Saturday, July 11, 2009

Obama The Monkey What An Honour

It seems that a zoo in Germany decided to name its new mandrill Obama in honour of the US President.

imageHow the hell is naming a monkey after a Black Man an honour, when we consider that Blacks have historically been compared to monkeys to justify our second class citizenship globally? 

The zoo said it chooses names beginning with the same letter for all newborn animals in any one year. In 2009 that letter was O and a keeper thought "Obama" would be a positive tribute to the US president.

If you buy that shit, I have some primo swampland in Florida I would like to sell you.  For the last fucking time, Black people are not God damn animals.  We are not a different species. We are human beings. 

Considering Germany’s history of race relations one would think that they would be extra cautious of inferring that a person is subhuman.  It seems the desire to promote white privilege and the perfect race knows no bounds.  It wasn’t until a local Black group protested that the zoo realized the error of their ways and changed the name of the monkey from Obama to Okeke. 

Though they did apologize for their actions, the original injury still stings.  Insults and barbs like this are continually aimed at Blacks.  We are repeatedly placed in a position where we must defend our human dignity and no such discipline is aimed at Whiteness.  White people are the humans in this world and this fact is reified on a daily basis. 

Obama is arguably the most powerful man in the world and still yet the color of his skin is  used to render him subhuman.  If Obama cannot escape such damaging stereotypes what hope is there for those of us without his power?

When I speak about Whiteness, the label racist is continually thrown at me.  Dear White people, you don’t know what the fuck racism is.  You may understand it in the text book sense from a discrete and safe distance  but until someone spits in your face, or threatens violence against you because of your color, you have no idea of how bad it can be.  How about being declined for a promotion despite the fact that you are clearly over qualified or being told to smile because when you frown you look threatening? One of my former coworkers used to love to infer how miserable and angry I was because I refused to play mammy to his smiling white idiot.  These are just a few examples of what I have had to put up with.  There isn’t a single Black person that interacts with Whiteness that will not have a similar story to tell about the effects of racism.

I am always asked to qualify my words and say “some white people” instead of using the term Whiteness.  Look, I don’t care how anti-racist you are, you are walking around with a bag of undeserved privilege; which is part of the systemic nature of Whiteness or racism.  You may be aware enough to avoid using the term nigger or comparing Blacks to monkeys, however; because you have been steeped in a racist culture you cannot avoid taking advantage of your privilege. If you are not demeaning you are silencing, “othering” profiting, marginalizing or appropriating your way down the yellow brick road. 

The post racial “theorist” (read: racist)  would have us believe that we are all equal now and that any short comings are because Blacks don’t try.  Sometimes treading water is hard enough without having to engage in a full battle with someone who is determined to maintain their privilege at all costs.   It can be particularly maddening after  taking the time to explain to someone why their language and or actions are unacceptable, only to have them declare you to sensitive, or a member of the PC police.  I call those people intentionally obtuse fuckers. Though I don’t agree with Garveys approach regarding separation of the races, there are days like this that I sure as fuck understand it.




Baby Break Dance

Okay..totally silly but it made me smile.  What else can you ask for on a Saturday afternoon?

Drop It Like It’s Hot

Hello everyone thanks for taking the time to stop and read the blog this week.  The posting schedule is a little bit off right now because I am tryint to adjust to the boys summer schedule.  It has been a very hectic week.  To those that sent me an e-mail this week, please be patient; I am incredibly behind but I promise to answer them all as soon as I am able.

Thanks for all of the tips via e-mail and please keep in mind that womanist-musings has an open guest posting policy, so please feel free to send in a post or even something you would like to cross post from your blog.  The more opinions expressed, the better.

Below you will find a list of the great  blog posts I came across this week.  Please take the time to show these bloggers some love and check them out.  When you are done, don’t forget to drop it like it’s hot and leave your link behind in the comment section.

FemiNoshing: Easting According To Gender

Cisgender Isn’t An Insult

BLACK BOOTY BODY POLITICS

But You Look So Good’! AND 7 Other Things Not To Say To Persons With Disabilities.

Children’s Books: F*cking With Gender Roles Since 1970

Semantics, Gender, and ‘Cis’

To the gentleman who utilized the faculty facilities across from my office (This is the laugh of the week hands down)

The Coonery Paradox

The Spirit Of Humanity

I want to be empty

A Normal Woman

Treat working people of color like they’re less than

Spiritual Empowerment Of Women

Cinderella: Guerrilla Training Manuel For African -American Women

Who Wants A Man Wall?

Organisation Pays Addicted Women to Undergo Permanent Sterilization

I told myself I was gonna leave it alone, but…

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Friday, July 10, 2009

Oral Sex and Marion Barry, Washington had to know

image

Marion Barry is no stranger to controversy and legal entanglements.  The former mayor was caught red handed in a drug scandal and was recently accused of stalking a woman.  The charges have since been dropped.

The above image appeared in the Washington City Paper and evoked charges of racism from Barry supporters.

"Some people are going to find that vulgar -- that's inevitable," Editor Erik Wemple said, taking a break from fielding at least 30 calls from irate readers. "If they find it vulgar, they can complain. It's worth putting it out there, and it's the truth. Sometimes the truth is vulgar." Wemple insists he has no second thoughts. "I haven't had any trouble sleeping because of it," he said.

Let’s be clear from the start, Barry is definitely no saint  but the language used to speak about his activities is unnecessarily inflammatory.  He is not the first politician to be involved in a sex related scandal and yet this graphic language was not used to describe their activities. 

When Clinton engaged in oral sex in the white house, there were no media reports that Monica Lewinsky was sucking his dick under the desk.  “Don’t cry for me Argentina” Stanford, took off for days to engage in his affair and no such explicit language has been used, though you can bet he had more than his dick sucked by the “love of his life”.  What about Spitzer?  Did his one eyed snake just wink and smile or did the man get his rocks off with a sex trade worker?  There are ways of describing acts of sexual indiscretion that are accurate without reducing it to vulgar commentary.

Most politicians that are caught cheating on their spouses experience a fall from grace because we have moralized sexual activity, however; when a Black man engages in the same behaviour the media is quick to turn it into a circus for profit. 

Black male sexuality is always constructed as hyper sexual  based in the idea that the so-called Negro is a savage animal.   Though white men certainly engage in oral sex, their participation is seen as a validation of their manhood.  Black men are understood to lack the ability to control their sexual urges and therefore to reduce Barry in this way simply supports the social myths that we already function with.

