Tag Archives: Facing Race 2012

Video: Kicking Off Our New Year With Some Junot Diaz

As Latoya mentioned at the time, we dealt with not only the holidays but some technical glitches to close out the year. Those are in the past now, thank goodness (and some folks who offered their help).

We’ll be rolling out new content throughout the week–expect a Django double-feature on Wednesday–but to get us started, check out this Moyers & Company interview with Junot Díaz, in which he not only revisits many of the themes of his keynote speech at Facing Race, but also touches on the choices in Star Wars that resonated with his immigrant experience and his wishes for the next four years of the Obama administration. A full transcript can be found here, but a small excerpt of the conversation is under the cut.
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One More #FacingRace Flashback: An Excerpt From Junot Diaz’s Keynote

Big thanks to the Colorlines team for posting this 23-minute section from Junot Díaz’s keynote speech at the Facing Race conference, which we focused on in our team roundtable of the event last week.

“I lost the printout,” Díaz confresses to start the proceedings. “I left it on the train up.” He then opens the floor for questions, partly because of the unique demands of his position.

“I’ve gotta read something,” he explains. “You know, when they give you this much time and they say that you have to do a keynote speech, you have to, like, write something down. And I never sound very smart or interesting when I have to read. So I feel like super-bad about it.”

Note: The speech does use NSFW language, but it’s still worth watching, as the author expands on the idea of “decolonial love” and more.

Watch: The Final Two Plenaries From Facing Race 2012

To close out our coverage of Facing Race 2012, here’s the two plenarie sessions from the second day, Nov. 17. (Note: Slightly NSFW – occasional curse words)

First up is “”Race and Gender in the 21st Century,” moderated by the founder and president of the Center for Social Inclusion, Maya Wiley, a discussion that starts with the question, “How is race constructed, and why do we construct it?”

On the panel are:

The plenary closes with a performance of “We’re Muslim, Don’t Panic,” by Amirah Sackett and Khadijah and Iman Sifterllah-Griffin. Via the great Avory Faucette, here’s an excerpt:

The final plenary, “Culture Trumps Politics: Or Does It?,” is moderated by Applied Research Center’s Rinku Sen, and features:

“>

As Chang asserts in a video clip early on, cultural change is often a harbinger of political shifts, but even as he agrees, Varga says the current cultural landscape has led to a redefinition of what constitutes a “minority.”

All The Places We Are Not: The Racialicious Roundtable For Facing Race 2012

Hosted by Arturo R. García

Rinku Sen, the president and executive director of the Applied Research Center and publisher of Colorlines.com, at Facing Race 2012. Via Colorlines.

We’ll finish posting the plenaries from Facing Race 2012 Friday, but collected below are some impressions of the conference from members of the Racialicious team, including:

–Racialicious Owner and Editor Latoya Peterson
–Associate Editor Andrea Plaid
–Arts & Entertainment Editor Joseph Lamour
–Guest Contributors Kendra James and Tressie McMillan Cottom

What were the highlights of the conference for you?

Andrea: “No Justice, No Peas,” “What’s Faith Got To Do With It,” and “Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing” were the stand-out panels for me.

I loved the first one because, unlike the other “green” panel I attended, “Energy Democracy For All,” I never had to ask “but what about the basic disconnect between this idea/policy and people/communities of color, namely that quite a few people of color still think ‘green’ as a whites-only thing.” The presenters made plain the idea that food justice goes far beyond just eating organic foods at vegan restaurants but the racial injustice undergirding the current human ecology of food work, namely who performs which functions in producing, transporting, and serving food–not just to and in vegan restaurants but also, as an example, to and in supermarkets.

“What’s Faith Got to Do With It” was more of a supportive space than a presentation, which is good as far as people connecting with each other but a bit messy when it came to facilitating it–we ran out of time, and our facilitator, an ARC staffer, had to scoot off to do another presentation! I got the feeling that the people needed to have a place where they could talk about how their faiths inform their social justice when larger progressive movements tend to aggressively degrade religion/spirituality as a framework for doing anti-racism work.

“Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing”–which was about how the Right successfully and unsuccessfully uses sexual health issues to drive wedges within communities of color–was so righteous because the panelists brought it so fiercely about not only the racist misogyny that, dare I say, is the Right’s playbook, but also how the Left and the communities themselves are complicit with it when, say, the Left makes it a political strategy to ignore the “flyover states” where the Right is steadily implementing their anti-choice beliefs as laws and others tactics or, say, some Black communities (for example) are silent about abortion rates.

