The blue morning painted my bedroom into a dark ocean. I was at the bottom of it. Sunken by fears that moved through shadows like cold currents. Drawing breath was work. Lifting my head was hard labor. I reached for my phone, typed in “NY Times.” The previous night, I met friends at a bar … Continue reading The Mourning After Waking Up in Trump’s America
"You’re not listening to me.” He gripped the steering wheel. “What the hell am I not hearing?” I stared at my friend Terrence, who stared at the road as we drove in silence. He blurted, “White guys feel like they’re always wrong. I’m white. Listen to me. I know. We’re being yelled at by everyone.” … Continue reading Pain is Pain
Dear Allies, You deserve praise. Yes, you. I imagine you thinking, “But I’m white or male, I’m straight or able-bodied, I’m liberal or middle-class. I’m some combination of privilege, I’m part of the problem.” No, you’re not. You deserve praise. Why? Because when I need help, you’re there. You’re the white woman yelling, “Hands up! … Continue reading In Praise of Allies: Wherever we’re going, we’ll only get there together
Donald Trump has made sexual assault a core motif of his campaign rhetoric, but he's not interested in women's safety. Instead, he exploits rape imagery to tap into our fear even as he promotes social policies that endanger women. The sexual anxiety he calls up in his speeches is part of the conservative tradition that … Continue reading Trump’s Rape Rhetoric Appeals to Male Anxiety
Police cars and armored vehicles sped by. We watched their bright alarms echoing down the street. It was Sunday morning in LA, I woke to news of a mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando. Here in California, police caught a young man with explosives and guns, on his way to the LA Pride … Continue reading Hetero-terrrorism: The Backlash Against Gay Liberation
In the decades since, everywhere you turn there’s a person of color holding a mirror. On TV, we hold up mirrors. In music, in newspapers and in college classes we hold up mirrors. In the riots of Baltimore and Ferguson and in the Black Lives Matters protests, we carry mirrors through the streets. The President, a black man at the highest office of the land, holds up a mirror. And in those many, many reflections, you and everyone can see the bloody grave upon which you built your history.
I drew a heart next to Bernie Sanders. I almost wrote, “All Power to the Soviets” or “Bern Baby Bern” but didn’t and just danced in the voting booth. I smiled, kissed my ballot and cast it. While leaving, a poll worker stared at me, “Having a good time in there?” I ducked her eyes, … Continue reading My Third-Degree Bern Hope in a Time of Crisis
This is for the cool in you. The low swag of you. The righteous fury and star-following urge in you. This is for my people, Black and praiseworthy. For all of us. My family, Nuyoricans, blown across the map by anger. My friends, practicing themselves in the mirror, trying on new moves, new colors, new tongues.
“Be seen as a man of peace, even if you are not,” the shifty driver smiled, “The game of politics is pretending.” He squinted mischievously at the camera and chortled. He was carelessly arrogant. He knew he had power because this man, this Paul Mangwana represented the Zimbabwe president, Robert Mugabe, a man who terrified the nation.
The words Star Wars appeared on screen. Theme music blared. Everyone cheered. Early in the movie, a black male Stormtrooper took off his helmet in disgust after his army killed villagers. The audience sat wide-eyed, lost in a galaxy far, far away but finding there a triumphant liberalism often missing from real life.