grad school theorizing

in grad school, in class, i’m discussing visual theory, the same as it is always discussed: what is visual, what is reality, what is memory, is photography a science or an art?  it is a circle jerk of supposed intellectual stimulation with no moment of climax.

we never discuss how is image used against people. we never discuss why is it that our language department is so large (the colonization of people by the Spanish) and yet we have so few US Latinx in our program—and me the only one from ohio — at a state school.
we never discuss how the police use photography or video, against the descendants of colonized people who are so huge in numbers that they drive a capitalist market for our academic department, while we are still able to keep said subjugated people out.
what does it mean when a white professor, doesn’t know who eric garner is, yet wouldn’t have their position if it weren’t for the subjugation of black and brown lives?
i don’t want to discuss what do Descartes and Freidburg think of optics and windows, or what do any other dead white men think. i want to hear the voices of those that don’t look like my classmates. i want us to be expected to know the politics of those that make us rich in academic capitalism but are controlled by image and excluded from our discussions.
instead, of looking at the society we live in, we continue with the banality of postulating what Walter Benjamin would think about reality versus nostalgia in images followed by patting ourselves on the back for reading and regurgitating selected chapters of books.

Radio, for real

The irony of the radio add was that I was on my way to a public school to interpret for an immigrant family.

Central Ohio has a radio station that is 24/7 Spanish language, primarly catering to a Mexican community. I can rarely get it but was driving through a part of town that had pretty decent receiption so I tuned in. There was an add (in spanish) with a woman’s voice saying something to the effect of “My daughter is afraid to go to school. She is afriad of the violence. The schools don’t care, and the administrators don’t care. I moved to this country so my daughter could have a better education than I had in my home country. But the politicians don’t even want us to choose where we send our children to school. The democrats have voted against us choosing where we can send our children to school. That is why I am voting for the republicans.”

I was stunned. Absolutly, stunned.
1. Lies, lies, lies.
2. Why are you bothering advertising on the Spanish radio station? Really the voting block of those who speak Spanish won’t come to voting age for at least another 5 years.
3. Lies, lies, lies.
4. Wtf?

where are the men

I am ignorant and really should keep my mouth shut more than I do.

When visiting my mom’s hometown (almost 10 years ago! wow!) I only saw one man (he is my cousin) between the age of 14-50 and he had just come back from the US only weeks before to see his sick mother. All the rest of the men were here in the United States, and many of the women were about 5-6 months pregnant as it was June and the men had come home for Christmas.

I was hanging out with some Dominican friends of mine. They all were male, all Dominican and all played pro baseball. In fact the only Dominican men I know are male baseball players. So, I asked them, “Are there any men in the Dominican Republic during baseball season?” They laughed at me. I guess I would’ve too.

Oh Say Can You See?

Last night I took Olga to a Clippers Game. Caonabo got us tickets and it was an exciting night. Olga had cotton candy and ice cream and there were fireworks. It being the fourth of July everyone was in a patriotic mood. We arrived late to the game which always opens with the singing of the national anthem and pledge to the flag.

I don’t stand for the pledge of allegiance or the anthem and sure as hell not for God Bless America. I stay silent and seated. It is my form of protest. I do not pledge allegiance to a flag, I do not pledge allegiance to a symbol that represents a government I do not support. I’ve had people be rude and nasty to me. Someone has shoved me another tried to hit me. I also had someone ask me why I choose not to stand and was polite in their response. I appreciated it greatly and thanked them for the conversation.

Here I was at the baseball game between the 7th and 8th inning with Olga and her sticky little fingers dripping ice cream on both of us when the announcer asked everyone to stand as a quartet sung “God Bless America”. I looked around me everyone in their Red, White and Blue clothing standing up and I got scared. It is one thing for me to protest but to do it with Olga was another. I started to run the scenario in my head of someone saying to her “If you don’t like it go back to where you came from”. I decided to stand up. I grabbed Olga’s ice cream cone, told her to stand, took off her baseball cap and we stood as the quartet sang “God Bless America”.

