Someone who is perennially surprised that depravity exists, who continues to feel disillusioned (even incredulous) when confronted with evidence of what humans are capable of inflicting in the way of gruesome, hands-on cruelties upon other humans, has not reached moral or psychological adulthood

– Susan Sontag, Regarding the Pain of Others (via girlboss)

"I became really jaded about connecting with other Indians. At university, it was point of pride to be Tamil Brahmin while Punjabi students would get drunk and start repping their Jat identity in hip-hop ciphers. Because their castes had never been stigmatised, this caste culture became coded as Indian culture. All of the Indian professors on campus were upper caste as well, and all, except one, refused to advise me on projects and blacklisted my work. I stopped getting invited to South Asian events. These are some of the structural manifestations of caste in the diaspora. Once you’re out, you’re… out. "

Still I Rise, Elle India

thediaryyears:

15 June 2014 // Quote by Gloria Anzaldúa

knowledge makes me more aware, it makes me more conscious. “knowing” is painful because after “it’ happens, i can’t stay in the same place and be comfortable. i am no longer the same person i was before. 

gloria anzaldua

Every few years I teach a class called “Hippies.” The main theme of the course is to follow the white, suburban middle-class in its homage to Asia - from the 1967 Summer of Love debut of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and his Transcendental Mediation to the 1990s version via Deepak Chopra and the Dalai Lama.We study the genuine sense of malaise among suburban youth (the condition that Paul Goodman called “Growing Up Absurd”), but we also tend to the way in which “Asia” functions as an alibi for a politics to transcend the condition of the suburb.

A bumper sticker that says “Free Tibet” seems to offer an entry into a transcendental politics, far removed from the social melancholy of suburban life. Does Tibet or Hinduism offer a coherent program to reconstruct the oppression of suburban capitalism? My own sense is that it facilitates an escape from the rigors of our world.

There is, of course, nothing inherently wrong with the pursuit of spirituality under the sign of Hinduism; indeed there is perhaps much to be gained from it. However, as Hindutva-style cruelty devastates the landscape of Indian life, it is imperative for those who claim Hinduism to offer ruthless criticism of global Hindutva.…Do not allow liberal multiculturalism to give global Hindutva cover from secular forces.

— Vijay Prashad, Suburban Whites and Pogroms in India

To tell the story of America’s tangled history with South Asia is the first and most basic step in teaching South Asia critically…Elihu Yale, who lived and worked in India for nearly three decades with the British East India Company, donated to the Collegiate School of Connecticut three bales of goods - Madras cotton, silk, and other textiles from India —laying the financial foundation for their first building. The first seated chair of Sanskrit emerged at Yale. In 1800 when Alexander Dow negotiated yet another treaty with the Sindhi Mirs to establish ports and harbors on the Arabian Sea, he specifically noted that Americans were to be kept out of Sindh. The 1856 Guano Islands Act passed by Congress claimed for the United States any “unclaimed” island with sufficient supplies of bird waste (to be used as fertilizer by American farmers) by any American entrepreneur and mandated that this annexation should be defended by the U.S. Navy…That act of Congress is also part of the legal framework that created Guantanamo Bay and that enables drone assassinations in “remote frontier regions of Pakistan, where there is “no rule of law”. The opium trade network that sustained the East India company’s coffers in the mid-19th century by supplying Bengal-raised opium to China was remitted through American cotton, and that money seeped right into the Southern slave economy.

– Manan Ahmed

We lose our history so easily, what is not predigested for us by the New York Times, or the Amsterdam News, or Time magazine. Maybe because we do not listen to our poets or to our fools, maybe because we do not listen to our mamas in ourselves. When I hear the deepest truths I speak coming out of my mouth sounding like my mother’s, even remembering how I fought against her, I have to reassess both our relationship as well as the sources of my knowing. Which is not to say that I have to romanticize my mother in order to appreciate what she gave me – Woman, Black. We do not have to romanticize our past in order to be aware of how it seeds our present. We do not have to suffer the waste of an amnesia that robs us of the lessons of the past rather than permit us to read them with pride as well as deep understanding.

– Audre Lorde, Learning from the 60’s

Whiteness can be understood as a wall in the sense that it keeps its place: even the attempts to modify whiteness can end up supporting it. Whiteness is like a shape that “bounces back” as soon as the pressure to modify it is eased. The experience of anti-racist work often feels like this: banging your head against a brick wall. If the wall keeps it place, it is you that gets sore. You come up against the same thing, over and over again.

It is necessary to question the presence of people in color in the academy as an unquestioned good. Does tenuring more native or ethnic studies scholars necessarily contribute to a decolonized academy, or does it serve to further retrench a colonial academic system by multiculturalizing it? Does our position in the academy help our communities or does it enable us to engage in what Cathy Cohen describes as a process of secondary marginalization, creating an elite class that can oppress and police the rest of the members of our communities? Have we fallen into the trap Elizabeth Povinelli describes of simply adding social difference to the multicultural academy without social consequence? Does our presence help challenge the political and economic status quo, or does our presence serve as an alibi for the status quo? In asking these questions, I do not suggest that there is politically pure space from which to work outside the academic-industrial complex, and yet still constitute a subversion that matters. However, it is an imperative to ensure our opposition within the academy is more contestatory and less complicit.

