SF Bay 2016: Role of Foodie+Tech Culture in an Era of Systemic Racism and Neoliberal Capitalism

P1200890

This is an update of what I had written a few days ago about the new conference for 2016. 

In May of 2015 I wrote an article that interrogated the role of Foodie+Tech culture within an era of neoliberal capitalism and a racist food system. A surprisingly high number of you privately emailed me to express enthusiasm and appreciation for me having written this article. In addition, having attended quite a few food+tech (or similar) events in the SF Bay area over the last few years, the assumption during most of these events is that we live in a ‘post-racial’ USAmerican [food] system.

For 2016, I have decided that the theme for my next conference will be From Seed to Table[t]: Foodie+Tech Culture in an Era of Systemic Racism and Neoliberal Capitalism (Challenges and Possibilities). I could not be more thrilled! I have also decided to make the big move and host the conference through my consulting company Critical Diversity Solutions(CDS) with the Sistah Vegan Project being a co-organizer and one of the sponsors. Because of the focus of CDS, I think this makes strategic sense; it also opens up the event to my existing Sistah Vegan fan base and new people who have more interest in the basic foundation of CDS. If you missed this year’s April 24-25 2-15 conference, learn about how we interrogated the meaning of Black Lives Matter Within Ethical Consumption.

First of all, the date of event will most likely be spring of 2016. I am hoping that I can host the event in an actual physical space. I have my eyes set on Impact Hub Oakland. I envision that the event would be live streamed and recorded; in addition, those who cannot show up in person to give a talk can participate via video-conference. Audience members who cannot show up physically can participate from a tablet, smartphone, computer or dial in via phone.

To get an idea about what the conference will be about, I encourage you to read my article: “FROM SEED TO TABLE[T]: CAN FOODIE-TECH STARTUPS CHANGE A NEOLIBERAL, RACIST, AND CAPITALIST [FOOD] SYSTEM?

What the Sistah Vegan Project Needs From You to Make This Conference Possible

A Space To Host the Event. 

I would love to have this event take place in Oakland at the Impact Hub Location. I think it would be perfect. If you have ever visited this space, you would probably agree that it’s an amazing co-working space that is very conscious around racial power dynamics, diversity, ethical consumption, and technology challenges+innovations. I have never organized a conference for a physical location and am seeking a volunteer to help me with this.

Poster Design.

I would like to work with a designer to create a captivating poster design for this event. Would anyone be willing to do this pro-bono?

Sponsors.

I am seeking sponsorship and have been told to start early. I need help with finding sponsors. Those that come to mind are

  1. Food+Tech Connect
  2. Food First
  3. Impossible Foods
  4. Civil Eats
  5. Facing Race
  6. Google
  7. Twitter
  8. Pinterest
  9. WordPress
  10. LinkedIn
  11. Hack the Hood
  12. Black Girls Code

I am curious to know if organizations or companies that have never publicly spoken about the role of foodie+tech within an era of systemic racism, would support this conference. Who wants to volunteer to get sponsors? 


Like what the Sistah Vegan Project Does? Donate and/or Find out about our upcoming projects and books. logoAlso, download the Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matters spring 2015 conference recordings by clicking on the image below :

‘Grow Your Own Food, Be Sustainable…[Just Be Out by Sundown if You Don’t Look Like Taylor Swift]’

Sundown (1)

The above image is satire. I created it because…

I am on a community food listserv (Comfood). I am also on my community Critical Race and Food Studies list serv. The other day, I sent an email to the wrong listerv (the Comfood one).

On July 24th 2015 I wrote:

Good morning,

I was wondering if people who post events on this list would be willing to let everyone know if the event happening is occurring in a ’sundown’ town. I know ’Sundown’ laws are technically illegal this day in age, but just because it’s illegal to post such signage doesn’t mean it isn’t happening through the USA.

Best,

Breeze

 I immediately sent an apology

I sent that last request about sundown towns to this comfoods listserv by mistake. I thought I had sent it to the community critical race food studies listserv.

Best, 

Breeze

First of all, it didn’t occur to me until someone privately wrote me that it was not an unreasonable request. They thought it was a good idea. I wrote them back privately:

Now that I think about it, it’s ridiculous that I did send an apology (but in all honesty, as a black woman doing anti-racism scholarship around food, I have gotten used to people emailing me that food and racism distract from the ‘good food’ movement).

