Queer, Gifted & Black

Friday
Jun132014


Read the rest of the article here.

Monday
Jun092014

Reconciling Hearts & Minds: The Science Of Social Justice

 

Here is a video I conceived, directed by Gein Wong, transcribed by mercy medusa mahogany immanuel thokozane minah, inspired by Zainab Amadahy's book Wielding The Force: The Science Of Social Justice, talking about emotions, Maya's wisdom, movement building and electro-magnetic fields.

This one is for all the folks who have been told that their feelings put them at a disadvantage.

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

― Maya Angelou 

 

 

 

 

[Transcript of video conceived by Kim Katrin Milan, directed by Gein Wong and discussing vital lessons from Zainab Amadahy's Wielding The Force: The Science of Social Justice]
Voice in background: Who would be like, your first person you'd want in the audience to be there?
Kim: For me it's not like a specific person, it's like, anyone who has been told that their emotions are not important or real. 
Voice in background: Mhmm, mhmm.
Kim: You know? One of the other things she talked about was how, every time we make a decision we check in with our emotional centers. Like, everyone does that. This isn't something that like, just "illogical" people do separately, then all the logical people just totally destroy that. Like, everybody does that, you know? And I've just, for everyone who has just felt um, like their emotions put them at a disadvantage or that they have to stop crying...Okay, now I know who I'm talking to. (Smiles) 
Kim: I wanted to talk about a book. I wanted to talk about a book that was really important to me, because it fortified my ability to do my work better. It made me believe in myself in a way that I, knew that I wanted to believe in myself but I couldn't quite figure out how to do that. And so I always like to share things that make us feel more possible, more confident in ourselves, in our capacity. Uh, less ashamed of the people that we are, of our frailness, of our beauty, of our wholeness. And I feel like this person's work really does that. In a really transformative way. So I wanted to talk about Zainab Amadahy. She wrote a book called The Science of Social Justice. And this book really talks about how Indigenous sciences and emerging sciences are connected to the ways in which we think and talk about social justice. But also the ways in which we think and talk about science and the brain and a whole myriad of topics. And I feel like, really importantly, it brings a much needed perspective in terms of intersectionality and connectivity, that is missing from a lot of analysis both of social justice and as well, of science. And so one of the things that she talked about, that for me was really transformative, was explaining that every time we make a decision, we check in with our emotional centers. That so often, I have been told, and I know that so many of us have been told, that emotions are separate from logic. And that if you're crying while you're talking about something serious, it means you must apologize for those tears and find a way to suck that all up so that you can access the logicical side of the person that you are. And what this did for me was it reconciled everything. It meant that the emotions were absolutely part and parcel of everything I was doing, and it wasn't an accident. This is actually just what me as a human being in the world does. And one the other things that she shared, that was really really transformative as well, was this idea that we each, each life form has its own electrico-magnetic field. And these fields are one...are something that can be measured individually, but they can also be measured in the ways that they impact other people. So my EM fields can show up in your hearts, in can show up in your brain, it can show up in the people's lives who I touch. I think of Maya Angelou and the ways that she has asked us to remember that "People will not remember what we did, but they will remember the way that we made them feel." And that even though she might not have realized that, but she's talking some hard science right there. And I think, that one of the things that is really important in terms of thinking about these implications is how this works on a collective basis. So Zainab was explaining that there are two times in most recent recorded history when the electro magnetic field of the entire planet changed. One was when 9/11 was announced. And the second was when Obama's election was announced. That these two incidents, that could not be more different, one that was so much despair and so much tragedy and another one that was so much hope and so much promise of something -a testament of the collective organizing of so many individuals, who believed in something that they'd never seen before. And for me, that is a testament to what emotions can do. A testament to what the power of media means; the ability to transport this image entirely around the world, with enough to change the way in which the entire planet electro-magnetic field was being emitted. That these things that we take for granted, the ability to turn on the internet and get access to information. The ways in which we interact with each other and the ways that our feelings respond to these interactions, that these things are changing our planet. They're changing life all around us. And for me it was a reminder to think more deeply about the sacredness of my actions. Of the ways in which I act in the world, and the ways in which I build my movements. That if we are not also thinking about things from perspectives around hope, and intuition and love then we are not complete. We cannot only be focusing on the tangible because those things are all intricately connected. 
Kim: So I think one of the integral things that Zainab is inviting us to do is one, to really diversify our perspective and our understanding of what science is. That there are Indigenous scientists, there are Middle Eastern scientists. There are so many different people who are practicing different kinds of intricate localized knowledge that can be described as science. And also a reminder that our emotions are a part of that science. That we can't separate the feeling part of us from the logic part of us. That those things have already reconciled themselves together and we don't even have to do the work to figure out how they work together. And so I invite you to take a look at her book, Zainab Amadahy Wielding The Force: The Science of Social Justice.
Kim: Was that okay?
Voice in background: Yeah. 

