“Black and Third World people are expected to educate white people as to our humanity. Women are expected to educate men. Lesbians and gay men are expected to educate the heterosexual world. The oppressors maintain their position and evade their responsibility for their own actions. There is a constant drain of energy which might be better used in redefining ourselves and devising realistic scenarios for altering the present and constructing the future.”—Audre Lorde
Mentally ill people are not the problem. Inaccessible, unaffordable health care is the problem. Stigma is the problem. Lack of treatment is a problem. Lack of understanding is the problem. Lack of compassion is the problem. Not taking people seriously is the problem. Lack of honest conversation and open dialogue is a problem. Using jails as a housing facility for mentally ill persons is a problem. Do you understand me? Mentally ill people are not the problem.
"There is absolutely no evidence to support the statement that [America is] the greatest country in the world. We’re 7th in literacy, 27th in math, 22nd in science, 49th in life expectancy, 178th in infant mortality, third in median household income, number four in labor force and number four in exports. We lead the world in only three categories: number of incarcerated citizens per capita, number of adults who believe angels are real, and defense spending where we spend more than the next 26 countries combined, 25 of whom are allies. Now, none of this is the fault of a 20-year-old college student, but you nonetheless are without a doubt a member of the worst period generation period ever period, so when you ask what makes us the greatest country in the world, I don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about."
"…One thing that can be very alienating about a misconception of feminism is that girls then think that to be a feminist, they have to live up to being perfectly consistent in your beliefs, never being insecure, never having doubts, having all the answers, and this is not true and actually, recognizing all the contradictions I was feeling became easier once I understood that feminism was not a rulebook but a discussion, a conversation, a process."
"I maintain that every civil rights bill in this country was passed for white people, not for black people. For example, I am black. I know that. I also know that while I am black I am a human being. Therefore I have the right to go into any public place. White people don’t know that. Every time I tried to go into a public place they stopped me. So some boys had to write a bill to tell that white man, “He’s a human being; don’t stop him.” That bill was for the white man, not for me. I knew I could vote all the time and that it wasn’t a privilege but my right. Every time I tried I was shot, killed or jailed, beaten or economically deprived. So somebody had to write a bill to tell white people, “When a black man comes to vote, don’t bother him.” That bill was for white people." —Stokely Carmichael
The first and only album from legendary Asian American spoken word collective I Was Born With Two Tongues, comprised of Anida Yoeu Ali, Marlon Esguerra, Emily Chang, and Dennis “Denizen Kane” Kim.
Geeking the fuck out cuz I hadn’t heard the whole thing til now - bless the internet and the poets for being free with their art. This group is the closest thing I know to elders of an Asian American spoken word tradition - and for me, they hit closer to my experience than most classic AsAm literature. It’s eerie and affirming hearing messages and images similar to my writing though I had never heard these pieces before. If someone were to ask me what it’s like being Asian American and I was incapable of writing or speaking it myself, I would refer them to this album.
still you shuffle my anger aside want me to bite my lips and watch my words, yet you cut me with your thoughts. your stories frame me in fiction recreated for ideal themes squeezed my mind for the minor myth that molds me into your major model gave me seductive sex appeal to steal your virgin soldiers and drew me dragon claws to kill your unlucky sons excuse me if I get too angry. YOU SPREAD LIES MEANT TO SPREAD MY LEGS. —excuse me, ameriKa
Caring for myself Is not self-indulgence. It is self-preservation. And that itself… …is political. Warfare.
How did you know Audre That my brothers and sisters Would be in trenches, in foxholes PRAYING to see the next day. Caught in a hellfire Of titanium tipped tribulations And .50 caliber concerns?!
Redraping the world in radical cloth, All of my friends Now lay to waste In this vale of shallow breaths.
I stood by Watching their golden inner fires Spark and rumble To entire columns of searing flames! Their bones cremated inside-out Eye socket now embers of wasted light!
How the fuck Audre, You Oracle of Delphi, Could you predict this infection, This plague of activist burnout?!
It is an inner hell That spreads to the brightest.
And it looks like, I’ve Caught It.
I can feel my skin turning to molten My veins acting as lava flows From an active heart. There are days When my fingers drape across my skin I can feel the hairs on my chest Hips And back Burn to cinders.
I leapt through the air And left trail winds of soot and ash
Audre… I’m burning up.
You tell me To swallow and breathe water To lay down and watch the sky shift to night Glow softly And rinse away the charcoal from my eyes.
“caring for yourself is not selfish or unkind”
“but what about the cause? those who need me”
I can feel my tongue becoming a whiplash of sparks. Theres now napalm dripping from me As it collects and cools on my brow.
Caring for yourself Is how you care for others. Through you, your fire will light The watchtowers in others. Take care of you so you can keep fighting for others…
If your name suggests a country where bells might have been used for entertainment
or to announce the entrances and exits of the seasons or the birthdays of gods and demons,
it’s probably best to dress in plain clothes when you arrive in the United States, and try not to talk too loud.
If you happen to have watched armed men beat and drag your father out the front door of your house and into the back of an idling truck
before your mother jerked you from the threshold and buried your face in her skirt folds, try not to judge your mother too harshly.
Don’t ask her what she thought she was doing turning a child’s eyes away from history and toward that place all human aching starts.
And if you meet someone in your adopted country, and think you see in the other’s face an open sky, some promise of a new beginning, it probably means you’re standing too far.
Or if you think you read in the other, as in a book whose first and last pages are missing, the story of your own birthplace, a country twice erased, once by fire, once by forgetfulness, it probably means you’re standing too close.
In any case, try not to let another carry the burden of your own nostalgia or hope.
And if you’re one of those whose left side of the face doesn’t match the right, it might be a clue
looking the other way was a habit your predecessors found useful for survival. Don’t lament not being beautiful.
Get used to seeing while not seeing. Get busy remembering while forgetting. Dying to live while not wanting to go on.
Very likely, your ancestors decorated their bells of every shape and size with elaborate calendars and diagrams of distant star systems, but with no maps for scattered descendants.
And I bet you can’t say what language your father spoke when he shouted to your mother from the back of the truck, “Let the boy see!”
Maybe it wasn’t the language you used at home. Maybe it was a forbidden language. Or maybe there was too much screaming and weeping and the noise of guns in the streets.
It doesn’t matter. What matters is this: The kingdom of heaven is good. But heaven on earth is better.
Thinking is good. But living is better.
Alone in your favorite chair with a book you enjoy is fine. But spooning is even better.
"That’s the logic that’s going through the minds of many Asian Americans these days as they grapple with this question: Should race-neutral policies replace affirmative action?
More than anything else, it’s the single biggest threat to the notion of an Asian American community. And it’s brought out the opportunists who want to use Asian Americans to break up the solidarity on the issue among people of color. The Asian American group 80-20 launched an online petition drive and now claims it has 50,000 signatures of Asian Americans who want to end the unfairness of it all.