I started the Critical Race and Food studies listserv several years ago because of this lack of engagement in mainstream ‘good food’/ ‘local food’ circles.

Best,

Breeze

But yea, I have mentioned many times in my blog posts that I am tentative about going to an event around food or veganism if I don’t know whether or not it’s in a region of the USA that was or still informally is a ‘sundown’ town.

This is a reasonable request. And it’s a really sad and depressing thing that I have to make that request in 2015. And it’s even more sad that I felt compelled to apologize because I didn’t want to make Comfood feel “uncomfortable” (Let’s face it, most content is ‘post-racial’ or at least doesn’t engage with the realities of systemic racism and normative whiteness on the food system).

What is even more frustrating is that the ComFood list has hundreds of members. No one publicly engaged with what I had written or even suggested that what it implies is something that shouldn’t be swept under the rug… and only 2 people privately wrote me back in response. 1 requested to be added to my Critical Race and Food Studies Listserv and the other had sent me the private message about them thinking that my request was not unreasonable at all.

I guess even though it was a mistake to initially have sent to the wrong listserv, I am blown away by the lack of engagement with what I had accidentally sent, by the community at large…Especially since the widespread coverage of Sandra Bland’s death and what it means to travel while Black has been blasted everywhere it seems. (You know, maybe this would get some of the ‘what does race and racism have to do with [white] community food building’ folk to make the connection about how safe it is to be Black in the USA while driving to your new job or some other professional venue for your work.  Blogged about this a few days ago here.)

What does a food sustainability workshop or event look like in mostly white spaces, when there is acknowledgment of systemic racism as unsustainable…? No matter how many lessons about permaculture or canning, systemic racism is not sustainable or healthy. (And yes, there are plenty of people of color doing these workshops that acknowledge systemic racism as non-sustainable and that anti-racism and food security are intertwined…I’m more concerned about the other folk.)

I also am thinking about the ways in which many mainstream [white] vegans engage in debates about “humane” meat being not humane or sustainable at all, with omnivorous locavores. What do workshops and retreats about veganic permaculture (and similar) look like in mostly white spaces?  Do these spaces normally engage in dismantling systemic racism and speciesism to redefine ‘humane’ and sustainable? (Perhaps they are already doing it and I just haven’t experience it yet? If you know of any, please let me know!)…And if you don’t know what veganic permaculture is, click here and learn more!

So, that was what was on my mind today…

I’l be talking a lot more about these issues in my upcoming book (see below).

Recipes for Racial Tension HeadCover
Forthcoming, 2016.

Like what the Sistah Vegan Project Does? Donate and/or Find out about our upcoming projects and books.
Also, download the Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matters spring 2015 conference recordings.

logo

[EVENT] From Seed to Table[t]: Food+Tech in an Era of Systemic Racism and Neoliberal Capitalism (Challenges and Possibilities)

P1200890

P1200890

In May of 2015 I wrote an article that interrogated the role of Foodie+Tech culture within an era of neoliberal capitalism and a racist food system. A surprisingly high number of you privately emailed me to express enthusiasm and appreciation for me having written this article. In addition, having attended quite a few food+tech (or similar) events in the SF Bay area over the last few years, the assumption during most of these events is that we live in a ‘post-racial’ USAmerican [food] system.

For 2016, I have decided that the theme for my next conference will be From Seed to Table[t]: Foodie+Tech Culture in an Era of Systemic Racism and Neoliberal Capitalism (Challenges and Possibilities). I could not be more thrilled! I have also decided to make the big move and host the conference through my consulting company Critical Diversity Solutions(CDS) with the Sistah Vegan Project being a co-organizer and one of the sponsors. Because of the focus of CDS, I think this makes strategic sense; it also opens up the event to my existing Sistah Vegan fan base and new people who have more interest in the basic foundation of CDS.  *Date of Event will most likely be Spring 2016.*

Also, I am hoping that I can host the event in an actual physical space. I have my eyes set on Impact Hub Oakland. I envision that the event would be live streamed and recorded; in addition, those who cannot show up in person to give a talk can participate via video-conference. Audience members who cannot show up physically can participate from a tablet, smartphone, computer or dial in via phone.

More details to come soon. But, to get an idea about what the conference will be about, I encourage you to read my article: “FROM SEED TO TABLE[T]: CAN FOODIE-TECH STARTUPS CHANGE A NEOLIBERAL, RACIST, AND CAPITALIST [FOOD] SYSTEM?