The Black penis is a problematic organ.  On one hand it is lauded for its supposed prowess and yet it is continually decried for its supposed ability to cause harm and injury to unsuspecting women.  The big black buck is designed to take what will not be wilfully given because its desire can never be denied, hence the construction of the Black male rapist.   In every construction of the Black male the understanding of the penis colors how he is viewed.

When white heterosexual men are sexual it is seen as a regular part of manhood.  A man is only disciplined for not actively seeking sex or presenting the image that sexual conquest is not foremost in his thoughts at all times.  If the Black man attempts to mimic the behaviour of heterosexual White male sexuality, he is summarily disciplined because he is understood to be competition for female bodies. 

When Hugh Grant was arrested for seeking oral sex from a Black female sex trade workers between the guffaws and giggles was the defence of “boys will be boys”.  It seemed perfectly understandable that he should seek a sexual release, it was the person whom he attempted to gain it from that was the issue.  How could Grant in his right mind stray from the pure beauty of his then fiancĂ©e Elizabeth Hurley, to engage in a sexual activity with a Black whore?  Divine Brown was ridiculed and reduced to a service animal though it was Grant that initiated the sexual encounter.

It is quite natural for Erik Wemple to be comfortable with the image that he released because in the end it serves to promote and protect White male heterosexuality.  Oral sex in and of itself is not a vulgar act; it is how it is understood through the lens of race and gender that makes it problematic.  Wemple may deny the racism that occurred, however; the difference in how we speak about bodies of color versus that of White individuals speaks volumes. 

H/T Allison McCarthy via gmail chat


Something Creamy In A Can For Anderson Cooper

I simply had to share this video.  I discovered this  over at Shakesville and if it does not make you want to go out and buy a can of whipped cream, nothing will.  It seems that Anderson was filling in for Regis when he got his fill.  Yeah double meaning there but go with it..

Transcript provided by Liss at Shakesville

[Transcript starting at 1:45]
Kristin Van Ogtrop: And so finally we have an ice cream pie.
Anderson Cooper: Mmmmmmmm...cream pie.
Van Ogtrop: Now, you can use a couple of crusts; this is the easiest one, which is, um, you know, just your cookie dough, your cookie crust.
Kelly Ripa: [to Cooper] I know. [inaudible; grabs can of whipped cream and squirts a shot directly in mouth]
Cooper: Oh my god! Wow! [audience laughter and applause] Wow!
Van Ogtrop: You start with that. You do that first.
Ripa: [shimmies at Cooper] Dance with me right now.
Cooper: [giggles] Wow. [reaches for can]
Van Ogtrop: And so, you know, what you want to do is, you want the ice cream to melt a little bit more, obviously, than this...
Ripa: Right. Well.
[In background, Cooper is intently investigating the can of whipped cream.]
Van Ogtrop: And you spread it out, right?
Ripa: Yes.
Van Ogtrop: And you spray it—Anderson, you could do a little cream on top here.
Cooper: Sorry, I'm—
Ripa: Anderson, please, make that pretty.
[Cooper turns can upside down and tries to squeeze it; looks at Ripa helplessly and confusedly when nothing comes out]
Van Ogtrop: Oh, come on! [gently takes can from him]
Ripa: Are you serious? Did you not have a childhood at all?
Cooper: [laughing] No!
[crosstalk; Van Ogtrop explains how the can works to Cooper]
Ripa: At Studio 54, they never had any Cool Whip.
[Cooper sprays an enormous amount of whipped cream onto the top of the ice cream; then tries to squirt a shot in his mouth, but gets nothing but air; he looks dejected; laughter]
Van Ogtrop: No, you gotta— [mimes shaking]
Ripa: [grabs can] Put your head back.
Cooper: Oh! Now I'm huffing!
[Ripa shakes can and then squirts a shot into Cooper's mouth; audience laughs and applauds; Ripa takes another shot]
Cooper: Wow. That is really good! [takes another long shot; stands back with cheeks puffed full of whipped cream while Ripa ends the segment]

Men Kissing Is A No No In Texas At Chico's Tacos

I find child abuse, racism, sexism, ableism etc., to be disgusting and an affront and yet daily all of these actions occur within out society without very much negative feed back.  One of the few redeeming characteristics that we possess as human beings is our ability to love.  Love binds us together and forces us to forget our  pettiness and selfish nature.  When I see two people embracing in public, I smile because I know that this action is a reflection of the best part of humanity.

There are those that are still so ignorant that two men kissing is understood to be deplorable. 

"It was a simple kiss on the lips," said Carlos Diaz de Leon, who called police when he feared he and his group were targets of discrimination after his friends, both men, kissed in public.

At about 12:30 a.m. on the morning of June 29, the five men were placing their order at the Chico's Tacos on Montwood when the two men made their public display of affection, sparking the ire of two contracted security guards at the restaurant, police and witnesses said. After the group sat down, the security guards told them "they didn't allow that faggot stuff to go on there," and made them leave, de Leon said.

image You can be certain that if a heterosexual couple had exchanged a kiss, not a single feather would have been ruffled in this restaurant.   Chico’s Tacos is more than happy to take the money of gay men, however; it feels that it is has the right to control behaviour based in heterosexual privilege.  The gay community is expected to participate in society, i.e  pay taxes and generally perform acts that strengthen social cohesion,while at the same time being invisible. 

Many of the isms that we engage in regularly come down to a desire to express power coercively and a denial of space.   The right to control who is allowed to be a part of our social discourse is very much an expression of privilege.  The demand that a marginalized group sequester itself is meant to normalize certain bodies or behaviour.  Homosexuality can hardly be deviant when it has been a part of our world from the very beginning; it is only the fact that we abhor difference that makes it seem like an oddity or a perversion. 

image You will note that the guard made sure to use hate speech to reference an act of love between two men.   This amounts to yet another form of violence, though language is often understood to be harmless.  The word faggot exists to demean and degrade what is in fact a very natural link between two people.  Each time a person is subject to violence or prejudice, it has its very root in the fact that we enable language that not only asserts difference but infers value to difference.  The end of of homophobia begins with a zero tolerance for hate speech.

Contacting Chico’s Tacos and informing them that their behaviour towards these men is deplorable is a wonderful act of resistance, however; it is not enough.  Each day we are offered opportunities to challenge the social imbalances that we have created and we must take action. 

image We must be proactive in teaching children that all bodies matter.  We must have the courage to tell our friends when they use hate speech or express their privilege, that their actions/language are not acceptable.  We must endeavour to create safe spaces where ever we can, so that all can fully participate in this world. Even if it is as simple as ensuring that your home is safe for all that enter; it is one less place where a marginalized body will experience the social phenomena of “othering”.  Equality will not be given, it must be taken. 


