1. Hood Passes, Macklemore and Down Ass White Kids Rant

    I give everything I have when I write a rhyme
    But that doesn’t change the fact that this culture’s not mine
    But I’m gonna be me so please be who you are
    This is something that’s effortless and shouldn’t be hard
    I said I’m gonna be me so please be who you are
    But we still owe ‘em 40 acres now we’ve stolen their 16 bars

    2013 could go down in the history book as the year of the down ass white boy. JT and his “experience” album. “Blurred Lines,” is probably the unofficial anthem of the summer, criticism and kindness alike, it’s hard to ignore Robin Thicke right now. Macklemore, Seattle born and raised- fam up there remembering him trying to get up at open mics back in the day- was arguably the white boy of the spring. Life could seemingly not be better for a down ass white boy.

    Pompodores. Suits, bowties, and fitted caps. Thrift store finds. Suing Marvin Gaye’s family, and sold out tour with Jay-Z. White boys think they winning.


    2013 could also be noted for the year I dive back into the world of ethnic studies, of pondering whiteness, white gaze, and what it is to be a brown girl living on the edge of privilege. Shit, I said the phrase “black/white binary” for the first time in recent memory in a facebook comment last week. Clearly, I’m back- not with a vengeance, but with something. I wouldn’t call it a hunger, or a thirst for it, but suddenly thinking about all that 2013 has brought has me crossing paths with this kind of ponderance again.

    Maybe I have been waxing poetic a bit about my own place in this world, about where we really are when it comes to post-racialism, but I’ve also been thinking about the role we all have in how far we go. And some have disagreed with me. Been put off by me even, and that’s aight.

    Discussions with friends, with coworkers and peers, there’s been conversation about what it means to really be an ally. Folks have shared different internet pieces and even McIntosh’s work on ‘the invisible knapsack’ - being a white ally surely ain’t easy, but people are asking for us POCs to sprinkle some knowledge.

    I don’t have a good answer. So many other people do. But I usually reply: ask questions, reflect, own your role, but don’t over apologize and listen. Mostly listen.

    Though those things in and of themselves aren’t enough, it’s a start. Second most important is understanding and accepting your relationship to whiteness, blackness, and the other ‘nesses’ out there. If there’s one thing my low level government job has taught me is that relationships are everything. Knowing what your relationship is to systems of oppression- how you contribute to it, or don’t is key.

    Not taking on this kind of relationship counseling, I feel, is what’s most dangerous for allies. Not having “Where am I with the ‘nesses’ Check Ins” can be toxic.

    JT, your boy Robin, and the Red headed wonder have all gotten passes. Hood passes. Ghetto passes. They’re white boys brown folks love. (Same could be said for Adam Levine, but what has he done this year aside from judge people on ‘The Voice’). Doesn’t matter that no tribal council was called- they’ve gotten their passes.

    Whatever kind of passes you want to call them. Someone in their lives told them they were down ass white boys and these brothers have reaped the benefits of it, gaining entrance and acceptance to worlds so many other white folks are barred from.


    I mean come on, JT’s relaxed hair? Boy… it must be chemical, cause we know you’ve never seen a hot comb and its too short to flat iron. Is it that Keratin shit that’s so popular right now? Probably. But we know at one point, all three of these guys were patrons of black barbershops somewhere, shit they probably have em on staff now. And aren’t barbershops the last bastion of black male identity (I’m totally, possibly making that shit up based on something I think I saw in Chris Rock’s good hair).

    We all have those friends though. The friends who get told they “the black-est/latin-ist white person” someone knows/someone ever met. Someone gave them a pass. It wasn’t me. As a mixed as hell kid, I have no place giving anyone ownership to any racial group- I’ve had a hard enough time fully owning my own.

    But what does that pass do? Robin’s in the spotlight for the rapeyness (yep I’m gonna make that a thing) and now the preemptive suit because his song has the same vibe as Marvin Gaye’s “Gotta Give it Up”…

    “Dude, Where’s My Ghetto Pass?” GFX from ego trip on Vimeo.

    You can thank passes for that. You can thank passes for people saying “I don’t see color.” For outright stealing, and borrowing without properly paying homage or tribute. Passes allow for people to not think about their own roles in systems of oppression.

    Passes are two steps above “Well I have black friends” excuses. Are we secretly doing more harm when issuing those passes, to our communities because it allows white folks close to us the ability to be oblivious to their own whiteness, or how it separates them from us?

