Carnivalism: The Shadow of Hierarchy

Puerto Rico still had no power. Weeks after Hurricane Maria battered the island, streetlights were like dead iron flowers and the avenues, draped in shadows. I came to find family and report for my newspaper. Parking near Borinquen Plaza, I got out and saw boys popping wheelies on bikes. Couples drank on benches. A crowd cheered on old men, who played dominoes. I was a little embarrassed and said, “Why aren’t you suffering more?” The air was prickly, almost electric with freedom. Like a carnival. The next day, I drove around the island, interviewing people and found immense suffering. In the mountains, families starved, the old and sick were desperate. People had died. Yet everyone I talked with always admitted the same guilty secret. They loved the renewed connection. Family. Friends. Even the land. It all was powerfully present.

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Talk at Horizons 2017: “Black Masks, Rainbow Bodies: Race and Psychedelics”

Psychedelics is a "white thing". It is a common idea. Many people of color view "tripping" as an effete practice of the privileged that the oppressed cannot afford. The sentiment is mirrored by the near invisibility of race as a topic in official, often all white, psychedelic conferences. Against white silence and black suspicion, more youth of color, some affluent and integrated are experimenting with psychotropics. Using literature, history and personal testimony, we can map how psychedelics have been interpreted by Black America.

Black Masks, Rainbow Bodies

"Black Masks, Rainbow Bodies: Race and Psychedelics" Psychedelics is a "white thing". It is a common idea. Many people of color view "tripping" as an effete practice of the privileged that the oppressed cannot afford. The sentiment is mirrored by the near invisibility of race as a topic in official, often all white, psychedelic conferences. Against white silence and black suspicion, more youth of color, some affluent and integrated are experimenting with psychotropics. Using literature, history and personal testimony, we can map how psychedelics have been interpreted by Black America.

Trapped in a Burning House: A Review of “I Am Not Your Negro”

"It's not a question of what happens to the Negro," Baldwin said in an early [episode] of "The Dick Cavett Show." Eyebrows arched, he looked at Cavett, "The real question is what's going to happen to this country." The film cuts to cops arresting Black Lives Matters activists. Peck edits Baldwin speaking in the past, alongside today's protests throughout I Am Not Your Negro. It drives the overall theme that our nation is again at a turning point. The US will rise or fall to the degree it heeds Baldwin's warning. The film commands: Look beyond the self-serving stereotypes of Black people or collapse from the weight of your hypocrisy.