On Zainab Amadahy's book Wielding The Force: The Science Of Social Justice
On Reconciling Hearts & Minds 
[Transcript of video conceived by Kim Katrin Milan, directed by Gein Wong and discussing vital lessons from Zainab Amadahy's Wielding The Force: The Science of Social Justice]

Voice in background: Who would be like, your first person you'd want in the audience to be there?
Kim: For me it's not like a specific person, it's like, anyone who has been told that their emotions are not important or real. 
Voice in background: Mhmm, mhmm.
Kim: You know? One of the other things she talked about was how, every time we make a decision we check in with our emotional centers. Like, everyone does that. This isn't something that like, just "illogical" people do separately, then all the logical people just totally destroy that. Like, everybody does that, you know? And I've just, for everyone who has just felt um, like their emotions put them at a disadvantage or that they have to stop crying...Okay, now I know who I'm talking to. (Smiles) 
Kim: I wanted to talk about a book. I wanted to talk about a book that was really important to me, because it fortified my ability to do my work better. It made me believe in myself in a way that I, knew that I wanted to believe in myself but I couldn't quite figure out how to do that. And so I always like to share things that make us feel more possible, more confident in ourselves, in our capacity. Uh, less ashamed of the people that we are, of our frailness, of our beauty, of our wholeness. And I feel like this person's work really does that. In a really transformative way. So I wanted to talk about Zainab Amadahy. She wrote a book called The Science of Social Justice. And this book really talks about how Indigenous sciences and emerging sciences are connected to the ways in which we think and talk about social justice. But also the ways in which we think and talk about science and the brain and a whole myriad of topics. And I feel like, really importantly, it brings a much needed perspective in terms of intersectionality and connectivity, that is missing from a lot of analysis both of social justice and as well, of science. And so one of the things that she talked about, that for me was really transformative, was explaining that every time we make a decision, we check in with our emotional centers. That so often, I have been told, and I know that so many of us have been told, that emotions are separate from logic. And that if you're crying while you're talking about something serious, it means you must apologize for those tears and find a way to suck that all up so that you can access the logicical side of the person that you are. And what this did for me was it reconciled everything. It meant that the emotions were absolutely part and parcel of everything I was doing, and it wasn't an accident. This is actually just what me as a human being in the world does. And one the other things that she shared, that was really really transformative as well, was this idea that we each, each life form has its own electrico-magnetic field. And these fields are one...are something that can be measured individually, but they can also be measured in the ways that they impact other people. So my EM fields can show up in your hearts, in can show up in your brain, it can show up in the people's lives who I touch. I think of Maya Angelou and the ways that she has asked us to remember that "People will not remember what we did, but they will remember the way that we made them feel." And that even though she might not have realized that, but she's talking some hard science right there. And I think, that one of the things that is really important in terms of thinking about these implications is how this works on a collective basis. So Zainab was explaining that there are two times in most recent recorded history when the electro magnetic field of the entire planet changed. One was when 9/11 was announced. And the second was when Obama's election was announced. That these two incidents, that could not be more different, one that was so much despair and so much tragedy and another one that was so much hope and so much promise of something -a testament of the collective organizing of so many individuals, who believed in something that they'd never seen before. And for me, that is a testament to what emotions can do. A testament to what the power of media means; the ability to transport this image entirely around the world, with enough to change the way in which the entire planet electro-magnetic field was being emitted. That these things that we take for granted, the ability to turn on the internet and get access to information. The ways in which we interact with each other and the ways that our feelings respond to these interactions, that these things are changing our planet. They're changing life all around us. And for me it was a reminder to think more deeply about the sacredness of my actions. Of the ways in which I act in the world, and the ways in which I build my movements. That if we are not also thinking about things from perspectives around hope, and intuition and love then we are not complete. We cannot only be focusing on the tangible because those things are all intricately connected. 
Kim: So I think one of the integral things that Zainab is inviting us to do is one, to really diversify our perspective and our understanding of what science is. That there are Indigenous scientists, there are Middle Eastern scientists. There are so many different people who are practicing different kinds of intricate localized knowledge that can be described as science. And also a reminder that our emotions are a part of that science. That we can't separate the feeling part of us from the logic part of us. That those things have already reconciled themselves together and we don't even have to do the work to figure out how they work together. And so I invite you to take a look at her book, Zainab Amadahy Wielding The Force: The Science of Social Justice.
Kim: Was that okay?
Voice in background: Yeah. 