    Sometimes I think so. We’ve seen it when celebs allow their passes to be excuses for appropriation. We’ve seen it when our own friends get huffy because we talk about whiteness. Please don’t get your panties in a twist (I’m mad I just said panties) when I’m merely talking about an ideology, an entity, not a specific person- it’s really not about you. Your pass is not cure all that absolves you of your whiteness, of your white guilt. Shit. The lord be a break from other people’s white guilt.

    This weekend Macklemore’s latest single got that viral internet attention.

    Literally titled “White Privilege,” our cold ass honkey, addresses his own pass.

    Towards the end of his song, he literally hits the nail on the head.

    Now Clapton’s incredible. but no Jimmy no foundation
    So here comes history and the cultural appropriation
    White kids with do rags trying to practice their accents
    From the suburbs to the upperclass mastering a language
    But hiphop is not just memorizing words
    It’s rooted in authenticity something you literally can’t learn

    Authenticity, something you literally can’t learn. Literally. Cannot. Learn. Passes do not equal a place to learn all the ins and outs, all the shortcuts, and holes in the fence. Passes are not the equivalent of knowing a gatekeeper into the hoods and experiences of black and brown folks.

    I hate the word accountability sometimes. I feel like it can be used as a term to be a control freak, “I’m just holding you accountable… I’m just making sure we’re accountable…” but in his upcoming portrait in Rolling Stone, your boy Mack speaks exactly to what the number one way to be a white (or any really) ally is. Accountability. Kevin Powell posted this on his facebook today.


    Next time someone asks me how to be a good white ally, I’ll say being accountable- knowing your privilege, your guilt and how it affects your brown friends. Relationship counseling doesn’t just apply to whom you’re sharing your bed with, but to what systems of oppression you might inadvertently belong by way of being the palest member of the cool kids crew.

  2. On Whiteness, The Zimmerman Verdict & Tim Lincecum’s No Hitter Rant

    Originally drafted July 21.

    As of late I’ve waxed poetic on borderlands and peripheries. This morning my social media timelines/newsfeeds are inundated with two things. 1) The complete and utter loss of words around the not guilty verdict of George Zimmerman in the killing of Trayvon Martin and 2) Celebrations around Tim Lincecum’s first no hitter.

    One might imagine, as I’ve ranted about Trayvon before (here and here sorta), and my dysfunctional relationship with the SF Giants (here, and well, really just look at my twitter feed) is well known, I woke up confused. I’d read/seen a little about the verdict before my phone died and the onset of a migraine sent me into a coma on my couch, but our boy Timmy’s victory was a surprise as I listened to the game when I’d wake up enough to roll over.

    Thankful for the time to wrap my head around my feelings with our justice system- and feeling guilty even smiling for a second or two about the no hitter (‘it’s just baseball’ I fear some will say) my head is swirling again around borderlands, peripheries and proximity to whiteness.


    In press coverage this morning, I’ve seen the clip of Zimmerman’s own attorneys posing the question “What if Zimmerman had been black…” this wouldn’t be a case they argue. The presumption that, like every other black-on-black crime, no one would care, this wouldn’t be an issue. But that’s where I- and so many other’s struggle.

    A few weeks ago a co-worker asked me to clarify for her, and a newly hired teacher, why Hispanic was it’s own category with white and non-white options. I sighed and laughed. Stated it was based on the census. I explained that there were “white, black, brown and even yellow” people who identified as Hispanic. Explained the history of places like Argentina, where so many have European blood, and direct linkages back to Italy-Germany-France. That there were even Chinese Peruvians. As a Chicana I didn’t even dare try and explain the difference between Hispanic and Latino.

    The same confusion can clearly be tied to Zimmerman’s race and his racial identity. By sight- Zimmerman is a brown man- shit he’s darker than me. But understanding the complexities of what it means to identify, as “Hispanic-Non-White” or “Hispanic-White,” is too hard for so many. Aura Bogado wrote a piece for The Nation that’s floating around the internet that articulates that although Zimmerman is Latino, his actions and belief systems are bound to white supremacy.

    When Zimmerman was acquitted today, it wasn’t because he’s a so-called white Hispanic. He’s not. It’s because he abides by the logic of white supremacy, and was supported by a defense team—and a swath of society—that supports the lingering idea that some black men must occasionally be killed with impunity in order to keep society-at-large safe.

    Racial hierarchies, even within our broadly defined racial groups clearly send me into a place of dissonance. I can both benefit from and be harmed by them. Zimmerman benefits because though he’s almost the same color as a brown paper bag, his brain is conditioned to identify and operate within a moral system bound to racist ideologies. His proximity to this whiteness then renders his skin color a non-issue.


