Saturday morning, over 1,000 people march for justice for Michael Brown.
Saturday morning, over 1,000 people march for justice for Michael Brown.
asparagus my ass tuRN THE FUCK AROUND
everyone has said and done problematic things in their lifetime. that’s a result of the society we live in, not necessarily a reflection of their character.
what is a reflection of their character is how they react to being informed of the negativity within their behavior and statements, and whether or not they choose to change their behavior.
This man…I swear! Is there a stronger word then love? Because that is what I feel for him.
Emma Watson’s tweet about leaked pictures x
Read This: Gene Luen Yang’s rousing comics speech at the 2014 National Book Festival gala
From the Washington Post, article here.
GENE LUEN YANG, Library of Congress, Jefferson Building:
Good evening. Thank you, Library of Congress and National Book Festival, for inviting me to share the stage with such esteemed authors, and to speak with all of you. I am deeply grateful for this honor.
I’m a comic-book guy, so tonight I’d like to talk about another comic book guy. Dwayne McDuffie was one of my favorite writers. When I was growing up, he was one of the few African-Americans working in American comics. Dwayne worked primarily within the superhero genre. He got his start at Marvel Comics but eventually worked for almost every comic book publisher out there. He even branched out into television and wrote for popular cartoon series like “Justice League” and “Ben 10.”
Dwayne McDuffie is no longer with us, unfortunately. He passed away in 2011, at the age of 49. But within comics, his influence is still deeply felt.
I was lucky enough to have met him once. About a year before his death, we were on a panel together at Comic-Con. I had the opportunity to shake his hand and tell him how much his work meant to me.
In a column Dwayne wrote in 1999, he talked about his love of the Black Panther, a Marvel Comics character. The Black Panther’s secret alias is T’Challa, the king of the fictional African nation of Wakanda. He has super senses, super strength, and super agility. He’s an Avenger, though he hasn’t yet made it into the movies.
The Black Panther wasn’t created by African American cartoonists. He was created in July of 1966 by two Jewish Americans, Stan Lee (who was born Stanley Lieber) and Jack Kirby (who was born Jacob Kurtzberg).
By modern standards, the Black Panther is not a flawless example of a black superhero. In their first draft of the character, Lee and Kirby called him “the Coal Tiger” and gave him a goofy yellow and black costume. Even in his final form, his superhero alias includes the word “Black.” This is true of many early African and African American superheroes, as if what makes them remarkable is neither their superpowers nor their heroism, but their ethnicity. Most problematic, though, was that Marvel made their most prominent black superhero the star of a series called Jungle Action.
All of these flaws were lost on Dwayne McDuffie when he first encountered the Black Panther in 1973, at the age of 11. What struck him was the character’s commanding sense of dignity. The Black Panther wasn’t anyone’s sidekick. He wasn’t an angry thug. He wasn’t a victim. He was his own hero, his own man. As Dwayne describes it, “In the space of 15 pages, black people moved from invisible to inevitable.”
Dwayne’s love of the Black Panther eventually blossomed into a love of comics in general. Dwayne was a smart guy with a lot of options in life. He’d earned a master’s degree in physics. But he chose to write comics as his career. I would argue that without the Black Panther, this flawed black character created by a writer and an artist who were not black, there would be no Dwayne McDuffie the comic book writer.
Dwayne wasn’t just a writer — he was also a businessman. In the early ’90s, he teamed with a group of writers and artists to found Milestone Media, the most prominent minority-owned comic book company that has ever existed. The Milestone universe have since been folded into DC Comics, so these days characters like Static Shock and Icon – characters Dwayne co-created – fight crime alongside Superman and Batman.
In the early ’90s, I was finishing up my adolescence. I visited my local comic-book store on a weekly basis, and one week I found a book on the stands called Xombi, published by Milestone Media. Xombi is a scientist who became a superhero after he was injected with nanotechnology. He allied himself with a secret order of superpowered nuns. One sister was known as Nun of the Above, another Nun the Less. Together, they protected the world from all kinds of supernatural threats.
Xombi was inventive and fun, but he stood out to me because he was an Asian American male carrying in his own monthly title. And even more notable – he didn’t know Kung Fu. Xombi wasn’t created by Asian Americans – his writer was white and his artist black – but he did make Asian Americans a little less invisible.
We in the book community are in the middle of a sustained conversation about diversity. We talk about our need for diverse books with diverse characters written by diverse writers. I wholeheartedly agree.
