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Black Woman? Black Man? Neither or Both? Living on the Outside....4
Genderqueer Job Applicants or Cross Dressing for a Career.11
Poem: What is Radical?.15
POC Anti-Racist Organizing and Burnout.17
The Masters Tools.....20

(From Notes From an Afro-Genderqueer Book)


Black Woman? Black Man? Neither or Both? Living on the Outside.....7
Ain't I a Man? I mean, I AM a man: My take on 2 Glenn Ligon: America pieces..11
Thoughts on Being Radical, Queer, and Of Color and other musings.....17
Trans Rights of Passage...........18
The New Masculinity- Redefining ourselves, emerging from our cocoons...20
Our POC Reclamation and Retrieval in the Arts (but don't call it a Renaissance)25
Genderqueer Job Applicants or Cross Dressing for a Career..28
(UN)Queer for the Holidays.....31
Poem: New Eyes.......34
The Challenges of Genderqueer Love.38
Comets and Cobwebs .................................................................................................................................40
Queer bout 'em?.....................................................................................................42
Poem: What is Radical?..44
Radicalism- is it sustainable?......46
Oppression and Organizing Against Obliviousness.............................................................................50
LGBT community vs. the larger Queer community. Irreconcilable differences?.....................55
(in)justice and the death penalty or Kaput with Capital Punishment..57
Privilege and protest..60
Occupy Oakland.61
Only tell me of the possibilities, please........................................................................................................63
The Masters Tools...66
Diversifying the Stacks (book shelves that is).......68
On mentoring and passing the torch....69
On Being Bilingual....71
Poem: Soothsayer Soil......74
Throwing Stones at the windows of the Ivory Tower (and bringing knowledge
to the People for $Free.99....76
Healing Ourselves........................................................................................................................................................78
Poem: Blanketed: A poem about my Heritage..79
Discovering our ability to Heal Ourselves after Invisibility, Voicelessness or Confrontation
with the Medical Establishment (and in our Lives, in general)..85
Poem: Superhero...89
Poem: Untitled/Unfinished.92
Silencing and Voicelessness- a QPOC, limited ability/chronically ill perspective..94


Black Woman? Black Man? Neither or Both?
Living on the Outside
10 April 2011

I have been grappling with the intersection of gender identity and race
lately. I feel as if the concept of gender is entrenched in the black
communityif not the pillar of it.

Roles have been defined for black women and black men and the
socialization of black women vs. black men is intriguing. As Ive come out as
genderqueer I have found it difficult to imagine disassociating myself from
black womanhood.

So much is tied to a black womans identity. The struggle of a black woman
the burden on her backthe solidarity in calling each other my sister is
something I have come to own and appreciate, slowly but surely.

I feel that in taking on the trans identity and calling myself genderqueer
that I am betraying my sisters in some way. I also feel that I am rejecting the
womens spaces which I felt so comfortable in for years and years. I am
becoming an outsider to the community of women of color that I fought
so hard in the past to understand and be a part of and protect through
my academic writing.

As I was accepting the fact that I am genderqueer that I am masculine
of center, that I may not have been socialized as your typical female and
had always seen myself as androgynous or leaning more toward the
masculine spectrumI began to panic.

Wellthat means Im a black man! Ohhh great! Not only do I face

oppression on so many other levels, but now Ive got this new added
burden of being perceived as a black man, should I choose to transition or
present myself as male? Ive been presenting myself as male for years now
without really calling it that.

Now I would have to routinely see white women clutch their purses and turn
up their noses, and white men feel threatened/disgusted by my very
existence. I did not, do notwant to be a black man. But, unfortunately, I
dont have much choice in the matter. And Ill explain what I mean.

I am not a woman. I have the body of the woman but anyone who knows me
or gets to know me will quickly find out thatwell, Im not. I was not exactly
socialized as a girl as a kid. My mother was this strong alpha-female who
never said anything about people wanting to hold me back for being a black

She climbed the rungs of the police department slowly, steadily. In short,
my mother was a warrior who did not let her femaleness identify her. She
didnt revel in femininity; she didnt talk about feminist politics. In fact, she
wasnt especially feminine except when she went undercover some nights.

I always saw myself as a boy. By the time I was around six or seven and it
was socially unacceptable to do boy things I started keeping this to
myself. I let people call me she and herbut it never really fit.

