1. 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.

    Florida-

    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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 

    (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. 

  2. 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. 

  3. 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. 

    Best,
    Magtonic

  4. awesomepeoplehangingouttogether:

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

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

    awesomepeoplehangingouttogether:

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

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

  5. awesomepeoplehangingouttogether:

Gilda Radner and Lorne Michaels

    awesomepeoplehangingouttogether:

    Gilda Radner and Lorne Michaels

  6. 8 July 2013

    98 notes

    Reblogged from
    molls

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

    molls:

    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”

  7. When someone is hot and also really funny

    whatshouldwecallme:

    image

    Too true. 

  8. 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.

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

    We’re still all Trayvon. 

  10. The Periphery of Neighbor and Hood- Rando Rant

    I am an almost model minority. And this is my story.

    I am an occasional writer, accidental rapper, comedian by birth, activist at heart, an axiomatic pessimist (or pragmatist depending on how optimistic you are) and educator by nature.

    My family last names could be Pampangan or Irish for “Jack of all Trades-Master of None.” Depending on the day, it could be Tagalog or Scottish for “MacGyver” because we are a people who can jerry rig almost anything given enough binder clips and rubber bands. But that’s another post.

    High performer in school- yet constantly running my mouth. Stormed into the office to demand someone do something about the horrible sub in our Spanish class, but got sent to the counselors office (often) for almost getting into fist fights with one of my life long best friends (a dude) and bickering for the first half of our 90 minute block period.

    I graduated with high honors, got into all 6 schools I applied to for college, but often had to take my finals in isolated settings because I was too distracted/distracting. Maybe I just have undiagnosed ADHD.

    I am an almost model minority.

    The house my parents live in in San Francisco- the top flat of a two story victorian building, owned by my grandparents, becoming more and more dilapidated by the day- sits on the border of two neighborhoods. Two blocks to the right live upper middle class Applers, Googlers and Facebookers who own Audis and get charter bussed down to Palo Alto every day. The neighborhood that used to be called Upper Noe Valley (too hood to be associated with Noe Valley) has been rebranded by non-natives as Stroller Valley, Fairmount Heights and Pierre Valley (‘who the fuck is Pierre?’ asks my father). Aside from the techies, interracial couples- Asian Wife, White Husband or ‘Yoko Johns’ as comedian Rex Navarette calls them- push their blond haired blue-eyed babies with Asian eyes in doublewides. Those without children have four-legged dependents- after all, this is San Francisco where we passed a law to be known as pet guardians, not owners.

    Two blocks to the left of my parents place however- we’re in the Mission. Not completely overrun by hipsters- but certainly not free of them. A few empty properties just 2 blocks away that I’m convinced are meth labs (Thank you Breaking Bad for this unreasonable paranoia) that even several grown men I know run past at night- they do not play. The Safeway around the corner from that house has been the site of MANY a shooting in my life- never gets on the news because 30th street is a no mans land – not quite the Mission or hip Bernal Heights.

    No man’s lands on the periphery are places of privilege.

    But, I’m not silver spoon privileged. I’m 3rd generation Mexican-Irish/Filipino-Cape Verdian/San Franciscan on my mother’s side, and 1.5 generation Filipino American on my father’s side- privileged. Cape Verdian great grandma raised three kids through the great depression on her own. Dad’s dad walked the Bataan Death march in World War II, and then moved to California and picked crops along side members of the United Farm Workers/Cesar Chavez’ crew. That’s the shit movies are made of.

    But our story is not just a ‘survival story.’

    Yes, my parents scrapped together sometimes. We wouldn’t have been able to afford living in SF had my grandparents not inherited the building from my grandpa’s Mexican mother.

    It could get hot on our block- I’ve lived on periphery of all that bad shit kids could get into. On the border of that shit that separates the neighbor and hood. I experienced the kind of trauma you’d find in an after school special but also lived in close proximity to shit that got deeper. Like any city kid, I’ve lost friends to all kinds of ignorance. I’m lucky I’ve never been on the front line and that a handful of protections that kept me from being there.

    I’m an almost model minority.

    Almost, because none of these things disappear. I may wear button downs and pencil skirts from J. Crew (80% of which were purchased on super sale mind you- a Pinay girl does not forget the value of a good sale) but it’s not all gone. I never banged, or got into turf set drama, but I feel weird hanging out on any street lower than 21st, that’s Scrap territory after all. Though I had nothing to do with Norteños- living on this periphery means something, hella years later. It’s like residual Catholicism despite being a recovering Catholic and saying a prayer to St. Anthony when I lose something. At 30 I still find myself thinking- though it’s not like I really find myself in a position to do so- “I do not fuck with Scraps.”

