Saturday, August 14, 2010

Drop It Like It's Hot

Hello everyone, thanks again for all of the kind condolence messages this week, and thanks to all of you who donated.  My entire family had been very touched by the wonderful outpouring of support. This has been a very tough week for me and I am still not operating at my best.  Posting may continue to be a little light for awhile, until I get my bearings again. On that note, now would be a really great time to take advantage of the open guest posting policy here at Womanist Musings.  Please send along a 3 line bio, an image that you would like associated with your work and a link to your blog or original work via e-mail to womanistmusings (at) gmail.com.  We are going to have to work together to keep the conversation rolling around here.

Because I didn't do a link round up last week, this one is a bit long; however, I promise they all lead to really great posts.  Please don't be shy about showing these bloggers some love and when you are done, don't forget to drop it like it's hot and leave your link behind in the comment section.

17-month Old Roy Jones brutally murdered for acting like a girl
Does Haiti Need a Real President, Or a Superstar?
Asians are not all rich
Being Fat
Women and bodily functions: scratching an “inappropriate” itch
Land and Fly Away
Out of the pot, into the fire: How Hierarchy defines our lives
the untold story of charlie chan
Elizabeth Eckford
5 Ways Neighbourhoods Are Taking Control of Their Food Systems
What’s “Intention” Got To Do With It
No one is innocent
Who Will Notice?
Stick To Your Own Age
Sexing the breast
Dev Patel: I Just Get Offered “Goofy Indian Sidekick” Roles
Mormons: we’re must like you (except for how we hate The Gay)
Beauty Pageant Winner Losses Bodily Autonomy, Ditches Crown
A Trans Twist of Fate: My Therapist Tale
Roma Face Discrimination in Europe
On elder abuse II
What “So Ghetto” Really Means
Superwoman Sings the Blues
On Centering Caregivers in Disability Discourse
Summer of Body Image Problems

Friday, August 13, 2010

We Are Still Speaking From Inside The Inner Courtyard -- Only Now We Stand On Hard Concrete

Jaded16 is best described as a 'Radical Woman of Colour' in words other than her own. When she isn't swooning about one book or another, she can be found over at her place 'Oi With The Poodles Already', a humour blog on most days; while on some days is just a place for her to thinly veil her rambling LadyFeelings into semi-sensible posts. Obsessed with Literature, Possessed by Poetry and Devoted to Activism, she hopes to be a lot of things. As of now,  getting her graduate degree in Literature will do though. 

In this monolithic omnipresent myth called Culture, I come across many instances of gobbledygook that a lot of people (un)painstakingly make up to dupe the masses, ironically in the name of the GreaterGood. Most times I laugh it off, hoping fervently no one believes the story. Other times I'm wondering just why do people constantly buy into stereotypes all the time. It's a bigger unexplained mystery than  Quandary #7,895 which states -- Why don't my bookshelves grow every time books are added? Embellishments aside, people do really believe the strangest things. Why, last week my grandmother's friend took one look at my dog's eyes and declared PureEvil lived in him; without pausing to think she smelled of rat poop and my dog was just trying to sniff out the vermin (no innuendo intended). Some ageists can argue that she's (gasp!) old and that is why she has lost her grip on reality, but the truth is if she is can remember who divorced who, quote soap-operas like the Bhagvad Gita, then she can most definitely discern between knowledge and (un)intellectual rubbish. Some of you can say that probably her pain medication got to her head (unlikely) but people have asked me worse, more nonsensical things. Sadly, these questions are seen as perfectly logical and even natural to them.