Everyone assumed I was a tomboy. My stepfather and mother tried their
hardest to make me dress like a little girl. I was actually punished by my
stepfather for whistling among other things (which he thought was what
boys do), and I wasnt allowed to wear certain boyish outfits.

They tried really hardbut, all that happened was that I repressed this and
felt really disconnected from girls. I never really felt like a girl. I mean, they
told me I was a girl and I tried to accept it. I tried to do the things that
girls do, but I always felt like I was in drag when I wore dresses and out of
place when I tried to be more feminine.

I just did the girly thing to fit in, but in my senior year I chucked all that
to the side and started wearing my flannel and plaid and corduroy and
boy shoes. I have always felt more comfortableread: more mein mens
clothing. It took me a while to realize that this was not just me trying to
genderf*ck (once I learned this terminology) but that I, in fact, was

I let people tell me that I was a lesbian. I never really owned that label
though; it just didnt fit though I found solidarity with female-bodied
people whose preference in partners were women. It took me a decade to
realize that something was up with the fact that I thought women were
ridiculous for not dating me because Im not a man (chuckling to myself.)

Let me try to explain that further: In my head I was a man. Men accepted
me as this mixture of male/female in the banking/financial industry that I
worked in for six years. I grew into not wanting to wear the womens dress
code relatively quickly, since I felt like I was in drag and they accepted this
and thought of me as one of the boys.

In my head I was male. So when these straight women would flirt with me
and then say But I dont date girls, in my head this didnt compute. I mean,
did they see what I was wearing? I wasnt a girl! I was a strapping,
handsome, young boi. And if theyd only date me, theyd figure this out.
Well, they werent buying it. I had no penis and as far as they were
concerned I was no man. Sigh.

In my lesbian relationships I didnt take on a butch role. Read: I am not a
butch or a stud or an AG. I really dont embody any of that particular type
of masculinity. I am just a boi. I am devoid of femininity, except for my facial
features, long eyelashes and tiny hands. And probably the vestiges of
socialization. (Voice pitch changes around older men or when trying to be
polite, eyes downcast at times, and other subconscious ways that inform
how I interact with certain men.) Which one could argue has nothing to do
with being feminine, but in my eyes its part of an expected role. Or should I
say, an expectation thrust upon us, the female-bodied and those who
choose to identify as women/womyn.

I guess, by the way I dress, people dont expect me to be a high femme.

Im not exactly oozing with femininity while wearing ties, vests, mens dress
shirts, mens hats, and mens shoes.

And when s t r ai ght men hit on me I honestly wonder what their deal is.

Anyways, sometimes people make assumptions about me being female.
This is understandable. I mean, my face is feminine. Thinking way back, I
started to wear more masculine clothes because a) I didnt like male
attention b) it felt more like me and c) it balanced out my feminine face
thereby making me feel more like me.

So back to assumptions. As I was coming out as genderqueer I wondered,
well, should I take hormones? Should I get chest surgery? I didnt want to,
but it seemed the only way that people would accept me for how I felt.

Even though I dont feel like an FTM (female-to-male). Let me explain: I
dont really trust this whole gender binary thing, and I feel that if I own the
label FTM that I am somehow owning this whole twisted social construct
that is the gender binary.

In doing that I would be saying well I am that M and not that F. I
wholeheartedly accept what inkling of femininity I have coursing through

this body. While Im indifferent to my female parts I do not reject or resent
them, though I do sometimes feel guilty for binding them and stuffing
objects in mens boxer briefs to mask them, add to or enhance them (i.e.
packing). But I only feel guilty for a second. Then I feel empowered because
I am being authentic. I am being me.

Power. This was an issue for me because, well, Im an anti-oppression
workshop facilitator, and this is at the core of all of my activism. Not to
mention that Im a feminist and womanist. Was I really buying into this
whole power from masculinity and being male thing? This really tortured
me for a long time.

Was I subconsciously considering men to be worth more than women?
Deep down did I hate being female because of societys view on females
and the oppression faced by females? Wellthis takes me back to talking
about the solidarity present between women of color. This also takes me
back to all my friends that are women healers, curanderas, homeopaths,
naturopaths, herbalists, shamans etc., who have tapped into their
feminine power and use it daily to heal.

