our tragedy begins humid.
in a humid classroom.
with a humid text book. breaking into us.
stealing us from ourselves.
one poem. at a time.
it begins with shakespeare.
the hot wash.
the cool acid. of
dead white men and women. people.
each one a storm.
crashing. into our young houses.
making us islands. easy isolations.
until we are so beleaguered and
with a definition of poetry that is white skin and
that we tuck our scalding. our soreness.
behind ourselves and
as trauma. as violence. as erasure.
another place we do not exist.
another form of exile
where we should praise. honor. our own starvation.
the little bits of langston. phyllis wheatley.
angelou during black history month. are the crumbs. are the minor boats.
that give us slight rest.
to be waterdrugged into rejecting the nuances of
my own bursting
and to have
to take my name out of my name.
out of where my native poetry lives. in me.
replace it with keats. browning. dickson. wolf. joyce. wilde. wolfe. plath. bronte. hemingway. hughes. byron. frost. cummings. kipling. poe. austen. whitman. blake. longfellow. wordsworth. duffy. twain. emerson. yeats. tennyson. auden. thoreau. chaucer. thomas. raliegh. marlowe. burns. shelley. carroll. elliot…
(what is the necessity of a black child being this high off of whiteness.)
and so. we are here. brown babies. worshipping. feeding. the glutton that is white literature. even after it dies.
(years later. the conclusion:
shakespeare is relative.
white literature is relative.
that we are force fed the meat of
that our bodies will not recognize. as inherent nutrition.
is not relative.
the hot wash, nayyirah waheed | from ‘nejma’
I’ve never been female. But I have been black my whole life. I can perhaps offer some insight from that perspective. There are many similar social issues related to access to equal opportunity that we find in the black community, as well as the community of women in a white male dominate society…
When I look at — throughout my life — I’ve known that I wanted to do astrophysics since I was 9 years old…I got to see how the world around me reacted to my expressions of these ambitions. All I can say is, the fact that I wanted to be a scientist, an astrophysicist was hands down the path of most resistance through the forces of society.
Anytime I expressed this interest, teachers would say, ‘Oh, don’t you wanna be an athlete?’ I want to become someone that was outside of the paradigm of expectations of the people in power. Fortunately, my depth of interest of the universe was so deep and so fuel enriched that everyone of these curve balls that I was thrown, and fences built in front of me, and hills that I had to climb, I just reach for more fuel, and I just kept going.
Now, here I am, one of the most visible scientists in the land, and I wanna look behind me and say, ‘Where are the others who might have been this,’ and they’re not there! …I happened to survive and others did not simply because of forces of society that prevented it at every turn. At every turn.
…My life experience tells me that when you don’t find blacks, when you don’t find women in the sciences, I know that these forces are real, and I had to survive them in order to get where I am today.
So before we start talking about genetic differences, you gotta come up with a system where there’s equal opportunity, then we can have that conversation."
"What’s up with chicks and science?"
Are there genetic differences between men and women, explain why more men are in science.
The whole process does something rather particular: It creates the illusion of an “independent” understanding within the larger implications of corporate intervention in defining a food’s background. In establishing a perimeter of commercial values based on social responsibility, Whole Foods depoliticizes us. Worse, for those already sinking into the hybrid life of a world without politics, it offers a parachute, a sort of immunity: “I shop here so, by extension, I know a thing or two about social awareness.”
Whole Foods unavoidably widens the gap between people who have everything and people who have nothing: How can super expensive foods that look like an invention of Edward Weston’s camera - that the majority of the world cannot afford, or would laugh about - be synonymous with social responsibility? This is truly a modern enigma.
The recent situation with quinoa, the “hot” and “trendy” new grain that we are suddenly unable to live without - and without which we are suddenly missing essential nutrients to keep us alive - is case in point. Paola Flores, filing for the AP from La Paz, Bolivia, reports that “[t]he scramble to grow more (quinoa) is prompting Bolivian farmers to abandon traditional land management practices, endangering the fragile ecosystem of the arid highlands, agronomists say.” A quinoa emergency, then, at the bulk bins. A separate exposé published in the Guardian goes even further: “[T]here is an unpalatable truth to face for those of us with a bag of quinoa in the larder. The appetite of countries such as ours for this grain has pushed up prices to such an extent that poorer people in Peru and Bolivia, for whom it was once a nourishing staple food, can no longer afford to eat it. Imported junk food is cheaper. In Lima, quinoa now costs more than chicken.” Whether we blame vegans or hipsters or the organic food movement or a lack of appropriate trade regulations, the troubling truth about quinoa represents that repetitive drama between the West and rest in which our voracious consumption depletes yet another land and another people.
Whole Foods widens the gaps, and it does so in the most subtle and displacing manner, giving us an environment (the actually sanitized, spotless physical space) that is the embodiment of an elite (yet perceived as “open,” especially through the chain’s less pricey “360” product line) that finds itself at home within a soulless, sterilized experiences. The notion of gentrification has been surpassed, attaining the space of a perennial state of mind. This is where even an apple turns into an object/jewelry of desire, not of need, or at least of normality. In that sense, Whole Foods is simply the last piece in the long, familiar chain of shifting perceptions in neo-capitalistic societies that exploded after the Second World War, in which the creation and multiplication of desires is central to the self-preservation of the system."
- neoliberal notions of “you are what you consume”
- consumptive whiteness- the notion of the sophisticated white, western consumer