Tank Chair

image

Okay can I just say how much I want this mighty machine.  Even though I now have my scooter, there are still plenty of places that access is denied to  me.  When I came across this muscle bound baby, yeah I had total wheel envy. 

Until I came down with three chronic illnesses, mobility was something I very much took for granted.  It was an easy thing to do because the world was built to accommodate me.  Today as I struggle to get through narrow doorways and negotiate sidewalk curbs that are not smoothed down, the world that once made way before me is now filled with obstacles.

Some may look at the tank chair and see a monstrosity but I see it as yet another tool to help those of us who have disabilities experience full and active lives.  The sheer size of the wheels impress me.  I have become used to having my right to take up space continually challenged.  As I struggled this week to get into the DOJO were Destruction takes karate, I was told by a fellow parent that I should just leave my scooter outside at the parking meter.  Without that scooter I would not be able to watch my son participate in an activity that I paid for and that he loves and yet it was so easily suggested that I should give it up because my method of transportation took up too much space.

Scooters, wheel chairs, canes, walkers etc., all mean freedom. Each activity that is opened up for me improves my emotional health because it allows me to participate in the wonders of this world.   Small things like taking a walk with my family, or watching my sons at the playground, give me a sense of peace and well being that I can find nowhere else.  When those that are able bodied infringe upon that experience in an effort to express their privilege, it shatters the delicate balance that we have so carefully crafted.

Part of what we fight is this idea that there is a normal way of functioning and or relating to the world.   There have always been those whose bodies don’t fit what the medical establishment has normalized as functioning, even though the persistence of our presence proves we are a natural part of creation.  It is not difference that is the issue; it is the way that we have come to understand this supposed difference.  In an environment that is designed to ensure that a differently abled individual is able to function at their highest level, the disability becomes irrelevant.  We enforce a medical model of disability each time we fail to accommodate or demand that a differently abled person complete a task that is beyond their capabilities.  It forces the individual to become their illness and or disability. 

I see the way that people tend to regard physical aids with pity as though those of us that are dependent upon them for mobility should be ashamed.   I am constantly reminded by others of what I cannot do because of my scooter as though the fault lies with my body and not an ableist world that has decided that PWD don’t deserve accommodations.  It is not my body that limits me but the construction of the world.  Even as the dependency of PWD is decried and stigmatized with the “super crip” mythology, the powerless state is created.  If the bar of accomplishment keeps moving and barriers are purposefully put in our path, how are we to lead successful lives?

Please take the time to share some of your experiences with reactions to your wheelchair, walker, cane etc…how do you deal with any ableism that you encounter?


Thursday, July 9, 2009

Yep Obama Likes The Booty

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This photo of the O man and Nicholas Sarkozy was taken at the G8 summit in L'Aquila, Italy, July 9, 2009.  It was posted by Reuteurs.  I think we can all agree while perfectly human to admire a fine behind, this was not his best moment.

Editors Note:  It seems that Obama has been exonerated by the following video, however Sarkozy is guilty as charged.

Americans Must Stop Marrying Other Species

Brian Kilmeade: We keep marrying other species and other ethnics--

GRETCHEN CARLSON: Are you sure you are not suffering from some of the causes of dementia right now?

Brian Kilmeade: The problem is the Swedes have pure genes. They marry other Swedes, that's the rule. Finns marry other Finns; they have a pure society. In America we marry everybody. We will marry Italians and Irish.

DAVE BRIGGS: This study does not apply?

Brian Kilmeade: Does not apply to us.

[pause]

DAVE BRIGGS: Huh.

Just another day in post racial America.  Fox cannot even pretend to be a fair and balanced news network with the racist commentary that they readily allow on the air.   Can someone please explain what the hell pure genes are?  OOOPs silly me, I suppose that is code for White genes. It seems to me that this idiot has read Mein Kampf one to many times.

Racism is structural because it occurs in every single agent of socialization.  When the media does not even bother to filter its goal of affirming a white supremacist state, what hope is there that people of color will ever be understood as equal?  We cannot take comfort in the fact that this was the opinion expressed of one man because this line of thought is repeated daily from sea to shining sea.

Of course, once again there will be no apology from FOX news.  With the rise of white supremacist groups, this kind of language is not only inflammatory, it is down right dangerous.   This kind of language cannot be defended under the cover of free speech because it comes at a very real cost.  When Brandon McClelland, James Byrd, Bernard Monroe, and Kathryn Johnston, were killed, their major crime was existing as Black in a society that long ago decided that Black bodies are worthless. 

Where does one direct rage when no matter where you turn, you are told that your life is meaningless?  To this day Blacks are expected to play happy sambo and smile even as Whiteness asserts its power.  When we express anger it is judged illogical or animal like and yet no matter the hatred or inhumane actions committed by Whiteness, it remains above critique.  If the US were serious about dealing with the racial divide such speech could never be tolerated. 

There is a reason why Blacks continue to lag behind Whites and one need look no further than what FOX news considered acceptable commentary.  When the jails are over flowing with Black criminals and the schools are crumbling with decay, the criminality lies with the direct actions of Whiteness.   More time and energy has been invested into continuing a hierarchy of bodies than has ever been invested in eliminating elements of society that are harmful.

Many quote the words of Dr.King pre 1963 and yet fall so far from his dream.  Segregation may no longer be the rule of the land but the world is every bit as divided by race.  Nightly Whiteness rushes back to their suburbs, leaving the Blacks in the inner cities that they have created through white flight. As steaming flesh lays on top of steaming  flesh the pain of poverty creates conditions that are inhumane.  It is not Blacks that are to blame but the conditions created by Whiteness in an effort to maintain privilege.   It is far easier to refer to us as a separate species than to acknowledge our shared humanity.  To admit we are human is to understand that all of the actions committed by Whiteness against Blacks are crimes against humanity.  From Slavery to Jim Crow to Police Violence the “othering” of Blacks has consequences.



Disabled activists protest budget threats

By Judy Greenspan
San Francisco

Published Jul 3, 2009 10:29 PM

Chanting “They say cut back, we say fight back!” over 400 disabled activists and their supporters took over the street in front of the State Office Building in San Francisco June 23 to “Stop the governor from slashing programs for people with disabilities, kids, and poor people.” Seventeen people both in and out of wheelchairs were arrested in a civil disobedience action.

