The Police Institution

Think about it, when you have a problem like domestic violence or robbery, who do you call? It goes without saying, the police. Yet we are all aware what the police institution has done to our communities. Oscar Grant, Sean Bell. Everywhere we look people are calling for the arrest of someone, the extension of prison time for another person. Even activists rely heavily on the police institution to end the problems that speak about. Police officers are found most often in poor, communities of color, the police institution was specifically designed to be a type of watch dog mechanism for these communities. We forget the violence done to us by the police institution, something we should never forget. Abner Louima. Duanna Johnson. They keep us in tact, whenever one of us steps out of line they send us to prison, no matter the circumstances. Entire communities are criminalized, which results in the overrepresentation of Black, Chicanos, and Natives in the prison system. Being a person of color is a criminal offense in this country. Driving while black, longer prison terms for crack than cocaine, the three strikes law, the criminalization of poor mothers of color, the criminalization of prostitution; all these issues disproportiantely affect people of color. Prison, police and the military are branches of the same oppressive tree. We cannot forget the racism and sexism inherent in the police institution. Kathryn Johnston. Amadou Diallo. We think that the police are inevitable, that they are needed. Indigenous communities, before conquest praticed community accountability. Communities that have love and respect within them do not need outsiders to maintain "order and peace."

Immigration and Race Relations

Most people assume that all Raza people are illegal immigrants. However, the majority of Raza persons in the US are legal citizens. Because of this, for the most part all Raza people get treated like illegal immigrants, as taking advantage of the system, as dirty, and as stupid. Being an undocumented person is racialized as being Raza. However, there are many more immigrant populations that are not apart of La Raza; mainly European and African. However, La Raza is targeted for the racism that comes along with discussion about immigration issues.

This also means that other races get left out of the immigration conversation.
Anti-immigration rhetoric relies on the slaveability of Blackness and also as seeing La Raza as a threat to US empire building. Privileged persons who have high paying jobs and are able to successfully navigate the job world know that blacks will still be here to do the slave labor. They and anti-immigrant blacks are ignorant of the fact that undocumented persons do necessary labor for this country. With documented labor out of this country, all those people with jobs will see an decrease in the lure and viability of their position. In fact, Blacks have benefited largely and gained privilege in the job market because of mass immigration. Blacks, in the long run, are largely in a better economic position. We hold better jobs and live in more affluent areas than ever before.

Immigration can also be seen as threatening to an individual's personal privilege of being a legal citizen. Undocumented persons are seen as taking advantage of healthcare, welfare, and public educational services. This logic also seeps into the conversation when anti-immigrantion people accuse undocumented persons of taking American jobs. There is especially tension between Black Americans and La Raza. Black Americans have typically been situated as slaves in the American labor force, however, now more undocumented workers hold lower level positions; which can be interpreted as "taking jobs." However, when we complicate the notion of capitalism and white supremacy, we see that immigrants are not to blame for this. La Raza also has issues with unemployment. However, corporate entities will take cheaper labor, which is immigrant labor not black labor, because undocumented workers do not possess the means to fairly negotiate the workforce because they are without legal citizenship status. They are also pawns in a capitalist state, they take what labor is available to them out of necessity to feed their families.


The Racialization of Music: Part 2: The Power and Criminalization of Hip Hop

The following post is part two from this post about the Racialization of Music.

One area where the racialization of music is particularly evident is within hip hop. We can all agree that hip hop perpetuates stereotypes, such as black people being thugs and ho's. However, we have to make the distinction that hip hop is not to blame for these stereotypes. These defining images were created by the system of white supremacist capitalism and was unfortunately adopted by commercial areas of hip hop, which is the same area that record companies choose to propel to the forefront of the media.
For example, it is incredibly evident that ideas of black womyn being hypersexual, circa the spectacle of Sarah Baartman, are also seen in commerical hip hop music through the sexed out personas of rappers. We must realize the evident agenda in this, the furthering of stereotypes sustains the purposes of white supremacy.

Hip hop, in its present commerical state is being used to promote a capitalist, white supremacist agenda, while simultaenously being scapegoated for the world's problems. For example, remember when 2pac was persecuted becuase a guy listening to his album shot two cops? Another example is how society continuously blames hip hop for sexism and misogyny. However, the ultimate reason why Hip hop is criminalized is because blackness is also criminalized. Andrea Smith, in her article, "Heteropatriarchy and the Three Pillars of White Supremacy: Rethinking Women of Color Organizing" says, that "we can actually look at the criminalization of Blackness as a logical extension of Blackness as property." Thus we can say that even though hip hop is a entity that is multicultural, it is criminalized and commodified at the expense of black bodies. I think we deserve much more as the creators of hip hop, however, white America always has the power and privilege to twist and distort good intentions.