Call them myths, fantasies, well-crafted fantasies, credibly realistic fiction -- anything you want. What rankles this LadyBrain so deeply is the number of people who actually believe in these (p)fallacied fabrications. Last week, my aunt asked me if I’ve “Given up on feminism”, when she saw my Medusa look she realised I wasn’t too pleased with the suggestion. She went away muttering something about how unnecessary the women’s movement is, considering “All that those angry women wanted, they’ve got it! What is left to fight for?” -- A good question indeed. For many middle-class urban women, the battle and the war, both have been won. If any “fight” or struggle that has to take place, it’s only for those backward women. We’re more emancipated than you make out of us, maybe you should stop making up the history of oppression. And just why is your prose and poetry so angry!? OH WHY CAN'T YOU WRITE ABOUT ANYTHING HAPPY ONCE IN A WHILE? These questions are always lurking around the corner wherever I go.

Comedian Paul Mooney Talks Race, and Why Oprah Should be Horsewhipped and Ellen is a Thief

Paul Mooney made his bones writing for "The Richard Pryor Show, Sanford and Son, and Saturday Night Live. In 1987, he opened for Eddie Murphy's Raw tour. He invented In Living Color's Homey D. Clown, and played both Negrodamus and the guru from "Ask a Black Dude" on Chappelle's Show." To say the man is a militant lover of Blackness is to understate who he is.  Though this might be a hard listen for many, I do believe he brings up many issues that we are not comfortable talking about.  He recently gave an interview to the Miami New Times and brought up some issues that we avoid talking about, but really get to the heart of how race is treated in America.

New Times: What does it mean to be too black for Hollywood?

Paul Mooney: That's so funny. What does it mean to be too black for Hollywood? It's self-explanatory. Hollywood has certain kinds of blacks that they like. You know better than I do. You watch TV. You know who your favorite is. I mean it's like there's a certain thing that works. And I don't fit that comfort zone. I'm too on the edge. I'm too arrogant. You know, I'm from the South ... Too uppity. You can just name the ones they're so into, from Tyler Perry to Tracy Morgan.

There are still plenty of movie people peddling black stereotypes. I guess Tyler Perry's probably the most massively successful. Have you even seen any of his movies?

Of course I've seen his movies. That Precious ... Him and Oprah both should be taken out and horsewhipped. I mean, what Christian would read that script and say, "I have to put this up on screen." That Precious was The Color Purple 2. I was offended by it. All black males are offended by it. Listen, if you have money and you have fame, but you don't have any confidence in your blackness, then it's all for nothing. You know, Hilary Clinton could say she was a woman and running for President. And Sarah Palin could say she was a woman and running for Vice-President. But Obama couldn't say, "I'm black and I'm running for President." It couldn't come out of his mouth. He couldn't say that because, if he did, he'd lose votes. Do you understand what I'm saying? 

Dr. Laura Schlessenger Gives A Weak Apology For Using N-Word On Air

As a Black woman I cannot emphasize enough how painful the word nigger is.  It exists only to harm Blacks and no matter the context it is said in by a White person it is always painful.  You cannot erase the history of how this word has been used to make it palatable.  It will always be painful to hear, but if we are at all honest, it becomes expected.  You see, no matter how not racist White people portend to be, if an opportunity exists to use race as a weapon invariably it will happen.  It is a hard truth but a truth nonetheless.  Recently Dr. Laura decided to unleash her inner bigot (inner because it is the soundtrack of the mind that many silence today) live on air". Those of you who think that are elevated because you only think racist thoughts and avoid uttering racist statements are really no better.

A young Black woman in an inter-racial relationship calls to find out what to do because her husband is ignoring the racist commentary that she is subjected to.  Did she ever pick the wrong person to ask.  Dr. Laura tells her that she is being to sensitive and has a chip on her shoulder.  Complains that Blacks have not right to be upset about the word nigger because Black comedians on HBO use the word.  Tells her she does not know why Blacks are so focused on race they did after all get a Black president after mindlessly voting for him.  This was compounded by the fact that she has a Black friend and so she couldn't possibly be racist.