WW photo: Judy Greenspan

The demonstration was called a “People’s Day of Reckoning” and coincided with the 10th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Olmstead decision, which stated that people with disabilities have a right to live in the community, not just in nursing homes. The action was organized by a diverse group of disabled people, seniors, single-payer health care advocates, union members and others.

Not only did the action target the anti-people budget currently being proposed by legislators and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, but it specifically exposed the inhumane cuts aimed at disabled people in California. Under Governor Schwarzenegger’s budget proposal, disabled people would lose their independence without attendants and aid and be forced into institutions and nursing homes.

Speaker after speaker challenged everyone to fight against the “cuts-only” budget and to support the rights of people with disabilities. A large group went into the streets and held a die-in during the protest. Jean Stewart, a long-time disabled writer and activist, addressed the crowd from the street before she was arrested: “The governor is doing this deliberately. He is saying ‘screw the people.’ We should be shutting down this country.”

Several other rallies were held around the state by the People’s Day of Reckoning Coalition which said loudly and clearly, “The state budget is killing us!”

Greenspan was arrested as part of the civil disobedience action.


Articles copyright 1995-2009 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

How Much Has Changed For The Women Of Afghanistan?

The following video is extremely graphic.

Every woman has the right to obey her husband and every woman has the right to pray though not in the mosque, that is reserved for men.

If we have some women in Parliament if we have a Ministry of Women It does not mean that now Afghan women [are] free. Because for common women ordinary women the situation is the same.

The United States Government has not sent one delegation to go and talk with the Afghan people, what the Afghan people want and especially what the Afghan women want”.

What will it take to improve the lives of women in Afghanistan?

“Stop this war because our people is very tired with this situation.  And if they really want to help our people we don’t need more soldiers.” 

“I don’t believe and I don’t expect any outside power to come and liberate me.  If I cannot liberate myself, no one from outside can liberate me. “

In their own words the women of Afghanistan give voice to the horror that we have inflicted upon them with this needless war of aggression.  Many westerners see what is occurring in Afghanistan as righteous due to the 9/11 attacks and the oppression of women however nothing could be further from the truth.  9/11 was a terrible day that will not soon be forgotten.  The people that died that day were truly innocent victims however there is such a thing as a measured response.  More Afghanis have died then were killed on that day.  The puppet government that has been installed is no better than the Taliban that ruled before it.  They are simply more sympathetic to western demands as they know better than to bite the hand that feeds them.

As a Canadian I continually see our participation justified as saving the women and yet from their own mouths comes the cost of this imperialistic mission.  Saving the brown people is a mission that Western nations have engaged in without ever admitting the ways in which this attitude is perpetuated by racism, (in the case of Afghanistan Islamophobia)  and a desire to create readily exploitable colonies. 

As Obama begins to marshal more troops to engage one cannot help but wonder when the women and children of Afghanistan will finish paying the price for Osama Bin Laden’s misdeeds?  As my own government struggles with the rising dissent to our continuing participation, I cannot help but wonder what happened to the myth of Canadians as peacekeepers, rather than faux nation builders.

This war is not righteous and is as much a quagmire as the Iraq war.  You cannot win the hearts and minds of people as you trample their customs and destroy their limited infrastructure.  Their stories should not be lost in the desire for conquest.  There is always a cost to human actions and it is the most vulnerable that usually pay it. The Afghani women and children do not owe a blood debt to western nations and it is time in the name of decency to end this invasion.  NGO’s will do a far better job of creating change than any gun ever could.



Is Serena Williams the New Sarah Baartman?

I have a new post up at Global Comment

image Venus and Serena Williams have dominated tennis since their first appearance in the nineties. Despite being champions many times over, they are still not given the respect that their accomplishment should merit, due in large part to their race and gender. Though we labour under the misconception that we have created a post feminist /racist world, the everyday experiences of women of color prove the mendacity of this social myth.

Words like “menacing,” “threatening” and “aggressive” are often associated with Serena. While these may not seem readily damaging, when one considers that Black women have historically been understood as “unwomen”; this language is an indication of a disturbing trend. Additionally, the epithet “tranny” is often used to insult Serena, thereby asserting that she is not a “real woman.” Though the category of woman is understood to be universally oppressed, white womanhood is perceived to subsume all that is good and desirable about femininity. This is a quagmire that women of color must negotiate to form any basis of self respect or agency.

image Since the days in which Saartjie “Sarah” Baartman was forced to reveal her buttocks and labia to curious Europeans in a human circus, the bodies of Black women have been scrutinized and uniformly judged as lacking and/or sub-human. While our bodies may no longer be on display, the fixation with the buttocks of Black women reveals that the “The Hottentot Venus” stereotype is still very much a part of social discourse.

Finish Reading Here

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Black Kids Change The Complexion Of A Pool

I should really start naming these sorts of posts dispatches from a post racial world.   Blacks are continually being told that we should focus on how far we have come as though whiteness does not continue with undeserved privilege, which they have a tendency to invoke on a daily basis.

image The Creative Steps Day Camp paid more than nineteen hundred dollars for their kids to swim at The Valley Swim Club.  The children got their swimming gear on and were ready for some summertime fun when they were assaulted by racist commentary.

"I heard this lady, she was like, 'Uh, what are all these black kids doing here?' She's like, 'I'm scared they might do something to my child,'" said camper Dymire Baylor.

Scared of what exactly?  How are children swimming and playing in a pool threatening, unless you are a raving bigot?  It could be that this woman had internalized many of the negative stereotypes that media regularly portrays about bodies of color, but hey; we’re all post racial right?

When the minority children got in the pool all of the Caucasian children immediately exited the pool," Horace Gibson, parent of a day camp child, wrote in an email. "The pool attendants came and told the black children that they did not allow minorities in the club and needed the children to leave immediately."

Yep,…now we can clearly see why racism continues to be a problem…WE TEACH IT TO OUR CHILDREN.   The adults in the club reacted with racism and the children responded appropriately.  So much for the election of a Black president changing the way the world views bodies of color.  People may want Sasha and Malia dolls but they don’t want their perfect white babies associating with the darkies. 

The club made sure to make their position clear should we mistake the intent behind their actions.

"There was concern that a lot of kids would change the complexion … and the atmosphere of the club," John Duesler, President of The Valley Swim Club said in a statement.

