Attraction

Seeing your eyes as never before,

As you’re approaching me

Your eyes hold wide an open door,

Of where I’d like to be

As ever, I chase to satisfy my taste,

As if a cup of bliss

I swallow my pride and start the race,

For you, I’d not want to miss.

Cire

To Be Posthuman Is To Be Invisible

The plight of a posthuman black and brown body nullifies possibilities of the black and brown body ever becoming respected. Today, black and brown bodies could possibly be viewed as posthuman. This is to say, that black and brown people are not respected as a human in the eyes of some folks, especially those that are supposed to uphold the law. Thus, we may have always been posthuman in an opposing sense of the word. Since slavery, black people and indigenous people have walked the fields and pavements of America as invisible or posthuman. Once a black and brown body is enslaved, beaten, raped, tortured and dehumanized, then, posthuman must be the last resort to find some peace, right? NO…a person should never give up deny themselves an identity. All one has is their history, her-story, one’s culture, one’s family.

Even today, black and brown children are invisible while they are denied their history from as early as kindergarten all the way through the academy. Decolonization should start early, though the settlers mind trap is pushing forward their decolonial refusal ways.

In recognizing Black Feminist Thought (BFT) and Black Feminist Methodology (BFM), we observe that what should be valued, conclusive and regarded as evident, remains distracted. Harnessed are the views and opinions of Black women, scholarly or not. This is especially seen in today’s corporate America, where women of color must invent, then reinvent the wheel just to get a pat on the back. Not only are our Black female scholars muffled, there are countless numbers of Black women in the fields of finance, film, writing, publishing, medicine, technology, planning & development and sales who, at a minimum, do not receive an honorable mention for their merit and achievements. By way of Black Feminist Methodology, Black women have found an outlet for voicing scholarly arguments, sentiment, joy, and anger—emotions which are tied to hundreds of years of posthumanist journeys. In fact, to paraphrase Patterson et al, “according to BFT scholars, black women’s knowledge is acquired through various experiences living, surviving, and thriving within multiple forms of oppression.” Approaches and/or methodologies developed by black women oftentimes go by the waist side, where men, black and white take their shine away. Again, one would implement the posthumanization effect, whereas black women, who have always been at the forefront of feminist thought, are forced to create a biracial stance against injustices to all women. Without doubt, one can see this occurring in today’s public opinion with regard to the Trump administration.

Trump’s pre-election approval ratings and his greenlight to the presidency were very much supported and mended by white women. These are the same white women that listened to Trump’s foul 70 year-old language involving a sexually fueled conversation about what he would do to a woman. He chuckles as he describes his predatory ways to another male. While Trump’s opposing white women march to protect THEIR rights. Black women march, too, and have been marching for THEIR rights for hundreds of years. In fact, our current #MeToo movement was started by a black woman, Tarana Burke, 10 years ago. And as Trump is watched today, stumbling through a presidency, where he is allowed to trample over black peoples causes, Obama’s quasi reparations, we forget to march for Korryn.

Korryn Gaines, a black woman, a mother, a human…killed by police who shot and killed her using automatic weapons while she remained inside her home refusing to come outside to receive a warrant. They shot through the exterior walls of her home, not only killing her, but also shooting her five year old son who did survive. Korryn was 23 years old. This is not the first black woman to die by the hands of police. Numerous black women have died from police brutality and senseless acts of what should be determined as racist decisions by OUR police force. It is a fact that more black women are killed by police than white women. Perhaps black women have reached a posthuman phase. As Andrea J. Ritchie describes in her essay, “police view African American women as masculine and animalistic.” A case and point is the conversational nastiness of some media and fans when tennis player Serena Williams enters onto the tennis court. Furthermore, Ritchie argues that “police view African American women as violent, predatory, or noncompliant regardless of their actual conduct and circumstances, no matter how old, young, disabled, small, or ill.” Ritchie’s observations conclude that gender violence against black women is real.

And therefore, black women need a gathering place to have their voices of shared experiences heard. Being coined as masculine and animalistic should bring black women together so that collectively and consciously, they openly discuss and recognize that they are not indivisible, and that it is OK to be who they are in their skin. In the Black Women’s Gathering Place, women were able to break their silence and cut down barriers with one another which allows them to breathe easier knowing that their not alone.