Oh yeah…and I got to ask the first question at the Junot Diaz press conference. (For those who didn’t see the Storified version, I asked him to address several Racialicious readers concern about his “irresponsible” use of the n-word. The Storify is his response.) For all who think breathing the same air as a MacArthur Genius Grant winner would be like inhaling sparkly bits of brilliance–the air’s pretty regular, y’all. He’s a very down-to-earth man, which only adds to his Racialicious sapiosexuality.
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Watch: ‘Now What? Debriefing The Election And Talking Governance’ [Facing Race 2012 Plenary]

This plenary from the first day of this year’s Facing Race conference starts from a place, said moderator Carolina Gonzalez, where it felt like people were still recovering from President Barack Obama’s re-election a little over a week before.

Ten days later, she said, she felt “half hung over, but the way that you’re hung over from a really good party, where you wake up the next day and your head is banging and just crying but you want to talk about what happened the night before. Who said some outrageous thing, who hooked up with whom, who did the most ridiculous thing that they’re not gonna remember this morning.”

To that end, Gonzalez, who produces the radio show Latino USA for the Futuro Media Group, set out to facilitate a conversation “with clear eyes” about what happens next, with panelists:

Race And Masculinity: Perils, Pride And Pushing The Boundaries Of Perception #FacingRace

  1. aboynamedart
    Our #RaceMasculinity presenters today: Mod. Dominique Appollon, Bayete Ross Smith, Alan Jenkins, Salem Acuña #FacingRace
  2. Acuña works with Southerners On New Ground. Jenkins is the executive director of The Opportunity Agenda. Smith is a photographer and multimedia artist working with Question Bridge. And Appollon is the research director for the Applied Research Center’s California office
  3. aboynamedart
    Salem: we should center our discussions around feminist disc. of patriarchy and gender domination #FacingRAce
  4. aboynamedart
    Salem: I grew up with idea of “Man of the House” as something I had to navigate b/c of my sexual/gender identity #FacingRace
  5. aboynamedart
    Salem: Struggle to be “man of the house” led to me not being there for my brother. I was “angsty.” #FacingRace
  6. aboynamedart
    Salem: I’d like to see masculinity transform into something positive that doesn’t divide queer/straight MOC #FacingRace
  7. From SONG’S website: “ we believe that while the South is a physical geography of white supremacy and poverty and how they form plantations, mountaintop removal, and slave labor, it is also more than that. It is a place of redemption and hope for many: a place where folk reconcile with past in an honest and painful way; a place where people can stay in lands riddled with pain and remember old traditions; and birth new ways.”
  8. aboynamedart
    Salem: Race/Masc./Gender are not these narrow things. There’s a spectrum – “I call it a galaxy.” #FacingRace
  9. aboynamedart
    Salem: Idea that POC masc. have to be “tough or rough” is harmful to both queer and straight MOC #FacingRace
  10. aboynamedart
    Salem: those stereotypes stay there because we don’t do the work to transform them. #facingrace
  11. aboynamedart
    Jenkins: my (black) brother, teaching english in china, wrote telling me people were afraid of him. #FacingRace
  12. aboynamedart
    Jenkins: impressions of race in China guided by access to media depictions of it by American outlets. #FacingRace
  13. aboynamedart
    Jenkins: my interest is looking at full universe of race, gender & sexual identity #FacingRace
  14. aboynamedart
    Jenkins: Americans are still carrying around a ton of stereotypes/bias when it comes to race & gender roles. #FacingRace
  15. The Opportunity Agenda has commissioned three studiesaddressing media representations of black men, saying:” Research shows that distorted media representations can impact perceptions and attitudes toward African-American males and affect many aspects of their lives, from receiving harsher sentencing by judges to having a lower likelihood than whites of being hired for a job and admitted to school. But distorted media depictions can also affect African-American males’ self-perceptions and lead to diminished self-esteem and lower performance in cognitive contexts, among other detrimental effects. In the end, black men are their own harshest critics.”

  16. aboynamedart
    Jenkins plays unedited version of an interview where a black child says he wants a gun because he wants to be an officer #FacingRace
  17. aboynamedart
    The broadcast version stops clip after child says “I’m gonna get me a gun.” No mention of him wanting to be a cop. #FacingRace
  18. aboynamedart
    Smith: News & journalism is constructed for the sake of building certain stories #FacingRace
  19. aboynamedart
    Smith works for Question Bridge, a multimedia project/curriculum to engage with students #FacingRace
  20. aboynamedart
    Question Bridge films blk men asking and answering questions of each other #FacingRace
  21. Take a look at the project here.
  22. aboynamedart
    Smith: Q.B. provides insight into a convo you usually wouldn’t see, even as a black male #FacingRace
  23. aboynamedart
    our #RaceMasculinity persenters now leading breakout sessions. Will work to share their stories on @Racialicious moving forward #FacingRace

The Racialicious Preview For Facing Race 2012

Racialicious is pleased to announce we’ll be covering this weekend’s Facing Race 2012 conference, presented by the Applied Research Center, publisher of the Hillman Prize-winning analysis site Colorlines.