“Lo que no sabemos nos dañará, or, What we don’t know will hurt us”

 Eugenia de Altura is a female graduate student conducting research on issues of women and gender in the cities of La Paz and El Alto, Bolivia. Bolivia is the poorest country in Latin America with the exception of Haiti, and over 60% of the country’s population is of indigenous descent. Eugenia’s postings explore women’s rights, sexuality, and reproductive health in Bolivia and in Latin America as a whole.
This week, UK-based Independent Television News (ITN) reported on Bolivia’s first-ever hosting of the “Miss Transvestite South America” beauty contest.  The contest included male-to-female trans contestants from Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, and other South American nations.  Evidently, organizers had a difficult time raising the necessary funds for the event, which nearly prevented it from moving forward, but the contest was saved when the La Paz city government pitched in. This video—despite carelessly confusing the concepts “trans” and “gay”—shows colorful snippets of the contest, and in one scene, breathtaking views of La Paz, Bolivia.
It strikes me as rather odd that I have chosen to write about this event, and the themes it raises, since I know little of the reality of being trans in Latin America.  But also, I suppose that it is that fact—that we do know so little about trans life in the region, that there is so little visibility around it—that prompts me to write.  This piece, therefore, is designed to spark reflection and elicit your thoughts broadly on sexual diversity in Latin America, rather than teach you something new.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hidden LIfe Sentences in Communities of Colour

Poverty has stalked the Black community from the moment we were dragged in chains to the new world.  White supremacy has worked diligently for centuries to ensure that many are born poor and remain so until death.  Efforts include but are not limited to reduced access to education, pigeonholing in low paying jobs, refusal of mortgages and incarceration.  Currently Blacks are over represented in the prison population.  This is a sentence that is commonly uttered when the Black community is being discussed, but what is ignored is that this means a lifetime disenfranchisement for many.  Colloquially we say don't do the crime if you can't do the time, but we don't say that for many the time means a lifetime of being punished for said crime.  We perpetuate the myth that the recidivism rates are high because people have criminal tendencies, rather than the reality that people seldom get a second chance after they have been incarcerated for any length of time.  Poverty creates much of what we consider crime today and until we deal with our communal responsibility for the creation of circumstances that lead to incarceration, prisons will continue to be a revolving door. One such example is:

Kanye West Is No Emmett Till

I generally speaking do not read celebrity news, nor do I write about it; however, occasionaly some fool says something so beyond the pale that I am forced into commenting.  In case you have forgotten, Kanye stood up at the video music awards, drunk like he had been pickled in a bottle of cheap booze and proceeded to inform Taylor Swift that she did not deserve the award that she had won.  He also said that the award should have gone to Bey Bey.  I was absolutely inclined to agree with him at the time (note: I loves me some Bey Bey, so I might be biased) though I absolutely disagree with the way in which he registered his disapproval.  I also felt sympathy for the man knowing that he not gotten over the death of his mother.  When you are mourning, you are not yourself.  Of course, the White feminists registered their complaints, while I thought if Swift was so upset at the time, why didn't she open the mouth God gave her and tell the man to sit.  I simply could not imagine him stepping to Mary J Blige and not being told about his trifling self.  But I digress...
 ,
Anyway, White people used this occasion to let their inner racist out.  What they saw was a Big Black Sambo scaring poor little Missy Ann into silence.  You cannot have an interaction between Black men and White women without some people absolutely losing their shit.  Ironically, many people had not even heard of Swift until the Kanye open mouth and insert foot incident and this gave her career a huge lift.  Kanye then dropped off the radar ( and certainly into obscurity for me because I never listen to his music).  Unfortunately for the world, it seems that West has decided that his time in purgatory is done and besides, the man has a new cd to promote.  Time to let the past be the past and prove to the world that the trifling drunk ass Kanye, who dared interrupt a White woman is gone forever. 