    San Diego-

    The San Francisco Giants, currently in 4th place in the NL west, and just coming off of multiple embarrassing losing streaks (some of the worst in Giants history) have been playing a 3 game series in San Diego. On Friday, 7/12 they won.

    Last night- two time Cy Young award winner Tim Lincecum did something that for me, was unfathomable, at least for me in my love-hate relationship with him.

    Our golden boy, who hit a serious slump this year- though true fans know SF Giants Baseball=Torture- and was sent back to the bullpen and taken out of starting rotation- pitched (with support from our misfit ass team) a no hitter. His first. His only.


    Timmy- the professional baseball player raised in a suburb of Seattle who’s 1/8th Filipino lineage is enough for any Filipino to claim him. Timmy- who’s proximity to whiteness afforded him to become a professional baseball player, and a successful one at that- in his own way occupies a spot within yet another racial hierarchy (and it’s connection to class) that in light of his major accomplishment last night- I’m equally torn up about. Also- his dad is white. This, in and of itself, is a factor that places him even closer to whiteness, closer to white success. Much like our boy Z, he carries his father’s last name. Without even seeing him, you see Tim Lincecum and ‘Filipino’ is the farthest thing from your mind. 

    San Francisco- 

    A friend text me yesterday evening before the headache set in.


    Breaking from my haze this morning I posted a variation of this on my Facebook. A few hours later, clearer in mind and framing my thoughts into actual words I wrote… 

    Head’s swirling. Blackness. Brownness. Working for the government. No matter what part of the brown to black spectrum my hypothetical babies fall into, they will have so much light skinned-ness in them, but still be brown. The proximity they will have to whiteness does not take away my own doubt about brining any baby into this world. All young brown to black people are Trayvon.

    My privilege. My ‘hypothetical baby’s’ (that I’ll even have any at this point is feels kind of presumptuous) privilege. Timmy’s privilege. Zimmerman’s racial identity and ideology. All of us reside so closer to whiteness than anything Trayvon Martin, Sean Bell, Emmitt Till, Marissa Alexander could ever feel, think do or be. 

    San Francisco- 4:30pm


    (image via)

    On Friday My roommate and I had a quick conversation about going to see a movie this afternoon. Not just a movie. Fruitvale Station. Oscar GrantI don’t need to say more. Couldn’t be farther from whiteness. 


    San Francisco, Tuesday August 13th- 8:40pm

     In his book, How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America”, my college advisor and big brother from another mother, Kiese Laymon was on NPR talking about an essay he titled “The Worst of White Folks,” originally released on gawker.com. On his personal facebook page he mentioned that the comments about his essay/book were initially reactions to the fact that as a Black man, his family told him, he needed to strive to be, not just as good as, but better than white folks. I get it, it’s controversial to call out the worst of any group. But as an Asian American (in part) I commented on this fb thread- that essentially- this is the baseline ideology for the model minority myth. Must be as good as, no better than the “best.” 

    Even though Asian Americans have a closer proximity to whiteness, by nature of being the racial/minority group placed FURTHEST away from  blackness, and closest to whiteness- perhaps because of the mentality mentioned above, or our obedience to stereotypes/hierarchies and well, we’re just the least brown- the unspoken, agreed upon ethos behind upholding model minority stereotypes is being ‘better than’. 

    It’s a ‘better than’ mentality that tries to supplant whiteness with success, with meritocracy, with some insane drive that- based on my previous rantings, y’all know I’m not really driven like that like that. 

    So where does that leave us today, almost a month post Zimmerman, post No Hitter when the Giants have just lost to the Nationals and said goodbye to the post season? 

    The Worst of White Folks- aren’t nearly as threatening as what can happen with the brown folks in closest proximity to whiteness.

    For Tim, it can be great- thriving off the things life’s afforded him, and winning in a way that makes an entire city happy. 

    For Zim, it got him a not-guilty verdict, but hurt the hell out of Trayvon Martin’s family- as well as the entire black community and any of their allies. 

    For the rest of us it occupies a limbo space. On an individual level, it can help us climb those ladders, provide access to opportunity, while simultaneously casting aside our worth, success, or stance in society when our membership or connection to a group that’s directly challenged by whiteness is of more value. 

    Post Racial society my ass… we still have so far to go. 

  3. RIP SF Giants Misfits- Mini, why am I even trying to write now Rant

    I can barely type, I’m so tired. 

    (pic from your boy at The City Graphics)

    But I feel like I need to write a eulogy, for the SF Giants Misfits. 

    Today, we lay to rest the former Misfit team of weirdos, knuckle heads and misfits. 

