Friday, December 31, 2010

End of the Year Review

I started my blog in June of this year but the real 'stuff' went up in July. This post was called a "Call for Coalition Building"
I'm making a call to all my sisters and brothers out there. My people of color. As Latinos, Asians, Blacks, and for good measure lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgendered individuals we must work together. We must build coalitions to work for social justice. We cannot push people down to make ourselves 'fit in' with white America, rather we need to level the playing field and make sure that we change America to make it an inclusive place. We do not need to fit the mold of 'America' but create a new America. Where we challenge stereotypes, where we think critically, where we can see the whole person. Until then we must continue to work for social justice.
I still stand by this but I think its too little and little why. Social justice is not something that only people of color should be invested. I see it as of critical importance for all be people to be advocates for social justice but I feel that as people of color we are often effected by injustice so we should be on the front lines of social justice to speak for ourselves and our communities. This is not intended to disrespect any white advocates either. One of my close friends and teachers who I will call Karen has been one of my biggest pushes into social justice advocacy and my initial training was with her. I love her passion and so I try to bring it to this blog. I still have a long way to go because no one is perfect.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

I'm Ready to Jump In

Hello All,

I want to share this post by Jessie Daniels, "The DREAM Act and the Failure of White Gay/Lesbian Progressives" posted today at Racism Review. In it she discusses gay organizations:

"...leading gay and lesbian organizations, such as NGLTF have mentioned both the DREAM Act and DADT – but as separate, single issues.   In separate press releases this week, Rea Carey, Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) came out in favor of the repeal of DADT and the DREAM Act."
 I think this is exactly the direction we need to be going in. It seems to often that we get distracted by our divisions. As I've discussed in other posts we need to unite. I know that we are not the same. Men and women we know are not the same just like apples and oranges are not the same and cats and dogs are not the same. We know that racism and sexism, homophobia and xenophobia, classism and religious intolerance are not the same. This does not mean that women and men do not deserve to be treated equally under the law. They do. We cannot make a hierarchy of oppression. All oppression is bad, whether it's because you're female, LGBT, Black, Latino, Asian, Muslim, Pagan, Mormon, immigrant or student, 65+, etc. I applaud Rea Carey for supporting the repeal of DADT and the DREAM Act. Not everyone is making as much of an effort. I understand a small college student blog with 6 followers has a lot more leeway in terms of what I can take about. She goes on

...the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the largest (and predominantly white) gay rights organization, has had a lot to say on DADT, but has had very little to say about the DREAM Act.  White gay bloggers like Dan Savage and Joe.My.God. have mentioned the DREAM Act along with DADT, as they have been updating their readers about the lame-duck session of Congress. The Advocate, a magazine popular with white gays and lesbians, has tons of coverage about the repeal of DADT, but has had only one piece about the immigration (in November) but nothing to date in the archive about the DREAM Act, except as the scheduling of that vote threatened to affect repeal of DADT.  And, perhaps most disappointing for me to see personally as a church-going lesbian, the moderator for my denomination issued a press release that heralded the triumph of this single issue.
 These sources have their focus but we cannot forget that the fight for equality is not limited. So many of the systems of stratification we live in, in the US and abroad are interconnected. We cannot abolish racism without combating sexism and the other -isms. We cannot stand in our corner and say we did it, while another group is not successful. DADT has been repealed which is brilliant but the DREAM Act failed. Both are important to me. They are the same fight. Some would disagree but think about it. Lesbians and gays are not allowed to serve in the military if they are open about it. Young children come to this countries with their parents. My parents moved from the Bronx to Buffalo when I was little. I had no say. These children don't either. They attend school here and some go to college to better themselves but are not citizens and the path to citizenship for them currently is probably not easy or quick. The DREAM Act would make it easier for them granted they meet certain criteria. Every Civil Rights issue has similar aspects. No one chooses what color to be born, what person they will be attracted to, what sex organs they are born (or not born) with, what level of education their parent has etc. The fight for social justice and equality is about repairing these problems. Things have changed. That does not mean we're done. In the 60s, students of various races worked together, the Black Panthers worked with the Gay and Lesbian Taskforce, why can't we do this today on a large scale?