Have ideas for topics we should discuss or speakers to invite? Post your thoughts in the comments section!


Like what the Sistah Vegan Project Does? Donate and/or Find out about our upcoming projects and books. logoAlso, download the Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matters spring 2015 conference recordings by clicking on the image below :

veganpraxisblm(fb)

Must I Be Killed By a Racist Cop While Traveling to a Vegan Event for You to Finally Get it?

I just wanted to humbly celebrate the 5th year anniversary of Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health, and Society (Lantern Books 2010).

In the photo below, it was my first talk I gave about the book at Farm Sanctuary in Orland, CA. I talked about whiteness. I cannot believe it’s been 5 years since it was published. I was doing a book signing with my son on my lap. He was 13 months old in 2010.

Book signing Sistah Vegan

And my Sun isn’t a baby anymore. He’s 6, but still sits on my lap.

wpid-dsc_0004.jpeg

Take time to watch the video from Farm Sanctuary and let me know if you think there has been progress or not over the past 5 years when it comes the mainstream AR and vegan spaces actively trying to dismantle systems of racism, whiteness, and speciesism at the same time.

And I have been thinking a lot about Sandra Bland. Though not the same thing, when I was invited to speak in Orland CA I immediately checked and worried about if I would be entering sundown town territory (actually, I should called it terror-tory). And ’til this day, I still worry about where I will be speaking and have shared this many times with my fans– particularly when I go out to speak in predominantly white areas of the USA. Did you know my mom and dad worry like hell when I go out speaking about racism and whiteness as a Black woman in the USA? The other month when I was doing my Scars book tour talk, I lost my phone. A man found it and called my mom (she was on the contacts list as “Mom”). My dad emailed me immediately, saying someone had found my phone and  that he was worried that someone had hurt or even killed me and the baby (I was traveling with her). Why?  Because of the anger and rage the content of my talks illicit in many white people in the USA.

When I started talking to white fans of my work about my fears of sundown towns or why I wouldn’t go to certain places to discuss AR and race/whiteness, though “well-meaning”, they told me they didn’t understand why I would have that worry….

Well, over the past few years that more and more whites have learned about Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin, Renisha McBride, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, the SC Charleston shootings, and now Sandra Bland– because of great organizing by mostly Black folk  using many tools– especially social media…. DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHY I HAD THESE WORRIES?

And overall, those like Vegan Revolution who Tweeted their disgust about Black Lives Matter [more than cows and chickens], do you finally understand why I have been doing this work for years? I write this and have always written from a place of compassion, honesty, and love but I need to honestly know…

…Would it take me being killed by a racist cop (or non cop) while traveling to a vegan oriented event for you to make the connection and start doing something about it? Remember, apology and pity are not enough

I certainly hope not…and I certainly hope it doesn’t take one more killing for you, who still doubt this reality, to do something about it.

Here is a quick cheat sheet on understanding what it is that I do when I talk about being a critical race feminist navigating through the supposed ‘post-racial’ ethical foodscape in the USA. It will explain, once again, the importance of ‘critical race’ analysis in terms of systems and even why the law (i.e., “but isn’t racism illegal?”) doesn’t work for us.

 


Like what the Sistah Vegan Project Does? Donate and/or Find out about our upcoming projects and books. logoAlso, download the Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matters spring 2015 conference recordings by clicking on the image below :

veganpraxisblm(fb)

(Gluten-Free Vegan Pizza Crust) Sistah Vegan, Where Do You Get Your Gluten-Free Vegan Pizza Crust?

Sistah Vegan!

“Sistah Vegan, Where Do You Get Your Gluten-Free Vegan  Pizza Crust?”

Well, I’m glad you asked. As a matter of fact, here is what I made a while ago that I want to share with you. It’s an eggplant and fresh fig pizza on gluten-free crust.

P1070836

Recipe (1 Serving)

The recipe is simple. The crust I used is actually tortilla and gluten free. Food for Life brand Brown Rice Flour Tortilla. Oil both sides of your crust with olive oil. Lay flat on a cast-iron pan.  Spread some salt-free tomato sauce (I use organic marinera, but I’m sure homemade is best!) and mix in the oregano and garlic lightly on top of the sauce. Then, add:

Two Crimini Mushrooms. I thinly sliced mine.