But I have noticed an undercurrent of fear in many of our discussions. We’re afraid of writing characters different from ourselves because we’re afraid of getting it wrong. We’re afraid of what the Internet might say.
This fear can be a good thing if it drives us to do our homework, to be meticulous in our cultural research. But this fear crosses the line when we become so intimidated that we quietly make choices against stepping out of our own identities.
After all, our job as writers is to step out of ourselves, and to encourage our readers to do the same.
I told you the story of Dwayne McDuffie to encourage all of us to be generous with ourselves and with one another. The Black Panther, despite his flaws, was able to inspire a young African American reader to become a writer.
We have to allow ourselves the freedom to make mistakes, including cultural mistakes, in our first drafts. I believe it’s okay to get cultural details wrong in your first draft. It’s okay if stereotypes emerge. It just means that your experience is limited, that you’re human.
Just make sure you iron them out before the final draft. Make sure you do your homework. Make sure your early readers include people who are a part of the culture you’re writing about. Make sure your editor has the insider knowledge to help you out. If they don’t, consider hiring a freelance editor who does.
Also, it’s okay if stereotypes emerge in the first drafts of your colleagues. Correct them – definitely correct them – but do so in a spirit of generosity. Remember how soul-wrenching the act of writing is, how much courage it took for that writer to put words down on a page.
And let’s say you do your best. You put in all the effort you can. But then when your book comes out, the Internet gets angry. You slowly realize that, for once, the Internet might be right. You made a cultural misstep. If this happens, take comfort in the fact that even flawed characters can inspire. Apologize if necessary, resolve do better, and move on.
Let your fear drive you to do your homework. But no matter what, don’t ever let your fear stop you.
A crowdsourced syllabus about race, African American history, civil rights, and policing
When the unrest in Ferguson erupted, my husband made an observation that broke my heart: “The kids were supposed to start school today.”
For me, the perfume of synthetic fibers and freshly sharpened pencils always signals the start of a new school year, and it makes me ecstatic. As a child, the ritual began with a trip to the uniform store. My older sister and I trekked onto Clark Street via a city bus. Each year, we found ourselves before the counters of what had to be the world’s largest purveyor of Catholic school uniforms. “St. Margaret Mary, please,” we would say. The elderly salesman would fetch my mostly polyester wardrobe for the upcoming school year—a plaid jumper, pleated skirts, Peter Pan-collared blouse, acrylic cardigans—carefully folded in individual plastic bags.
I loved the preparations for the first day of school so much that I became a college professor. I’ve spent most of my 34 Augusts anticipating a school year.
From the beginning of the situation in Ferguson, news reports alerted the public that Michael Brown was to start college soon. Before surveillance videos and photographs of protestors with their hands up were available, people saw a stoic Brown in a bright orange, probably acetate graduation gown. He will not have a first day ever again. And for the children of Ferguson, who have yet to have their first day, they may remember the smell of death, the odor of tear gas, the stench of an American tragedy.
In this kind of situation, people all say, what can I do? I have few talents in a crisis, but I do know I’m pretty good at teaching, and I knew Ferguson would be a challenge for teachers: When schools opened across the country, how were they going to talk about what happened? My idea was simple, but has resonated across the country: Reach out to the educators who use Twitter. Ask them to commit to talking about Ferguson on the first day of classes. Suggest a book, an article, a film, a song, a piece of artwork, or an assignment that speaks to some aspect of Ferguson. Use the hashtag: #FergusonSyllabus.
From a children’s book about living with someone with PTSD to maps of St. Louis’s school-desegregation struggles to J. Cole’s “Be Free,” the Ferguson archive was tweeted, re-tweeted, mentioned, and favorited thousands of times. A small community has formed; the fabric of this group is woven across disciplines and cultural climates. Some of us will talk about Ferguson forcefully, others gingerly, but from preschool classrooms to postdoctoral seminars, Ferguson is on the syllabus.
The following list was compiled by a community of teachers, academics, community leaders, and parents to teach about some aspect of the national crisis in Ferguson, Missouri. This is a snapshot of the recommendations that has been edited. The contributions continue on Twitter.