    Brian Wilson our bearded dubstep spandex wearing former closer, out for a whole season, became a Dodger

    Hunter Pence could be traded tomorrow. 

    Tim “the Freak” Lincecum has been off his game since before he cut his hair, guess we can’t blame him for that, but his whole “normal” do, hasn’t had an impact. 

    Barry Zito got married and lost his dad- he’s still weird as shit, but seems to be taking a more quite, conservative gun toting approach to life. 

    Huff, gone. Sanchez, gone. Panda, Belt, Blanco, Torres, all off their game. 

    They leave behind millions of fans in their wake. Today we honor the SF Giants Misftits of the past. Poor one out for your homies. 

  4. Dear Brian Wilson- Really, the Dodgers?! Mini Rant

    (the stuff nightmares are made of…)

    Dear Brian Wilson, 

    What I will regret most, though I am terribly afraid of you, is we never got to have an epic dance battle. 

    Please don’t let Dodgers fans ever beat up Giants fans again. That’s the least you can do. 


  5. awesomepeoplehangingouttogether:

Pedro Almodovar, Zachary Quinto, Frank Ocean, Riccardo Tisci and Rooney Mara 

This isn’t real… In what alternate universe did this happen?


    Pedro Almodovar, Zachary Quinto, Frank Ocean, Riccardo Tisci and Rooney Mara 

    This isn’t real… In what alternate universe did this happen?

  6. awesomepeoplehangingouttogether:

Gilda Radner and Lorne Michaels


    Gilda Radner and Lorne Michaels

  7. 8 July 2013

    98 notes

    Reblogged from

    MollsSheWrote: cassie/steve the rapper on 'catfish' →


    Dude, so I am pretty sure I felt extra violated by this episode of Catfish cuz like:

    1. No, Gladys, no one loves their friend so much she’ll set up an entire online identity, buy a second white iPhone, and ASK HER LIVE-IN COUSIN to have PHONE SEX WITH HER. There’s more explaining to be done here….

    Two snaps. And a “amen girl amen”

  8. When someone is hot and also really funny



    Too true. 

  9. Why I Do What I Do: Way Back Wednesday Rant

    *Yeah, Ima try and make “Way Back Wednesday” a thing I guess… 

    Digging in the files for another piece I’m writing, I came across this letter I wrote to three mentors in September 2008. Resonates a bit today, this week, this month. 

    Been trying to really provide nutrients to my roots… if you know what I mean. Need this kind of reminder more often to get me through the grind of education.

    K, J & G- 

    As three mentor figures in my current, & past ventures into the world of education (and by education I mean urban education, urban education reform, and culture, and difference and equity and… so on)

    Thank you. Thank you for challenging me to always address issues of dissonance for myself, and teaching me to confront those challenges with grace.

     All of you have known me at varying stages of growth, but today I truly saw how what you taught me, covertly and overtly has allowed me to reach a place I’m truly proud to be.

    After an excessively grueling 8-hour Saturday class focusing on culture & language in education, I had a self- realization of a lesson you each tried to teach me.

    Gone are the days that I feel the need to school the “un-enlightened” child of privilege. After hours of listening to people speak their minds to somehow alleviate themselves from whatever issues “difference” and “equity” and “reform” arise for them, never staying on topic or monitoring their own airtime, I became frustrated.

    But not the “oh no you didn’t” frustrated, not the one that would have lost it when a student asked J if we were talking about Asia the language or Asia the country, scream at the “ignorant” white guy in K’s class, or run into G’s office in tears.

    Instead, I took it very personally that people refused to take responsibility for the shared experience of our classroom as a community. I’m not gonna lie It’s been an extremely long week, I’m fatigued as shit, and I know what happened next wasn’t a direct result of our classroom.

    But I cried, cried the way each of you have seen me cry in the past, but in a way I haven’t in a long time. I cried because I realized I wasn’t upset at what someone said, I’m over that stuff, everyone has their own opinion, everyone has a space to voice it. I was upset that no one had a respect for process. That no one wanted to collectively share in the process of learning. (And by no one I just mean those most vocal, I have a cohort that were on the same page as I).

    And I’m not really sure why I need to tell you three this, my three mentors, but I do.  I think in some regards, my moment of clarity was one of realizing that I do want to do this. That I can do this. And that I’m no longer the angry teenager G sent off to college, and J and K inherited to pick up the pieces, was huge. I want to do this education bit. How I clearly don’t know yet. But I feel like I need to thank each of you for helping me get there.

    K, I’m ready to ask for the world.

  10. Trayvon/Hunger Games: Lowest Common Demnominator Repost →

    We’re still all Trayvon.