7 slices of small long Eggplant

1 big fig, thinly sliced

1/2 c of chopped Spinach

Raw Parmasean (you can buy it or make it by adding a walnuts and nutritional yeast to the food processor. Ratio of Walnuts: Nutritional Yeast:  is 5:2). Sprinkle on to liking, along with black pepper.

Set Oven to 500 degrees. Bake 8-10 minutes. Watch out for it, as it bakes quickly!

Enjoy!


Like what the Sistah Vegan Project Does? Donate and/or Find out about our upcoming projects and books. logoAlso, download the Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matters spring 2015 conference recordings by clicking on the image below :

veganpraxisblm(fb)

SisTot Vegans: Edible Ideas for Discerning Rugrats

Add subtitle text (1)

My 20 month old is addicted to hemp seeds, kale, raw pumpkin seeds, chlorella, and chia seeds to name few. She screams for the raw kale, ginger, chlorella & pumpkin seed smoothie I make in the morning.

My 3 year old throws a tantrum in the natural grocery store if she can’t get her damn seaweed and Organic tamari almonds.

And my 6 year old likes to constantly remind everyone that he must have mommy’s braised kale nearly every day so he can have a great source of lutein for his developing eye health. I should get upset that he doesn’t use his fork to eat the greens; instead, he shoves them into his pie-hole with his hands, eating it in ecstasy.

When people learn that my children are eating these types of foods that I mentioned above, many tell me that their children would never eat hemp seeds or raw kale. They ask how or why my kids even ‘like’ the taste. For years I have been asked these types of questions and for years I have had a love/hate relationship with the world of food and health monitoring of young children via proper nutrition and eating. I always felt like I was the last person who should be telling anyone some secret I have to getting my children to eat what is supposedly impossible for the standard tot in the USA to like. If you’ve been following my blog for awhile, you know that eating ‘healthful’ and ‘good’ foods is not exactly objective– nor is it easy for all to have access to the resources they need (money, community, nutritional literacy, transportation, culinary appliances) to feed themselves or their families the way your standard Berkeley hippy organic parent would.

So, what I want to do is share my ideas with you without sounding like an obnoxious, hurtful, know-it-all parent who judges people for giving their child potato chips over seaweed chips or allows their child to watch Disney over PBS. I would like to start sharing my ideas via a new blog series that yes, will eventually turn into book. If you sincerely want to know what the hell to do with a chia seed with your 20 month old in mind…if you can’t figure out how to get stinging nettles into your child’s diet to alleviate eczema….and if you can’t figure out how to make Chlorella palatable for your 3 year old then this series (and eventual book) is going to be for you.

And I’m going to be lovingly upfront. Once again, I know not everyone has access to the ingredients and products that I will talk about; furthermore, not everyone knows that many of the super foods they do have access to comes to them via human exploitation embedded in a racist-sexist and capitalist food system. I will try my hardest to suggest ingredients that are least likely to have come to you via suffering, pain, and exploitation. For example, I love me some quinoa but I also want to suggest a source for the seed that is from non-exploited farmers and from a source that does not destroy an entire village’s culture and means to thrive.

I hope to get on board with this project by the Fall of 2015. In the mean time, check out the other projects and work we have done and will be doing:


Like what the Sistah Vegan Project Does? Donate and/or Find out about our upcoming projects and books. logoAlso, download the Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matters spring 2015 conference recordings by clicking on the image below :

veganpraxisblm(fb)

[Racial Reality] Check Out At a Berkeley Organic Grocery Store…and the Challenge of ‘White’ Apology vs. Engaged Compassion

Hemp

I created the image above after my racial reality check out at a Berkeley organic grocery store the other day. I had my 1, 3 and 6 year olds in tow. They were helping me pick out their organic vegan treats for the playground. The store is located in a predominantly white area of Berkeley. I rarely see Black patrons there. Oh, and for those of you who are reading my blog for the first time, I am a Black American cisgender woman with two daughters and a son.

Usually, after I am done paying for my groceries, my 3 and 6 year olds always ask the person working at the register for a sticker. There is a very kind Black woman who works there with a very big heart. She was stationed at the register that day. I see her there at the store all the time and she is always asking about the children if I don’t have them with me.