Teaching About Race and Ferguson
“The Danger of a Single Story”
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, TedTalk
“A Talk to Teachers,” in The Price of the Ticket, Collected Non-Fiction 1948-1985
“Constructing a Conversation on Race”
Charles M. Blow, New York Times
“Ferguson Killing Inspires Young Black Activists”
Frederica Boswell, NPR
“On Recognizing My White Privilege as a Parent in the Face of Ferguson”
Elizabeth Broadbent, xoJane
“5 Ways to Teach Michael Brown and Ferguson in the New School Year” Christopher Emdin, blog
Kathee Godfrey, blog
“Teaching About Ferguson”
Julian Hipkins, Teaching for Change
“#FergusonSyllabus: The #FergusonFiasco and Teaching African American Theology”
Andre E. Johnson, blog
“What Do We Teach When Kids Are Dying? #MichaelBrown”
Chris Lehman, blog
“What White Children Need to Know About Race”
Ali Michad and Eleonora Bartoli, nais.org
“Between the By-Road & the Main Road: Curated Bibliography on Whiteness, Silence & Teaching”
Mary Ann Reilly, blog
“Reading Ferguson: books on race, police, protest and U.S. history”
Hector Tobar, Los Angeles Times
“Educators Use Twitter To Teach About Ferguson, Build Syllabuses”
Erica Smith, “St. Louis on the Air,” St. Louis Public Radio
Healing Days: A Guide For Kids Who Have Experienced Trauma
“12 Things White People Can Do Now because Ferguson”
Janee Woods, Quartz
African-American History/Civil Rights in the United States
“SNCC Women, Denim and the Politics of Dress”
Tansha Ford, Journal of Southern History
100 Years of Lynchings
African-American Identity in the Gilded Age
The Library of Congress
The Autobiography of Malcolm X
Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America
Speech delivered by C.L.R. James, 1967
“How the Children of Birmingham Changed the Civil-Rights Movement”
Lottie L. Joiner, The Daily Beast
Black Liberation in the Midwest: The Struggle in St. Louis, Missouri, 1964-1970
“Letter from a Birmingham Jail”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
“On Ferguson, Missouri: History, Protest, and ‘Respectability’”
Clarence Lang, Labor and Working Class History Association blog
March: Book One
John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell
“Learning from the 60s”
An address by Audre Lorde, 1982
At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance—A New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power
Danielle L. McGuire
”’We have to make them feel us’: Open Letters and Black Mothers’ Grief”
Emily Owens, African American Intellectual History blog
Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic VisionBarbara Ransby
Family Properties: Race, Real Estate, and the Exploitation of Black Urban America
The Red Record
Ida B. Wells
The Miseducation of The Negro
Carter G. Woodson
Noughts & Crosses
Eve Bunting and David Diaz
What Shall I Tell My Children Who Are Black?
I am Rosa Parks
Ruth & the Green Book
As Fast As Words Could Fly
The Skin You Live in
The Other Side
Community Organizing, Leadership, Activism
“Fighting Police Abuse: A Community Action Manual”
American Civil Liberties Union
“When the Boss Feels Inadequate: Power, Incompetence, and Aggression”
Nathanael J. Fast and Serena Chen, Psychological Science
“From Eric Holder: A Message to the People of Ferguson”
Eric Holder, St. Louis Post Dispatch
“The Mindless Menace of Violence”
Robert F. Kennedy
“The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action”
Radical Equations: Civil Rights from Mississippi to the Algebra Project
Bob Moses and Charlie Cobb
Thinking in an Emergency
“U.S. Schools: Desegregation court cases and school demographic data”
“Race and the Ferguson-Florissant School District”
Shaun R. Harper and Charlee Davis, III, University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education
See Unending Struggle: The Long Road to an Equal Education in St. Louis,Gerald W. Heaney and Susan Uchitelle
“Self-Segregation: Why It’s So Hard for Whites to Understand Ferguson"
Robert P. Jones, The Atlantic
“Reflections on Ferguson — What does education mean in a world like this? ” Daniel Katz, blog
“Michael Brown’s High School Is An Example Of The Major Inequalities In Education”
Rebecca Klein, Huffington Post
Savage Inequalities: Children in America’s Schools
Stepping over the Color Line: African-American Students in White Suburban Schools
Amy Stuart Wells and Robert L. Crane
“Banished: How Whites Drove Blacks Out of Town in America” (2006)
“Chicago 10” (2007)
“Do the Right Thing” (1989)
“Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Movement, 1954-1985” (1990)
“Little Rock Central High School: 50 Years Later” (2007)
“The Pruitt Igoe Myth” (2011)
“Freedom Summer” (2014)
Media Studies and Journalism
“In Ferguson, Photographs as Powerful Agents, Smartphone cameras are the ‘weapon of choice’ for many protestors”
Maurice Berger, New York Times
“Unethical journalism can make Ferguson more dangerous”
Malcolm Harris, Al-Jazeera America
“I will not be returning to Ferguson”
Ryan L. Shuessler Blog
White Victims, Black Villains: Gender, Race, and Crime News
Carol A. Stabile
“Embarrassed to Photograph Ferguson”
VDC Photo Blog
Other Educational Hashtags on Twitter
“Dear White Mom”
Keesha Beckford, blog
“Men Without a Country: Mike Brown, Trayvon Martin, My Father and Me” Arthur Chu, The Daily Beast
Black Body: Rereading James Baldwin’s “Stranger in the Village”
Teju Cole, New Yorker
“Blue on black violence and original crime: a view from Oakland, California” Brad Erickson, anthropelia.com
“The Coming Race War Won’t Be About Race”
Kareem Abdul Jabar, Time
“How Does it Feel to be a Problem?”