A Black Women’s Collective was started in our home 23 years ago. The impact that it had on all participants was amazing to watch, even as a participant on some occasions. Friends in this group came from different walks of life, some having an easier lifestyle than others. Despite their differences in education, income and lifestyle, they seem to enjoy the fact that they could rely on each other for one day of the month. The mission of the group was to initiate fun reunions for young black moms who rarely had time to leave their house due to raising children. Organized by my wife, she created a book and film club similar to the Black Women’s Gathering Place. They met every month at a different location to cultivate their friendship, to converse and discuss the latest film or book, and to breathe; all while dropping their armor so to become human once more. Their discussions also gave each of them a chance to talk about work related issues which left them vulnerable at other times. The relationships from this gathering place are still intact and still meeting regularly.

Works Cited

Douglass, Patrice D. “Black Feminist Theory for the Dead and Dying.” Theory & Event.” Hopkins University Press Vol. 21 (2018): 106-123

King, Tiffany Lethabo. “Humans Involved: Lurking in the Lines of Posthumanist Flight.”

King, Tiffany Lethabo. “Post-Identitarian and Post-Intersectional Anxiety in the            Neoliberal Corporate University.” Feminist Formations Vol. 27 (2015): 114-138. Print.

Palmer, Tyrone S. “What Feels More Than feeling?” Theorizing the Unthinkability of Black Affect.” Journal of the Critical Ethnic Studies Association Vol. 3.2 (2017): 31+

Patterson, Ashley, Valerie Kinloch, Tanja Burkhard, Ryann Randall, and Arianna Howard. “Black Feminist Thought as Methodology: Examining Intergenerational Lived          experiences of Black Women.” Departures in Critical Qualitative Research Vol. 5   (2016): 55-76

Testimonios

Scholars using testimonios as a research method provide a qualitative in-depth reflection that reaches the core of one’s story. In the narrative form, the personal experience is an approach to telling all stories, those of others and the story of the individual scholar. Collectively, these stories become bibliographic contributions. In today’s world, Latin American women are using their testimonios as a means to take a position against injustice and inequitable situations. In Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and America, Latina and Chicana scholars and feminist have and still fight using oral traditions to be heard and to make their point. Testimonios are also used as methodological and pedagogical tools to reinforce the narrative. In methodological formats, the interlocutor is supporting those who are or were once silent and/or afraid to confront the status quo. And as a pedagogical tool, this approach brings the mind, body and spirit into play.

Per this reading, we learn of several Latin American females who are in the news, not all good news, though news that informs us that Latin American women from across the globe are making headlines in fight of liberation and protest. On a sorrowful note, we will miss Marielle Franco, a Brazilian politician and feminist who was murdered for her stance on protecting the human rights of black and brown skinned Brazilians living in the favela’s. Two more Latina’s made the news last week when they took part in the March 4 Our Lives protest in Washington, DC. The students Edna Chavez and Emma Gonzalez stood front and center amongst a sea of people, adults and students, when giving their testimonios like many other narratives told that week. The two students were subject to gun violence in their schools.

Works Cited

Reyes, Kathryn Blackmer, and Julia E. Curry Rodriguez. “Testimonio: Origins, Terms, and  Resources.” Equity & Excellence in Education 45(3) (2012): 525-538

Martinez, Melissa A., Danielle J. Alsander, Laura J. Cortez, Anjale D. Welton, Aurora Chang. “We are stronger together: reflective testimonies of female scholars of color in a research and writing collective” Reflective Practice, 16:1, 85-95, DOI:                 10.1080/14623943.2014.969698

Delgado Bernal, Dolores, Rebeca Burciaga, Judith Flores Carmona. “Chicana/Latina         Testimonios: Mapping the Methodological, Pedagogical, and Political.” Equity &         Excellence in Education, 45(3), 2012, 363-372

Reality

Written while in the mood, circa 2009.

Hold on to the last breath,

As in water the fish crew

As in air the birds glide

As in clouds the moisture weeps

As in earth’s core nature burns

As in stars while they glisten

As in planets revolving the sun

As in a fragrance passing your nose

As in kids having fun

As in Ella scatting the blues

As in rain producing food

As in Grandma’s apple pie

As in tears in our eyes

As in rainbows filling the sky

Now let go with a sigh…

Cire

Nature Speaks

Poem written for my grandmother and mother. Circa 2003.

Crocuses, tulips and daffodils bloom,

They whisper to each other throughout the noon,

The Rhodies, the trees, the holly’s listen,

As time passes by, their leaves too glisten,

The air is fragrant with scents so sweet,

As sun and moon smile upon their feat,

From dawn to dusk and dusk to night,

Their blooms arrive at morning light,

This beauty continues again and again,

‘Cause nature speaks amongst its friends

Cire