That's what I can end this with. We know that working together with other groups is not easy but can be done. What is the next fight and who is ready to jump in? I'm in!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

No More Dead LGBT Youth

I am going to be really loud right now. I am sick and tired of LGBT youth seeing suicide as their only option. I'm sick and tired of youth suicides in general but especially gay youth, especially now. Recently several gay youth (or perceived gay youth) have killed themselves because they were bullied or had to deal with very public homophobia. I want to take a moment to remember the lives of Tyler Clementi, Seth Walsh, Justin Aaberg, Raymond Chase, Asher Brown, Billy Lucas, Zach Harrington and other victims of hate, and homophobia. What are we to do? We CANNOT sit and tolerate this. These suicides are not just 7 youths, or mere bullying as the media would play it. It is part of a larger problem. There is an acceptable level of hate in this country sometimes towards Muslims, towards undocumented workers, Latinos, and Blacks (African Americans, Africans, Afro-Caribbeans, etc.), and towards the LGBTQ community. This post concerns the LGBT community at large because I see these suicides in the same arena as hate crimes. Matthew Shepard, Brandon Teena, Lawrence King, Jorge Steven López Mercado, Ahmed Khalil, Satender Singh, and countless others have been murdered because people did not like that they were LGBTQ. I am MAD and not just because I'm gay. I remember what it was like to be in a place of utter darkness and seemingly no escape. A place that it hurts to think about. Suicide seems like your only option in that place. It hurts! When I saw these young faces, back to back, I remembered those days and it hurt me deep inside. I wished I could go back in time and tell them it's not the end of the world, that things will get better, that there are people out there who will love them and accept them, that they will find love, and that they will find friends that don't make them fit any gender box. Having out gays in their lives telling them that "[they're] not sick, nothing's wrong with [them] and God doesn't hate [them]" (from the movie Milk). These are beautiful young people gone too soon. I'd share my story and tell them that it gets better. It does. I am surrounded by friends and family that love me and support me. Some of them very unexpectedly. Yes as a community and a movement we are not at full equality (are we there for any minority group?) but in many ways we have moved forward since the 50s/60s. We cannot be made illegal. We are not illegal. We cannot be silent. I AM NOT SILENT! They expect us to be, though, and watch more lives be lost and taken. We cannot do this. It's not a you thing or a me thing but a we thing. We CAN (good song)!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hate in this Country

I try to be an optimist. Sometimes it is hard. In terms of civil rights I was not alive in the 50s or turbulent 60s. I was not a college student during Vietnam or during the other now famous student movements. I was not alive during the start of the homophile or gay rights movement (post Stonewall). I was not a Freedom Rider, or a member of SNCC, I was not a part of Act Up, I ...am here in my room, watching Countdown with Keith Olbermann. I am not an active member of any activist groups. I am not going to say I don't care or do my part. There are days when it get hard to be an optimist. These days are here now.

It is extremely saddening that there is so much hate in this country. So much hate. In NYC there is so much hate directed at our Muslim sisters and brothers. There is homophobia. There is so much hate against immigrants that some are discussing changing the Constitution!!!! I we cannot forget racism and sexism and discrimination/oppression in general. We're fighting two wars and more seem likely. There is so much hate.


Monday, August 2, 2010

To Whom Do We Turn...?

Hello All,

Sorry it's been so long since my last post. Work, research and life came up. I have been pretty devoted to my Twitter page though. That's where this blog really starts.

I follow Jessie Daniels, a professor at CUNY Hunter College, and we began discussing The Kids Are All Right and I stumble on The Lesbian Mafia and their review of the film. In our conversations many issues were brought up and many of us were disturbed that GLAAD did not denounce this film but after pressure they did release a post with a poll asking LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered) individuals to comment on the film, which of course I did. Upon further conversation there was a piece posted by ColorLines discussing the way race is played in this film. Not good. I wanted to see this film, it looked good and was received well by mainstream critics generally. I do not think I should give my money to this film.

I began to think about the next layer of this. The director of the film is an out lesbian. What?! How is it that a lesbian could make a film that is so problematic and has been rejected by many lesbians? Selling out? Going mainstream? Does she have a responsibility as a lesbian to make films that are not stereotypical? I have spent hours discussing this very issue with a friend of mine. On Monday August 2nd I stumbled upon a blog I check out every so often, Blabbeando. The post that piqued my interest was called "When Latino pop stars turn their backs on our rights" and it is interesting because I have been thinking what standard do we need to hold celebrities/famous people to?

