Monthly Archives: September 2011

From Margin to Center: Health for Brown Bois

As a graduate student, I elect to receive health care through my school (because they pay for it). Student Health Services has its pros and cons and my experiences have been, to put it nicely, mixed. My experiences with health care providers are what motivated me to think about the hierarchical relationship between doctors and patients in my dissertation. My providers have routinely presumed straightness, a feminine gender identity, and a certain class background. I was telling a friend about another less than awesome experience with a doctor and they joked, I could put my own experience in my dissertation. …Read more »

The Choices We Make

Story #1- Last Monday I picked my son up from his afterschool program and was met with a full on tantrum.  He was upset that I would not allow him to eat the gummy Starbursts given to him by his chess coach and informed me that he had already had some at “snack” time. Story #2-On Saturday my mother asked me to pick up some food for my stepfather who is diabetic and paralyzed from the waist down.  My stomach cringed because I knew he was going to ask me to pick up something from a fast food restaurant. Story …Read more »

Disappearing Acts, Unreciprocated Interest(s) & Other Rhythms to My Blues

On the crevices of my thirty-third year if you listen hard enough and look long enough you might hear the rhythm of my blues.  This is not a blues to sashay to– but rather one that leaves you listening to your heartbeat, while sitting on the floor legs folded, with crossed arms and neck pushed back, eyes closed.  This is the kind of blues that leaves you unsure about life and reflective about the ways that life folds in on itself after a while.  This is a Nina Simone-like blues.  A fear of being alone-type blues.  A blues that sustains and …Read more »

Lynching Remixed: The Execution of Troy Davis

On Wednesday, the state of Georgia will execute Troy Davis for the 1989 murder of police office Mark MacPhail. Since Davis was convicted in 1991, 7 of the prosecution’s 9 witnesses have recanted their statements, and have repeatedly given testimony to courts and to the media that their testimony was coerced. Additional witnesses have come forward implicating Sylvester “Redd” Coles, another person at the scene for the murder. Not only did Coles brag to others about the crime, but he was the first to finger Troy Davis for the murder. Three of the original jurors have also come forward with …Read more »

Watch out for the Big Girls: Some Thoughts on TLC’s Big Sexy

One of TLC’s latest unscripted shows, Big Sexy, has been hailed by some critics as a “plus-sized Sex and the City.” The show follows five fluffy friends who live in New York City and work in the beauty industry. Viewers get to tag along as the ladies traverse the ups-and-downs of careers, romantic life, and sisterhood in the Big Apple.  Despite a premise that didn’t seem to completely insult my intelligence, I was pretty ambivalent about watching the show. Now, let’s not get it twisted. Like some of my fellow CFs, I’m not above watching a little reality TV to …Read more »

Refereeing Serena: Racism, Anger, and U.S. (Women’s) Tennis

Yesterday, I tuned in, as I have done nearly every summer since I was nine or ten years old, to watch the finals of the U.S. Open. Serena Williams was vying for her 15th Grand Slam title against Australian player Sam Stosur. As I tuned in, I steeled myself for the endless stream of racist commentary from the sportscasters, of whom Mary Carillo, Chris Evert, and Darren Cahill are the chief offenders. All honest tennis players and stans will admit that the Williams Sisters have transformed the game of women’s tennis. They have brought power and speed to bear in ways that used to …Read more »

10 Years Later – Memory and Memorials

Today is the 10th Anniversary of the September 11th attacks on the US. The media and the blogosphere are abuzz with news and specials, with memory and memorials. I was in college 10 years ago, planning a career in science. My whole life has changed since then. My entire politicization happened in the context of September 11th, and the ensuing wars. As a young South Asian woman, that context was intimately personal. My family, my friends, my politics, and even own skin were points of reckoning in this contextualization. I have so many charged emotions about this day, as a …Read more »

Update: Justice for Kelley Williams-Bolar!

In January, we reported the story of Ohio mom, Kelley Williams-Bolar. Bolar was arrested for “records falsification,” tried, convicted, and sentenced to nine days in prison for sending her two daughters to school in a more affluent district outside of Akron where she resided. In July, in a move that defies reason, a parole board denied her request for clemency. Their decision amounted to an especial form of cruel and unusual punishment because prior to her conviction,  Ms. Williams-Bolar had returned to college to complete required coursework to become a teacher for special needs children. With a felony conviction on …Read more »

Rituals , Spells, and Intuition

I come from a world where you don’t mess with your ancestors, dreams have meaning, seashells give advice, upside down coffee cups tell stories, and practicing black magic has severe consequences. As a child, I would sit between my mother and aunties’ legs witnessing women tipping stained coffee cups to the side, preaching of ills and/or prosperity yet to come. I would listen intently to them speak of cleansing rituals and baths that needed to be performed to keep evil spirits and negativity at bay. They would mesmerize me recounting dreams where lottery numbers, impending pregnancies, and cheating husbands were …Read more »

Irene, Erykah and the Stuff after Storms

When Irene whistled, I listened to Erykah. Curled on a daybed in the dark, I rummaged for ways to salvage stuff in the midst of a hurricane when Badu pleaded to the self-proclaimed bag lady on a drained battery to let it go. This summer, I returned to my Virginia hometown to weather a different kind of storm. Separated from my partner and seeking a homeplace to complete research for my “tenure” book, I found myself searching in a cardboard box—a time capsule, which housed old academic awards, articles, and origami-folded, water-stained yes-no-will-you-go-with-me love letters that date back to the …Read more »

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