Well it seems that in his sojourn in Japan and Italy, what he really learned is to minimize Black lives to make himself look like a victim.  For those of you that are not aware who Emmett Till was - he was a young teenage boy who allegedly whistled at a White woman and was lynched and beaten to death for his trouble.  Below you will find before and after pictures of Emmett. (note: image is below the fold because it is disturbing)

Writing Universal


Itoro Udofia is an artist and writer living in Amherst, MA. Currently, she is attending graduate school to study social justice and education. Her work focuses primarily on the African Diaspora, black womanhood, identity, solidarity, and love. She hopes to continue using art as a tool for social justice. 

"I never asked Tolstoy to write for me, a little colored girl in Lorain, Ohio. I never asked [James] Joyce not to mention Catholicism or the world of Dublin. Never. And I don't know why I should be asked to explain your life to you. We have splendid writers to do that, but I am not one of them. It is that business of being universal, a word hopelessly stripped of meaning for me. Faulkner wrote what I suppose could be called regional literature and had it published all over the world. That's what I wish to do. If I tried to write a universal novel, it would be water. Behind this question is the suggestion that to write for black people is somehow to diminish the writing. From my perspective there are only black people. When I say 'people,' that's what I mean."

Toni Morrison
 

One day, myself and another fellow artist were having an in depth discussion about the nature of writing a “universal” piece of fiction. So naturally, we started referencing points in our lives when someone had asked for us to write a “universal” piece of fiction that anyone could identify with. Or better yet, a piece of a something that was truly, you know, human. As we compared and contrasted our experiences, I realized that there was always a particular scenario (and dare I say power dynamic) that played out with exactly who does the asking and who is usually expected to comply with writing something universal.

For example, I write a lot about being a Nigerian-American woman living in the United States of America. This lived experience of being a woman of color in the U.S. is not something I would categorize as the “quintessential universal experience.” A lot of my writing will probably let you know that yes, a woman of color is writing this and yes, there are particular things that I am calling out that may not exist as you would like to see it, but nonetheless, exist.

This Week In Blackness: The “How To” Guide on Scaring White People

AThe GOP and the Tea Party has been using race to attempt to encourage white fear as they cultivate the White vote.  Elon James White breaks it down and keeps it so real, I just had to share with you.

Transcript:

Hi my name is Elon James White and you are now watching this week in Blackness.  (sign: step 1 make them feel like a Negro)  What is going on folks?  We back episodeA 7 season three of This Week in Blackness. And we have no alienated out sponsor yet so that's a win our corner you know what I mean.  I can’t say about this week but let’s see what happens, mmm shall we? SO uh, I’ve been thinking cause last weeks episode you know was called “The Blackest Summer Ever” and I was wondering why are we so covered in race right now?  Like why can’t we get out of this racial hole that the country seems to be in?  Perhaps the country really is ready for that national conversation about race that we need so badly.  (a big red x appears on the screen along with a loud buzzing sound) Umm maybe people are just tired of the mystery and they finally want to know why the caged bird sings. (Big x appears on the screen followed by a loud buzz) That doesn’t even make sense.  Perhaps the reason that race is raining down upon us is because the right wing has realized that that’s the best way to scare White voters.  (winner appear on the screen in green and is flashing with a ding ding sound)  Blacks, I am not talking about all White voters.  Okay there’s a lot of White voters out there that are supper liberal and they’ll march, and write letters and they’ll chain themselves to shit.  I had to be sure to clarify this, otherwise there would be a bunch of white voters that would be really pissed at me and they would start marching, and writing letters and chaining themselves to shit.