Hip hop is a billion dollar a year industry and is also the most popular musical genre to date. It has surpassed being a part of media to become a media itself. Much like the news and also other forms of art, hip hop, as an entity of mass media, has the power to influence pop culture. No wonder why white America hijacked and now owns it. It can influence people to dance and dress in provacative or fly ways, it can inspire people to become more aware of social justice issues, and it also has the power to dumb people down. Hip hop is used to sell everything from cars to cell phones. White Corporate America has stolen hip hop to further its capitalistic purposes, however, this offers no real agency for the black people whose music is being abused. Hip hop was created as an organic, anti-colonial tool of expression and what was particulary beautiful about that expression was that it was used as a tool for black Americans, particularly black men, who had been shut up, marginalized, stigmatized and deemed invisible by dominant society. Now, commercialized hip hop is used to further ideas of black hypermasculinity, capitalistim, and violence against the female and queer; which in turn only fuels a corporate agenda for white America. Black men and black women have once again been shut up and we don't have hip hop as an outlet for mainstream expression any longer.

Do we really want to support the commercial hip hop that perpetuates stereotypes about us and therefore furthers our own oppression? We must constantly be aware of the power we have as black American consumers to dictate trends as far as what is being sold to and bought by us. We cannot allow white America to continue to own hip hop and dictate what parts of it we see, use and listen to. We must be concious consumers and seek out alternative hip hop music that uplifts, enlightens and empowers us. Nothing that you get from commercial hip hop on the radio or in the mainstream media will be good for you and definitely not good for the black American community.

Rappers and producers: Quit making music if you love money and fame more than you love the people.

Come on baby, light my fire, everything you drop is so tired, music is supposed to inspire, how come we ain't getting no higher?" -L.Boogie

Lessons from M.X.

So as I have said before in a previous post, I have been trying to make a point to read speeches from those deemed leaders in liberation movements. So far, I have only read Malcolm X's "After the Bombing" speech, because I've been busy. Anyway, for this post I wanted to highlight that speech and specific points that he makes about social justice organizing in this country. I don't think that most people of my generation know how smart Malcolm X was, all we know is the name "Malcolm X." We don't know any of his words or what he really stood for. Or that he was pretty funny too.

One point that he talks about is oppressed people becoming enlightened and aware of the colonial situation in this country. "The newly awakened people all over the world pose a problem for what's known as Western interests, which is imperialism, colonialism, racism and all these other negative vulturistic isms. But the internal forces pose an even greater threat only when they have properly analyzed the situation and know what the stakes really are." So we can see here that Malcolm is emphasizing education and knowledge about the oppressed situation, which I totally agree with. He goes on to say, "the man knows that if Negroes find out how dissatisfied they really are -- and all of them, even Uncle Tom is dissatisfied, he's just playing his part for now -- this is what makes them frightened. It frightens them in France, it frightens them in England, and it frightens them in the United States." So we see that knowledge really is power, as corny as it sounds. That there is no hope for ending your oppressive situation if you don't even know what oppression is and that it is designed to be seen as invisible.

Another important point is alliances among struggles. "They'll do it to them today, and do it to you tomorrow. Because you and I and they are all the same." I think this integral to remember. Above all, we are all one people. If they do it to them, they'll do it to you. He continues, "and one of our first programs is to take our problem our of the civil rights context and place it at the international level, of human rights, so that the entire world can have a voice in our struggle. If we keep it at civil rights, then the only place we can turn for allies is with in the domestic confines of America. But when you make it a human rights struggle, it becomes international, and then you can open the door for all types of advice and support from our brothers in Africa, Latin America, Asia, and elsewhere." Oppression is never faced in solitude, the oppression of one community is also the oppression of every other community. We must create alliances and solidarity among our communities.

With the election of Obama, people, mainly oppressed people seem to have a lot more faith in the political system with no factual basis supporting this faith. "Some of these liberals who grin in your face like they're your best friends, they have money tied up in the Congo." Liberals are not angels, and they are not anarchists. They have a hand in the capitalist oppressive system that we live in as well. Don't allow yourself to be fooled thinking that Democrats are so liberal and great, that they aren't oppressive to your situation. In actuality, most Democrats know that they have to somewhat liberal for the preservation of their party and ideals, Republicans are just more bold with their marginalizing.


Elsie's Business

I just gone done reading "Elsie's Business" by Frances Washburn. Pretty good book. Check it out if your looking for a book outside of the European spectrum. Its about a Native woman's murder. Kind of eerie but the storytelling is really good.


West Coast Hip Hop: Part 5: Dom Kennedy

I don't even remember when I first heard of Dom Kennedy or downloaded his most recent mixtape, From the Westide With Love. He was kind of annoying to me at first. It was probably because of that, that it took me forever to listen to it. But when I did, I loved it. I've been meaning to write this post for a long time, even though I'm sure most of yall already know about Mr. Kennedy.

I really like Dom Kennedy's videos. He's smart enough to know that riding down Crenshaw in a low rider dressed in your choice or either red or blue is straight played. He chooses to show different parts of LA in a interesting way. He also has dope beat selection and unique rap style.

& his newest official video from the mixtape:

Download Dom's music here.