Gee…what if all that scary Blackness rubs off?  What if the white children should learn that all of the privilege that the world is intent on offering them based in the constructed idea that Blacks are inferior, is a steaming pile of bullshit?  The world certainly could not survive children learning from one another and sharing experiences; that might lead to equality and we cannot possibly have that. 

The club has yet to offer an apology though they have refunded the money spent by The Creative Steps Day Camp.   Even if they were to apologize to the parents and the children; they could never undo the harm that their racist actions have caused.   Actions like this are exactly why children of color learn to see Whiteness as good and Blackness as bad.  This can have lifelong effects, and is extremely emotionally damaging. 

Whiteness has created many myths to sustain its undeserved privilege and often when confronted with its racist behaviour, it will act defensively.  With whiteness comes the ability to deny the ways in which individual actions support and maintain a white supremacist state.  It is not enough to say that not all white people are racist, when all white people continue to benefit from the devaluation of people of color. 

The kind of degradation suffered by these children is not unique.  People of color continue to be assaulted daily and yet it is Whiteness that claims to live a life of fear.  When we examine the history of violence between the races it is POC how have a legitimate right to fear and not Whiteness.  If they experience any real fear at all;  it can only be from the awareness that at some point there will be a reckoning.  Such an imbalance cannot continue indefinitely and we shall have our justice at some point. 


We Loved Michael But The World Goes On

Even the most cold hearted cynic had to have been moved watching Paris Jackson say goodbye to her father at yesterdays memorial.  It was one of the few occasions since his death that we got to see the human connection, instead of the celebrity oddity that he had become.  

Like many across the globe, I tuned in to watch the memorial.  It was a beautiful tribute to the man and his music, even if we did have to tolerate positive references to his abusive father Joe Jackson.  I firmly believe that the only thing that the man is mourning is the loss of his largest meal ticket.

At this point, I don’t feel that it is disrespectful to say that it is time for the world to move on.  We have played his music, watched his videos and laughed at the way we tried to dance like Mike.   To go any further would be to create a circus and in fact we are already verging on this.

The news this morning continued to show clips from his memorial, just in case you somehow missed the MASSIVE coverage from yesterday.  As great as MJ was, he was only one man and there are issues in this world that require attention.  Much of this mourning reveals the over obsession with celebrity, rather than focusing on someone’s good work.  This is not to say that his charitable donations are not noteworthy, however I cannot help but think of the contrast between his memorial and the funeral of Mother Teresa a little over a decade ago. 

If we really want to celebrate the fact that Michael dreamed about a better world, perhaps we should get to the work of creating one instead of continuing on with the media circus.  He reminded us that there  were “kids in the street without enough to eat,” and if he could not be blind to their weeping then in his name neither should we.  “Heal the world make it a better place, for you and for me and the entire human race.”  He has passed us a torch and what remains to be seen, is if we have the heart to pick it up.


Vulva Jewellery Failure

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Like most other womanist/feminist I am all in favour of claiming the vagina as a positive body part.  Many of the constructions we have that about the vagina construct it is as dirty, or uncontrollable.  

I must admit that I was curious when I saw the Vulva Portrait Pendant for sale on Etsy, however something about this feels wrong.  Each vagina is custom made from a photograph or a description and yet somehow it does not seem personalized.  It seems instead like a collection of disembodied body parts.

The media has a penchant of reducing women to parts and somehow this “vagina jewellery” seems to convey the same message.  There is more to being a woman than having a vagina and some women don’t even possess them.  It is one thing to refute the social memes that are aimed at the vagina to reduce women and it is completely another to display disembodied vaginas as a supposed symbol of self acceptance.  Womanhood is not contained in a vagina; it is in the very fabric of our being. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

McKinney Kidnapping Ignored By Media

image Had it not been for twitter, I doubt that I would even have been aware that Cynthia McKinney was held hostage in Israel after attempting to deliver aid and supplies to the Palestinians.  There has been a resounding silence on this issue as CNN, MSNBC and other mainstream media sources rush to give us the latest news on the death of Michael Jackson.

Jackson was truly an iconic figure, however the man is dead and Cynthia is alive. His memorial is receiving massive coverage and the announcement that his body would be present was considered breaking news. Even Palin’s resignation has garnered more media and internet attention.  Though McKinney is safely back on US soil, her wellbeing during her ordeal was of little concern.

As celebrities and media personnel rush to speak about the ways in which Michael Jackson transcended race, the erasure of the plight of McKinney proves that race and gender continue to divide the country.  

Her mission was righteous and her intentions good, yet it matters not because the world places very little value on the bodies of Black women.   "If Israel fears for its security because Gaza's children have crayons then not only has Israel lost its last shred of legitimacy, but Israel must be declared a failed state," McKinney said.

imageDespite her accomplishments McKinney cannot escape the legacy of her mothers womb.  The media has gone to great lengths to paint her as radical, wild and untameable. One may not always agree with her methods or her arguments, but the reduction of her to  an almost animal like caricature over the course of years allowed her detainment to be deemed unimportant.

Imagine if a white male politician had been held captive by a foreign country.  Regardless of what we considered about the impetus for the detainment, his value would be enough for this to be heavily reported in the media.   Israel may be considered a friendly state, however the welfare of an American citizen should take precedence in this situation.  There was not even been a strongly worded statement on her behalf demanding her release. 

Her action was a response to Obama call to action on behalf of the Palestinian people and his silence was her reward. 

"State Department and White House officials have not effected our release or taken a strong public stance to condemn the illegal actions of the Israeli Navy of enforcing a blockade of humanitarian assistance to the Palestinians of Gaza, a blockade that has been condemned by President Obama," McKinney said in a statement posted on the Green Party's Web site last week.

McKinney is a Black woman and therefore the desire to identify with her is minimal.  No matter how successful a person of color becomes, few white people would change places with them because a Black identity is still considered less than.  People can congratulate themselves on being able to recognize the talent or skill of a person like Michael Jackson or Queen Latifah but when it comes right down to it; if our safety, health or happiness is an issue, it is irrelevant because we are all considered disposable bodies.



Heroes Adds Lesbian Love

image The sitcom Heroes started off with an amazing first season.  Each episode was climatic leaving viewers enthralled. Since that point, it has steadily declined with only the most devoted fans continuing to follow the series.  Racialicious  has kept a running discussion of the shows mystical usages of bodies of color.  Race is an issue that Heroes continues to flounder with.

image Heroes is desperate to repeat the success of the first season and apparently has decided to give Claire the character played by Hayden Panettiere, a female love interest.  Depending upon how audiences react to the sudden change from the incestuous interaction between her and Peter to this new called desire to participate in the love that dare not speak its name, Panettiere might very well find herself involved in a full fledged affair.

