“You’re Black? Girl, I Guess…”

White Woman Pretends to be a Black Woman

White Woman Pretends to be a Black Woman

Last evening, my Twitter timeline erupted with the story of Rachel Dolezal, a white woman who has claimed to be a black woman. There will be several thinkpieces written about this lady. Some will be good. Most will be terrible. There’ll be stories on passing, what is blackness and why are people (black women) being so mean to her. None of that is important. I want to talk about what actual black women have to deal with in regards to white/white-passing women.

I was chatting with 4 other black women about this story and we’ve all had the same experience several times: That moment the one lady who looks white sidles up to you and starts with the AAVE, “Girl, you know, I’m black, right?”

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What is Masculinity?

Everyday we are bombarded with ads, TV shows and comments from friends and strangers about how women should present themselves. I checked out of that conversation when I was 11 as it was tiresome and offensive. Thirty some years later, I’m still disgusted that people think they have the right to decide how women should look. I’m often told that I should wear make up and dresses, with the exhortation to “be more feminine”. Personally, femininity takes time and money I don’t want to spend. I can’t justify doing my nails when I’m going to spend my time digging in the dirt or building something. Some women can do both and more power to them.

However, somewhere along the way we neglected to mention that policing men’s bodies is also wrong. Just as there’s not one kind of woman, there is not one kind of man. We all have our styles and preferences. I find beards, hairy backs, and ill-fitting clothes on men to be highly unattractive. But if you’re a bearded dude in saggy pants and a stretched out t-shirt, I’m not going to run up on a dude and say, “Be more sexy!”

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Will You Help Get Me to Korea?

2015 K-Culture Field Trip

2015 K-Culture Field Trip

I know, I know…

I have always said that actually visiting Korea wasn’t a top choice in my life. That’s only because I can think of more tropical, colorful…browner places I’d rather go, but I don’t take classes at the Jamaican Cultural Center, okay. So hear me out.

Picture it: Los Angeles, April 2015…

When classes for the current session started at the Korean Cultural Center, a table was set up in the lobby. I saw it was for a tour trip and immediately ignored it. After all, I don’t do tours because the destinations seem dull. Besides, they usually cost thousands of dollars and you’re forced to deal with yuckos, right? So, I spent the past 4 weeks, just walking past the table. I didn’t even look at the brochure because I just figured it would be some silly “let’s visit Gangnam and do a kpop tour” kind of thing.

Big mistake.

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It’s Not Enough to be Bilingual

quranic arabic

I can read the Qu’ran & that’s it

As most people know, I’m currently learning Korean. I’ll get into the myriad reasons later, but it amazes me when people–especially those who only speak English–ask me why I’m learning Korean. As if it’s a waste of time. No matter where you live or your target language, it’s never a waste of time to learn. Even though some people from all around the world are able to speak English, often there are not enough resources or high enough demand to translate media to English. There is also the shortcoming of missing out on key details of the language when translating. People like to say words or phrases just can not translate, but humans aren’t all that different and I’m sure there’s a matching colloquialism in the foreign language.

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Container Gardening at The Brewery

The Brewery is one of those reclaimed spaces given over to lofts. As the names says, it used to be a brewery and almost 35  years ago, it was renovated and now is an artists complex–in fact, the world’s largest artist’s residence. The site sits next to a freeway, trainyard and parcel distribution center. Needless to say, the ground isn’t in the best shape to grow anything.

Most of the places have patios and those are full of great container gardening. There are a lot of succulents and cactus, to be sure, but these artists have also created whimsical planters and amazing trellises to grow fruits and vegetables. There are a few Master Gardeners on site and their spaces are pretty amazing, too. Below are just a few of the plants we saw at the most recent event at The Brewery.

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