I dont hate that. I love that! And this is what has really, really made me sad. I
dont want to leave those womens healing circles, drumming circles, and so
on. I dont want to be an outsider. I was watching the film Still Black (a film
about black transmen), and I cried when one of the men said he visited
womens spaces for a yearkind of as a goodbye. Yes, unexpected tears
came down my face. I am so tied to these womens spaces. I never wanted
(or want) to give up the power inherent in being a woman.
AndsighI dont want to be a black man. Either way I will struggle. Either way
in this American society, there is only lip service to power for a black man or
a black woman.

And skating the ice between the two genders seems like it will get me in
trouble in some spaces as well. The

trans men want to know why I still have breasts, why I dont take hormones,
why am I so *gulp* feminine looking.

Why do I still identify with women of color, healing women?

The feminists want to know why I pack, why I bind, why I consider myself (or
is it, let myself be considered) masculine of center. The men want to know
why I even hang out with the women when I am so obviously one of them
(male). Why I dont buy into (some) of their hypermasculinity. Why I dont like
talking nonsense about women and flaunting privilege.

I am an outsider to them, too, because I can identify with womens plight
intuitively and in a way that they cant. I know why their girlfriends, wives,
sisters are feeling what they are feeling. But this goes both ways because I
have always understood mens thinking patterns (no matter how irrational
it may seem to women at times) and while women have appreciated that I
can do this it has really put me on the outskirts when I myself do not
possess the same ways of communicating and thought patterns and
socializing tendencies of a woman. I just cant go
there. I dont get it, if you will. And its not about me trying to be a man. Its
just how I am and how I think, act.

I am not completely any of them. I am not LGBT, I am not a woman, and I
am not a man. I flirted with the idea of being bi-gendered but then
there goes that whole gender binary again. Agendered? Meh. Andro?
But Im masculine of center. I see myself on the interior as a boi.

Basically there is no label for who I am except Toi. And maybe I feel guilty for
being this unlabeled entity that moves through these circles with my

Now, let me explain: I feel guilty because they all want me to take up
allegiance to them; I am their ally, but I am not exactly completely them. In
short, I belong to all and none at the same time.

So I will continue to support womens spaces, hang out with men/trans
men, and the queers and genderqueers who understand me the most,
even knowing that I might be mistaken as one of them. I will purge this
guilt in my heart.

I will try my best to explain to every single person that asks and is confused.
I will try to keep an open heart and be full of compassion when clearly
people think that I am an anomaly, a freak, a weirdo, not one of them any

This is all I can offer: Dialogue. Compassion. Authenticity.


Genderqueer Job Applicants or Cross Dressing
for a Career
27 November 2011

Folks, today I am 2 steps closer to a respectable career doing something
that will pay some bills, somewhere. I, Toi, after months of looking for jobs
across the nation- ok, in three or four states... have now advanced my job
applicant status and possibly furthered myself to a third interview by...

get this...

purchasing a suit. And not just any suit my friends. This suit was purchased...
in the women's department of JCPenney by a beneficent benefactor who
told me in not so many words that it would lead to actual success during
my interviews. And I don't doubt it. Recruiters (in the South, especially)
want to see you match your clothes to your proposed gender. Psshh...I'm
not into "matchy matchy."

My mother and two aunts have asked me in the last month...what do you
wear to your interviews? Well, a nice pair of (men's) pants, a (men's) dress
shirt...(and sometimes a tie). Oh! And my natural hair, suitably tamed for
their viewing pleasure. (Wouldn't want to be too "ethnic"). this is all wrong if I want to actually support myself
this lifetime. I've got to fool them my mother implied. She said...just wear
this to the interview and who cares what I wear after I get hired.
Hmm...Granted, this has definitely worked for me before- though I didn't
exactly plan it that way. In corporate America I just got so tired of wearing
these femme clothes because that's what was designated in the "girl's
dress code". I started to feel really weird wearing these feminine clothes for

8-10 hours and then coming home only to rip them off and throw on
basketball shorts and a muscle tee. (flexes, grin) Yea. That's what I said.