I recently read a book review for “Click: Young Women on the Moments That Made Them Feminists” that inspired to write about my own moment. Now, I don’t call myself a feminist, since I don’t particularly believe in labels. However, everyone who knows me, would probably identify me as such, knowing that my ideals line up almost exactly. Well the moment that made me a feminist was being a co-founder to a womyn’s organization, Great Womyn in Progress, on my college campus. In the beginning, I was sexist and misogynistic as most womyn, in my opinion, are, especially the ones I knew. Its pretty hard to plan events for the empowerment of womyn when you hate the fact that you are one. Its even more difficult to present yourself as someone who hopes to unify womyn when it’s a pain to you to come up with something positive to say about the womyn you know. It was the researching and hearing about womyn’s issues that prompted my change. It was also the fact that I needed to be someone of love and understanding, things that were always, inevitably deep inside of me. Its so easy to conform to the ways of the world and not so easy to be yourself, the person you should be. The three decisions that I credit, during my college years, with helping to make me the person I am today, would be deciding to attend UC Riverside, changing my major to Ethnic Studies, and helping to start GWIP. All my energy and time goes into being a person who seeks the liberation of all people, which was prompted by those decisions. A friend once told me to keep the good work with GWIP because it was important to love yourself, that she had never thought about loving herself before, because she had always focused so much on her family. That meant a lot to me, still does. What keeps me going through all the struggle, is the possibility of the chance I could be opening a person’s mind to the beauty and plight of the woman, or that I can teach someone about the structures in our society that make it hard for equality flourish, that a woman might not have the feelings that I once had of being confused as to why I should love mysef.

I love women, I love myself as a woman. That is something that I live and take with me, everyday in every way, its who I am, at the very core, at the most important part. The way we dress. Our quiet delicateness and fierce strength. Our bodies and the power we possess in them. Our beautiful faces, all the ways we can dress ourselves up. The French tipped nails, the make up and heels. I love it all. We’re so smart, booksmart, and we always know just what to do in every situation. Mothers. I can’t imagine the strength and patience it takes to give birth and be a mother to a child? Its amazing. We’re survivors. Womyn inspire me.



When I was young, I was all for unity. I remember often having conversations about what Black people needed to do in order to be viable citizens within this country; to stop being ignorant, to stop being poor, etc. I was right along with everyone else when they answered that the solution to the “Black problem” was unity, unity among all Black people. In those years, I said a lot of things that I didn’t know the meaning of. This was one of them. I can’t even tell you what I felt unity meant during that time and I definitely couldn’t have told you then what it meant in the context of the Black community. Now I have different ideas about what unity means, if its even possible among entire populations/communities, and if it is necessary for the Black community to acquire full rights in this society. Recently, I have taken on the task of reading the speeches of some great leaders. So far, I’ve only read Malcolm X’s “After the Bombing” speech. Specifically, this is the speech where he speaks a lot about unity. “So we saw that the first thing to do was to unite our people, not only unite us internally, but we have to be united with our brothers and sisters abroad.” I have to disagree with X on the subject, but not conclusively. Is it possible for an entire community containing millions of people with different belief systems, economic statuses, worldviews, backgrounds, etc. to be united? All that we can assume that really have in common is a history with specific oppressive system. What would unity look like within the Black community? How important is unity in the Black situation? If you ask 10 different people who the problem is with Black people, you will get 10 different responses, each tailored to the individual person’s experiences, education,  and belief system. All of our answers are biased. The same goes if you ask about any other underprivileged community. Very rarely do you hear discussions on how people with power in this country can become better citizens or how they can help those who suffer under their oppression. I don’t believe the betterment of any community depends on that community solely. If we as people of color, or womyn, or poor people want to talk about the betterment of our communities and how to make our lives better then we first need to, in my opinion, find out ways to successfully interrogate white and accompanying privileges. Nothing that we can do on our own as a community can free us from oppression, we have to fight against the core of oppression. To tell the black community that their freedom lies in the hands on unity or education, without regard to what has made this community uneducated or excessively divided in the first place is to blame us for our own marginalization.


Vacation in New York

So as some of you know I'm on vacation in New York right now. Ugh. I'm writing this lying in bed after a long day painting the town. Lol. I haven't made up my mind yet about whether I like NY or not but I know that I at least don't hate it. I couldn't see myself living here, I'm used to the more laid back vibe of LA. A lot of what I've seen of New York thus far fits all the stereotypes and a lot of it doesn't. For instance, I haven't met anyone with a distinct accent yet, I haven't seen any noticeable signs of poverty and I haven't seen anyone with a crazy fashion sense. However this place has hellla people and the streets are just as crowded as what you see in the movies, its very fast paced here. So today I went to lunch at this place called Lucille's, which is totally different from the one we have in SoCal. Let me tell you, it was the worst food and service I have had in a long time. Our waitress was rude and stank, the fried shrimp looked like a plate of vomit, and the rest of the food took forever (Sandlot voice) to come. When it finally did come, both me and my aunt's potatoes were cold and the sauce was nasty, bland and even gave me a stomach ache. Once we told the waitress that we didn't want the food she called her manager. Now, I've been to a lot of restaurants where I didn't like the food and I never had to report to the manager, they usually just take it off the bill automatically. When the manager came he looked at my food and told me there's nothing he could do because I had eaten the salmon (I order BBQ salmon.) Smh. I had taken maybe three bites of it, I was so shocked that they tried to pass that off as BBQ. He did let my aunt get her ribs for her though. I felt it was a slap in the face, as if me eating three bites makes me paying for this nasty ish justified. Smh again. Lol. And guess what? Gratuity was included! I hate when I get bad service and the tip is already included. I was going to give her a tip anyway, because I always give a tip and hate when people don't give a tip but just that she gets a non deserved generous tip grinds my gears! Lol. Well that was just my short vent/review of Lucille's Bar & Grill in Manhattan. Had to let the people know.


