Serial and the Power of Storytelling

Like so many others, I spent the last few months of 2014 listening – first avidly, then with trepidation and ultimately with disdain – to the hit podcast Serial. The podcast follows a single story, week by week. The story centers on Adnan Syed, a Pakistani  American high school student who was accused and convicted of murdering his girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, in 1999 when they were both students at Baltimore’s Woodlawn High School. The journalist Sarah Koenig is the investigator and narrator of each episode, unraveling clues in each episode to one end: Did Adnan really do it? This …Read more »

Color(ism) Complex(es)

When I heard a documentary called Dark Girls had been produced in 2011 to share the often silenced stories and experiences of dark-skinned women and girls, I felt a wave of emotions and had a range of reactions fluctuating from curiosity and anxiety, to excitement and anticipation.  I wrote an ode to dark (skinned) girls and kept re-watching the promotional video connecting each time to a story of trauma by remembering my own color(ism) complex issues, and feelings of insecurity, rejection, and pain because of my skin color.  I imagined that the documentary would open up old wounds but heal …Read more »

What’s Up With Dudes Not Being Able to Give Compliments?

  I tend to roll with a crew of badass bawse women in addition to being one myself. (It’s 2015 and time’s out for lack of self-confidence.) And because I’m grown and love myself, I no longer date asshole dudes. But I do date dudes who love badass bawse women. In theory at least. But in practice, I’ve noticed that many brothers (of the cishet persuasion that I date) really do have issues with smart, attractive, assertive, high-achieving women. It doesn’t show up in overt forms of disrespect but in the more subtle, passive aggressive form of diminishing or ignoring …Read more »

Citizenship and Silence: Speaking the Stories Aloud

I walk to the mailbox in a small town about an hour outside New York City: Slowly, I make my way down our cracked driveway. I marvel at the blades of grass; so soft and fragile yet they’ve managed to disrupt the concrete and find their sun. I fancy myself this strong when I observe the blades, my nine years of life have not taught me better, yet. In the mailbox is a letter. “To the Indians,” it says on the front in a child’s scrawl. No envelope, no return address. Just a hastily folded piece of wide-ruled notebook paper. …Read more »

Embracing “Crazy” in the “Land of the Free”

                  Guest post by Jillian Ford Folks have called me crazy much of my life.  For the first two decades, “crazy” was a term of endearment: a way to signal my individuality and creativity.  In my 20’s, “creativity” slid into “eccentricity.”  Now in my third decade, “eccentricity” has morphed into “just plain ol’” crazy, or that “not-so-cute” kind of crazy, or the “go take your meds” type of crazy.  After years of trying to convince others I’m “normal,” I am changing course to embrace my crazy.  Because who, after all, is assigning …Read more »

Waiting to Exhale

(For Eric Garner, John Crawford, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice and numerous others) Wait. Over the past few days, weeks, and months there have been eloquent words spoken, passionate poems and prose written, and thoughtful commentaries and reflections offered about the righteous rage, indignant indifference, fear, sadness and ambivalence that black folk and allies have felt as we have literally fought for the dignity and recognition that black lives have significance.  Every time I hear, see or read #blacklivesmatter, I am simultaneously affirmed and disgusted.  Affirmed at the reckoning and recognition of my life as important in the midst of a system …Read more »

We Rage

    We are numb. We are angry. We are incredulous. We are afraid. We are hopeful. We are hopeless. We are all the things. Let us be. Our hearts go out to Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown, Sr. and all of Mike Brown’s loved ones.  We are holding ourselves and our loved ones closer still. But some awful truths remain. Among them are the facts that today Marissa Alexander is in jail, but Darren Wilson is free. One fires a warning shot against her abusive ex and, as a result, faced upwards of 60 years in prison. The other …Read more »

Working While Black: 10 Racial Microaggressions Experienced in the Workplace

I have worked, on and off, since I was fifteen years old.  My summer office job financed the name brand school clothes my mother couldn’t afford and grounded me in the work ethic I learned from watching the women in my family go to work from sun up to sun down cleaning houses, dismembering chickens, doing customer service or janitorial work, bookkeeping, caregiving, answering phones.  I watched them get up early and come home late, carpool with other working women, and barter with each other to make sure every day needs were met.  They smiled when they were tired and …Read more »

New Series: Voices From Inside – Breaking The Silence: The Cost of Cramps

This week the Crunk Feminist Collective is honored to bring you two pieces from women incarcerated in California prisons and jails. This is the second in the series. You can read the first, and get more background, here. These stories are here for us to read because of the incredible advocacy work of Justice NOW, an organization that works with incarcerated women by providing legal services, supporting prisoner organizing efforts, working with prisoners and their families on political education and mobilization campaigns, training the next generation of activists and lawyers who want to help, and building coalitions to create safety for …Read more »

New Series: Voices From Inside – Locked Away for a Lifetime: Barred from Becoming a Parent

This week the Crunk Feminist Collective is honored to bring you two pieces from women incarcerated in California prisons and jails. Their stories are here for us to read because of the incredible advocacy work of Justice NOW, an organization that works with incarcerated women by providing legal services, supporting prisoner organizing efforts, working with prisoners and their families on political education and mobilization campaigns, training the next generation of activists and lawyers who want to help, and building coalitions to create safety for women without relying on the punishment system. Justice NOW interns and staff travel regularly to prisons …Read more »

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