Blog Archives

What violence does

These things are hard to think about. They are painful to feel. They engender confusion and rage.  After the shooting at the Gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin two weeks ago, I have found it so difficult to think about the incident and the aftermath. I can’t seem to intellectualize the story without thinking about what it felt like for those inside. Immediately, I think of all the mandirs and gurdwaras I’ve sat in. I know what they feel like, what they look like, what they smell like and sound like. I know how loud and boisterous prayer there can be …Read more »

Health care reform, politics and power: Is the Supreme Court Crunk?

At 10:07am Eastern Standard Time the Supreme Court of the US (SCOTUS) released its long-awaited decision on whether the Affordable Care Act (ACA), President Obama’s major policy achievement during his first term, was constitutional. The ACA was Congress’ first major effort at reforming our health care system in many years, with many Presidents trying and failing to make it happen. Given the balance of the Supreme Court, there was lots of speculation in the hours before the decision that the ACA would be found unconstitutional and struck down. That did not happen, Chief Justice Roberts, a staunch conservative, broke the …Read more »

Making Movement Mistakes: What to do when you f@*k up

That moment: when some words have escaped your lips, and you realize they were wrong/insensitive/politically incorrect/hurtful. Or the moment when you have made a decision in a coalition that has broken the “do no harm” principle of coalition work. When your actions have undermined someone’s agenda. These moments can be big or small. These moments can consist of an interpersonal slight, or they can be damaging to an entire political agenda. We all know these moments; we have witnessed them, experienced them and committed them. I am a professional activist. I’ve done work organizing and advocating for policy change at …Read more »

Don Cornelius, Indelible Soul

Don Cornelius, creator of the television show Soul Train, changed the media entertainment landscape forever. Yesterday,  the Los Angeles County Coroner confirmed that Cornelius had died from a self-inflicted gun shot wound to the head. He was 75. Soul Train is one of the longest-running syndicated shows in television history. Created by Cornelius after he returned from Marine service in Korea and studied broadcasting, the show aimed to serve as a national platform for Black artists. Through it, Cornelius brought us exposure to musicians like James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye and Michael Jackson and left a bright and brilliant mark on the 70s and …Read more »

Tonight! Join a conversation on the State of the Union!

CF Eesha here, y’all.  Tonight is the President’s State of the Union address to Congress. If the election season so far is any indication, we know that amidst the politicians and the pundits there’s very little time for real talk. This is one of the most important elections in recent history : there is a war on poor people; we need a deep investigation of the way corporations reign with impugnity; and  we need to call out the racism and sexism that permeate our society. So… TONIGHT,  live at 7:30 p.m. ET,  Jan. 24th at www.baracktalk.com.   You can submit questions …Read more »

The Power of Words: Racially Coded Political Rhetoric

1. New Gingrich has repeatedly referred to President Obama as “The Food Stamp” President while contrasting that with his own aims to become “The Paycheck” President. Ron Paul, in an attempt to beat unruly logic into submission, has tried to convince us that “entitlements” are not “rights.”  In an effort to dispute affirmative action and minority rights he equates such “entitlements” with the “entitlements” that big businesses get from big government, thus causing the word itself to lose any precision it might have had. This of course is in addition to his refusal to clearly address his connection to several blatantly racist comments on publications …Read more »

Conflict is forever: Can we change attitudes about diamonds?

It’s holiday season.  Often, this time of year, people feel romantic. Consequently, engagements and gifts of jewelry abound. Having many people in my life become engaged and married of late, I’ve been thinking a lot about all the bling that goes along with these endeavors. Specifically, I’ve been thinking about diamonds. Why, you ask? Well, because as I see more and more friends and family become engaged I have been seeing more and more diamonds. To be clear, I have not become pre-occupied with the idea of engagements and rings, but with the desire for diamonds in particular. I’ve been …Read more »

Boom!? 7 Billion People on Earth Fosters Population Alarmism

Today is the day that the United Nations Population Fund estimates that the world’s population will reach 7 billion people. So, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about this particular moment in our history. As ever, it’s important to dig just a little below the surface to figure out what’s going on with the media’s coverage of this day. I’ve seen many slide shows in the past few months. I’ve seen many photos of crowded buses and streets in India and China. And photos of what look like very old people. All of these photos are, by turns, mesmerizing and …Read more »

A Columbus Day Challenge

Today is a nationally recognized holiday. It is Columbus Day. In a bizarre twist of potent irony I’m heading to a conference about preventing violence and then down to Occupy Wall Street. I’ll be spending this day steeped in thoughts about violence (systemic and intimate) and then in the act of (re)occupying occupied land.  There is something bitter and something sweet here. I am not taking the day off to honor a “conquistador.” I am taking the day to mark and recognize the legacy of violence that he fomented. America is not a land founded on freedom and exploration – …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 »

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