 

Sunday
Nov172013

Acting Like A Child

Ageism is a real system of oppression. The way that people over the age of 65 are targeted more specifically for certain kinds of fraud and violence related to long term care facilities and services and also the way that young people are manipulated and abused by adults. There is no doubt that age constructs a system of power. In some places, 18 has been determined as the age that you can be tried as an adult, 21 is the age that you can drink - the arbitrary passing of 'a year' grants certain social, economic and political power and over time it runs out until you are left with none.
The people who economically constructed Western civilization decidedly didn't make adequate systems to care for the elderly and the adults who currently benefit the most, also economically continue to maintain a system where people become 'disposable' at a certain age. 
I have also noticed that the generation that has benefited the most materially from capitalism also participates in agesim, namely in the ways that young people are blamed for many of societal ills generally. Youth is associated with 'folly' or not being hard working, being selfish or vain. And I really want to challenge that assumption. The young people I know are hustlers, despite being denied the right to pursue music or art or things that feed their spirit in favour for getting 'real jobs', they instead seek to do both, and are tired and overworked as a result of it. We have inherited more debt than has ever been imagined in the history of the world - I know more young people (under and around 30) who are in the negative $30,000 - $100,000 dollars, can't imagine how to have house much less how to have or support your children while working several jobs, engaging in activism, participating in community building through events, organizing and/or sharing information on social media and being chronically ill. 
And don't even get me started on all of the critiques on our use of social media. Over the internet I have been able to connect with all the people that capitalism tries to keep isolated through lack of accessible services and education. I get to connect with people who my own privilege as a hearing, seeing, English-Speaking cisgender person self distances me from. I have shared information and actions of solidarity with people around the world, as a queer little Black girl, I found love for the first time on the Internet. I am not suggesting that the web isn't fucked up, it is all part of real life and is fraught with the same systems of oppression and abuses that we experience in our physical relationships with each other, and yes the medium is intrinsically related to how we experience it. But this nostalgia for a time where people all said 'Hi' to each other was also a time where my Brown elders were having their houses egged by white supremacists in Vancouver, BC. So maybe we can stop acting like it is always the young people that are the ones who are fucking it up.
We inherited this culture and in many cases we are doing exactly what we are told, when capitalism deprived us from having loving relationships with you (we missed you) where we could have spent time with you and instead we were raised by hours of television that told us exactly the kind of people that we should be and that are valued.
I personally really love and trust younger people as a principle (obviously we have to negotiate our relationships with folks as individuals). I hope you exceed everything that has come before you. I want to tell you all the truth I can about how wonderful we were to each other and how fucked up we were to each other. I hope you can improve on everything that we have done, because the world is really hurting and few benefit at the expense of everyone else. I hope at 9 you will be way smarter than I ever was. You don't have to listen to me because I am your elder, my relative age has nothing to do with my kindness, compassion or wisdom. And while I should be respected you should be too. Disrespect is not warranted because someone is your boss, or your parent or any person in 'authority'. A degree, a gun, 20 years, or a collection of DNA does not give anyone the right to be violent, abusive, manipulative and be wary of any adult who suggests that is true. I trust that you know more about your surroundings and challenges than I do, so I will work really hard to ask a lot of questions, not be judgemental and understand your context as opposed to offering you advice that may have only been relevant in my time and my specific context. I believe that you are intelligent and capable and creative and there are some things you know more about than I do and vice versa. I understand that we are both human and we will both inevitably hurt each other, but I will always work to be accountable, to apologize to you when I am wrong and I hurt you BECAUSE AS ADULTS WE SHOULD BE ABLE TO APOLOGIZE TO ANYONE INCLUDING PEOPLE WHO ARE YOUNGER THAN US and also because I want you to also be accountable to me. When I say that someone is 'acting like a child' I will use it in a positive way or not at all, meaning someone is acting genuinely curious, creative, kind and careful because this is in fact what I have experience the most from children who are in loving homes regardless of access to money.
There was a recent study that I recall where they asked young children (5 - 8) to find as many different uses for a spoon as possible, and they found over 200 on average and then they asked again at 20 and on average they could only find 2. Children are unrestrained by restrictive rules, their imaginations ideally are boundless. I recognize that you are the ones who are most likely to imagine a world for us where we can be entirely free and living in respect and reverence of life and I am grateful to work with you and in solidarity with you.