So ...there I was in the ladies section of JC Penney...not "doing it right". (Is
that even still there slogan? anyway...) . I felt mad weird. My mother
says..."What size are you?" I give her a "No you didn't" look...and she
assumed somewhere between a 6 and 8. Actually she said my butt was
probably an 8...(blank stare). Soooo I grab the first andro-looking 6 that I
saw after wading through some truly horrifying women-ly outfits designed
for some stuffed-shirt dinner party and made a dash for the dressing room
praying that this thing would a)not make me look too feminine and b) fit,
so we could get the heck out of dodge.

So, there I am standing in the dressing room with my corn rows and nicely
flattened chest under my undershirt and some men's boxer briefs...slinking
into this women's business suit and delicately zipping with this ridiculously
small zipper on the side of the pants. And my mind drifts off to that Office
episode where the manager is wearing a lady's business suit. Yes, that's one
of my favorite episodes. And then there I fit. I was elated. My flat chest
was accentuated by the ridiculous women's cut they put on the chest of
these suits to ...lift the breasts? Show 'em off? I have no idea. It did a bad

So I saunter out to my mother who is waiting to assess...and she says it
looks good...and says it's not too "girly". I look straight at my flattened
chest and say "yea...well I don't like that women's suits have this cut right
here to accentuate the boobs I don't have." My mom shrugs...I go back in
the dressing room to strip out of this clown suit that is going to be my
ticket to some career somewhere...and juuuuuuuuuust as I'm snapping a
picture in this outfit to send to my boo thang...*trying to look as masculine
as possible *ahem*... my mother comes with another friggin women's suit

that I have to try on for some person I'll be sitting down with at some
point who can't accept my gender expression. Great. So, I try it on...pants
are too baggy...blahblah we buy the other pin striped andro-ish suit which
makes me look like a negative AAA cup. Yea. That's not going to draw
attention at all...

So, fellow andro and genderqueer folks...I'm going to say that it's imperative
for us to start making some andro suits with neither a male or female cut.
I got close today but I'm afraid the chest area is a fail. Sigh. In my head I'm
picturing the perfect vest and slacks and I'm looking so dapper accepting
my next job.

Don't get me wrong though, I'm super appreciative of my mother's
support. She's only telling me like it is. Basically, that these southerners
don't want anyone who looks odd or queer gracing their halls if they can
help it. Yeah, I know that it's not just the south...

And now I'm sitting here thinking that even if some of the LGB constituents
of the employment discrimination policy (ENDA) hadn't thrown us gender
non-conformists under the bus not too long ago, that recruiters would
have still been able to discriminate by not letting us through to the next
interview. Who can prove that you weren't hired because of what you're
wearing (and even if you could, would they agree that it should be legal to
discriminate based on an outfit?) Who can prove that it was your gender
expression that kept you from being hired or promoted? It's all
"conjecture". But even my mom knows that it's a factor in me not finding
employment and a facilitator to me going to some job some place and
being hired by someone.

Sigh. I know that some of you are thinking... well of course you've got to
dress differently to get a job, we all do. But, I want to stress that I am having

to cross dress. It's not that I want to wear sweats or booty shorts (see
*Awkward Black Girl). I want to express my gender in the way that I feel
comfortable and I'm not able to. Me wearing a woman's suit is certainly
going to make me feel a tad uncomfortable during my interview. Shake it
off, you say. But you men out would you feel doing an interview
in panty hose and lipstick and maybe a nice little skirt suit? Yea, awkward. I
know that there are so many trans and gender non-conforming folks out
there at their jobs feeling really,really awkward because they are not able to
express their true gender. It can really make someone feel helpless and
defeated. A lot of us accept jobs where we can feel comfortable but don't
get paid nearly what we're worth and others of us can't get a job at all
because they can't "pass" as their true gender or fall somewhere in
between. I just want people to realize that this happens frequently and
urge people not to be so harsh in their judgment against trans folks who
want to get surgery and "pass". We just want to be who we are...this
policing of our gender has to stop in all arena.

NO!! Yezzzir

What is Radical?

Radical is acceptance, not tolerance.

Radical is not some inaccessible knowledge or terminology that is only
available to White, upper middle class liberal arts students or dropouts.