– Andrea Smith, ‘Native Studies and Critical Pedagogy : Beyond the Academic-Industrial Complex’  (via mehreenkasana)

(Source: lingrix, via mangoestho)

In effect post-modernism is extremely divisive because it promotes fragmentation between people and gives relative importance to identities without any theoretical framework to understand the historical reasons for identity formation and to link the various identities. So we can have a gathering of NGOs like WSF where everyone celebrates their identity - women, prostitutes, gays, lesbians, tribals, dalits etc etc., but there is no theory bringing them under an overall understanding, a common strategy. Each group resist its own oppressors, as it perceives them. With such an argument, logically, there can be no organization, at best it can be spontaneous organisation at the local level and temporary coalitions.To advocate organisation according to their understanding means to reproduce power - hierarchy, oppression. Essentially they leave the individual to resist for himself or herself, and are against consistent organized resistance and armed resistance.

Why these sisters struck me as the most dangerous of artists was because in the work of, say, Morrison, or Octavia Butler, we are shown the awful radiant truth of how profoundly constituted we are of our oppressions. Or, said differently: how indissolubly our identities are bound to the regimes that imprison us. These sisters not only describe the grim labyrinth of power that we are in as neocolonial subjects, but they also point out that we play both Theseus and the Minotaur in this nightmare drama. Most importantly these sisters offered strategies of hope, spinning the threads that will make escape from this labyrinth possible. It wasn’t an easy thread to seize — this movement towards liberation required the kind of internal bearing witness of our own role in the social hell of our world that most people would rather not engage in. It was a tough praxis but a potentially earthshaking one, too. Because rather than strike at this issue or that issue, this internal bearing of witness raised the possibility of denying our oppressive regimes the true source of their powers — which is, of course, our consent, our participation. This kind of praxis doesn’t attack the head of the beast, which will only grow back; it strikes directly at the beast’s heart, which we nurture and keep safe in our own.

We lose our history so easily, what is not predigested for us by the New York Times, or the Amsterdam News, or Time magazine. Maybe because we do not listen to our poets or to our fools, maybe because we do not listen to our mamas in ourselves. When I hear the deepest truths I speak coming out of my mouth sounding like my mother’s, even remembering how I fought against her, I have to reassess both our relationship as well as the sources of my knowing. Which is not to say that I have to romanticize my mother in order to appreciate what she gave me – Woman, Black. We do not have to romanticize our past in order to be aware of how it seeds our present. We do not have to suffer the waste of an amnesia that robs us of the lessons of the past rather than permit us to read them with pride as well as deep understanding.

browngurlrage:

[Amman Desai / “Tinku” (2013) / Linocut print] Activist and tech entrepreneur Ali ‘Tinku’ Ishtiaq was born in Bangladesh, and moved to Berkeley in 1982. He was an early founding member of Trikone (the world’s first South Asian LGBTQ organization), a co-founder of the Bangladesh Support Network, a co-chair of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, and a co-founder of Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism. A long-time Berkeleyan, he recently returned to his adopted hometown after several years away. This print honors Ishtiaq’s role in the founding of Trikone, as well as the role of South Asians organizing against the occupation of Palestine and Kashmir.
From Our Name is Rebel: Images of Berkeley’s Radical South Asian Legacy

browngurlrage:

[Amman Desai / “Tinku” (2013) / Linocut print] Activist and tech entrepreneur Ali ‘Tinku’ Ishtiaq was born in Bangladesh, and moved to Berkeley in 1982. He was an early founding member of Trikone (the world’s first South Asian LGBTQ organization), a co-founder of the Bangladesh Support Network, a co-chair of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, and a co-founder of Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism. A long-time Berkeleyan, he recently returned to his adopted hometown after several years away. This print honors Ishtiaq’s role in the founding of Trikone, as well as the role of South Asians organizing against the occupation of Palestine and Kashmir.

From Our Name is Rebel: Images of Berkeley’s Radical South Asian Legacy

day thirty.

your aunt gave birth

to still cities
hiroshima a cyst in her stomach
mogadishu a lump in her breast
everyone in your family 
told her to
stop
loving
so hard
you won’t find a man who wants 
to kiss an atlas
dont map out stars on your back
like that
where you gonna find
a man who wants to join 
your constellations with his tongue
push out falestine from under your
tongue xayati
let damascus drip from your neck
and wash out the havana of
your ribs
your dreams are too large
too big
stifiling
they make everyone around you
hold their breath
what man wants a woman
covered in continents
teeth small colonies
stomach an island
what man wants to
watch the world
from his bedroom
face a small riot
hands a civil war
arms freckled
with an immigrants story home
behind your ears
a refugee camp
a body littered entirely
with ugly things

but god,
doesn’t she wear the world well.

— warsan shire



(Source: motherground, via browngurlrage)