If you have 37 minutes, sit down. Put aside whatever you are doing. Listen. Take it in. If you don’t have 37 minutes now, schedule it in later on. Listen.

“We the people, in order to form a more perfect union.”

Two hundred and twenty one years ago, in a hall that still stands across the street, a group of men gathered and, with these simple words, launched America’s improbable experiment in democracy. Farmers and scholars; statesmen and patriots who had traveled across an ocean to escape tyranny and persecution finally made real their declaration of independence at a Philadelphia convention that lasted through the spring of 1787.

The document they produced was eventually signed but ultimately unfinished. It was stained by this nation’s original sin of slavery, a question that divided the colonies and brought the convention to a stalemate until the founders chose to allow the slave trade to continue for at least twenty more years, and to leave any final resolution to future generations.

Of course, the answer to the slavery question was already embedded within our Constitution – a Constitution that had at is very core the ideal of equal citizenship under the law; a Constitution that promised its people liberty, and justice, and a union that could be and should be perfected over time.

Read the entire speech here.

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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.

c1Sometimes I can be articulate. Sometimes I just can’t. Right now a lot of other people are expressing themselves better than I can. I’m just frothing at the mouth, writhing around, clawing at my eyes and wishing I could punch this woman, many times, right in the face.

I was going to write a whole long blog post about November being National Adoption Awareness Month, and how so much has been overwhelming me, both good and bad, but right now I can’t really focus on anything except this which has been the worst of it.

There’s been an ongoing series of blog posts about adoption in the New York Times, ranging from the sappy to the truly eloquent and poignant.

And then there was an absolute horror show of a post that made me shriek out loud in disgust, dismay, horror and distress.

Tana Janowitz, in her trademark sarcasm and f-you attitude that made her a once-famous author in the heyday of the late 80’s, writes:

A girlfriend who is now on the waiting list for a child from Ethiopia says that the talk of her adoption group is a recently published book in which many Midwestern Asian adoptees now entering their 30s and 40s complain bitterly about being treated as if they did not come from a different cultural background. They feel that this treatment was an attempt to blot out their differences, and because of this, they resent their adoptive parents.

So in a way it is kind of nice to know as a parent of a child, biological or otherwise – whatever you do is going to be wrong. Like I say to Willow: “Well, you know, if you were still in China you would be working in a factory for 14 hours a day with only limited bathroom breaks!”

And she says — as has been said by children since time immemorial — “So what, I don’t care. I would rather do that than be here anyway.”

Not surprising. That poor child would rather be ANYwhere than living with a mother like that (and a name like Willow?!?). Well, I can’t say anymore right now because I’m about to start spewing vitriol all over the keyboard, but I will link you to others who have expressed it better.

First, note Jae Ran’s documentation of the many adult adoptees whose posts in protest of Janowitz’s piece were not published censored by the NY Times. If this isn’t outrageous I don’t know what is. The thing that really got me, and made me feel like I can’t bear living in this country one more minute is the number of “Hey, lady, you are funny!” comments that she got. Oh, the shame. The SHAME.

Lisa Marie tries to educate Tama and others. More power to ya, teacher lady, but have you heard the story of the pearls and the swine?

Carmen at Racialicious has a really articulate commentary on the whole series.

I am really glad to see that adoptive mother Dawn spoke up, too. This whole thing is just so sick and outrageous.

AND: Breaking News! Twice the Rice has come out of retirement to comment on this as well.

I’m going to leave y’all on a bright note. Before sinking into utter despair, read Sumeia’s beautiful, true and poignant piece in the same series.

Edit: one of the editors of the above-mentioned “recently published book” responds, and brilliantly.

And Sarah Kim wrote an incredibly powerful and moving letter to Willow.

Finally, Harlow’s Monkey analyzes which comments were “allowed” on the NYT and which weren’t, and why. 

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.

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