 

Monday
Nov112013

Femme Worship & Why I Be Lovin Nick Cannon

I love the way that Nick Cannon declares his love for Mariah Carey. I just finished watching the Kevin Hart series The Real Husbands Of Hollywood. A show that focuses on the satirical relationships between several hilarious and brilliant comedic couples including Tisha Campbell-Martin (from Martin). And throughout the show, the ongoing joke is about him being 'Miss Mariah', but he never rejects it. He in fact embraces it openly. The first episode he even wears an apron that reads Mr. Mimi while he is barbecuing, he sets his alarm to go home at midnight to see Mariah after hanging out with the boys, he just loves himself some her!

Regardless of the ways that insecure people criticize his 'masculinity', he opens identifies as Mr. Mariah Carey. Why would we be mad? Why would we shame this man over and over again for loving this woman so deeply that he reaffirms it in every public encounter. 

This is so rare. And although I know nothing about their personal relationship, so often the image represented in corporate media, is that men don't love their partners, they think that they are annoying and they just put up with them. I have seen this 'joke' played out in sitcom after sitcom. And when masculine people love women a lot, it is always framed as a flaw, or a weakness like Steve Urkel before he became Stephan. 

What is being taught, if masculine people are shamed in much media when they express open loving, declarative possibly even submissive feeling for women? What is being taught if the 'cool' ways and the acceptable ways are to be less attached and attentive?

All these things must be practiced with consent. Grand gestures without consent can be invasive and frightening. When we love each other with clear permission in the ways that we each individually desire and negotiate, that is a beautiful thing.


Sunday
Oct062013

Musings On Healing

The medical industrial complex.

It is such a trip as I engage in this process of healing. It is a return to all the knowledge systems that are actually Indigenous to me as someone with South Asian, African and Indigineous heritages. And to watch the way that the White Able Bodied Capitalist Machine first decried all of our knowledge as 'voodoo' as 'pagan nonsense' as 'primitive' and now the most 'progressive of people rename and appropriate our sciences while simaltaneously othering and alienating us.

All the while, we are meant to practice this thing called western science, that from everything that we know has literally been founded on the destruction of the bodies of womyn and trans folks, Indigineous People and People Of Colour. From the founding of western science's modern gynecology with the forcible sterilization and removal of the uterus' of enslaved African Womyn to simply using a standard for treatment that is based on conceptions of what a 'normal body is'. Namely, euro-western, hearing, cisgender, heterosexual....

And we are shamed when we do engage our own practices. The yoga I practiced with my grandfather becomes 'new age' and the way we eat back home in Venezuala gets called 'macrobiotic'. And we stop being who we are, and they call us 'urban' as though we were grown from the concrete. 

And they buy all our homelands and they call it 'cottage country' or 'private beaches' and we can't go home and we can't even drink the water because it's flooded with all these chemicals that your science said would be good for us and our sciences said all along - that no they would not.

And you call it 'organic' when all that really means is that it is without your 'superior chemicals' and then we are judged for eating white bread, when it was your science that told us that we should do it in the first place.

Powerful reminders are all around us that we know more about our own individual bodies than anyone else and that is a valid type of science, based on our own lived and embodied inquiry. Our communities also practice significant and varied types of sciences, there isn't one type of science that is better than all the rest, there are just different kinds suited for different experiences and purpose. 

And if there was, it would not be funded by Monsanto, trust and believe.

#trustyourstruggle #trustyourbody#trustthosethatloveandrespectyou