Zine: Updated

It is my belief and the belief of many others that those abused, used and marginalized (or even those not) by mainstream media must take back the media by creating their own and seeking out alternative forms that are not racist, sexist and abusive. Buy a digital camera and record videos about positive events in your community, start a blog about fighting against beauty norms, or start a zine, like me!

zine-an organic magazine, made for us, by us

Starting today until the 19th, I am accepting submissions for a zine that I will be publishing and giving out at UCR. It will feature articles inspired by my time as a summer student at UCLA as well as combine my passion for writing and researching ideas surrounding social identities. I will be including several articles written by myself as well as other authors, therefore, I am also asking for submissions from my peers. Submissions can include but are not limited to articles, poems, essays, advertisements (not for products however), drawings, etc. Of course, anything you submit has to have some type of connection with humanity issues, whether it be about feminism, racism, AIDS, childbirth, whatever. It has to be about people! Please email submissions to mwils008@ucr.edu All submissions will be edited for grammar. Everyone can submit! I am looking forward to reading what you all have to say. Make your voice heard!

Once the zine is published a copy can be sent to you if you do not attend UCR.


Song of The Day :))

Method Man featuring Lauryn Hill-Things They Say

Song of The Day :))

Jay-Z: Feelin' It

Sexual Violence, Systematic and Institutionalized

In her essay, “Sexual Violence as a Tool of Genocide,” Andrea Smith speaks at length about the effect of sexual violence on its victims and how sexual violence is an integral part of the colonization of Native populations. “As a consequence of this colonization and abuse of their bodies, Indian people learn to internalize self-hatred, because body image is integrally related to self-esteem. When one’s body is not respected, one begins to hate oneself.” As evidenced by the sexual violence involved in both Native colonization and prison violence we see an institutionalization of sexual violence that is profitable for the maintaining of the status quo. This attack on the bodies of women of color come from all sides of dominant society as an attempt to continuously control and marginalize. “The history of sexual violence and genocide among Native women illustrates how gender violence as a tool for racism and colonialism among women of color in general.” To capture the body, is also to capture the person. Rape is a tool of subjugation and humiliation. To keep minority populations in check, rape is institutionalized in such entities as the prison industrial complex.

In an article titled “The Brutal Horror of Prison Rape, as Told by Its Victims”, Kimberly Yates and Bryson Martel tell their story of being raped while incarcerated. What stood out the most to me in their accounts was the fact that overall the violence was thoroughly ignored. Yates says that what makes her case “especially alarming is the fact that the BOP [prison authority] was put on notice about this officer [who committed the act] but continued to allow him to work in that position, knowing what he had done and that he could do it to someone else.” In addition to that, Martel believes if prison officials had paid attention to other inmate’s claims of abuse, it could have stopped his from happening. “If earlier reports of his abuse had been acted on, my rape could have been prevented.” Through this and the fact that action refused to be taken, we see that, sexual violence in the prison system is systematically allowed and perpetuated. Also, the fact that the PIC makes money, essentially off the illegal acts against women through the imprisonment of the perpetuator makes this state sponsored violence.  Rape of women and trans folks and other forms of sexual violence in the prison system is a problem that is blatantly ignored. Starting with invasive internal and gynecological examinations, sexual violence is purposely overlooked at every turn. In Angela Y. Davis’ book on the Prison Industrial Complex, “Are Prisons Obsolete?”, she discusses the sexual violence that takes place within this system. According to Davis, “as activists and prisoners themselves have pointed out, the state itself is directly implicated in this routinization of sexual abuse, both in permitting such conditions that render women vulnerable to explicit sexual coercion carried out by guards and other prison staff and by incorporating into routine policy such practices as the strip search and body cavity search.”