In most cases I would be very excited with the fact that a mainstream television employing LGBT characters within their storyline because it lends credence to the concept of all bodies being deserving of equal representation.  In fact, the more TBLG characters are shown in the media interacting with heterosexual characters and leading their lives; the easier it will be for society to accept the the fact that the BLTG community are no different.

I cannot say that I hold the same sort of hopes for the latest plot twist in Heroes.  It seems evident that the producers are going for the titillation factor, considering that this is  an attempt to raise ratings.   Heaven forbid a lesbian relationship exist on television because <gasp > women actually engage in sexual relationships for pleasure and not to be a visual fluffer for some guy who wants to get off.

Even if they somehow manage to normalize this relationship, the impetus for its creation will always render it a form of exploitation.  The idea that GLBT relationships can be affirmed when it suits the needs of heterosexuals only maintains the power imbalance.  Heterosexuals should not be able to decide when expression of lesbian love is appropriate, when little to no such disciplining occurs between men and women. 

How often has it been said that people are fine with homosexuality unless it is being flaunted?  In this one statement alone, we can decipher the degree to which certain acts immediately come under censure, not because they are morally problematic but by whom the act is performed by. Deciding to advance the storyline only if it is well received by viewers means once again the LGBT community is waiting upon the acceptance of heterosexuals.

When one considers the repeated failure of Heroes to treat its characters of color with respect, I don’t hold much hope for the addition of a gay identity being treated as anything other than a sideshow.  In this instance it may be necessary to save the cheerleader to save the world from its desire to perpetuate a hierarchy of bodies. 



It’s Little People Not Midget

Those that walk through the world with privilege have always had the ability to name regardless of how the marginalized group feels about said label.  In recent years people that have bodies that have historically been considered spoiled identities, have been very vocal about publicly rejecting labels that are harmful. The trans community have rejected “tranny”, and the differently abled have rejected terms like lame. 

The Little People of America are attempting to get the word midget declared a slur.  They are currently petitioning the FCC, after a particularly insulting episode of The Celebrity Apprentice.

During the episode of Celebrity Apprentice which aired on the NBC network, April 05, 2009 at 9 pm EST, people with a form of dwarfism (Little People) received a tremendous amount of ridicule and humiliation. NBC decided to air a program which continuously mentioned the word “Midget” by many of the cast members. The word “Midget is considered and recognized by Little People of America (www.lpaonline.org) as highly offensive and obscene to the dwarfism community.

During the program one of the cast members mentions “the word midget could be considered offensive to the Executives” and “ I think the appropriate phraseology would be Little People these days” bringing it to the attention of those responsible for editing and broadcasting the show. Yet it continued to be used throughout the show and used in the final title (Jesse James and the Midgets) of a viral video produced by the cast members.

Another of the cast members says: “They know that people point and laugh at them and they are comfortable within themselves and they have fun right back”, informing the general public that it is acceptable to ridicule a person with this difference or disability.

The cast member Hershel Walker says: “What about if we use little people and let them wash themselves in ALL detergent in the bathtub…and you hang them out to dry” (Portraying people of short stature more as an object rather than people).

Response: Joan Rivers “HANG THEM OUT TO DRY!”

Response: Clint Black “I don’t know…I mean…I am trying to envision how we hang them.

Response: Joan Rivers “Well…I have a terrace. We can hang them out on my terrace.”

The above content is mentioned in the program along with the 12 times during the program the word “Midget” was used with every attempt to humiliate people of short statured and those involved.

As is so often the case those with privilege have decided that it is acceptable to make a mockery of someone’s life.   It is not funny or amusing to use a term that is hateful and “other” for the sake of profits.  No matter how accustomed one becomes to being considered a second class citizen, it still hurts to walk through this world with the knowledge that you are devalued as a person.

Like any other stigmatized group Dwarves are subject to discrimination in hiring, violence and public ridicule.  Those of us that are of “normal” stature have a long history of infantilizing Dwarves to promote our undeserved privilege.   Even taking the time to learn some basic 101 knowledge regarding terminology or life experience is often deemed unnecessary because it is not deemed necessary to have a conversation that is not centered on dominant bodies.

According to The Little People of America, “midget is the term used for a proportionate dwarf. However, the term has fallen into disfavour and is considered offensive by most people of short stature. The term dates back to 1865, the height of the "freak show" era, and was generally applied only to short-statured persons who were displayed for public amusement, which is why it is considered so unacceptable today.”

Little People are not being to sensitive when they demand that the term “midget” cease to be used and yet this was continually  the complaint that I read in the commentary on this issue from average sized bodies.   It was often based in a rejection of what is deemed “PC” speech and no acknowledgement was given to the cost that such demeaning language can have on Little People.

Whether it is tranny, nigger, lame, faggot, dyke or midget, what cannot be denied is that these terms exist only to mark difference for the purposes of expressing power coercively.  It is not difficult to refrain from using such language and an insistence on perpetuating behaviour even after becoming aware that said terms are highly offensive, is not only rude; it is an expression of privilege.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Patriotism Denied The African Canadian/American Experience

image Yesterday Monica of TransGriot, Allison McCarthy (my favourite Gus) and I, sat down with Matt of Bastard Logic to discuss the ways which patriotism and national identity are denied to Blacks in Canada and the  US.   It was quite the conversation. Not to worry if you missed it,  you can still catch it here.

What Becomes of Michael Jackson’s Children?

I have a new post up at Global Comment

image Prior to the revelation of a will, Kathryn and Joe Jackson filed for custody of Michael Jacksons three children. When the will was filed, it was discovered that Michael Jackson directed his mother Kathryn to take custody of his children. The will further stated that were she to predecease him or be unable to fulfill the role of guardian, that he wished his children to be raised by his lifelong friend Diana Ross. Despite being one of nine children, it is particularly telling that he made no such endorsement of either his siblings or his father Joe Jackson.

The Jacksons were the little family from Indiana that rose from obscurity under the steel will of Joe Jackson. Today we are in the awe of the musical legacy left behind by their greatest star – Michael. In this time of mourning we are left to consider the cost of the gift that he left us with.

