race


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was killed. And these words from Barack Obama made me cry. Again.

“Dr. King once said that the arc of the moral universe is long, but that it bends toward justice. But what he also knew was that it doesn’t bend on its own. It bends because each of us puts our hands on that arc and bends it in the direction of justice.

So on this day – of all days – let’s each do our part to bend that arc.

Let’s bend that arc toward justice.

Let’s bend that arc toward opportunity.

Let’s bend that arc toward prosperity for all.

And if we can do that and march together – as one nation, and one people – then we won’t just be keeping faith with what Dr. King lived and died for, we’ll be making real the words of Amos that he invoked so often, and “let justice roll down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Barack Obama speaks on the 40th anniversary of MLK Jr\’s deathwatch?v=ABdDSxI6eSY

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Hello,

I am a second year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology program at Suffolk University in Boston, MA. I am doing a research project on “cultural transmission” in families with internationally adopted children. For this project, cultural transmission is defined as the ways in which parents discuss, participate in, and pass down culture to their (adopted) children.

I am looking for a diverse sample of parents who have adopted from any country other than America. There are no restrictions on country of origin, age at adoption, or any parental demographic factors. Participation should take no longer than 30 minutes and is comprised of filling out three short e-mailed surveys. Each person who returns the surveys will be entered into a drawing for the chance to win one of three $25 Amazon.com gift cards. Identities of participants will be carefully protected, and all answers are confidential.

The Internal Review Board at Suffolk University has approved this project. I can be reached by e-mail at riv11836@suffolk.edu or KJRStar@aol.com for more information.

Thank you,

Krystle Rivera, Ed.M.

Suffolk University

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East Bay folks! If you have not yet had the supreme opportunity to see W. Kamau Bell‘s great show, The W. Kamau Bell Curve, THIS WEEKEND is your chance! Kamau will be performing Saturday and Sunday, March 1 and 2 at Jewish Community Center of the East Bay (1414 Walnut St., Berkeley). 8 p.m., $15-$20. And if you bring a friend of a different race, they get in free!

BUY YOUR TICKETS HERE! 

Kamau’s show is explosively funny. And outrageous. And heartbreaking. And brilliant. GO. SEE. IT.

The East Bay Express just did a great piece about his show.

Want a little appetizer? Check this out.

178-stageweb.jpgMy teacher, W. Kamau Bell, is serious about addressing and dealing with racism, and he does it in a funny way.

Tonight is the closing night of his show, The W. Kamau Bell Curve. If you haven’t already seen it, do not miss it. And if you bring a friend of a different race, your friend gets in free!

The SF Bay Guardian has raved about his show. It is worth raving over. Here’s a little taste of the show.

If you are too far away to attend the show, Kamau has just started a daily blog which is smart, funny, and necessary. And his phenomenal mother, author Janet Cheatham Bell, has also started her own daily commentary. I suggest you bookmark them both.

m_b0e3e20a421edc5c813c1726035273cf.jpgI was just very thrilled to receive an email letting me know that my esteemed solo performance teacher, W. Kamau Bell, is about to stage a show of his own. Yay! Details here.

The W. Kamau Bell Curve
The show designed to end racism in about an hour.

Bring a friend of a different race and your friend gets in for free!

JUST LIKE MOTLEY CRUE and skinny jeans, racism is making a comeback in America. Every time you turn around, a white celebrity is talking about un-white people in ways that haven’t been popular since Martin Luther King had a dream. Well, W. Kamau Bell is mad as hell and he’s not going smile politely anymore as his un-black friends go, “Was what Imus said really THAT big a deal?” “The W. Kamau Bell Curve” is one part diatribe, one part manifesto, and several parts funny. And it wouldn’t exist without Sarah Silverman’s “Jesus is Magic”, Michael Richards’ “N Word Blowout”, Don Imus’ “Nappy Headed Hos”, Rosie O’Donnell’s “Ching ching chong ching…”, and the next dumbass, uninformed celebrity who says something incredibly and unapologetically racist.