Upon the children’s request for a sticker, she reached into the sticker drawer and pulled out a bunch of stickers. The first one she selected was going to be for my 6 year old son. However, after looking at what it was, she said, “Oh, I don’t want to give this to a young Black man. It’s one with the police on it. No way.” She turned the sticker towards me and there was a cartoon drawing of a police car with a white police offer in it wearing sunglasses and looking ‘authoritative’. The police officer wasn’t even smiling. I said, “My kids often pretend one is a cop while the other one is a bank robber. I don’t know how to tell them that the criminal justice system isn’t as simple as the game they play.” She folded her hands together and I saw the look of both connection and desperation in her brown eyes. She has a son who is 4 years old. She responded, “But how do you explain that to them? They are just babies. How do you explain everything that’s happening between us and the police right now to someone so young?”

…and then somehow, we started talking about the killings; of “driving while Black,” “walking while Black”, and “breathing while Black”…and of course Sandra Bland.

I shop at this store all the time and have been a patron for about 6 years now. It is located in a predominantly white section of Berkeley. The consciousness around what me and the woman at the register were talking about is basically non-existent in that section of Berkeley; and by this, I mean a consciousness formed out of the visceral and embodied knowledge of “driving while Black”, “walking while Black”, “breathing while Black”, and even “looking at a police sticker for children while Black” ; particularly since the murder of Oscar Grant in Oakland CA and within the context of the of Black Lives Matter movement. And I don’t mean to say Grant’s murder was the beginning; however, it is a newer type of racial violence marked by the distinct era of Mass Incarceration and a militarized police state targeting brown and black people. And it’s supposed to only happen in the ‘racist’ South? Surely not in the SF Bay area! (Sarcasm).

The Black mother of the 4 year old son who was working at the checkout didn’t say it directly to me, but I know we both experienced each other as acknowledging a different racial reality in comparison to a predominantly white area where the store is located.  I am 99% certain that handing that police sticker to a white father or mother’s white child simply could not have created such a space to un-silence the white [supremacist] elephant in the room (– and yes, I know there can be a white mom or dad with a non-white child. I am not talking about this). And as I write this, I can’t stop thinking about that desperation and worry in her eyes. I knew she was thinking about her own Black son and his future if the current state of systemic anti-Black violence didn’t change quickly. I can’t stop thinking about all the healing and healthful foods and products in that store along with the absence of Black Lives Matter signage in that neighborhood; after all, the signage and symbols seem to be in many places in Oakland CA providing food. Of course this makes sense because Oakland is not predominantly white and class privileged like North Berkeley for sure. (I do see a lot of “All Lives Matter” signage or “Everyone Matters” in Berkeley, and you know how I feel about that ;-)

I think about all the symbols and suggestions of healing and health in this Berkeley store that I frequent that put ‘good health’ into a vacuum; a vacuum that is suggesting that all one needs to be healthy is to buy and eat the right organic/natural and local foods. I see so many white and smiling faces on these products or magazines that are void of any conversations around how unhealthy racism and normative whiteness are; that refuse to even try to explain that the food system, health system, and systems of racism are interlocking…and that all the Spirulina, kale, or beets in the world cannot create a healthy USA if the food system– even the local and organic food system– exists in a foodscape anchored on centuries of systemic racism, white supremacy, and the demonization of Black bodies as ‘worthy of being brutalized’. I use foodscape by Gisele Yasmee to “emphasize the spatialization of foodways and the interconnections between people, food, and places. ‘Foodscape,’ drawn from ‘landscape,’ is a term used to describe a process of viewing place in which food is used as a lens to bring into focus selected human relations.” (Source: The FOOD SECTION.)

These ‘human relations’ I speak are human relationship dictated and shaped by hundreds of years of racialized power dynamics in which normative whiteness/anti-blackness continue to be the dialectical center. Maybe you recall the frustrations I had with finding ‘big name’ natural food companies to support the Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matters conference this past year? It felt like many of their ‘neutral’ stances were not convincing to me. As a matter of fact, their lack of interest in even learning about how Black Lives Matter matters as health and nutrition issues was both heartbreaking and disappointing. “Okay, so you say you are ‘sorry’ you can’t support us but I don’t think sorry is solidarity.” is what I was thinking. Hence, the image I began this blog post with…And how I feel in spaces like the Berkeley store I often go to that are plastered with post-racial products and information about achieving healthy living that assumes everyone is a white middle class able-bodied person whose mental and physical health are not negatively influenced by systemic racism. Yea, I know you could argue that not every organic products company should be rushing to join Black Lives Matter…but isn’t it interesting that it’s not ‘too political’ when many of these companies have their profits going to saving a certain species of non-human animals or conservation sites outside of the USA? It’s interesting that it’s not ‘too political’ when a lot of these companies give some of their profits to help non-white villages outside of the USA become part of the green economy (i.e. non-white villages growing fair trade coffee, or cocoa, or shea butter to ‘get out of poverty’). What is so scary about publicly supporting human beings in the USA who have been affected by systems of racism and whiteness? Why does this particular focus get the answer of, “Well, we just want to be neutral” or “It’s too political?” (And If I’m not making sense, I do apologize. Today is one of those ‘stream of consciousness’ Breeze days…but see what the sticker with a police car and officer on it, between two Black moms, can illicit?)