Kimberle Crenshaw, in her essay "Mapping the Margins: Interscetionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color", presents an awesome analysis of violence against women with an intersectional approach. “Where race, gender, and class domination converge, as they do in the experiences of battered women of color, intervention strategies based solely on the experiences of women who do not share the same class or race backgrounds will be of limited help to women who because of race and class face different obstacles.” We cannot separate race, from gender, from class, especially as people looking to eradicate rape. She also focuses on immigrant women being trapped in violent relationships because they are trying to gain citizenship status.
 In addition to what Kimberle Crenshaw mentions and rape in the PIC, the U.S. also furthers their agenda by allowing sexual slavery and rape at the border to continue to take place without legal repercussions for those who commit these crimes. “Department of Justice representatives have informally reported that U.S. attorneys decline to prosecute about 75 percent of all cases involving any crime in Indian country.” It doesn’t help that women of color are often seen as unrapeable through the racist history of this country. It is my theory that women of color in this country continually face a war in which the perpetrators are taking away their bodily sovereignty. Rape culture makes sexual violence possible. The perpetuation of rape culture furthers its hegemonic state in American society. “Indeed, the U.S. and other colonizing countries are engaged in a “permanent social war” against the bodies of women of color and indigenous women, which threaten their legitimacy.” Through the media and racist laws of the land we see this war materialize.

Rape of women of color is not just motivated by sex and power as it is for white women, but it is also racially motivated as a tool for marginalization of entire populations. This is where feminists have dropped the ball, categorizing rape as purely about individual power without respect to racial motivations. “The American Friends Service Committee documented over 346 reports of gender violence on the U.S.-Mexico border from 1993-1995.” Women of color are generally more vulnerable when it comes to sexual violence, especially when crossing the border. This type of violence is deemed invisible by the government as well as U.S. citizens. Zoila Miriam Perez, in her essay ‘When Sexual Autonomy Isn’t Enough: Sexual Violence Against Immigrant Women in the United States, says, “rape has become so prevalent that many women take birth control pills or shots before setting out to ensure they won’t get pregnant.” Some consider rape ‘the price you pay for crossing the border.” Immigrant women’s bodies are seen as an expendable resource and therefore unrapeable. The rape of these women’s bodies are direct consequences of the capitalist system we are in since immigration is a direct result of America’s need for cheap labor.

Through these examples, we see that rape and other forms of sexual violence isn’t purely an individual bodily offense but is furthered by dominant society and the government to exercise control over entire minority populations.

*cross posted at Refuse the Silence's blog* :)

Fill The Glass to the Top With Moet


Organize, Organize, Organize!

So I just added to my to-do list for the summer that every week I will learn about a new revolution. Lately, I've ben getting more interested in liberation movements, independence movements, anti-oppression struggles and the like. I think as a society, we can always use more inspiration to get involved with the movements we see going on around us. I want people to know and to realize that every little bit counts and that to change the system we have to fight against the system. Organize, revolutionize, educate yourselves, and participate in whatever you can!

Anyway, I will be highlighting everything I learn here. Check me out! :)


The Tribal Law & Order Act

I recently learned about the Tribal Law and Order Act being passed in Congress. I wonder what this really means for Native communities. The effects of colonists and early US government agents disturbing the harmony of Native communal justice are still felt today. Instead of helping to restore these original systems, activists are relying on the oppressive US judicial institution. The Tribal Law and Order Act is supposed to do a better job of “protecting” Native women against sexual violence. Native communities have had a history of favoring restorative and communal justice rather than the punitive style of justice that the US likes to inflict and since colonization, forms of Native justice have been slowly dying. 

Restorative and communal justice seek to rehabilitate the perpetuator and use the community, not outside forces, to institute real forms of justice. What the Tribal Law and Order Acts essentially says is that instead of really trying to figure out why sexual violence is rampant in Native communities, we’re going to ignore the problem and just lock up anyone who commits this crime. No one is unredeembale and having a bill like this that favors prosecution and imprisonment instead of therapy or getting to the root of the issue, ignores this fact. It ignores the perpetrator and the problem. Surely, sexual violence in Native communities will not be solved by this bill. It says nothing of rape culture and those that are complicit in it.

This bill also protects and emphasizes the police state. This reminds me of the colonial period where sexual violence was committed against Native women and white men blamed it on Native men; this way the white men were seen as saviors of Native women, which instilled fear of Native men as well as false appreciation of the colonizers. It also skewed the importance of the community. This method helped to implement patriarchy, sexism, misogyny, and eurocentricity. To allow and advocate for more encroaching of the police institution onto Native land is both oppressive as well as counter-active. With the police history of discriminating, being violent against and criminalizing communities of color can we really trust the police institution to so-called “protect” Native women?

Protecting Native women would mean an ending to misogyny, sexism, and queerphobia. If you want to stop sexual violence, focus on education and therapy as deterrents not just as a response. As activists, the solution is to focus more on developing strategies to do just that instead of relying on and organizing around the US justice system, an institution that perpetuates the sexism that we should be trying to get rid of.  Do we really need more police to practice surveillance on another community perfectly capable of protecting itself? Yes, we know that Native women deserve equal protection under the law and do deserve that protection, but can this really be protection if it is also oppressive? Can we develop strategies that don’t rely on a marginalizing police and prison state?

The Tribal Law and Order Act also relies on the oppressive Prison Industrial Complex system. The PIC is racist, classist, and sexist. Should advocates against sexual violence be relying on this system where sexual violence is state sponsored within prison walls? “Conditions within the institution continually reinvoke memories of violence and oppression (Are Prisons Obsolete?, Davis).” Do they only care about sexual violence when it happens in the free world?