Michael paid for celebrity by sacrificing his childhood. He put his feelings to music in the song “Childhood”:

People say I’m not okay
‘Cause I love such elementary things…
It’s been my fate to compensate,
for the Childhood
I’ve never known…

Have you seen my Childhood?
I’m searching for that wonder in my youth
Like pirates in adventurous dreams,
Of conquest and kings on the throne…

Before you judge me, try hard to love me,
Look within your heart then ask,
Have you seen my Childhood?

The loss of his childhood would haunt Michel to his dying day. It was a sacrifice that his father Joe Jackson felt was necessary. Joe has enjoyed the role of patriarch and the second-hand fame he has achieved through his children. When BET held a tribute to Michael, Joe was the only family member in attendance.

image Joe Jackson has taken every opportunity to raise his public status. When asked what the next step was by Don Lemon of CNN on the red carpet, he immediately began to speak about a record label he was attempting to promote, rather than discussing funeral plans for his son or the future of his grandchildren. He claims that he took the opportunity to promote his record company because that is what Michael would have wanted him to do. He further stated that he was crying on the inside. Each person deals with grief differently; however, it is quite incomprehensible that a loving parent would so easily cast aside the death of a child to promote a business venture.

Michael was a success in spite of Joe and not because of him. When one examines the life that Michael led, it is clear that it was filled with issues stemming from a very troubled childhood. What is ‘Neverland” but a palace dedicated to loss and suffering in the guise of play and whimsy? If Joe’s so-called methods were great, why did Michael feel the need to dedicate millions of dollars to attempting to escape his father? Why did Michael state that even as an adult the sight of Joe was enough to make him vomit?

Finish Reading Here

Kill A Gay Man Serve 1 Year In Prison

image In May of 2007, Sean William Kennedy was walking back to his car when he was attacked and murdered by Stephen Andrew Moller.  As he beat him to death he repeatedly uttered anti gay slurs. 

Moller… originally was charged with murder and faced the possibility of life in prison until Greenville County’s chief prosecutor offered the alternate involuntary manslaughter charge after a grand jury found "no malicious intent." The lesser charges carry a maximum sentence of five years.

Of course in his defence, his family claimed that alcohol was the reason that the murder occurred in the first place.  It was even suggested that a prison sentence could “hurt him”, he was after all supporting his nine month old daughter at the time of sentencing.  This  man that stood over Kennedys brain dead body and said, “You tell your faggot friend that when he wakes up he owes me $500 for my broken hand.”

image If the facts of the case don’t make you sick, how about the fact that Moller only served one year for the death of  Sean William Kennedy. In fact he was released one week early. He was given credit for the 7 months he served pre-trial and then three years of his five year sentence was suspended.  South Carolina has no hate crimes law.

The end result is that Sean’s mother received an automated message notifying her that the murderer of her son was being released.  So callously has this case been treated that they could not even be bother to personally notify this grieving mother

Sean is dead because his hand accidentally brushed against Moller’s face.   Alcohol is absolutely no excuse.   Moller always had the potential to be violent. Sean was 20 years old when he died. No one will ever know what he could have offered the world because his light was taken from this world far too soon.

Sean’s mother Elke Kennedy said in a release. “He should have served every single day of the already short sentence, instead he was released from prison today, one week early. Where is the justice?”

Moller’s light penalty in the death of Sean is more evidence that some bodies continue to be undervalued in the justice system.   It is imperative for a hate crimes bill to be passed to help stem the violence that is often aimed at the GLBT community.  Moller would have received a heavier sentence had he abused an animal. 

It’s been more than ten years since the death of Matthew Shepard and the GLBT community must still live in fear that their lives could be cut short because someone is determined to uphold their heterosexual privilege.  Justice is not blind as long as this kind of travesty is allowed to continue.

When marginalized bodies are targeted for violence, their murders are either not seriously investigated, or the penalty given to the assailant affirms that their lives are understood to be valueless.; this is true whether the victim is a sex trade worker, GLBT, or of color

We don’t live in a society in which all bodies matter and the criminal justice system daily reaffirms the prejudices that we have built.  How many more must meet their end because we have decided that any deviation from the so-called norm renders one valueless?  We readily tolerate hate speech without acknowledging that it leads to deaths like that suffered by Shepard and Kennedy. 

Hate speech is where crimes like this start.   The moment we begin to “other” a group, we are laying the groundwork for them to be understood as less than.  When a group or individual is deemed spoiled, historically they have been targeted for marginalization and even violence that leads to death based in the idea that they are not like everyone else. 

If we are to seek equality and justice crimes against marginalized groups must be prosecuted as the hate crimes that they are.  We must end our tolerance for language that demeans an individual based in race, gender or sexuality.  We have given much lip service to circulating the myth that we are an advanced society and yet so many of our actions reveal that we really have not advanced very far from the days when Nero fiddled while Rome burned.  Each time we fail to speak out we are tacitly approving the violence and vicious hate speech we claim to detest.  Last year Kennedy was murdered and tomorrow it may be you. 

 

 

 

 

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Masturbation: Good Girls Do Touch Themselves

Over the past year I have occasionally blogged about masturbation because I believe that it is a subject that women really go to great lengths to avoid talking about.  We seem to have no problem discussing men pleasing themselves and in fact we expect such behaviour, however when it comes to women masturbating there is a great silence.

Female masturbation continues to be taboo because women that are sexual are often disciplined in our culture.  Even when we have sex within what are considered socially approved relationships, sex is something that is constructed as a burden, rather than a desire or a right. 

We claim that we are so very liberated, however  female sexuality is very much controlled by patriarchy.  This is not about the celebration of raunch culture but about  honouring the parts of us that are sexual.  Masturbation is about getting in touch with our sexual side and understanding our bodies. 

For it to be successful you need to free your mind of all of the inhibitions that we have normalized and fixate on what feels good.  As a womanist/feminist I will play mentally with ideas that don’t necessarily align with my political beliefs in terms of gender relations, however when explored in this vein because they originate from me rather than being the result of a power imbalance in a sexual relationship, they take on a different connotation.  In my fantasy my sexual partner may say or do something that in a real world experience I would have found threatening however because it is just a fantasy, I am safely able to work through ideas.

After experiencing a sexual assault, masturbation can be a way to reclaim sexuality and the body.  Touching oneself is a way nurturing and self comfort.  It is not often that we think of masturbation along these lines and this is due in part to the fact that we have constructed sex as a dirty filthy act. 

Even when one is in a committed sexual relationship it is very important that masturbation continue to occur on a regular basis.  Whether it is an act we share with a partner or engage in by ourselves it encourages one to fantasize and explore personal limitations. 