Radical is when you tell that transboi razor in hand, poised at wrist

That he CAN make it through another day

Radical is when you smile warmly at that schizophrenic on the sidewalk that
is talking

To himself and hasnt eaten in days but spent twenty years in ridiculous wars
fighting for the
honor of a country that left him battered, bruised and living in alleyways,

Radical is when you set aside your politics and pride and bridge the gap
between the right and the left, the conservative and the liberal , queer and
LGBT, the black and the white, the Pakistani and Indian, South Asian and
East Asian, Puerto Rican and Mexican, Jewish and Palestinian, male, female,
and genderqueer, young and old, able and disabled so that we can build
a better future in which no one is discriminated against because they are

Radical is stepping outside of yourself, your politics, your circle, your
lifestyle to be an ally to the person or group that you least expected.

Radical is realizing your privilege whether its due to race, class or education
and using this
privilege to empower the marginalized.

Radical is when white allies advocate to health care practitioners of people of
color so that they can get the service and treatment they deserve.

Radical is adopting and foster parenting children who are stuck in a
system that is not equipped for kindness, compassion, or equity.

Radical is not only picketing and speaking out but making the connections
you need to make in the community to pass policy, change laws, and create
movements that will rock this nation to its core and rip open the social
fabric built on racism, xenophobia, homophobia and sexism.

Radical is knowing the blood, sweat, and tears that go into the produce and
products that
youre eating, the clothes that youre wearing.

Radical is knowing and owning your part in the displacement of
communities of color i.e. gentrification- whether you are white or a
person of color.

Radical is being intuitive. Looking around your circle and noticing which
voices arent present
and working to get those voices heard.

Radical is when you no longer seek bridgesburn bridgesbut build bridges
because you realize that bridges are all we have.

Gloria Anzalda dij Caminante, no hay puentes, se hace
puentes al andar
Traveler there are no bridges, one builds them as one walks.
Are you radical?

POC Anti-Racist Organizing and Burnout

Can POC organizers keep a sound mind and longevity in a career committed to
anti-racism and anti-oppression? Ive seen a lot of POC burn out and it leads to
this reflection
Co-signing for White folks

What this means is that you as a POC organizer are giving the go ahead for other
POC organizers or organizations to work with white anti-racist organizers.
Sometimes this is fine. Other times this may come back to haunt you because the
work that the white anti-racist organizers/organization have said they have done
around privilege and anti-oppression is not complete thereby leading to additional
oppression. Many POC are wary of working with white anti-racists because, to put
this bluntly, there is a sense of mastery that just doesnt exist. Theres a lot of
empty rhetoric, good intentions, and horrible actions under the guise of being
educated as an anti-racist.
Whose Anti-Racism is it anyway?

And just what does it mean to be anti-racist anyway? Does it mean you are
against racism from other folks but dont check your own racism? Does it mean
you are an ally who checks your own privilege and supports POC? What does
support mean to you? Does it simply mean saying your best friend or colleague is
black/brown and you dont say racist things outside the comfort of your own
home? Does it mean you are actually trying to create more space for POC and
build with POC? Does it mean you are trying to tackle the institution of racism in a
substantial way- other than attending one or two anti-racist trainings and thinking
you know it all?
From what Ive witnessed, groups and organizations that claim to be committed to
anti-racist organizing are predominantly white and miss the mark completely.
They commit grave errors in taking up too much space, saying that racism
doesnt exist within their space, or denying anything can be done about POC
members feeling unsafe in the space. Ive seen POC blamed for being
uncomfortable. Ive seen POC called reverse racists when they try to point to
racism that exists in these anti-racist spaces. I have seen white privilege rear its
head time and time again in POC being silenced during committees and councils,
not getting to form their own committees to promote POC involvement, POC not