BAY AREA GUITAR PHENOM PAUL E. HUNT Jr. and his punk-rock-soul band Conjure opens each show and will feature different guest musicians each night.

AS A STAND-UP COMIC, W. KAMAU BELL has frequently opened for Dave Chappelle in San Francisco and around the country. He has appeared on TV on Comedy Central and Comics Unleashed. Locally, Kamau has been profiled in The San Francisco Chronicle on three different occasions, including not ironically during Black History Month. The SF Weekly called him, “certainly funny”, although he was more excited that they called him “good looking”. He is most proud of being the leader of The Solo Performance Workshop at The Shelton Theater, where he is also an Artist in Residence.

WHAT:
The W. Kamau Bell Curve
With house band Conjure featuring Paul E. Hunt Jr.

WHEN
Oct 18, Thur, 8:00 CD release party for ONE NIGHT ONLY: W. Kamau Bell’s new stand-up comedy CD
Nov 15, Thur, 8:00
Dec 13, Thur, 8:00
Jan 24, Thur, 8:00

WHERE:
The Shelton Theater: 533 Sutter (at Powell – 4 blocks from Powell BART), San Francisco

TICKETS:
Bring a friend of a different race and your friend gets in for free!
(Just e-mail thewkbbellcurve@yahoo.com for a reservation with the words “free friend” in the subject bar.)
General Admission $15 brownpapertickets.com

Now the part of this that made me blink here, was the “Bring a friend of a different race and your friend gets in for free!”

I am very eager to procure a free ticket for said friend, but — Who would that be? Given that I am half Japanese-American and half Not Quite Sure But Most Likely White, who can I bring who is a different race? Is a white person a different race than me, or not, because we share (probably) one half whiteness? Or not, because I am hapa and they are not? If I bring anyone other than a hapa, does that count? What IS my race? I could bring an African American friend. (probably, but one cannot make assumptions) Maybe I could bring a Latino/a friend.

Maybe I could bring a Korean-American friend. There is a hot discussion going on over at Jade Park’s site about whether Japanese-Americans and Korean-Americans are the same, or different race. Hmmm. I’m going to have to give this one some thought.

Meanwhile, if you would like to accompany me to this fabulous show AND you think you are a different race than me and you qualify for a free ticket, please speak up!

images1.jpgI was invited to host a blog carnival, which is a massive compilation of blog posts on a particular topic. This carnival’s topic is Erase Racism, and you can see the many other carnivals that have been posted so far. I’ve been collecting submissions since August, and there is a great collection of thought-provoking stuff. So settle down, get comfortable, click away, read and think.

And now I’d like to add what I call “Susan’s Personal Favorites Erace Racism Mini Carnival.” These are posts that I’ve hand-picked (the ones above were submitted through the Erace Racism Carnival), from blogs that I’ve either stumbled across or regularly read.

film-contest-1-0307-sm.jpgLast year I was so blown away by this movie that is just seven minutes long.  Kiri Davis made this film because (in her words) -

“The issues my friends and I face inspired me to create this documentary. Through my interviews, it became extremely apparent how European beauty standards still maintain a dominant role in our society. Society imposes standards that affect us all no matter what your sex or race is. I hope the film helps girls everywhere understand that you can’t allow other people to define who you are. You have to define and celebrate yourself. You have to love the skin you’re in!”

– Kiri Davis

It’s a sad, powerful and moving piece of work.  This film was what inspired us to offer a filmmaking project at Pact Camp last summer, it so inspired us.  Right now Kiri is in the running for a $10,000 scholarship over at, believe it or not, Cosmogirl.com.  (can you say irony?)  Yesterday she had about 75 votes while the two others (about choice and body image) had in the 400′s. But word has been spreading around the blogosphere and Kiri is closing the gap.  Get over there RIGHT NOW and watch the movie, and then vote! and spread the word!!  

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Last night, my mom and spouse and I went to see Philip Kan Gotanda’s complex and beautiful and distressing play, After The War. Here’s the blurb.

