Race

Function at the Junction: Notes on Summer of Soul

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I’m getting ready for the function at the junction And baby you’d better come on right now Because everybody’s gonna be there We got people comin’ from everywhere – “Function At The Junction,” Shorty Long, 1966 There’s a long, long legacy of Black folks gathering around food and funk, bbq sauce and song. Before we […]

Summer of Soul
On August 19, 2021

‘Executive Order’ Re-Writes the Post-Apocalyptic Genre

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Executive Order challenges viewers to re-think the post-apocalyptic format and hero-making narratives, flipping the script on a genre that has long reinforced racism, centering Black humanity as a racist government lead by an evil Karen tries to force all Black people to repatriate to Africa as a form of reparations.

Executive Order Film Still
On June 17, 2021

Pocas Pero Locas, Episode 3: “Wassup, M’ija?”

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After a gang unit stopped my 14 year old cousin for driving in a stolen hoopty, they took her to Eastlake Juvenile Hall and handed her over to a new abuser: a cop.

Desiree Gurba
On June 1, 2021

Pocas Pero Locas, Episode 2: Chicken Soup for the Homies’ Soul

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An older homegirl, a hood mom whom Desiree considered her mentor, announced, "I'm jumping you in."

Desiree Gurba
On May 27, 2021

The Girl and the Nappy Halo

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As I settle into my pregnancy, I fantasize about the human I’m going to bring into the world. I picture a girl. Beautiful. Black. Freckled like her father. Myopic like me. When she is thirteen we will sit down and have the talk. Not about periods. Or boys. Or girls. Or bodies. Or pets. Or HBCUs. Or sex. But about getting a perm.

Little girl with nappy hair
On May 21, 2021

Pocas Pero Locas: An Interpersonal Chicana Essay Where Two Primas Make Sure Shit Gets Told Right

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Myriam Gurba writes about her cousin Desiree, female gangsters, cholas, Mexican bad asses with big hair, and the criminalization of survivors.

Myriam and Desiree Gurba, 1988
On May 18, 2021

But You Don’t Look Asian: On Being Entitled to Pain

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Who deserves to feel the pain of anti-Asian violence? Who deserves to take up space with their rage? As a mixed-race person, am I allowed to be here? Do I belong?

Asian protester in NYC
On May 4, 2021

Is Lil Nas X The Spiritual Heir of Little Richard?

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If we stop to examine our family tree, it becomes obvious that Lil Nas X is the fulfillment of Little Richard’s dreams. In a world where neoliberal gayness has taught us that the best we can hope for is Lady Gaga belting out the national anthem while deportations mount, Lil Nas X charitably tossed us a Zyrtec.

Lil Nas X
On April 13, 2021

In Which a Black Pedestrian Redefines Violence

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A young Black person is ticketed and almost arrested for jaywalking by a maskless cop who believes his helmet will protect him from covid-19. Meanwhile down the street, a white woman operates a dine-in restaurant against the law, with 22 citations from the city and gas bootlegged from a neighboring apartment building. Jasmin Roberts explores the highly uneven and racialized application of the law in Long Beach.

woman jaywalking
On April 1, 2021

The Crass Commodification of Black Pain

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When Black Lives Matter was formed I imagine they weren't thinking about their hashtag becoming a marketing ploy, Unfortunately the hashtag has become synonymous with feel-good #woke consumerism and brand building on the backs of public lynchings of Black people by our police state. It has launched the sales of enamel pins, baseball hats, (unironically) hoodies, and now, food. Their tenacious appeal to celebrity-driven U.S. capitalism is truly impressive. As long as our grief is a product to sell to the bourgeois, who are we to disagree?

On March 30, 2021

How to Break Up With the Non-Profit Pyramid Scheme. For Now.

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I’ve only been out of work for 11 days at this point. Yet I awake each morning to an attached PDF, an embedded link, or a “heads up” on some new job. Through the morning haze, it’s typically the first alert I see on my phone. For some asinine reason, everyone finds grounding in their […]

smiling hip white professionals
On March 4, 2021

“There Are No Pol(ICE) in the Future” and Other Prophetic Declarations from Alán Pelaez Lopez

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"A queer Black future is a future that allows me to envision a better reality for Black people everywhere…it is also a future that reckons with all the violence and retaliation that we will experience to get to that future. I also think that the future is now"

Alán Pelaez Lopez & Ariana Brown
On March 2, 2021

Of Women and Salt: A Beautiful Novel from Flatiron Books Rubs Salt in the Wounds of the Black Caribbean

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A complex and nuanced story of mother-daughter relationships developed across five generations. But while Garcia attempts to contribute to the larger conversation of race and ethnicity in Cuba, but the depictions of Black Cuban characters lean heavily on age-old stereotypes defined by theft and criminality.

of women and salt cover
On February 16, 2021

Africa is a Continent, the United States of America is a Nation, but Blackness is My World

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“African” and “American” do not define me. The words “African” and “American” seemed to be at war with one another. When I became a teenager, I started referring to myself as Black. Not African American, not Black American, just Black. To be Black is to be my own creation.

Black woman with sunglasses
On February 9, 2021

Sandwich Expert David Brooks Weighs In On the Education of Black and Brown Children

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Elitist sandwich expert and NYTimes columnist David Brooks writes that the desire of public school teachers not to die of covid is a disaster for children. Myriam Gurba disagrees.

On February 2, 2021