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.

Cinco de Mayo in the Gateway

I live in a neighborhood commercially known as “The Gateway” (read government supported gentrification) although I prefer calling it by the more historical name Weinland Park.

While walking home from the gym last night I saw this advertisement:

Cinco de Mayo at Gateway

I did check out the website and the “events and specials” seem to be discounts on alcohol at two bars, the “Irish” one and the “Mexican” one (Kildare’s and Made Mex).  Which to me is personally interesting because an Irish friend visiting the US called me a couple days ago and asked what this Cinco de Mayo thing was all about.  I told her it was an annoying holiday only celebrated in the US.  I compared it to St. Paddy’s but the difference being in Ireland people have actually heard of St Patrick’s day.

My Mexican aunt who first witnessed cinco de mayo a few years ago, asked me why all the college students were sitting in their yards drinking beers while wearing sombreros.  How would you answer that one?   Anyway, back to the advertisement,  I am offended by it but am having difficulty articulating why, and was hoping my readers could help me out.  On a positive note, it is less offensive than the “spicy” one the North Market had a few years ago:
Cinco D' Ohio

British Isles produces my two newest BFFs

I’ve loved the internet, ever since the days of dial up when I would hear all those beeps and tones as the modem connected to what would now be an absurdly slow speed.  Back then you really did feel like you could reach the end of the internet.  Now the internet seems filled with never ending absurdities.  One thing that has remained the same is the ability to peak into peoples lives whom you could never have known without the internet.  I’ve recently come across two such people, both of the British Isles, Clisare and Keni Styles.

Let me start with Clisare, whom I came across via my Irish friend Aisling who posted a great video by Clisare titled “Shite Irish Girls Say“, while I did find it really really funny, I still find “Shite Irish Lads Say” even funnier.


Clisare is an artistic charismatic woman whom makes me feel invited to come and hang out with her and her friends.  The conversations may not be high brow  but they don’t need to be, rather they offer me a perspective to hanging out in Ireland, that without the internet I couldn’t get here in Ohio.  Her informal conversations aren’t  that of a vapid person, she is an LGBT activist and ally, she is aware of issues effecting her community but she is able to share them in a low-key manner so that we can pass our medicine with a big dollop of sugar.  Clisare gives me a unique perspective into the lives of some young people in Ireland not only do I enjoy it her posts, I look forward to them.

The other British Isle export to my laptop is the wonderful Keni Styles.  I came across Keni Styles via one of my favorite blogs, Racialicious, where they had named him their crush of the week.  Keni Styles is an intelligent, politically aware, porn star.  The writer at Racialicious loved him for his porn, but for me while the eye candy is enjoyable, I don’t find myself really interested in his porn rather in his political perspective.  From ageism and misogyny in the workplace, to the riots in England and institutionalized racism (that’s right— it’s when he says “institutionalized racism” that get’s me all excited), his views on the food we consume and the idea of how processed food effects our health, and his tips on gardening in urban spaces.


It is all of these things that make him a delight to follow on the internet whether it be his tumblr, his video blogs or his tweets.  In fact I wish he’d do a little less of the flirty tweeting and more ideological tweets…that’s the stuff I love to read.  The only thing that really makes me sad about Keni is that he vloged about running a 5k in 21 minutes, and the competitive part of me thought, “damn I’d lose in that 5k”  so on the off chance Keni reads this, if we do a 5K jog  together, can we keep it to 9 minute mile pace?

My two new internet BFFs are people who are fully enjoying life while stilling being aware of their surroundings; they come from a different background than this small town girl from Ohio, and to boot they are also people whom without the internet I would have never found.  Go check ’em out.

take your racism out of my yard

 I was seated at my desk when I heard lots of noise in my front yard.  Honestly, I figured someone was probably trying to cut a bike lock so I got up to go check it out.  I looked out the window and saw a lot of white people, with trash-bags and gloves, all wearing the same shirt that said “United Way” and “We Care”.  I was surprised at how angry I felt at seeing them. My chest pounded and I thought “If one of those fudgers picks up any trash from my yard I am going to scream.”  They didn’t because there wasn’t any to pick-up.

People wanted to know why I felt so angry, here is a list of reasons:

1.  It is patronizing and insulting that you think you care about my neighborhood but that I don’t?  I know my neighbors, they know me, we take care of our neighborhood.   We are not some lazy slobs who can’t take care of ourselves and need you to fix our woeful problems.

2. This reeks of gentrification. Do you think our neighborhood would only be nicer if we cleaned it up a bit;  then your investment on those overpriced new college student apartments on the corner will be worth it?   Just protecting your investment are you?

3. Our street doesn’t have any trash in fact street sweeping people just came through yesterday, so why do you think we need your help? Thanks for being so condescending.

4.  Want to help our neighborhood? Ask what we need. Who are  you to tell us we need to clean?  Actually you didn’t even tell us let alone ask you just did it.  You know what our neighborhood actually needs?  More street lights, better sidewalks, and for you not to drive 45mph on our 25mph street as you use it as a thoroughfare to your jobs.

5.  We are a mixed race neighborhood. It spews of racism and classism at the idea, that you know what is better for us, and send out white, well dressed people to take care of us.

6. A complaint as much as a question, does your sense of entitlement that you can walk into my yard and decide what is appropriate come from your racism or your classism?  Or are they so intertwined that it is impossible to know where your entitlement comes from?  I am glad you didn’t try to take away my compost pile.

7.  You made a judgement call, and although your intentions may have been good, your judgement of my neighborhood, of me, was insulting.  Let’s say you came over to my house uninvited, came into my kitchen and started to organize mop the floor, your intention may have been to help me clean-up but it would be insulting and unsolicited.

So yes this list could be shorter (and most assuredly a bit redundant) but I think El Pocho Abogado summed it up best:

I think when people do the basic kind of services in your neighborhood and UW doesn’t ask if you want to participate or give you notice, then it’s pretty patronizing. Most people don’t like to be thought of as charity cases. It’s pretty rude to assume they are. A lot of times those assumptions are tinged with racism.