This year, Pulitzer Prize-winner and MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant recipient Junot Díaz will serve as the keynote speaker, and comedian/activist W. Kamau Bell and author Deanna Zandt will be the conference hosts.

Our team–Andrea, Arturo, and Kendra–will be tweeting from the conference all weekend (watch for the #FacingRace hashtag) and we’ll be posting video from the plenary sessions, as well as panel recaps, after the event.

But, you can also follow the @Racialicious Twitter as it live-tweets the following sessions:

Friday, Nov. 16

No Justice, No Peas: Good Food, Good Jobs
A growing movement is concerned about access to sustainable food as well as democratic control over food production. Globally, this is the food sovereignty movement; here in the United States it is known as food justice. Innovative organizers are bridging the worlds of good food and workers’ rights to create innovative solutions that will both transform our food system an provide sustainable livelihoods for food chain workers.
Speakers: Saru Jayaraman, Co-Director, Restaurant Opportunities Centers United; Navina Khanna, Associate, Movement Strategy Center; Suguet Lopez, Executive Director, Líderes Campesinas; Diana Robinson, Food Chain Workers Alliance.

  • One afternoon panel TBA

Saturday, Nov. 17

SURJ: Strategies for Engaging White People in Racial Justice
The economic recession and Obama’s presidency have triggered a largely white racist backlash by the Tea Party, anti-immigrant organizations and conservative political commentators. More white people are needed to show up and speak out against racism. Presenters will share experiences for recruiting and engaging white people in racial justice efforts and working in alliance with organizations of color.
Speakers: Dara Silverman, Principal, Rise Consulting; Carla Wallace, Coordinating Team, Showing Up for Racial Justice; Dottye Burt-Markowitz, Baltimore Racial Justice Action

What’s the Future of College for Students of Color?
Record numbers of students of color are headed to college, but is a degree still worth it? College is getting harder and harder to pay for, and young people are graduating with dismal job prospects and heavy loan debt. Even still, record numbers of students of color are graduating from for-profit colleges. What does this change mean for communities of color?
Speakers: Tiffany Loftin, President, The United States Student Association; Tressie McMillan Cottom, Research and PhD Candidate, Emory University [Ed's note: Ms. McMillan Cottom has also been a Guest Contributor to The R - AG]

We’re looking forward to connecting with a lot of our allies, meeting some new ones, and sharing our findings with our fellow Racializens in the days ahead. Hope to see you in Baltimore!

Racialicious Crush Of The Week: Junot Diaz

By Andrea Plaid

If we had to pick a Racialicious poster boy–that aphrodisiac of sapiosexuality–Junot Diaz would be it.

Junot Diaz. Photo: Carolyn Cole. Via Los Angeles Times.

The R’s Owner/Editor Latoya Peterson says this about his book, The Brief Wonderous Life Of Oscar Wao:

My eyes drank in every word of “Wildwood,” the second chapter in Junot Díaz’s novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. On the plane from Baltimore to Austin, the narrative gripped me solidly by the throat, turning a casual curiosity about Oscar into a desperate longing to hear more from his sister Lola.

When the plane touched down, my sweatshirt was crunchy with the salt from shed tears and I had run through six napkins while the story unfolded. I grabbed my bags, and called my boyfriend who had been badgering me about reading the novel for some months now.

“Why didn’t you mention Lola?” I asked.

“Who? Oscar’s sister? Why is that…oh.” His voice suddenly bloomed with recognition and we sat in silence for a few seconds.

In all the reviews I have read about the novel since I finished the final page, the character of Lola is generally a footnote. Described as a beautiful girl, or a troubled girl, or Oscar’s sister, the strength of her narrative and her story seem overshadowed by the book’s focus – obviously, Oscar – or by the story of her mother, Belicia, the beautiful prieta who seemed forged partially from the steel intended to break her into submission. And yet, to me, Lola’s story was the most compelling, reflecting back in stark focus so many emotions, trials and ideas that were intimately familiar to me and the other girls I knew growing up.

….

Because in the book I read – as in life – the men in each of these women’s lives were not central figures. There are men, yes, and Oscar is the unifying force in the narrative, but the people Belicia and Lola were involved with were not the point unto themselves. The men stood for the method of escape. With the exception of The Gangster and Yunior, all the men in the book that Lola and Belicia were involved with were ways to get the hell out.

Lola’s boyfriend Aldo is the method to escape her mother. Sure, she loved him. Kind of. But reading through the lines, the catalyst for her leaving with Aldo was that he asked to her to come live with him. Sex was part of the travel cost. As I have written before, a guy is the easiest way to escape a fucked up family life.

But this easily overlooked difference belies the true genius in Oscar Wao. It isn’t just a documenting a fictionalized account of the things that happen in our real life communities. The book shines in how Diaz fills in what would normally be an outline, and shows us the after. Or more appropriately, how Diaz demonstrates how there ain’t no happily ever after. There are just choices and consequences.

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