I wrote this early February, and I think that it summarizes the month well:
In therapy this past week, I couldn't stop crying because there were too many things I know that needs to be processed and talked about...but there's a whole line up of what seems most pressing. I was trying to explain to my therapist that I wanted to focus on coping with race related stress (because it seemed the most urgent - because of how it was settling into my physical body), but as we talk more so many other things get triggered. So many other things that I know I need to address and process, but it's literally impossible to do all of them at the same time.
This morning, I'm thinking about the piece I painted for Diamond this last #TWintersectionalfridays, and how we are holding up all these things. But the things that we are holding up and fighting for aren't all the issues and burdens and problems, but it is our WHOLENESS. We our holding up the fact that we are fighting to see ourselves as whole and beautiful - we are fighting to be seen by others as dignified humans - we are fighting because there's HOPE in insisting to be heard. If we didn't have hope, why would we press on and fight for it?
Especially to all my women of color, it's ok to be tired. It's alot to hold up.
by Andre henry
Description of the episode: “The Jussie Smollett investigation has captured America’s attention — and ours. We take a look at the support for as well as the doubts about Smollett’s claims, and try to make sense of the charge that Smollett staged his own attack. In an era in which personal trauma and victimhood are often leveraged for cultural capital, we consider the long-term repercussions of the Smollett case.”
by kevin kwan
Sometimes you just need an easy read, and this one hit the spot. Can’t wait for the third book!
This is what Czarina wrote when I asked her about this statement:
"How I can unpack years of internalized oppression on top of my intergenerational trauma."
The Philippines is a country with a painful history of over 500 years of colonization and imperialism from Spain and the United States. Because of this, whiteness (as a culture and literally) is often seen as a goal.
Colorism is a huge issue throughout Asia, and the Philippines is a great example of how it manifests through a lack of representation of darker skin tones in media, the market for whitening soaps and creams, and in how individuals with darker skin-tones are treated. I am a darker skin-toned Pinay, and I do not have the coveted straight, slick hair that many Asians do. When I was a kid, my family would jokingly call me "dark one" "extra toasted" and "burnt." A boy I dated in high school told me that I looked better with straightened hair than my natural curls, but then a boy I dated in college exoticized my islander looks. Both made me feel objectified. It wasn't until my 20's that I learned to truly embrace my features and the beautiful heritage behind them. Now that I've learned more about my own history as a Pinay-American, and the history of the country I call home, I know that colorism is anti-blackness and therefore racist. Embracing and loving my brown skin (while also spending the privilege I carry as a non-Black POC) is a form of resistance.
In addition to racist colorism, the model-minority myth is another tool of white supremacy that I am trying hard to dismantle. One of the biggest issues I have with this myth is the false expectation that Asians do not rock the boat. Because of colonization, Pilipinx are master assimilators so I grew up not knowing the power of my own voice or the power of my own people. But after learning of people like Gabriela Silang the first Filipina woman revolutionary leader who fought for independence from Spain or Larry Itliong - a farm worker who, with other Filipino farmers, began the Delano Grape Strike and pushed for workers rights in California, I know the myth of the quiet, compliant Asian is the farthest from the truth. As Faith Santilla writes, "Filipinas are no strangers to wielding our own power."
More thoughts on:
Gosh. IT IS GIVING ME LIFE! Hearing from such incredible WOC has been so healing for me. It is a lot of work to coordinate it and to make it all come together weekly, but I feel less alone. Others also resonate with the interview deeply, and that’s the dream. Creating connection.
This is what I wrote on February 9 on Instagram:
For #TWintersectionalfridays (my 2019 project), my hope is not only to create space for people's stories to be told. But it is for those who relate to those stories - to feel less alone.
Sometimes we don't have the words to ARTICULATE how we feel or what we went through. Most of my life, I feel like I was in that space...I didn't have the vocabulary to make sense what was happening. Sometimes we might have the words but we don't have the energy to process through it all and forget about writing it down!
And that's where reading and sharing someone else's articulation of their experience is POWERFUL. Because we don't all have to be in that place.
That feeling of words/emotion/color/movement just hitting this spot (the spot where you just know that experience in the most visceral way) is priceless. To have your humanity affirmed should be available to everyone, but that's not reality. The hope is for us to lean in to tell your truth and to also listen to others' stories when you don't have the energy to tell your own.
I really appreciate and love this organization, and I learn from their instagram all the time. The image below is one that I’ve seen in different forms. I like this one a lot, because it shows how the more “minor” things attribute to systemic and violent racism.
The Conscious Kid is an education, research and policy organization dedicated to reducing bias and promoting positive identity development in youth. We partner with organizations, children’s museums, schools, and families across the country to promote access to children’s books centering underrepresented and oppressed groups.
AOKI - a humble beginning
Upcoming show on march 31st
the start of
womxn taking space
Near the end of February, Eliana Blancas and I started an online conversation and this is how I started it:
Next month, I will be sharing how the conversation went and also about the houseshow that Eliana and I hosted in lieu of this concept.