The White voters I am talking about are the middle of the road White voters.  The White voters who don’t necessarily dislike Negros but they probably don’t a lot of them you know.  They’re probably not jumping up and down for the opportunity to go have lunch with them. Which really, you probably should – Black people brunch hard okay. Okay it is like not a game.  Have you been to a Black brunch?  There is like live music, there is a like a sick buffet there’s like church hats.  It’s fucking awesome. So now the Republican news and media outlets are painting this crazy picture you know; Obama is racist, he is putting the rights of White working class citizens aside.  Blacks people are getting preferential treatment.  And if you say dumb shit enough, eventually people will start to believe it.  Prime example, Sarah Palin’s entire career.  I know, I know, I sound like some big liberal democrat and the fact is I don’t consider myself a liberal.  I consider myself anti-evil but as of late it seems that that particular stance falls under the liberal banner – who knew?  The GOP is playing the race card in hopes for a winning ticket in 2010 mid term election.  You don’t believe me, look at what Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh are trying to do.  They’re try to paint president Obama as really really Black.  Obama – really Black.  Yeah, yeah Obama he’s super Black Blackity Blackity Black.  He’s so Black he barely acknowledges his race at all.  That’s how Black he is. That’s when you scary Black son.  When you don’t ever mention it; that’s how you know you scary Black.  When you try to govern from the middle, man that is some scary Black shit.  They have him down.  He’s about to fire Rahmn Emmanuel and hire Jay Z son – haha on to the next.  But that’s the plan you know, to scar what voters.  Tell ‘em that they’re not even going to be able to vote soon because there’s scary Black panthers that are going to stop them.  Tell ‘em that healthcare reform is actually a secret pact, so that they can actually give Black people those reparations they’ve been wanting so bad.  Tell them that affirmative action is just stealing jobs from good working class White people.  It has nothing to do with the history of this country at all.   Is Obama Kenyan for amnesia?  Because when people say his name they all of a sudden forget like the past eight or four hundred years. It’s crazy how that works.  In the end the Republican and Tea Party message is very simple and it boils down to this: Hey middle of the road White People.  Do you want to be treated the way that we treated Black people before?  No, then vote republican.

Did you read about Rush Limbaugh saying that a trip that Michelle Obama took to Spain, where she had like secret service detail and all that stuff, was like an example of reparations? Hey Rush, I just want to say one thing you: (singing) Go fuck yourself.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Seth MacFarlane Really Needs A Mute Button

If you look up the term fauxgressive, I am quite sure MacFarlane's face would be front and center.  He says all of the right bullshit, but when it is time for him to earn money, the man has no problem pushing every ism that he can think of.  Some would say that he picks on everyone and that this therefore makes his television shows acceptable, but if you really study "The Cleveland Show" and "The Family Guy," you will notice that the people he seems to pick on the most, constitute the most marginalized in society.  When marginalized people complain about the way they are portrayed on MacFarlane's shows, we are told that we are being to sensitive and that it is just a joke.  Why take any of it seriously, they are after all just cartoon characters right?

MacFarlane recently gave an interview to Details magazine and in it he discussed the negative reaction of the GLBT community to his latest trans episode.
Details: You predicted that another episode—about a transgendered character—would make the LGBT community happy. It didn't.
Seth MacFarlane: That surprised me. I don't meet a lot of stupid homosexuals. They seem to be a pretty smart bunch. But it seemed that they were not picking up on the fact that it was a very sympathetic portrayal of a transsexual character.
Details: Maybe the fact that Brian barfs his guts out when he realizes he's had sex with a transsexual threw them off.
Seth MacFarlane: Hey, we're still Family Guy.We're not suddenly going to become 7th Heaven. Actually, I guess on 7th Heaven they would probably burn the transsexual at the stake. Let me think of another example. We're not Mr. Belvedere. Look, Brian happens to be a heterosexual character, as I am. If I found out that I had slept with a transsexual, I might throw up in the same way that a gay guy looks at a vagina and goes, "Oh, my God, that's disgusting." It's just the way we're biologically wired. They should give that another look.
I get not being able to change your sexuality to agree with your political beliefs.  I absolutely believe that trans men are men  -- and yet I know within my heart, that I am in no way interested in having more than one vagina in my bed.  I certainly would not feel the need to throw up or even be disgusted -- for me it would simply fall into the category of something that does not float my boat; however, there are plenty of women that would be completely into this, just as there are plenty of straight cis men that are very interested in sleeping with trans women.  Have a conversation with trans women and you will see that there are some who will speak of being specifically pursued because they are trans.