Relando Thompkins, blog
Different Rules Apply
Matt Zoller Seitz, rogerebert.com
“If There Be Sorrow”
“I, Too, Sing America”
“If We Must Die”
“The Still Voice of Harlem”
Conrad Kent Rivers
“Not an elegy for Mike Brown”
“See the Heart”
“Horses Make a Landscape More Beautiful”
The Rise of The Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces
“Database: How many grenade launchers did Michigan police departments receive?”
Detroit Free Press staff
“In Ferguson, cops hand out three warrants per household every year”
Kevin Drum, Mother Jones
“The Ferguson Shooting and the Science of Race and Guns”
Erika Eichelberger, Mother Jones
“The Surprising History and Science of Tear Gas”
Brian Clark Howard, National Geographic
Black in Blue: African-American Police Officers and Racism
“To What End?”
Michael Maderino Blog
Police Brutality: An Anthology
“The Etiquette of Police Brutality: An Autopsy”
Rion Amilcar Scott, AsItOuttoBe.com
Race and Violence in in America
The Properties of Violence: Claims to Ownership in Representations of Lynching
The Fire Next Time
“Exploring Unintentional Racism: The Case of Tim Hanks”
Robert W. Grossman and Thomas E. Ford, Science Cases
The History of White People
Nell Irwin Painter
Raven Rakia, The New Inquiry
“Heart of Whiteness”
Tobias Wolff, The New Yorker
This was me when I graduated from law school.
The most ignored words in the world.
Supposedly invented by the Chinese, there is an ancient form of torture that is nothing more than cold, tiny drops falling upon a person’s forehead.
On its own, a single drop is nothing. It falls upon the brow making a tiny splash. It doesn’t hurt. No real harm comes from it.
In multitudes, the drops are still fairly harmless. Other than a damp forehead, there really is no cause for concern.
The key to the torture is being restrained. You cannot move. You must feel each drop. You have lost all control over stopping these drops of water from splashing on your forehead.
It still doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. But person after person, time and time again—would completely unravel psychologically. They all had a breaking point where each drop turned into a horror. Building and building until all sense of sanity was completely lost.
"It was just a joke, quit being so sensitive."
"They used the wrong pronoun, big deal."
"So your parents don’t understand, it could be worse."
Day after day. Drop after drop. It builds up. A single instance on its own is no big deal. A few drops, not a problem. But when you are restrained, when you cannot escape the drops, when it is unending—these drops can be agony.
People aren’t sensitive because they can’t take a joke. Because they can’t take being misgendered one time. Because they lack a thick skin.
People are sensitive because the drops are unending and they have no escape from them.
You are only seeing the tiny, harmless, single drop hitting these so-called “sensitive” people. You are failing to see the thousands of drops endured before that. You are failing to see the restraints that make them inescapable.
(side note - there is no real evidence that this torture was actually invented by the Chinese.)
Violence continues to erupt in Ferguson, Mo., more than a week after the fatal shooting of unarmed teen Michael Brown by policeman Darren Wilson. The 18-year-old’s family demands justice be brought to their son with the arrest of…
I ain’t the world’s best writer nor the world’s best speller
But when I believe in something I’m the loudest yeller
“Stetson Kennedy,” Woody Guthrie
If Woody Guthrie wrote a song about your merits, you freaking HAD them.
Stetson Kennedy: American Badass.