“Since Friday, there have been stories of three Black women killed by acts of state-sanctioned and intimate partner violence. Those are just the three we lost this weekend, that we know about, but I’m sure there are others.” – Brittney Cooper’s “Connect The Dots: For Korryn Gaines, Skye Mockabee and Joyce Quaweay”
“Korryn’s demeanor and energy reminded me most immediately of Assata’s: boldness in the face of police and the very real threat of physical violence, in the face of imprisonment, or a lethal outcome—and all the while, maintaining the capacity to love. What a feat. To look at the world around you thriving on the death and disposability of you and your kin and still choose to invest in a radical kind of familial love.” – Jacqui Germain’s writes about Korryn Gaines and Black women who dare to be defiant.
“We need to keep changing the attitude that raises our girls to be demure and our boys to be assertive, that criticizes our daughters for speaking out and our sons for shedding a tear. We need to keep changing the attitude that punishes women for their sexuality and rewards men for theirs.” Barack Obama says “This Is What a Feminist Looks Like” in Glamour.
The National Network of Abortion Funds’ new program We Testify is “dedicated to increasing the spectrum of abortion storytellers in the public sphere.”
The New York Public Library opened its 93rd branch in Rikers Island women’s jail. Continue reading
Brittney Cooper writes for Salon about the “mundane terror” of the school-to-prison pipeline in America: “What struck me and many others with whom I spoke on social media, was the quiet resolve of the young girl who was attacked, as she saw the officer escalating…. It is almost as if she knew his brutality was coming, almost as if she were steeling herself for the blow, almost as if she was no stranger to having somebody with power put his hands on her, almost as if she were sure that no one would stand up to protect her. If those were her calculations, she was right on every count.”
When I was five, my father told me that I was Rudy from The Cosby Show. He probably said this as a joke but I took it literally. And since I believed that my father knew absolutely everything, I watched the series in deep connection to this shell of myself. Despite the absence of any memory of being Rudy and the chronological impossibility of me being a child actor on the show (Keshia Knight Pulliam, the actress who plays her, is four years older than me), I was Rudy and Rudy was me. It wasn’t difficult to take on this identity (especially as a child) because I didn’t understand the spurious line between acting and reality. I didn’t quite get television as a constructed space that may or may not represent the lived experiences of actual people. When I saw something scary on television, I was scared because I couldn’t create a division between these worlds—whatever happened on television could potentially happen to me in real life. In my mind I could seamlessly move from my small upstate New York home into a Brooklyn brownstone and family of six. Rudy’s lessons were my lessons, her triumphs and falls were mine too. I remember watching the episode where Rudy gets her period and how I positively inserted myself into the storyline. I saw the possibility of black girlhood (this was one of few places where I saw black children on television at the time) and I saw my period a link in the chain of womanhood. When Rudy got her period, all women got their periods. The shame of this biological happening was erased from my consciousness. I saw that menstruation wasn’t something I had to be silent about or ashamed of.
This interpolation wasn’t just unique to me; my father did this as well. The two of us were watching television one day when he matter-of-factly stated that the news reporter was Haitian. I remember laughing and turning to him to ask, “How do you know?” My father was having his very own Rudy moment. He was inserting his Haitianess into a space that claimed non-race, class or nationality. I still smile when I remember this moment that seems more like a fantastic act of agency than the passive subconscious at work. We were making television productive for us through our gaze. This ocular practicality was a sort of bending of the gaze that served us as two individuals of color watching mainstream television. Continue reading