Last night I wanted to find out whether or not it was possible for me to achieve an orgasm without touching my vagina.  I played with my breasts and let my mind go.  Until this moment I really bought into the idea that even though the brain is the largest sexual organ, that my vagina was central to my sexual urges and desires.  I learned that my whole body is and can be an erogenous zone. There is no shame in this activity, and instead  I view it as another step in the journey of self discovery.

What have you learned about yourself through masturbation and how does this knowledge empower you?  When was the first/last time you masturbated.  As women these are conversations we need to have openly if female sexuality is ever going to move beyond the virgin/whore dichotomy to one that affirms it as a positive expression of self love.



Sunday, July 5, 2009

Palin Resigns

image On Friday July 03, Sarah Palin publicly declared her intention to resign. Palin first grabbed the international spotlight when she was tapped by John McCain to become his running mate in the 2008 election. She was the second woman selected to run for the vice presidential position and the first Republican woman. At the time she had an extremely high approval rating in Alaska but was not well known in the lower 48 states. Upon announcement of her selection, the media began a massive hunt to discover who she was and what she stood for.

Palin rapidly became a household name and much of it was based on her political faux pas. Her inability to discuss the Bush doctrine or name a major magazine or newspaper upon which she depended for news quickly became a ratings gift to Saturday Night live who parodied her public missteps weekly. Palin became the comedic gift that kept on giving.

Though McCain was the nominee for president his popularity paled in comparison to hers, and attendance at her rallies routinely outshined his. With her supposed “folksy charm”, she sold conservatives with her anti woman, jingoist, and racist message. Feminists found themselves in the untenable position of having to defend her, despite her clearly anti-woman stance as sexist rhetoric was used to discredit her.

Even after losing the election, Palin’s name continued to circulate as she engaged in a war with bloggers and the so-called liberal media. Throughout her political career, Palin has surrounded herself with cronies and was unaccustomed to being unable to spin the news in her favour. Though clearly desirous of continuing the fame that she received as a vice presidential nominee, Palin clearly believed and continues to assert her right to be above criticism.

It is easy to question the intelligence of Sarah Palin after hearing statements like, “I can see Russia from my house”; however, one must remember that to become the governor of a state requires a degree of intelligence and political savvy. Palin may not have been ready for the “big game”, when she received the tap from John McCain but that does not mean that she is not capable of making the changes required to converse intellectually about the pressing issues of our day.

In her resignation speech Palin stated:

As I thought about this announcement, that I wouldn't run for re-election, and what that means for Alaska, I thought about, well, how much fun some governors have as lame ducks. They maybe travel around their state, travel to other states, maybe take their overseas international trade missions, so many politicians do that, and then I thought: That's what's wrong—many just accept that lame duck status, and they hit the road, they draw a paycheck, and they kinda milk it? And I'm not gonna put Alaskans through that.”

One would have to be completely naive to believe that her overwhelming desire to spare Alaskans is what encouraged her to resign the post of Governor. It is more likely that she realized that even though being a Governor of a state provided her with a platform, the fact that Alaska is so far removed from the lower forty-eight states would create difficulty for her in terms of transportation on the campaign trail.

Palin has not declared a desire to run for president but her ambition is clear to any who have watched her political career rise since she received the nod from John McCain. Palin has already started working on raising money and as Obama’s election made clear, proper financing is absolutely necessary to win a presidential election. By resigning the post of Governor, she will be able to travel more freely and raise capital.

Though she regularly attacked Obama on his experience, her lack of knowledge clearly hampered her political ambitions and despite being taught Republican talking points, more is required to successfully launch a national campaign. Palin is going to need time and experience and this can be acquired by giving paid speeches across the nation where she will face tough questions from those not disciplined by party moors.

If Sarah Palin is to be a successful candidate in 2012, she needs to appeal to more than the Christian Conservative section of the Republican Party; she will need time to craft an image that has a broader appeal. Palin has much work ahead of her to become a legitimate candidate and this cannot have escaped the notice of her handlers.

When Sarah Palin made the announcement that she was resigning, she offered no real explanation. She did not even bother to cite a desire to spend more time with her family, which is a very common reason given by those who choose to leave behind public or time consuming careers; thus leaving the explanation open for conjecture. I suspect that Palin very much wants the public to discuss her reasons. The more that she is a subject of conversation, the more she will appear as a legitimate possible choice.

In the coming months the reason behind her sudden departure will make itself apparent. I suspect it will begin with a glaring announcement of her intention to seek the office of the president of the United States. Palin has yet to acquire the polish of a seasoned politician, however she is certainly shrewd and barring any hidden political scandal that we are not aware of, this decision was certainly aimed at advancing her political ambitions. It will be interesting to see how she chooses to explain her lack of commitment i.e the inability to finish one term as governor while seeking the nation’s top job.


Sunday Shame: Partying and My Long Lost Youth

image On July 11, I will be turning 30 yet again.  It has become a great jokeimage between family and friends.  At the rate that I am “aging”, I will  be younger than my little brother.  Things have changed a lot since the days of crawling home at 6am and being dull enough to believe that drinking rum and cokes and brown cows was a good idea.  Yeah, that was a mistake I will never make again.  I don’t think my stomach has ever forgiven me for that disaster.

I used to be able to party with the best of them.  I remember partying all night, getting two hours sleep and showing up to work somewhat coherent.  In my drunken haze I was queen of the Karaoke mike and mistress of the dance floor.  Even though American liquor is really  watered down, we would cross the border to party because the bars were open later. 

Now that I am the mother of two, Mayhem successfully using the potty is what image gets me going.  How does one go from dancing to Closer to God in cheap shoes and gravity defying bra to howling at the moon on ladies night in the garage?  No you didn’t read that last sentence wrong.  In the Niagara region as women age, we retreat from the bars and except for the occasional cougar night we end up partying in the garage.

There you have it…On the very rare occasion that I am free of parental responsibility, I’m off to a garage to drink cheap wine and sing Bitch by Meredith Brooks at the top of my lungs.  Looking back I realize how much life has changed as the unhusband and I now have garage envy.

I am ashamed to admit it but we are now discussing how to pimp out our garage for the sake of an adult retreat.  We have envisioned a wood burning stove, a poker table and a half decent stereo system. How do you know that you are getting old…when you get excited about partying in your garage.

Alright your turn…time to reveal signs of aging, bad drinking stories, or how you plan to spend your impending midlife crises.