HeDoinTooMuch, @nealcarter, @ashoncrawley, @PrestonMitchum, @ChrisMacDen, @fakerapper, @AnimainSparkstr, @RichieBrave, @denzelwynter, @MTFIII, @NaijaNupe_, @R_BruhBruh, @Kenobi_Wan_Obi, @HughJunior89, @jmvagrant, @serynada, @KayJayFDU, @DwayneDavidPaul, @Sagesaturn, @MandingoRFC and @Deep_Seed

(I went by bios and past conversations, so my apologies if anyone I named I put incorrect race, ethnicity or gender.)

Also see Women of Colour, In Solidarity’s Awesome PoC Tumblrs list. It may include some Black men who blog critical perspectives. 

Hope this helps. Take care. ❤

5

Magnolia Fresh

Magnolia Fresh: Black Southern Style is a fashion blog by one of my favorite writers, Robert Reese (@PhuzzieSlippers; I mentioned him before) of Still Furious and Brave. On this particular blog, he showcases his style and at times, it’s about more than fashion. I like the mixture of textures and patterns along a similar palette in the photographs above. His sock game is epic. He also has a really great Chuck Taylor collection that he mentioned on Magnolia Fresh. I really like his style and was one of the people who encouraged him to create a fashion blog in the first place.

His style, like most style, also makes a statement about his politics and is something he’s addressed on Still Furious and Brave. In 5 MOST Mundane Ways Disavowing Masculinity Changed My Life, he mentioned how not viewing fashion in a rigid gendered way has made him venture into the women’s department of stores for a better variety of scarves and pins. In Dressing for Ourselves: Why “Appropriate Dress” Won’t Save Us, he wrote about how his style is about him, not an appeal to “respectability." He notes:

While wearing any combination of my large assortment of ties, dress shirts, slacks, nice jeans, vests, and blazers, I have been harassed by the police, seen a white woman avoid getting on an elevator with me, been mistaken for collegiate athletes, been told I look dangerous because of my hair by my boss (twice!), and a myriad of other microaggressive moments that I don’t remember in detail. The perceived inherent criminality of the black body cannot be shielded by nice clothes or other expensive possessions, for that matter (just ask Henry Louis Gates).

His style is about what he really likes and it isn’t a shield against racism through respectability (because we know that doesn’t work) but an expression of confidence and creativity.

And like…red shoes dammit! RED SHOES!

My Dad

My father. He was there from the beginning and is still here for me, even after my mom passed away 12 years ago; even as I am an adult now.

He ironed my clothes for school all of my K-12 years. Even jeans. Though my siblings and I didn’t grow up with much money…at all really, we never went to school hungry. We never went to school wrinkled. We got a good night’s sleep before exams. Most of us are academic behemoths. All of his daughters have at least 1 college degree.

When I was young, anytime my older sister was home sick, he would make me think that I was walking to school by myself, and toughening me up, but truthfully, he followed me the whole way. Made sure I was safe. Ducked behind trees and buildings. A year passed before I ever caught him. I still laugh about it to this day. It’s what love looks like.

He cooks everything well. Doesn’t matter if it is one of his native Jamaican foods like curry goat with rice and peas or jerk chicken with fried plantains versus something more American like grilled burgers (his burgers will have you slappin’ folks; they’re that good) or cornbread from scratch. He’s learned some Black American cuisine too, like collard greens, albeit we spent more time growing up eating callaloo than collards.

He can build or fix anything. Literally. Plumbing. Electrical outlets and wiring. Cars. Boats. He’s the kind of nuanced man that will rebuild a diesel engine and then paint a picture, then garden, then cook a meal, throw in some laundry and then fix plumbing. He’s never been interested in gender defining what he should or shouldn’t do because he’s good at whatever he attempts with sincerity.

He’s hilarious. Cracks great jokes. We are both introverts, so we talk about how we dodge parties/events and share tips and strategies for ducking extroverts, ha! I usually have such conversations with my best friend who is also an INTJ, but the ones with my dad are hilarious as well.

He probes my mind with good questions/thoughts that get me thinking. We have interesting political conversations together.

My father, a Black man who is 70 years of age has defied so many stereotypes of who Black men are and can be. Not even because he’s concerned with those stereotypes (though he does not take the ignorant route of pretending that racism and classism are non-factors in life–we talk about them regularly, with rage) and is “trying” to prove them wrong but simply because who he is defies them, already.

My father isn’t a superhero or a villain. He’s a human being that I love and respect; one I can’t pay back (just like I could never pay my late mother back) for what he’s done for me, especially during very difficult times.

He’s…one of the good people in my life. I only have a few. But they’ve been more than sufficient. So today is a day to honor that, and especially a day to honor him. 

Curiosity about the object of knowledge and the willingness and openness to engage theoretical readings and discussions is fundamental. However, I am not suggesting an over-celebration of theory. We must not negate practice for the sake of theory. To do do would reduce theory to a pure verbalism or intellectualism. By the same token, to negate theory for the sake of practice, as in the use of dialogue as conversation, is to run the risk of losing oneself in the disconnectedness of practice. It is for this reason that I never advocate either a theoretic elitism or a practice ungrounded in theory, but the unity between theory and practice.
— 

Paulo Freire

People really need to think about this. Deeply. For example, the classist notion AMONG the oppressed that those who have degrees are focused on “theory” (as if theory is automatically superior) and those who do not are the ones who care about “actual activism” (which is “real” work) has to end.

As Freire wrote: action + reflection = word = work = praxis. Critical reflection is also action. In fact, the way he describes activism as a pole to verbalism, but neither alone being the actual praxis is quite brilliant. As he also writes: “Human activity consists of action and reflection; it is praxis; it is transformation of the world. And as praxis, it requires theory to illuminate it. Human activity is theory and practice; it is reflection and action. It cannot be reduced to either verbalism or activism.”