Lady Gaga speaks out for LGBT rights and was asked to speak out for people of color in Arizona and she did. Should we expect celebrities like Lady Gaga to speak out for people of color just because she speaks out for LGBT rights? What about Latino celebrities? Should we hold them to a different standard regarding issues of race? What about Lisa Cholodenko the director of the Kids Are All Right? Should we expect different things from her as a lesbian? Should we be accustomed to being let down by the artists that are mainstream?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Call For Coalition Building

Hello All,

I am currently reading Eduardo Bonilla-Silva's book Racism Without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and Racial Inequality in Contemporary America. It is a very enjoyable book and has furthered my interest in the study of race. Why is this relevant? Because in one of the chapters he discusses where he thinks race in America is headed. He states, "My basic claim is that all this reshuffling denotes that the biracial order typical of the United States, which was the exception in the world racial system, is evolving into a complex and loosely organized triracial stratification system similar to that of many Latin American and Caribbean nations. Specifically, I contend that the emerging triracial system will be comprised of "whites" at the top, an intermediary group of "honorary whites"-similar to the coloreds in South Africa during formal apartheid, and a nonwhite group or the "collective black" at the bottom." The context is that given higher rates of Latino immigration and other changes America is headed toward a triracial with light-skinned Latinos as honorary whites (like Cubans) and dark-skinned Latinos in the collective black (like Puerto Ricans). While I was hesitant to agree at first I think the evidence he provides does have some merit. That's not why I'm writing this post. I am writing because I want us to have a different future.

I'm making a call to all my sisters and brothers out there. My people of color. As Latinos, Asians, Blacks, and for good measure lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgendered individuals we must work together. We must build coalitions to work for social justice. We cannot push people down to make ourselves 'fit in' with white America, rather we need to level the playing field and make sure that we change America to make it an inclusive place. We do not need to fit the mold of 'America' but create a new America. Where we challenge stereotypes, where we think critically, where we can see the whole person. Until then we must continue to work for social justice.

Adios for now!

-Carlos

Sunday, July 4, 2010

'Happy' 4th of July

Hello All,

Today is the 4th of July, Independence Day here in the United States. It is a very interesting holiday. Americans declared independence from England and proceeded throughout America's history to oppress and conquer many peoples. An example is the island of Puerto Rico, among many others: Haiti, several Latin American countries and today in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Joe Feagin of Racism Review posted Frederick Douglass' 4th of July Speech which is a very interesting piece. As much as it is important to celebrate the accomplishments of this country, it is also important to remember the wrongs this country has done and continues to do. It is important that we as Americans work towards a better future for our children and their children's children.

How can we create this change? Well, Daisy Fernandez of Colorlines discussed 5 Ways to Celebrate the Fourth of July which can be a start. They are simple but can have a big impact. Today I personally shared information about the Oscar Grant trial with my Facebook friends, and hopefully they will share it with someone else. I also emailed President Barack Obama about my views on immigration.

This country is not perfect (and no country is) but what I love about this country is that I have the right to say that this country is wrong for fighting wars in the Middle East, for ousting leaders and replacing them with puppet governments, for slavery, and the list goes on. I can say that. I can have this blog and discuss my feelings and share them with the world. I am an American. I was born in the United States and have seen many things in this life. I know that the way to change this country, to make it work right, to help it live up to it's credo, to follow the principles of the Declaration of Independence, to make the statement Liberty and Justice for All an honest one, to work for social justice, to give voice to the voiceless, is to stay in this country, live here, work here, speak out, speak up, and stand by what I believe.

"Patriotism is not obedience to government it is obedience to the principles for which government is supposed to stand" Howard Zinn



Happy 4th of July and continue to fight the power!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

First Blog

Hello World!

Welcome to Loud and Proud!

This first blog post will be short and sweet!

I intend to blog about social problems: poverty, racism, sexism, heterosexism, discrimination, oppression, and my thoughts on these as well as my ideas on what should be done. And of course whatever else is going on!

Hope you all have a blessed day and come back soon for more posts!

-Carlos