If you have been following my posts over the last few weeks, you have also learned how difficult it has been for many of us– including myself– to emotionally survive and do my activist work within this continuum of anti-Black violence in the USA (and beyond). Since SC shootings, I wrote a blog post asking why most of my white friends have been silent about talking about such violence or even inquiring how these events are affecting me as a Black woman. Coincidently, the same day I spoke with the woman at the natural grocery story was the same day that my fantastic spiritual, anti-racism, and critical thinking mentor, Zenju published an article that has helped me better articulate how I feel about everything over the past month. Zenju is one of the key spirits in my life that helped me practice “engaged Buddhism” as a critical race feminist and ahimsa oriented vegan.

Zenju wrote an article called The Misuse of Apology for Black Genocide: A Clarification of Compassion. That beautifully articulates what I could not these past few weeks. She writes below:

I have received three apologies from white-skinned strangers in the last three weeks in public places. They each said, “I am sorry for what is happening to black people in this country.” Their comments refer to the recent murders of black men, women and children. Each time this occurred I sat there blinking very slowly and then I’d smiled. I was not smiling because of the apology. I was smiling because I thought for a moment that they might cry like I have been crying. I almost laughed in one instance in response to a deep tremor of anger inside me. Although an apology is an effort to acknowledge the suffering, using the presence of my blackness in a public space (this includes the internet) is far too convenient for a situation we used to call genocide and not police brutality. It is not a time for personal confession in which there is no punishment. It is not kind. It is not courteous. It is not Zen. When someone you care about is murdered an apology is as pale as the whiteness worn by some who utter such a thing at such a time. If they felt the way I felt an apology would never come to mind. They would be enraged, rendered speechless and hurt to a degree in which healing feels impossible. They would suffer not for being “bad people” but for the loss of particular kinds of people-those living in dark bodies. For what we regret can only remain regrettable. What we see as pitiful remains pitiful. Perhaps the apology is loaded with:

  1. I can only feel pity, shame and guilt
  2. I am not suffering as much as you are
  3. I can feel your rage but I’m not a rageful person
  4. I cannot look you in the eye
  5. I feel hopeless
  6. I can’t change the way things are
  7. You are my cause to fight for
  8. I’m worried
  9. Take Care

In essence, there is confusion between apology and compassion. Compassion is not as simple as saying I’m sorry. Compassion is a felt visceral nauseating feeling that occurs in the gut of one’s body. Compassion as an emotion doesn’t feel so good. Are you with me? One would have to take the time to remove the shields that keep you from feeling safe and whole. You would feel vulnerable each time you walked out your door. You would attempt to live a full life every day knowing you will be shunned, looked upon as worthless or maybe murdered that day. Apology would be far from your mind in the midst of the annihilation of a group of people. Here’s the reason we are confused about apology and compassion: An internet dictionary: a·pol·o·gy (əˈpäləjē/ ) noun: apology; plural noun: apologies

  1. a regretful acknowledgment of an offense or failure.
  2. a very poor or inadequate example of.

com·pas·sion (kəmˈpaSHən/ ) noun: compassion; plural noun: compassions

  1. sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.

So, in our general society apology and compassion are simultaneously about pity and regret. What a pity to reduce compassion to such a thing as pity! Compassion is born from intimately knowing suffering. Compassion is not something in which you say a few words or take an action and you’re done. Compassion is a lifetime awakening to the nature of suffering. As we mourn these horrendous murders, could this be the time to see into suffering in a way we having never seen before? Yes, for it is only now that the country sees it’s own terrorists. What is it going to take to uproot the neglected bones buried in slavery and the cold war of the confederacy? Certainly not an apology. (Source: http://zenju.org/the-misuse-of-apology-for-black-genocide-a-clarification-of-compassion/)

So, now that the country sees its own terrorists, will there be more apologies from the racial status quo? Or, can there be engaged compassion + anti-racist action? Can the pity stop and the undoing begin?