being taken seriously, POC issues not being confronted, and POC being blamed
for the lack of POC presence.
When POC try to speak out about all this suddenly they are a voice of
dissonance. They are said to be divisive. When they leave the
group/committee/council it is because they werent cut out for the committee or
because they were reverse racists, were too angry or couldnt handle it.
Every explanation points to how deficient they were or how they were too hostile
for the organization or committee. This is racist. It goes back to historical views on
POCs place in this society. Its not our place to speak up and when we do its
just because were angry and there cant possibly be any credibility to what we
say. What we say is always to be questioned and disregarded.
Tokenism and being the educator
On top of feeling silenced or unheard in these organizations or groups, POC are
tokenized or expected to educate on all that Ive mentioned and it is seen
negatively when they dont want to do the work for the white folks. No one in the
group notices how much of a burden this is on POCor how racist these
expectations are. Yes, expecting brown people to tell you how to be better and
then getting angry when they wont is racist and tied to a history of white folks
building empires off the backs of brown folks. Think about it. Let it marinate. Its
racist to think that a POC should be there to hold your hand through the
processing of all this and expect them not to say a word as you lash out, say it
doesnt exist, blame POC, and expect sympathy as if it is owed to you. I have
seen this time and time again in anti-racist workshops. POC will flock to the white
participants and try to comfort and console them as they realize the harm caused
by white privilege. Yea, I know that theres a such thing as compassionmy
problem is with the expectation of some white folks to be coddled and walked
through it.supported.
This leads me to talking about the lack of trust and disrespect POC have to deal
with among their own community for being committed to anti-racism and co-
signing for people who have not done the work on themselves and for the harm
they continue to do to POC. Its really unfortunate but I get it. And when POC
organizations are wary and apprehensive to work with you you should get it to.
Its not because THEYRE racistits because YOU ARE.
Please dont
Please dont reach out to POC organizations to do the work of unpacking your
privilege and understanding racism. Please dont ask POC to be part of your
committees, organizations, and coalitions until youve done this work. (I would say

until youve made a commitment to do this work butisnt that the point of
having the anti-racist label that so many tout?) Making a commitment isnt
enough. It just isnt. The work is hardthe work is continuous and never, ever
done. It hurts to hear that though youve done the work, that youre still taking up
too much space or asserting your white privilegebutyou should be open to
this constructive criticism if you are as committed to anti-racist work as you say
you are.
Youve got to do the work on your own and get back to us (POC) once youve
begun healing yourselves and are ready to actually support our communities. No
more lip service, please. No more tokenism. No more blaming us for your
superiority complexes, and such. White supremacy is endemic to this society and
thankfully it is crumbling. Will you continue to feed into it while cloaked behind the
anti-racist banner? It is important that both white and POC anti-racist organizers
turn a critical eye toward themselves, address internalized racism, superiority and
inferiority complexes, and once healed join to dismantle this institution of racism.
Who I am and Who I am not

Ill tell you first who Im not. Im not just another angry POC. Im not irate but I
AM firm in my convictions and it is upsetting to be at square 1 half a century after
the civil rights movement. The truth is that the movement is still happening. We
are living and breathing it.
I am a person committed to diversity and inclusion, anti-oppression, cultural
competence and civil rights and Im not going to give up. No matter how arduous.
There are so many civil rights leaders who had to endure so much more. Our
foremothers and forefathers have had to endure so much more. I will carry the
torch but I will not be taken advantage of. I have my eyes wide open and Im not
afraid to call what I see. No change will come if we dont.

The Master's Tools...
13 April 2012

"The master's tools will never dismantle the master's house." Audre Lorde- Sister

I got into a discussion about race and class and a question was posed- in this
society, are we enslaved mentally according to race and/or class? I took this to
mean- does race and class dictate our "social mobility". Does it confine us in the
social (and private!) spheres? Do we buy into these arbitrary confines and are we
therefore mentally enslaved by them?

Hmph. Race. arbitrary and ascientific. Designed as just another way for
the white man to show their superiority. Just another way to subjugate and divide.
The People's Institute for Survival and Beyond has an incredible analysis on this.
Whiteness....white supremacy. Power. Privilege.

The master's tools will never dismantle the master's house.

It means different things to different people. For me, in this context, it means- all
of ya'll who are struggling to "get that paper", to have "upward mobility", to
"assimilate" into a system built for us not to survive- there is no liberation in that.
There is no liberation in striving to be "upper middle class". There is no liberation
in trying to get 3 Ph.D's. There is no liberation in acculturation, forgetting our
roots to "play the game". The more we buy into the limitations of race and class
and the supposed freedom inherent in "upward mobility" (read: assimilating into
whiteness and perpetuating white supremacy, since they are seen as the top of
the totem pole), the more we are bound.

The master's tools will NEVER dismantle the master's house.