The English Speaker: The True Indian Edition Of Identity

Jaded16 is a Radical Feminist from India. She writes a humour blog Oi With The Poodles Already’, attempting to make her world a little woman-friendly using healthy doses of irony and sarcasm to de-condition the Indian masses. It is at times like these when she loses all her sense of humour and starts looking for a rock big enough to live under. 

As a moderately sensible lady, I tend to ignore my hefty pile of trollmail. I like to think it's Dorothy Parker saying in my head, "But now I know the things I know/ And do the things I do/ And if you do not like me so/ To hell, my love, with you!", for the most part. Or maybe I've just become that thick-skinned as I see all the trollmail being happily fed to my SpamSolider. Another maybe is that I am indeed tipping over the edge of sensitivity and do not want to see any other e-mail telling me just why I should stop writing or why Renee and I are being racist for writing or promoting things about India that don't necessarily co-opt zie's idea of India that possibly comes from watching 'The Darjeeling Limited' way too many times. Let's just say, this lady can only take so many references of "Hey do you speak like Appu from The Simpsons?" or "Have you seen an American toilet?" before she really loses it. Forgive me for not reading all my mails when you send them in then. The question that comes in more often than I change my underpants is "Why do you even call yourself Indian if you hate India so much? You're tainting our Indianness. Stop wearing this nationality as a badge then". A close second is, "How come your English is that good? Are you sure you're Indian?" (with a lot of colourful embellishments of course). These trolls don't see it but there is a direct relation between the two.

First of all, I want to ask everyone, Just what is this Indianness? If I am to go by Western stereotypical standards, I am supposed to be enchanting, ravishingly beautiful, as exotic as fruit or those Amazonian parakeets; completely unaware of my sexuality. Like "Jewel"  (whose name we can surmise to be Ratna which does mean a jewel in Hindi) in E. M. Forester's 'A Passage To India', many could have taken the liberty of anglicising my Indian name to whatever they see fit. It happens enough in real life anyway, so to avoid it in my e-reality I chose to take a 'Western' name as it were to narrow down the possible neo-colonisation. Of course, this stands in the way of my DesiIdentity that I'm supposed to have by the virtue of me being Indian. With this DesiIdentity, comes my obligation to be the extension of the WesternMaleFantasy of being subservient, clueless while oozing sexuality that I have no agency over. Of course, when I don't fulfill any of these conditions, many think I'm an American blogging under an Indian identity. I for one am thoroughly confused with all these questions.

Why is my 'nationality' even an issue of debate? For me, 'nationality', 'nationhood' or anything that is seen 'patriotic' in the mainstream fashion is an extremely risky ground. The idea that we actually encourage ritual and ruthless Othering of other countries to etch out our importance isn't a source of pride, but worry. Soon enough in a few days, on our Independence Day, people will hoist flags, watch the parade, feel patriotic for a day and chug alcohol in the name of independence; when I'm wondering just what does independence mean? We've signed these invisible borders with blood -- of our ancestors, our present and our future citizens -- though I can "buy" my way out to just about any country or any "imagined freedom" by purchasing a plane ticket. So what use are these invisible borders? When I actually sit back and try to list what is Indianess, I come down to everything that makes me a Woman, a Human, a Teacher, a Student, a Friend, a Writer and many other roles that I occupy. None of these give me burning neon signals that allow me to grasp this permanently elusive 'Indianness'. No sense of nationalistic pride weighs down me when I read my old history books. I see a history of violence, forced repression, colonisation of souls that never stops, patriarchy, religious manipulation among many things. When one troll told me, "What do you like about India? You should move to the USA because you don't deserve our rich soil", I was truly stumped. Not because I couldn't name a single thing I liked about my country, but because nothing I thought about could be categorised under 'Indian' as much it could be put under the label of 'Human'. Being Indian does give me a certain perspective and a world view along with the small tokens and rituals I will never be able to shed, but that doesn't define me. Indianness for me is my geographical location, if I were to absolutely answer that question.