    image

    Gang-related- sort of- several times removed. Straight A student who did a lot of clown shit. Fought for causes but rode broken tricycles we found on the street down the hall at lunch senior year. Became a spokesperson for random protests on my college campus, thought I could change the world with my writing and whack I mean rap skills. Always have jokes for days. Smoked plenty of ganga, but didn’t start drinking until 4 or 5 months before I turned 21. The one time I did a man made drug- a study one at that - a girl came to my room looking for a dude I used to mess with and introduced herself saying her name was a food item. Like literally, “Hello my name is Apple” or “Tell him Candy was looking for him” shit. I was convinced I’d taken something much harder, because when I left that poor boy a message he later told me he had no idea who I was talking about. I thought “Oh shit, I just seen a ghost.” Turns out he only knew her by her government name. That ‘almost model minority shit’ does not put one above warning labels and doing drugs that aren’t prescribed to us Nik. You’d think that San Francisco upbringing and Asian fear of failure would have taught me better.

    My mom was not a tiger mom. Nor were my parents helicopter parents. I was privileged however in that I had parents who advocated for me. When they couldn’t, I lived vicariously through the work of all the white parents and upwardly mobile former activists now successful members of the brown community moms & dads who advocated for my peers. Even though I had communities who supported me- and the gang of classmates I was in school with from K to 12- there was room for error, if I so chose. I didn’t have to though.

    By origin, I fit the Model Minority and Non-Model minority archetypes- shit Filipinos do not a top rank in the Asian/Pacific Islander world receive. But I ain’t a nurse. I do not play piano. I’m a product of bilingual education- not as an English language learner, but as a native English speaker learning Spanish. My grammar and spelling be jacked sometimes. Unless I’m using slang, in which case it’s intentional… son… hella. I bombed the SATs. Back when they were only out of a 1600. I don’t even think I broke 1200. As an ex once noted: I’m an Ethnic, the test wasn’t set up for me to succeed (how thoughtful of him right?). But I had the extra curriculars. The personality. The 12 thousand racial lineages and was the San Francisco girl looking at East Coast Schools. HELLO AFFIRMATIVE ACTION, so nice to meet you since you left the University of California system, where I got in for being in the top 5 percent in my class (of 80). Luck.

    True blue San Franciscan, I bleed black and orange, and if you cut me my guts are red and gold. I ride or die for the SF Giants, and I have the most dysfunctional relationship with the SF 49ers. Also- um…Warriors in the post season?! 3 post seasons in a row for our teams could lead to an aneurism for me this year. We’re damned lucky.

    But we need to stop seeing it like that. I need to stop seeing it like that. During the 2013 Superbowl, completely SHOCKED that these dudes were able to get this far, I kept yelling, “Play like you’re more than just lucky to be here.” Sending Kaepernick all the mixed kid magic I could muster, ‘more than just luck’ became a refrain. People of color are always told we ‘should feel so lucky’- but our work can’t go unnoticed. We earned this shit, and we need to act like it. Good reminder not just the 49ers, or the Giants, or the Warriors but for myself.

    A brown girl who’s first generation American- product of public education- and went to one of the 7 sisters on scholarship- I am more than just lucky to be here. I’ve worked to get here. My parents, grandparents, and great grandparents worked to get me here. My community worked to get me here. I’m lucky I never got jumped into a gang. Lucky I never got jacked for my Jordan’s and damned lucky I didn’t let starting college the week of September 11th- in upstate NY no less- ruin me. But progress didn’t come without work.

    I’m lucky having AIDS education engrained in me since early elementary school, and a general fear of STDs/ boys depending on what age we’re talking about- kept me from being a young mom. Luck was what got me the resources to know better – working at being informed and independent is what helped me make smart choices (or instill fear, whichever you like).

    I was too smart to fail, too committed to being ‘right’ or knowing everything to not study. Felt I owed something to those who worked to get me here. Maybe it’s that Asian Guilt, or maybe even that Catholic guilt for not attending church at least on Christmas. “It takes a village. We were raised by a tribe. Don’t shame your people.” All that good stuff.

    I’m an almost model minority.

    Growing up in the periphery has meant not only negotiating racial borderlands ala- Anzaldua, but also making decisions- conscious and otherwise, about which side of this line to be on.

    The periphery is a safe place. A place to hide. Full of protections, but also uncertainty. A place where tribes feel divided. Where door knocker earrings aren’t retired but saved for ‘going out’. Where pencil skirts out number minis. Peripheries are spaces where a class clown can get straight A’s. Peripheries are where people who have non-profit hearts, but low-level government jobs can thrive. A borderland where multiple borders collide. Some days it feels suffocating. Other’s liberating. The choice to decide which day it will be, can at times be the only comforting part of occupying such a space. Having the choice at all, and knowing it’s not just luck that propels me to the side that is most to my advantage, is the the real privilege.

    I’m an almost model minority, and that is my story.