Fillmore Street. San Francisco. 1946. A place to call home?

When more than 100,000 Japanese Americans were imprisoned by the U.S. government during World War II, San Francisco’s bustling Japantown suddenly became an urban ghost town. African Americans from the neighboring Fillmore District, rural whites from the Midwest, and other societal outcasts began to fill the vacant neighborhood. But what happened when the Japanese Americans came back? In this world premiere commissioned and developed by A.C.T., Philip Kan Gotanda (The Wash, A.C.T.’s Yohen) portrays an unexpected grouping of characters as they struggle to revive a community shattered by the effects of the war. Radiantly hopeful, heart-wrenchingly honest, and deeply infused with the jazz rhythms of the neighborhood, After the War is a powerful valentine to San Francisco—and to the everyday people who built this city with their lives, loves, and stories.

It was fantastic, really. The acting was phenomenal. And as always, when I see the lives of Japanese-Americans portrayed on a major stage or the big screen, it makes me feel Noticed. And touched. I think my mother was a little shocked to see actors on stage talking about manju (“I want the green one!”) and saying “Gomen nasai” and that was cool. But it’s a sad story, and as we discussed after the play, one of the few stories I’ve seen that starts out really hopeful and upbeat, and ends on a pretty bleak note. But that’s the way the history went. I learned more than I knew about San Francisco’s Japantown (“Japanese-town” as they called it then) and the many lives it sheltered.

If you’re in the Bay Area, don’t miss this one. You have until April 22.

Wow. I can’t believe I’m posting three times in one day, but I saw this on 8 Asians and it just so blew me away.

You all remember the icky-ugly Rosie O’Donnell ching-chong incident from a month or so ago. This was so very upsetting to me, because I had actually really liked Rosie. I liked her for so many reasons, not the least of which was her rendition of Ole Golly in the movie Harriet the Spy. So when she made this unbelievably ignorant, racist comment I felt personally hurt and bewildered and betrayed. Et tu, Rosie? Please! I really did not have the words to express it. I took her off my bloglines and went away in a corner to cry. Her halfhearted “it was only an accent” response made me despair even more.
Today I saw a profoundly beautiful and articulate “open letter” spoken poem to “all the Rosie O’Donnels”, from poet Beau Sia. He really did say it for all of us.

And you know what? She responded! She got it, at least a little bit. Up until now she had been so insensitive, so “can’t they take a joke” that it made my brain steam. But this, I think, is an opening. He got through.

2 beau
an open response
to ur informative creative
and quite beautiful video

i apologize
for any and all pain
caused to any and all
by my comments
ignorance
lack of compassion – empathy
understanding

u r right
i didnt get it

i know
my intent
was not to harm
yet obviously i did

there ya have it

hefamilythumbnail.jpgDid you read about this family? The Chinese couple who, in desperation, gave their infant daughter to a foster family in hopes of getting her some health insurance, and then, said family refused to give her back for eight years. The state Supreme Court has just ruled that she is to go back to her original parents. Now of course everyone is wringing their hands about how terrible it will be for this little girl to be torn from “the only parents she’s ever known.” Well, um, whose fault is that?!? WHY are they the only parents she’s ever known? Because they, in essence, kidnapped her and decided that THEY were the best parents and were not going to give her back. And some awful racist judge decided that these people had the right to do this and terminated her original parents’ rights because of “abandonment” when in fact they had been kicked out of the foster family’s house after they tried to get her back. This has been going on for way too long. It’s tragic. It’s disgusting. Of course this poor little girl is going to suffer indescribably over this, but I place the blame one hundred percent on the bogus “adoptive” parents.

When I went back and read accounts of this from 2003, when it had already been dragged on way too long, and then 2005, it just made me feel so sickened.  I’m ranting here, but Margie over at Third Mom articulated my feelings in a much calmer, more straightforward way.
Dawn is right. What do we need? Adoption reform. When do we need it? Ten years ago. Fifty years ago. NOW.

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