When I first learned about the Prison Industrial Complex, I was confused about what anti-prison activists saw as a viable alternative to prisons. I believe anti-prison activism to be one of the most powerful and important, yet, ignored liberation movements. When I read Angela Y. Davis’ book, “Are Prisons Obsolete?,” which is obviously pivotal within this movement, my eyes opened to how oppressive the Prison Industrial Complex is. I cannot go into complete detail of all the ills of the prison system here because of length constraints but if you would like to read about the way sexual violence is embedded into the Prison Industrial Complex, read Davis’ book. Here is just a limited overview; the Prison Industrial Complex includes all forms of prison and policing that do not take up the form of restorative or communal justice, here in America and abroad.

First we must realize, illegal acts are committed, number one, because of poverty and racism. The other reason why crimes are committed is because, as the name permits, the Prison Industrial Complex is a business that promotes corporate greed. The more people who go to prison, the more money the government and other corporations make. The government capitalizes off prisoners suffering especially when it comes to the sexual violence that they face and endure. The government therefore also capitalizes off illegal acts committed against victims. Prisons are a form of population control, and if you’re going to limit population growth, go ahead and send the poor people and the people of color away too. Native people are disproportionately incarcerated in the PIC. “‘Prisons, as employed by the Euro-American system, operate to keep Native Americans in a colonial situation. She points out that Native people are vastly overrepresented in the country’s federal and state prisons.” This is the attitude that the government has and yes, people have a personal choice in what they do, however, laws and governments should not make it easier for certain people to commit illegal acts.

Recently, I’ve been noticing the refusal of other liberation movements, such as the feminist movement, to organize around the abolition of the Prison Industrial Complex. Using the practice of intersectionality, feminists and other like-minded movements should realize that anti-prison work is also feminist work, is also anti-racist work, is also anti-queerphobia work, etc. The Prison Industrial Complex was designed to be invisible to the free population, so I cannot be angry with anyone who is uneducated about it, but if we want to be holistic activists we cannot ignore this institution in our activism.

I don’t want to seem ignorant of the facts that illegal acts are being committed everyday and that we need immediate solutions to deter these acts and those who continuously commit them. However, prison is not the answer. As activists our solution should be in educating people about societal ills and finding solutions to those ills, not aiding the government in carrying out marginalization against minorities and other crimes committing within the PIC structure. Prisons are not for rehabilitation, as they were originally created, but for punishment. We cannot be comfortable with living in a society that would rather get even than to improve the perpetrator. “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” -Mahatma Gandhi We have all committed criminal acts that, if pursued vehemently enough may have sent us to prison. The life and well being of a person should not mean less because they are deemed a criminal by our “criminal justice” system. We cannot forget to infuse compassion and love into our activism.

Can we develop strategies to advocate for the abolition of prisons and also seek justice for those who commit illegal acts? People of color, when victims of illegal acts advocate strongly for the perpetrator/s to go to prison. How can people of color advocate so strongly for a system that unfairly targets and oppresses them? The pain and loss involved in losing someone can be detrimental to the psyche, however, minorities should be advocating the most for the abolition of this system not helping to perpetuate it. Making new laws criminalizing acts of violence against women will not see a decrease in this type of violence, however they will fill up more of our prisons, cost us more money, while doing absolutely nothing to solve the real issue.
Laws don’t protect us, as we have been brainwashed to believe, they criminalize actions that should be treated with therapy or love.

*cross posted at Refuse the Silence *

Song of The Day :))

The Essence-AZ featuring NaS


What I'm Loving Right Now Part 2

Natural Hair!!

So of course, I have a obligatory story to tell pertaining to my "natural hair journey." So for the most part, I've always been natural, at least according to the usual definititon. I've only had a perm on my edges. So for the better part of my life, I've been getting my hair pressed & flat ironed every two weeks, along with the normal, expected blow drying. I just got tired of the maintenance required in getting my hair pressed, the wrapping, the no-water rule, the sweating out, etc. So I decided to wear my natural hair out, I've been loving it so far. However, what I didn't realize was that natural hair was such a huge movement! There are so many books, Youtube channels, websites, blogs, etc. all on natural hair; how to take care of it, styles, journeys, everything & anything you can imagine! There's so much support for those that want to go natural, so if you want to go natural, know that you are not alone. I totally see this as a resistance to dominant culture and euro-centric standards of beauty. Go head yall!

Below, I'm just going to put up a couple links to videos and other ish that I like when it comes to natural hair.

Naturally Beautiful Hair Blog

Curls, Coils & Kinks

Naturally Obsessed

The SuPreen


Motown Girl

Chiselle Couture





What's your favorite natural hair webistes??



Hey yall,

I just wanted to check in & let everyone know that I have a summer series on women of color and sexuality on the Refuse The Silence blog. Click the link and check me out! You can learn more about Refuse The Silence here.