BTW Olga has an awesome punk rock hair cut (a mullet) thanks to the accident. The doctors shaved off all the hair on the top of her head but left her ponytail. She is my little punk rocker.

Apartment Hunting

Charles, Miles and I went apartment hunting today. I am working full time and taking a full course load and so I asked them both to go on their own to look at apartments. However, today I was free in the late afternoon and was able to go with them. We arrived promptly at the third apartment of the evening and waited for the landlady who arrived 20 minutes late. While we were waiting another couple was waiting as well. They were looking at the apartment and their friend the future third roommate was unable to come. I learned this about them because I heard them telling the landlady. It was terribly stereotypical. Miles walked in front of me and Charles behind me when I heard the landlady ask the white couple “who are those people?” referring to the three of us. Before the couple responded she clutched her purse and asked Miles “What are you doing?” Miles politely informed her that we were her 5 o’clock. She nodded and we all followed her into the house. She sent the couple to explore a room on their own and then us asked us to follow her to one of the other bedrooms. Once in the other bedroom she told us that she thought the three bedroom home would be too small for us. Though she never said that to the other couple that had told her there would be three of them as well. The tension or rather her nervousness around Miles and Charles was also uncomfortable. I am curious how many more times this is going to happen.

Today I went to Southern Ohio (South West of Dayton) with Olgita. Olga’s hand therapist found a doctor willing to help Olga get a burn wound mask for her face that Children’s Hospital had estimated at $20,000. It is a funny looking mask. All plastic with a space for her eyes, nostrils, and mouth. Today the took digital images of her head and will create the mask and deliver it next week. She will have to wear it 24 hours a day for at least a year. Charles was very supportive as I think he picked up on my concern of her being made fun of. He told me that most of her time is going to be spent with family and people that love her, who aren’t going to ask her why is she wearing that thing. And he thinks all the little black boys in her class in the fall will be really into her mask since a lot of basketball players wear them. Who knows…but at least it is only temporary and will help prevent further scaring.

Turning 6 & 16

Almost two months ago I emailed many of my readers, most of my friends, and told anyone who would listen, that my friends needed help. I wrote about a group of friends of mine who were in a terrible car accident just south of San Diego. My friends were trying to come to Ohio.

Two women, both single mothers passed away in the car accident. Everyone else in the car suffered injuries. My little Olgita, pictured above, broke both her legs, one of her knees and all the fingers in one of her hands, fractured her wrist, and had serious burns to her face and hand. Right now, staying with me is a young boy, Sofo, who I was told at first was 12 but found out only the night before his arrival, is actually 15. His mother passed away in the accident, and as such he was left orphaned. We are working with attorneys to figure out what we can do in Sofo’s case.

Olgita is healing pretty rapidly especially compared to her mother. Olgita went to the doctor five times in four days this past week. She has to see hand specialists, surgeons, orthopedic specialists, wound treatment specialists and physical therapists. She has been really good about going to the doctor. At first she was very freighted because after the car accident she spent the first two weeks by herself in the hospital without contact with anyone in her family. As such, when we would first go to the hospital she would cry in fear that she was going to be abandoned.

Sofo is doing well and while he will have permanent burn scares on his arm his bones have healed.

Both Sofo and Olgita have birthdays coming up. Olgita will be turning six on Saturday and Sofo will be turning sixteen on Monday.

I have to say this whole experience has been very hard for me. The first two days when they arrived in Ohio were very hard. About 13 of them total arrived in two days, all in small groups except Sofo who arrived alone. And all of them without sufficient clothing, food or bedding. That was hard. It isn’t to say I haven’t seen people hungry before, but these people seemed dependent on me. Yes, me the unemployed student. But hey, at least I have my mother and all my bones, skin, and senses.