If there’s one thing that I adore about my hair, and there’s many things I love about it, it’s that it can keep up with my ever-shifting sense of self. Having spent the first eighteen years of my life being denied any sort of self-expression, I can appreciate what I have now even more.
Growing up as a young Black boy in the Deep South, there was always a certain level of respectability that I was forced to adhere to. Some can say it’s to keep us safe from the horrors of racism, others say it’s us internalizing white ideals…
The strange thing about having slurs lobbed at you in public is that you never truly get used to it. You can reclaim them amongst you and your friends. You can attempt to desensitize yourselves to the sting. You can do everything under the sun to blunt the hatred that’s behind those words.
Everything and more yet it always has the capacity to sneak up on you. Any time and any place, leaving you vulnerable, scared, and confused.
For context this incident involved the ludicrously mundane process of my partner and I crossing the street. As I was tying my…
There I am, holding my phone and thinking of a clever caption to add to another mediocre selfie. Through the constant typing and deleting of words, familiar thoughts flood my mind. “Does this need to have some kind of meaning attached to it? Is this this too generic? What hashtags should I use? Does this seem off-brand?”
What? Off brand???? That’s silly Joseph, you don’t have a brand, or do you?
A few moments later and I wind up deleting the picture, it wasn’t worth the mental anguish. But why? …
As someone who recently, and hopefully finally, stepped away from activist/organizer communities I really do feel and empathize with all of this. So much of the "social" part of social media these days seems founded solely on whether or not those you're in community with check off all the boxes for how you think they should experience and react to the world. We're forming bonds based off of our experiences with trauma, which isn't a bad thing on the surface but god damn if it isn't sustainable after a while.
What are people's interest? What makes them happy outside of 'the struggle.' What is the real purpose for our investment in what seems like an endless amount of causes and crusades for justice? Perhaps that's the cynicism coming out, but these are questions I constantly found myself asking when engaging in actions/people/communities.
Either way, thank you for writing this.
“It’s like moving mountains,” is what I tell others when they ask me how the writing is going. Perhaps a tad bit dramatic, but I find that to be much more muted than pulling them into another of my self-hate spirals. How do you communicate to someone that you have no more creativity, no more drive, your vision for the future reduced to nightmares of invisibility and obscurity.
I call myself a writer. I call myself a lot of things. Yet it’s hard to feel as if any of those descriptors fit. I have no books, I’m not published anywhere…
The timing of this piece is uncanny, I spent much of the past few weeks watching video after video after VIDEO of abandoned malls all over the country. The amount of square footage just sitting there unused, falling prey to the elements and time is nauseating. So many of these builds get caught up in legal/financial troubles and become blights for the city governments/communities near them, dilapidated beacons of a bygone era that is never coming back.
Repurposing them into community centers/housing is the CORRECT thing to do on so many levels, we don't need *another* amazon warehouse being built over them when there's so many unhoused people who deserve comfort and a roof over their head. #housingisahumanright
…eople in our society despise effeminate men and gay men, despite whatever you see in popular media. The Fab Five of Queer Eye aren’t real, people. Reality TV is entertainment, not life.
I was hoping you'd get to this point and was pleased to see it. Our modern era has played tricks on us when it comes to what deem progress. Seeing (probably affluent) LGBTQ people in media does not mean that all of a sudden we've been granted the liberation and humanity we oh-so-desperately crave.
You could call it trickle-down-humanity if you wanted to, because it's easy to put someone on the TV and say "Hey look, stop complaining we DID something for you." Copy and paste this to any other marginalized group, rinse, wash, repeat.
I sometimes call this Lavender…
While everyone is busy crafting their essays concerning the visible contradictions in the treatment of Proud Boys and Black Lives Matter protestors, I have a bone to pick with how we‘re discussing the issue.
Yes, it’s a travesty of the highest order that this merry band of slack-jawed goons can traipse into the Capitol like it’s nothing. Yes it’s mind-blowing to see this happen to government buildings all over the country, the disruption met with little resistance time and time again.
A few months ago I wrote a piece discussing White women appealing to authority to harass POCs. Whether it was calling the police on “suspicious” individuals or being a nuisance in grocery stores, my understanding of the term “Karen” was that it was a racialized descriptor. One deployed by many to describe behaviors that can be attributed to White women’s unique social position in America.
I won’t dwell too much on the basics since that’s been done by many others at this point. What I am concerned with, however, is its deployment towards people who are not White women. …