The Racialization of Music Part 1

The other day my boyfriend and I went to the Paid Dues concert in San Bernadino, California. Paid Dues is what I like to call a "concert warehouse", its a good number of acts performing at one huge venue throughout the course of a 12 hour day but all at different times. I had never been to one this big before, Jazz Reggae is probably the closet I've ever came. After attending, I came to the conclusion that I would prefer a smaller concert with just about three artists instead of 15. Its more personal. Anyway, while at Paid Dues, I made another observation, out of maybe 2,000 people, 50 of the attendees were black. This was an all-hip hop concert. Just as most things do, that got me to thinking about the politics of race. In this world nothing is absent from the concept of race, even music. Its a shame too, because music, as beautiful as it is should not be tainted by the confines of race.

With so many different races at this Paid Dues concert I wondered why hip hop still had an African American-only sign attached to it; there are so many different people that love, listen to , and are involved in hip hop. As people of color, which hip hop is most representative of, we have a common struggle of oppression and marginalization. Hip hop was created as an avenue to express oneself in spite of the dominant society. It was created as a counter-culture and a counter-public; I figure that's why so many people connect with it. Hip hop tells a story of being abused and beaten, something a lot of people living in the United States can relate to. We all know that hip hop is mostly bought by white, male teenagers. We also know that this doesn't take into account the fact that hip hop was commercialized and is commodified by rich, white male record executives who are the major reason why we have a glamorization of gangsta culture in America. So why then, is it black Americans who are the victims of hip hop's obvious ills? Hip hop was created by black Americans, however, since it was grown to become entirely more than "black music." In this world of race, salsa belongs to Cubans, Country to white people. Music, essentially is just a few sounds thrown together, how can anyone own sounds? From early on, we know that music has largely been an entity belonging to Black Americans. Black Americans are responsible for much of the musical genres that we have today, either from direct impact or purely because Africa is the original civilization from which all things sprang. However, we must also realize that music has a "full circle" type of relationship with the world. Any music that has ever been created has pulled elements from other people, places and musical genres and it has been copied and remixed. Therefore, no one really owns any type of music and especially no one race owns any type of music.

We can all agree that hip hop perpetuates stereotypes, from black men as thugs to black women as ho's. However, we have to make the distinction that hip hop is not to blame for these stereotypes. Hip hop is criminalized just like blackness is criminalized. Andrea Smith, in her article, "Heteropatriarchy and the Three Pillars of White Supremacy: Rethinking Women of Color Organizing" says, that " we can actually look at the criminalization of Blackness as a logical extension of Blackness as property." Thus we can say that even though hip hop is a entity that is multicultural, it is criminalized and commodified at the expense of black bodies.

What are your thoughts?

The next part in this series will be: The Power of Hip Hop


Interracial Dating: Are We Still Having A Problem With This?: Updated

Today I read this post on YBF on Jill Scott's views on interracial dating. I then, as usual, took to Twitter to have a discussion with my followers on the topic. I thought Jill added a great perspective to why black women might have a problem with black men dating interracially or why women of color have a problem when men of color date white women. She added a perspective I had never thought of before.

Race operates in a black/white binary, with white, along with everything associated with whiteness, being placed in the upper echelons of society and black, along with everything associated with blackness, being placed in the lowest echelon of society. I believe that black self-hate is motivation for the reason that a lot of people get upset when others date outside their race. When society tells you that you're ugly, stupid, and undesirable and that white women are more worthy of protection, more beautiful, more loyal, and smarter, and then you see a black man marry a white woman, its easy to see that as a small confirmation of that skewed self-perception. Also, I think, the real problem arises when both black men and black women designate who they will or won't date based solely on their race. For example, "I don't date black women." or "I don't date outside my race." When a black man completely rules out dating other black people, it obviously reflects on how he feels about his belonging to that race and the race in general.

White is seen as the pinnacle of society. In America, everything that is white is pure, good, and downright better than everything else, especially anything black. White is able to attain everything, black is able to attain nothing. When a black woman sees a black man dating a white woman, its a sense of "them" attaining another thing that should belong to us. It almost as if nothing is untouchable by the white race. Black women generally feel betrayed when a black man dates a white woman. We feel that black men's loyalty should be expressed through the dating of only black women. However, how much does this type of "loyalty" really benefit the black race? Its heteronormative to ask black men to only date within their race so that we can "preserve the black family" and it also reinforces the detrimental concept of race itself. Can someone give me one good reason for why we should only date inside drawn our racial lines? The "black family" has been destroyed since slavery times and I wonder if it ever really existed? Isn't the nuclear family a white ideal? I'm all for building up the black community through economically "buying black, supporting black political leaders, creating black sub-cultures, and the preservation and knowledge of black culture, etc. which are all profitable and beneficial ways to support us, however, I fail to see a real reason how racial dating loyalty benefits the black community in any real ways. I'm sick of hearing black women ask why there aren't black men available, or why black men find other races desirable or why there aren't more black relationships. Its old.

Generally, I think people are way too obsessed with relationships for some reason. Jealousy and unneccessry criticism from intruders always surround relationships for absolutely no reason. That's why its best to keep personal relationship business to yourself if you are in one. I think the ultimate solution is to love yourself and love who you are and where you come from.