I am reading Zenju’s The Way of Tenderness: Awakening through Race, Sexuality, and Gender to help me strategize the next steps. I need to be anchored in compassion and tenderness if I’m going to get through this alive…we all do.

WayofTenderness


Like what the Sistah Vegan Project Does? Donate and/or Find out about our upcoming projects and books. logoAlso, download the Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matters spring 2015 conference recordings by clicking on the image below :

veganpraxisblm(fb)

(Racial Tension and Stress) Sistah Vegan, Where Do You Get Your Support To Battle Racial Tension and Stress?

Sistah Vegan!

In this video, I answer Dianna’s question about nutritional healing and necessary support to combat the stress of being seen as the ‘token negro’ or ‘affirmative action’ case in a largely white environment. Dianna also refers to an earlier video I recorded last fall, that was about recipes for racial tension headaches that will be a book coming in 2016 (sistahvegan.com/2012/11/13/video-racial-tension-headaches-kale-smoothies-for-a-post-racial-era/).

Recipes for Racial Tension HeadCover

Like what the Sistah Vegan Project Does? Donate and/or Find out about our upcoming projects and books. logoAlso, download the Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matters spring 2015 conference recordings by clicking on the image below:

veganpraxisblm(fb)

Dreams of Silver Spoons of “Normative Whiteness” and Its Continuum of Racialized Collateral Damage/Violence

I posted this LAST night but meant to schedule it to be posted on the morning of July 16 2015. So, I wanted to repost:

[I posted this LAST night but meant to schedule it to be posted on the morning of July 16 2015. So, I wanted to repost]

I had a dream last night.

More like a nightmare.

I was back at Dartmouth College, my undergrad alma mater that I attended with my twin brother in the mid 1990s.

Dartmouth College Green.

In the dream, my brother was walking across the college green and 3 white male students were yelling, ‘Nigger go home’ at him. It didn’t end well and they tried killing him with silver spoons and succeeded.

I had a vision of him in the ‘afterlife’ and his spirit was on the Dartmouth College green where he had been killed…but he didn’t realize he had been killed. He was in a fetal position, shaking in fear, holding a silver spoon in his hand; he was still wearing the clothes he had been killed in (a Dartmouth Green sweater and khaki pants). In the dream, I remember feeling incredibly distraught, sad, angry, and frightened because the students didn’t get into trouble for having killed him.

I am usually a lucid dreamer and know when I am dreaming. However, last night I did not know that this was a dream. I just remember being terrified and feeling hopeless that my brother had been murdered and that justice had not been served. Even more, nobody on campus seemed to care that he had been murdered by obvious racists. A weird phenomenon–an unknown virus– was spreading across campus that was affecting the memory of the witnesses that made them forget it had happened.

I don’t remember much else about the dream…only that I thought it was real.

This morning, I wondered, “Why ‘silver spoons’?”Could it be something around the theme of being born white and with a silver spoon in one’s mouth (i.e. dynastic white privilege which was the mainstream ruling demographic at Dartmouth College in the 1990s… and probably currently)?

But, why was my brother holding that silver spoon in the afterlife and in a fetal position?

Does anyone else out there have nightmares like these? That is, nightmares that reflect the reality that USA normalizes systemic racialized violence, anti-blackness, and white supremacy?

Because when I do have nightmares, it’s not the vampires, werewolves, or aliens that unsettle my sleep.

[Shit, it makes sense I’d have these nightmares, right? Sorry I’m late to the news about this, but Sandra Bland’s death is disturbing. She was driving to her new job and was pulled over for not using signal lights and found dead in a jail cell 2 days later.]

It seems to be the silver spoon of normative whiteness and a continuum of racialized collateral damage that has me waking up, gasping for air, and terrified at night.

Off to bed now and hoping my 30 minutes of Zazen and a strong cup of catnip and lemon balm tea will help me find a more pleasant’s night sleep tonight; a ‘Bandaid’ remedy I will put into my Recipes for Racial Tension Headaches book project that I’m currently working on for 2016.


Like what the Sistah Vegan Project Does? Donate and/or Find out about our upcoming projects and books. logoAlso, download the Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matters spring 2015 conference recordings by clicking on the image below :

veganpraxisblm(fb)