Jul 19, 2011


 (storyboarding for new project! FBQ ;)

hay! haven't been posting as much cause i'm writing a huge THING and re-writing wildness movie with my collaborator roya rastegar... so it leaves me pretty much worldless a the end of the day... but i wanted to share some other people's words that are really awesome and mind twirling...

this past april there was a project by QUEER COMMONS called "Queers are segregated. So?"
it was a survey and forum about queer gentrification of poc spaces : using the brooklyn party "that's my jam" (TMJ) in bed-stuy as example:

there is a really iiiiintersting Time Out New York profile on TMJ called "there goes the neighborhood" which touches on so many familiar questions about who belongs to a space, across conflicting identities/styles/races/authenticities/sensibilities/politics/voices/attitudes/areacodes.... Time Out is operated by same syndicate as LA Weekly, calling to mind a major PARALLEL MOMENT in wildness history... swirling stuff! and QUEER COMMONS has a fierce breakdown, read their summary here - which includes voices from their community survey:
Many of the people of color who responded to our survey emphasized their feelings of exclusion within virtually all queer spaces. Answers to the question asking respondents to identify white queer spaces included many neighborhoods in their entirety (Williamsburg, Chelsea, Park Slope); “if its not a *black party* (organized/thrown by black or black and Latin@ folks), it generally means its a *white party*”; “I'm sorry, but isn't every space a white space unless it is closed only for people of color?” and “pretty much all of them that aren't explicitly specified for non-white people.” Respondents varied greatly in their perceptions and experiences, and several spoke to their feelings of acceptance among queers of all races, the value of interracial romantic relationships (which one respondent noted are too often criticized in this context), etc. Undeniably, though, many were frustrated with ongoing racism in the queer community. 
the huge THING i am writing with roya has a lot to do with these lived experiences. bernice johnson reagon's voice getting louder and louder in the BRAIN.
well, why not go there now. again even. i do every day- soooo inspiring!

this speech was given in
(don't know bout yall but that was before i was born ;)

bernice johnson reagon from Coalition Politics: Turning the Century
We’ve pretty much come to the end of a time when you can have a space that is “yours only”—just for the people you want to be there. Even when we have our “women-only” festivals, there is no such thing. The fault is not necessarily with the organizers of the gathering. To a large extent it’s because we have just finished with that kind of isolating. There is no hiding place. There is nowhere you can go and only be with people who are like you. It’s over. Give it up.

Now every once in awhile there is a need for people to try to clean out corners and bar the doors and check everybody who comes in the door, and check what they carry in and say, “Humph, inside this place the only thing we are going to deal with is X or Y or Z.” And so only the X’s or Y’s or Z’s get to come in. That place can then become a nurturing place or a very destructive place. Most of the time when people do that, they do it because of the heat of trying to live in this society where being an X or Y or Z is very difficult, to say the least. The people running the society call the shots as if they’re still living in one of those little villages, where they kill the ones they don’t like or put them in the forest to die.
(There are some societies where babies are born and if they are not wanted for some reason they are put over in a corner. They do that here too, you know, put them in garbage cans.) When somebody else is running a society like that, and you are the one who would be put out to die, it gets too hard to stay out in that society all the time. And that’s when you find a place, and you try to bar the door and check all the people who come in. You come together to see what you can do about shouldering up all of your energies so that you and your kind can survive.

There is no chance that you can survive by staying inside the barred room.
(Applause) That will not be tolerated. The door of the room will just be painted red and then when those who call the shots get ready to clean house, they have easy access to you. But that space while it lasts should be a nurturing space where you sift out what people are saying about you and decide who you really are. And you take the time to try to construct within yourself and within your community who you would be if you were running society. In fact, in that little barred room where you check everybody at the door, you act out community. You pretend that your room is a world. It’s almost like a play, and in some cases you actually grow food, you learn to have clean water, and all of that stuff, you just try to do it all. It’s like, “If I was really running it, this is the way it would be. Of course the problem with the experiment is that there ain’t nobody in there but folk like you, which by implication means you wouldn’t know what to do if you were running it with all of the other people who are out there in the world. Now that’s nationalism. I mean it’s nurturing, but it is also nationalism. At a certain stage nationalism is crucial to a people if you are going to ever impact as a group in your own interest. Nationalism at another point becomes reactionary because it is totally inadequate for surviving in the world with many peoples. (Applause)

Sometimes you get comfortable in your little barred room, and you decide you in fact are going to live there and carry out all of your stuff in there. And you gonna take care of everything that needs to be taken care of in the barred room. If you’re white and in the barred room and if everybody’s white, one of the first things you try to take care of is making sure that people don’t think that the barred room is a racist barred room. So you begin to talk about racism and the first thing you do is say, “Well, maybe we better open the door and let some Black folks in the barred room.” Then you think, “Well, how we gonna figure out whether they’re X’s or not?” Because nothing in the room but X’s. (Laughter) You go down the checklist. You been working a while to sort out who you are, right? So you go down the checklist and say, “If we can find Black folk like that we’ll let them in the room.” You don’t really want Black folks, you are just looking for yourself with a little color to it.

And there are those of us Black folk who are like that. So if you’re lucky you can open the door and get one or two. Right? And everything’s wonderful. But no matter what, there will be one or two of us who have not bothered to be like you and you know it. We come knocking on your door and say, “Well, you let them in, you let me in too.” And we will break your door down trying to get in. (Laughter)
As far as we can see we are also X’s. Cause you didn’t say, “THIS BARRED ROOM IS FOR WHITE X’S ONLY.” You just said it was for X’s. So everybody who thinks they’re an X comes running to get into the room. And because you trying to take care of everything in this room, and you know you’re not racist, you get pressed to let us all in.

The first thing that happens is that the room don’t feel like the room anymore.
(Laughter) And it ain’t home no more. It is not a womb no more. And you can’t feel comfortable no more. And what happens at that point has to do with trying to do too much in it. You don’t do no coalition building in a womb. It’s just like trying to get a baby used to taking a drink when they’re in your womb. It just don’t work too well. Inside the womb you generally are very soft and unshelled. You have no covering. And you have no ability to handle what happens if you start to let folks in who are not like you.

Coalition work is not work done in your home. Coalition work has to be done in the streets. And it is some of the most dangerous work you can do. And you shouldn’t look for comfort. Some people will come to a coalition and they rate the success of the coalition on whether or not they feel good when they get there. They’re not looking for a coalition; they’re looking for a home! They’re looking for a bottle with some milk in it and a nipple, which does not happen in a coalition. You don’t get a lot of food in a coalition. You don’t get fed a lot in a coalition. In a coalition you have to give, and it is different from your home. You can’t stay there all the time. You go to the coalition for a few hours and then you go back and take your bottle wherever it is, and then you go back and coalesce some more.
guess i'm just amazed by how relevant these debates still are today 30 years later... not to say that nothings changed, but SOMETHING is comes back around... maybe we need new language to talk about what we are experiencing... cause it's fucking real and hard... and real...

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