Sex Work and Sexual Politics

In the essay by Jo Doezema, “Forced to Choose: Beyond the Voluntary v. Forced Prostitution Dichotomy” another binary of choice is exposed. The dichotomy that is talked about is whether people, mainly women choose to be sex workers or whether they are explicitly forced. However, the point that this piece makes is that poverty is the main factor when it comes to sex work, therefore these women are “forced to choose.” One cannot address prostitution without first addressing poverty and in the same vein one cannot criminalize sex work unless being poor is decriminalized. For so long feminism has been the place where an old debate exists: liberation versus exploitation. Sexism and misogyny tells us that a woman should be modest, reserved and quiet. In this society, showing off a little skin can get a woman labeled anything from a hooker to slut. 

First of all, modern feminists, generally, have taken a stance of favoring liberation in the liberation versus exploitation debate. Meaning they seem more readily convinced that sex work, in its many facets, is a form of liberation for a woman’s body instead of exploitation in and of itself. Feminism sees sex work as bodily autonomy. However, I also think that feminism has done a good job of leaving out the implications of capitalism and racism on sex work and those who participate in prostitution. This is the struggle that more people need to hear about, not just sex work as liberation. Feminism, as the traditional white ideal that it sometimes is, paints sex work as liberation for white women, but we never hear of the poor women and people of color who are held captive by this form of exploitation of the body. Sex is the most profitable industry, in the universe, ever. Sex is used to sell everything from music to cologne. Sex is capitalism’s biggest export and import. In her book, "Black Sexual Politics", Patricia Hill Collins discusses the connection between capitalism and sexual commodity, “making sex highly visible in marketplace commodity relations becomes important to maintaining profitability within the U.S. capitalist economy. The goal is neither to stimulate debate nor to educate, but to sell products.” Therefore, when women’s bodies are used in advertisement as a sales tactic, how can this be liberation?
Sex work is the most extended and serious form of exploitation of women’s bodies. Being that capitalism is contingent on exploiting the labor of underprivileged communities and race, it makes sense that poor women of color are most affected by this system of sexual oppression. Sex work is essentially the intersection of race and capitalism.

Sex work is capitalism’s most visible and hated form of all sexual exploitations. Among other things, sex workers are seen as dirty, dumb, and unworthy of protection under the law. When capitalism exploits sex, it also exploits those who are most affected by the system of capitalism, non-men of color. It is important to make the distinction between supporting sex workers and supporting sex work. We need to stop the criminalization of sex workers because these people are victims of brutal beatings by the capitalism, racism, and sexism found in society and sometimes even untreated mental illness. However, sex work needs to be a system that activists fight against because it is another product of what is wrong in this society. Essentially, feminism and other liberation movements need to support sex workers while fighting against the institution that keeps them oppressed. 

*cross posted at Refuse the Silence's blog*


Yes, It Still Matters: Light vs Dark: Updated

This post if by request. Usually when I write posts, its because I want to shed some light on the situation and present a prespective that I feel probably hasn't been thought about before. This time, someone actually suggested to me a perspective that I hadn't thought about before. What this post about, is the age-old debate of light skinned vs. dark skinned. Dark skinned vs Light skinned is a issue that some see as only happening in the black community, but it is an issue in every culture, from Mexican to Indian. I am someone who believes colonization is the root of almost all problems that we have in the world and especially in the US. The main ingredient of colonization was a white, male centric standard. Sometimes, standards can be good, most times they are bad. Yet, having standards is an idea that is seen as appealing to people. However, when we place standards on people that inhibit who they are as a person, the standards become dangerous instead of helpful. This is what the white standard does. It gives everyone an idea to try to live up to, but an idea that they will ultimately never achieve. The white standard, includes an ideal of beauty; thin, long, straight hair, and white skin. Minorities work everyday to try to achieve this white standard of beauty; with weaves, skin bleaching creams, and constant dieting. Minorities, not only try to achieve this beauty standard within ourselves, but we find ways to marginalize those who don't try to achieve, or don't achieve this beauty standard and we find ways to create a hierarchy, with those that have achieved the beauty standard as much as possible. For example, the people who are light skinned and have long hair are valued above those who don't. In addition, we tell fat people to lose weight, we tell those with natural hair to get a weave, etc. We constantly find ways for those who are not apart of the white standard, to try to achieve it.

In the black community, we create the two identities or dark skinned/light skinned as opposing, binary identities and treat them as sub-races. Light skinned, long hair; dark skinned; short, nappy hair; these are believed to be the true identities of the black race. (Read: School Daze) There's a constant fight between these two identities. Now, I'm not here to knock anyone's perference of getting a weave, or dieting or liking a dark skinned/light skinned complexion in a mate, however, we have to understand that the issue is deeper than just preference, its very possible that your preference is because of the influence that this standard has.

This is a real issue in many communities, but we never really hear of any possible solutions to the problems, we just have repetitive conversations about the problem, what do yall think can help solve the issue?