It seems, Indianness is something more twisted and complicated than I'd thought of in my LadyBrain. As long as I'm contained within these borders, I'm supposed to follow a certain UnWrittenCode that deigns me to haze over and paint pink every negative thing or experience I have, because as an old proverb goes, "One doesn't spit on the hand which feeds us". This is an extremely foolish idea, more than you can possibly imagine. If everything any culture and society does goes un-critiqued, Hitler and Stalin will have truly won the war on minds. I want nothing of this 'Indianness' that binds me to lie to myself every time I sit to write; just because what I see and feel doesn't mesh too well with the tourism department of my country.

Kristin Bauer of "True Blood" Finds it Necessary to Starve Herself

In many households, Sunday from 9pm to 10pm there is absolutely no talking because "True Blood" is on. The struggles of vampires attempting to assimilate into human society has become a mainstream fascination and fans clamor for even the smallest news about its stars. When I came across the following tidbit about Kristen Bauer, who plays the vampire Pam, I must say that I was disturbed.
"The other day I realized as long as I'm in this business, I'm going to be hungry," says Bauer, 36. "The camera really does add 10 pounds. I'm trying to stay under the weight I want to look like on TV. It's a good incentive to stay slim and is probably adding years to my life... I'm vegetarian, so I live on carbs, but it's always an effort. After any wardrobe fitting, I hit the gym three times more than the week before."

"All the women walk by craft services and keep going," she says. "I don't even know why we walk by, we're just torturing ourselves. Alex [Skarsgard] and Joe [Manganiello], they're trying to add size, but we're all working out like crazy and have diets. Skarsgard seems to be the only one that works out a lot and eats a lot and does fine."

Michelle Obama is no Marie Antoinette

 I am a little late to this story, but it deserves some sort of comment, because it speaks loudly about the value of women's labour in this society.  It seems that Michelle and Sasha Obama, as well as a few of her closest friends have gone to Spain.  The New York Daily News has of course had a shit fit over this.
Sacrifice is something that many Americans are becoming all too familiar with during this economic downturn. It was a key theme in President Obama's inaugural address to the nation, and he's referenced it numerous times when lecturing the country on how to get back on its feet.

But while most of the country is pinching pennies and downsizing  summer sojourns - or forgoing them altogether - the Obamas don't seem to be heeding their own advice. While many of us are struggling, the First Lady is spending the next few days in a five-star hotel on the chic Costa del Sol in southern Spain with 40 of her "closest friends." According to CNN, the group is expected to occupy 60 to 70 rooms, more than a third of the lodgings at the 160-room resort. Not exactly what one would call cutting back in troubled times.

Instead, Michelle Obama seems more like a modern-day Marie Antoinette - the French queen who spent extravagantly on clothes and jewels without a thought for her subjects' plight - than an average mother of two. While she's spent her time in the White House telling parents they should relieve their chubby kids' dependency on sugar and stressing the importance of an organic veggie garden, hopping a jet to Europe to meet with Spanish royalty isn't the visual the White House probably wants to project. Perhaps they've forgotten the damning image of John Kerry, on the eve of the 2004 election, windsurfing off the coast of Nantucket?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Thanks Everyone

The last couple of days have been very rough for my family, but I wanted to take the time to say thank you to all of those sent their condolences, as well as a thank you to all of those that donated.  Losing someone you care about is incredibly tough and the extra burden of worrying how you are going to pay for a funeral just makes a terrible situation that much worse.  Jesse was a very young man and far to young to have his life ended in this way.  So, on behalf of my entire family thank you so much.  It meant the world to us, to see so many reach out.

I am not quite myself yet, but Jesse would not want us to stop living and fall into a rut.  He was a young man that very much enjoyed life.  Tomorrow it will be back to business as usual at Womanist Musings.  Please be patient with me while I bounce back.

Renee Martin