The Month of the #BlackIn replacing the #BlackOut

Well. It’s always interesting to NOT hear your non-Black friends say something so simple: Black Lives Matter. & in the Age of the Unpresidented President who detests people of color, immigrants (excepting the ones he marries, although who knows, he may detest them too), lgbtqia folks, women, people who are financially impoverished, people who have disabilities, believers in climate change, lovers of the earth, politicians (I know I’m leaving out so many groups), it’s really important to love on people who have been historically oppressed, subjugated, brutalized, terrorized by whitefolks.

Hundreds of thousands of people showed up to the Women’s March & the photos and videos were astounding. Every single state repped & countries across the globe repped. Supporting women is, these days, a no brainer. Women matter. However, often when we show up for women, we’re showing up for white women and white women aren’t often showing up for us. How quickly the organizers for the Women’s March turned to the oft-used comeback “It’s not about race!” when Women of Color stepped in and asked for some intersectionality. Despite having a Woman of Color as one of the organizers, the event seemed to focus only on women (and a very narrow definition of women, excluding by omission transgender women, nonbinary, genderfluid and gender neutral folks) and thus worked to eradicate us of race.

Needless to say, the Women’s March went without a hitch (for the most part; some reports of sparks in DC and other major cities); people had fun, took loads of selfies, enjoyed conversations with strangers, and all the while protested, by their presence, the incoming administration who would, undoubtedly, work diligently to take away as many rights that U.S. women have as possible.

We all know the statistics. Women’s reproductive rights, when violated, disproportionately affect women who live in financial impoverishment and women of color (and  women who are financially impoverished are, disproportionately women of color). While women, in general, make less money than men, women of color make less money than white women. Etc Etc Etc

Intersectionality. Without it, we have a very skewed understanding of the world.

Without it, we don’t realize that a march that was overwhelmingly attended by White people was peaceful. Yes, there was police presence, but some of those officers were wearing pink pussy hats & the others seem to have gone unnoticed. In comparison, the rallies, marches & protests for Black Lives Matter have hardly ended without someone getting hurt by the police.

Here we are in February, Black History Month, and we have yet another president who thinks the best way to celebrate is by either ignoring the month, calling upon MLK as the stand-out Black, insulting Black people by talking about soul food, or worse, ignoring the actual issues plaguing this nation: the continued depression of Black people’s power, genius & talents.

So, this month, I’m on a #BlackIn campaign. Every day, I’m devoting time to my social media newsfeed to put Black people on pedestals because I actually think Black People Matter. Our Minds Matter. Our Hearts Matter. Our Psyches Matter. Our Spirits Matter. Our Bodies Matter. & to remain silent about not only the violences against Black people, but to also remain silent about the accomplishments of Black people exemplifies why the #BLM movement is so urgent and timely.

Many of us have decided to not pressure our White friends about sharing their thoughts about violences meted out against Black people, particularly Black people murdered and targeted by police. However, Black History Month is intended to honor, to pay homage to Black people, so why the virtual silence?

There is much more to say & much that has already been said by others (and easily searchable). In the meantime, I wonder if you know about Dr. Patrica E. Bath who invented laserphaco, a surgical device to treat cataracts.


Interview with Linda Ashok


Linda-AshokLinda Ashok was one of the 25 feature poets selected by the Prakriti Foundation for The Hindu Lit for Life, 2014. Her poetry has appeared or forthcoming in various literary journals including the Mascara Literary Review, The McNeese Review and the Big Bridge Anthology of Contemporary Indian Poetry. She reviews poetry for The Rumpus and manages The Poetry Mail. A brief on Linda can be found on Lit Hub’s #ActualAsianPoets. Linda tweets at @thebluelimit.

Wale: Can you briefly describe the role of imagery in poetry?

Linda: Imagery does to my poems “what spring does to the cherry trees”. And much like spring, imagery in poetry is responsible for its freshness, vitality and the spirit to obsess the readers.

Wale: Beautiful! What I enjoy most in your poetry is your ‘visual mode of expression’. Do you think your early exposure to paintings and other visual arts is responsible for this?


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Dr. Craig’s 12-Step Program for White Poets Contemplating Ethnic Fraud

Craig Santos Perez for the Internet Wins re: cultural and racial appropriation!~

Craig Santos Perez

Are you a white poet writing mediocre poems that are constantly rejected? Do you feel cheated out of your entitled publications? Do you find yourself desperately reaching for an ethnic pseudonym?

If you answered yes, Dr. Craig’s 12-step program is designed to help you write like poets of color without committing ethnic fraud. This program is guaranteed or your privilege back!

Step 1: Read. You’ve probably spent most of your life reading white poets. Spend a year reading only poets of color. You will learn how ethnic writing is diverse and exceeds all stereotypes and expectations.

Step 2: Listen. A major thread of ethnic poetry is spoken word. Try listening to one poetry video every day. Hear our voices.

Step 3: Attend. If there is a poetry event in your town featuring poets of color, support the community and bring a dish just in case it’s a potluck.  

Step 4:…

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Metta Sáma on Activism, Writing, Teaching, and Blogging

“We, as POC, spend so much time worrying about grace and mercy, that we convince ourselves that the racisms enacted upon us aren’t as bad as we thought they were. Why spend that time trying to be gracious and merciful to your attackers? Come at them hard, come at them fiercely, come at them with all of your power. That, too, is love. Love for the self. Love for the community. Love for the generations to come after you.”