Saturday, September 23, 2006

Jamilah Bourdon, Her Homework Assignment for Us and a Few Thoughts

Last night after the KBOO show, fellow guest Jamilah Bourdon highly recommended us all to watch afropunk. Here is the link. If you were listening to the show you got some concrete ideas on what to do Monday morning in your school or job to make a differnce as a white ally to people of color. Jamilah just gave us some homeowork though! And that is to find Afropunk and WATCH IT!

I'd like to echo that marching order and add to it. When you're done DON'T call Jamilah and dump on her about your "feelings" about Afropunk. Call me instead! Let me listen to you (assuming you're white and want to be an ally) and do my thing with you first. THEN call Jamilah and reach out! Ask her, LISTEN to HER about what SHE likes about Afropunk. What is it that she hopes you'll get from it? This is a suggestion and from my experience a good one. After you get to know Jamilah a little and she ASKS YOU what you think tell her. But meanwhile, if she doesn't ask--and you have "feelings" about the "unfairness" of that--CALL ME! :)

Those "feelings" are the racist conditioning stuck to your mind. And together, I can teach you to unstick those feelings off your fine and once unfettered mind. YOUR life will be better and ALL your relationships will be better for it. I guarantee this.

I was pleased to meet Jamilah last night as she came into the studio at KBOO moments before we were on the air and introduced herself--a dark-skinned black woman in a tall black velvet hat and dress, a winning smile and "I'm here" presence--and announced that she would be joining us.

What luck!! I am blessed.

She advocated that us white folks not romanticize her people or any group of poc for that matter.

My story:

It so happens that is the exact info and direction that struck me, that got into my heart four years ago when I came to Portland Oregon. I was at a women's citywide gathering in which there was a panel of Latina/Native American women. One woman, who I now have (since that time) an ongoing exchange going with dedicated to eliminating any and all racist hurts and conditioning that either one of us has carried. This woman at the time spoke directly to the white women present. She told us how bad things are on the rez and she said clearly, "Don't romanticize my people and our spirituality. Don't pass the talking stick."

She let us know that too much had already been taken and it was not okay with her for us to dabble, as white folks, and try to make one more thing OURS that wasn't!!

I got her phone number and we've been meeting every other week since that night. We have a long term committed relationship with guidelines such as "If you run I will come after you. I will sit on your doorstep and remind you that on item #8 it says, if you run I will come after you ..."

"I will show you everything. I will not hold back anything. I ask you to do the same. And when you do show me all that is inside--whether it be hatred, anger, rage and whether or not you have to aim it at me, I will NOT BE CONFUSED." "I will stay close and I will remember we get to have each other and be completely close."

I will tell that story here on this blog over and over again. I will keep telling you about this relationship with my Native American / Indigenous counselor as a white woman. It has moved me the most forward of just about anything--along with my work to understand and dismantle anti-Jewish oppression.

So, gotta go for now. But I want to express the JOY I feel that Leigh Anne Kranz has devoted her core to ending racism. I appreciate her going after the air time and her deep thoughtfulness towards me and anyone I introduce her to. (Thanks again Maxjulian who introduced us last year.)

I also have such joy at being close to Raeyven Rasheed. Our friendship and now our work together to teach others how to end racism is beyond words to describe. It's so good.

Love you!

OH!! Before I forget part two of Jamilah's homework, "Look at your life are people of color in it? Are they in your environment or outside of it?" coming up!


Blogger L said...

Thank you, Sea. That was very kind of you to say. Right back atcha!


10:19 PM PDT  
Blogger Sea's Blog said...

It's true! :)

2:51 PM PDT  
Blogger Thin Black Duke said...

I do hope that you and your readers check out Afropunk. It's great and sheds a lot of light on the lives of Black punk rockers.

Also, in NYC there is the Afro Punk weekend held every year around the Fourth of July by the Brooklyn Academy of Music. If you can be there, you should.

9:27 PM PDT  
Anonymous Sister Jahleah said...

Jamilah is a dear and personal sister that I have been knowing since 2007. I have had the honor of working on a couple of projects with her on her show and I love her dearly. I also appreciate this blog and the idea of people of European descent NOT romanticizing the bitter struggle of indigenous peoples of this Earth. Poor "whites" suffer too. There is too much pain, hurt, grief, anger and sickness in the world today. It really doesn't have to be this way. There are too many people that profit from our pain and suffering. We must first learn to heal and free ourselves so that we can heal and free others. I am still working on it myself. In Hope, Faith and Healing and Love... Sister Jahleah

9:27 PM PST  

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