We think we can play the system. We think we can code switch, get these
degrees, forsake our roots, and that we will be rewarded the good life. We buy

into all the white man tells us in school. We let white folks hand us our history and
tell us "Shhhh forget, forget...your ancestors are long gone. Here...take this
spiritual path, our spiritual path.'s some history about us and what we
think of you." And we take it.

Some don't bother to question it. Their ideas on education- we buy them. Their
ideas on family, we buy them. Their notions of patriarchy and the way women
should be subjugated, and relegated to only certain spheres...yes,
yes...subconsciously we buy that, too. The way we form relationships, the way we
value college degrees over elders and wisdom, the way we turn our nose up at
our African roots, the way we judge body types, intelligence, the way we buy into
colorism. You think we thought this way before the master built his house on our
lands? Brought us into his mess. Set up shop ...appropriated all of us brown folks'
culture- music, art, even parts of our history.

And then they sell it back to us. They take our homes and sell it back to us. They
take our music and sell it back to us. Blackness has been co-opted in this country.
They take blackness, brownness and sell it back to us. They go to India, come back
and teach us some kind of diluted, variation of their interpretation of the
spirituality they see- yoga, Ayurveda and such. They go to Africa and do the same.
White Yoruba priestess'? Come on now!

Reggae, Ska, Punk, Rock, Country, R&B, co-opted....Shamanism, Yoruba,
Rastafarianism, co-opted.

And yet...we should be like them? We should use their tools of higher
education, their religion: Christianity, their ideas on how a society should be built:
capitalism, patriarchy to "get ahead", to "progress".

Nobody else sees something wrong with this?

We are not whole. We as brown people cannot be whole while buying into this
mentality. This is why we are spiritually, mentally and emotionally sick. We can't
heal ourselves through acculturation or looking for the answers in someone else's
heritage and history. Though white folks could stand to learn some things from

the other umteen hundred countries on this planet (that their ancestors have tried
to dominate and subjugate). And I do mean LEARN from, not co-opt. Not think
you can make them "better". Not subjugate them. Not "master" them. LEARN

It is time, brown people, that we see how beautiful we are. How rich our culture is.
It is time that we look at these tools that were put into our hands at birth, the
master's tools, and decide that they aren't going to dismantle this house, this
system. We have to go back to our roots. Re-discover our values. OUR values. Not
the white man's values. And if we can't find answers...we need to create new ones.
We need to create new solutions for this nation's problems. Not rely on a
constitution written by white men 200 something years ago. Not try to write
policies and adhere to laws when that whole system needs to be toppled and
recreated. Not try to fix a system that was doomed to fail due to the principles it
was built upon. We need to create something new. We aren't going to salvage
this one- not with all the racism, classism, ableism, sexism...etc.

We need not be afraid to study African and Indigenous religions. Do you not see
an issue with putting stock into and worshiping a "white" savior- a stranger- who
died 2000 years ago but not wanting to give thanks and worship your own flesh
and blood ancestors and the manifestation of the Creator in beautiful gods and
goddesses that only represent aspects of your own self, your Divinity?

Folks, we have got to stop valuing white heritage, values and characteristics over
our own. We have got to stop this cycle of assimilation and acculturation or we
will surely perish. Vanish. We have got to help each other remember who we are.
Even white folks. What is "white" anyway? Someone I really respect once told me
that whiteness is a set of privileges, not a race. Where do "white" folks come
from? What is their real history? I encourage folks to check out the People's
Institute and to read articles like: The Point is not to interpret whiteness but to
Abolish it.

We have a LOT of unlearning and reconstructing to do.

Stay tunedmore to come in the Afro-Genderqueer chronicles!!!

Other Writings:

Genderqueer Files: La Qolectiv@ (A play and novel)

A story of Rebellion, Resistance, Reclamation, Revolution, and espritu/Spirit. A collective of brown, radical
gender/queers find that to continue to protect and heal their community that they must discover their innate
super powers tied to their indigenous spirituality and the wisdom of their ancestors.
Notes from an Afro-Genderqueer Philosophactivist
A collection of blogs, essays, and articles addressing intersections of race, gender, sexuality, ability, anti-racist
organizing, organizing within queer people of color/people of color communities, and much, much more.
Written by a brown, genderqueer.

Notes from an Afro-Genderqueer Philosophactivist 2
Volume 2 of your favorite brown, queer anthology.