This is a book I took from The Free School without asking because I’m an anarchist and property is theft Bhawin. My Mom and I switched the words of the story with the lyrics to I Miss You by Beyoncé. It was fun because my Mom is a super cool person.
I think the year was 1994, based on my haircut, the slick silk shirt and that mean mug on my brother’s face. Also, if you could look through my shirt you’d see a rope necklace with a whistle attached to it and that whistle had the Rollerblade logo imprinted on it. I had that necklace on because “the day of the rope [was] coming”. If you know anything about the film The Prayer of the Rollerboys, than, fascinatingly, you know what I’m talking about. In the likely event that you do not, let me tell you a brief story of internalized racism.
Prior to being at the white house on a hot day in August of 1994, I was living quite contently with the rest of my family in Atsugi, Japan. Well, NAS Atsugi, Japan to be precise. There’s a lot of odd things about growing up on a military base. Like twice a day the national anthem plays on loud speakers and everyone has to stop whatever they’re doing and look in the direction of the flag. But one of the awesome things is that you are surrounded by a bunch of crazy cool kids of color. This may be a misrepresentation but my mind tells me that my life consisted of playing tons of basketball, buying tons of Dragon Ball Z cards, waking up before sunrise to go rollerblading (aka “dawnblading”) and stepping out of my front door into huge dance routines organized by the neighborhood kids. All this and I remember we only had one white kid on the block! Just about all my friends were Filipino and we loved 2 Live Crew and rollerblading. Somehow we found out about this movie The Rollerboys. We loved it instantly and wholeheartedly. Rollerboys did awesome things like rollerblade around town harassing people and blading in V-formation while sporting khaki trenchcoats. Wow. Unfortunately, here’s what we didn’t realize at the time but certainly left its message in our little hearts and minds: all these Rollerboys in the movie, well they were white. And not only that, they were actually a white supremacist gang! and “the day of the rope” that we used to chant about? Well that was all about racial cleansing! The Rollerboys sold a drug called “mist” to ethnic people so they would be shitty and die. What the fuck! Me and my mixed race Asian buddies were blading around posing as drug peddling, white supremacists on a military base, in a foreign country, where we had previously dropped 2 atomic bombs and killed hundreds of thousands of Japanese and continue to occupy their land because they have a Peace Constitution!? Ahhhhh, dear god make me a bird so I can fly far far away from here.
Anyhow, back to the white house. I also remember it was hot in DC. I also remember we went to the Museum of Aviation and didn’t have time to go to the Holocaust Memorial. I also remember the most interesting thing being I saw a red keg cup on a bannister through a window and thought that was pretty intriguing. Were white house people taking in some fresh air while contemplating their role in the bombings of Yugoslavia and Iraq? Do politicians talk shop while chugging beers like we do? but about Operation Gatekeeper and NAFTA instead of football and how cool it is to be chugging beers? Just kidding, I wasn’t that hip to US foreign policy. My brain was more like – was there a party I missed? Did two white house folks sneak away to suck face? Did one white house person step out to barf? Why are all the rooms different colors? Is my sweat washing off all my cologne? Who’s that girl?
I’ll have to ask my father what year it was. Honestly, it’s possible I didn’t actually have that necklace on. It was probably 1995 and I had outgrown that stuff. Suffice to say, I don’t think the internet was even invented yet so it was a romantic time.
Other black people rightly defended Sherman from attack but for all the wrong reasons. They felt the need to point out that he grew up in a hard working two-parent family, graduated at the top of his high school class and went on to the prestigious Stanford University.
Of course it shouldn’t matter how Sherman grew up or where or if he graduated from college. He did nothing wrong except make many white people mad and that is all that should have been pointed out. Respectability politics are deadly and keep black people from speaking up for one another and against blatant racism.
Thursday, January 16, 2014
Nearly 70 years ago the United States took over the Japanese island of Okinawa after one of the bloodiest battles of World War II. More than 200,000 people died, mostly Japanese civilians. Today the United States operates 34 bases on the island and is planning to build a new state-of-the-art Marine base, despite mass protests. A multi-decade movement of Okinawa residents has pushed for ousting U.S. forces off the island, citing environmental concerns and sexual assaults by U.S. soldiers on local residents. Broadcasting from Tokyo, we are joined by two guests: Kozue Akibayashi, a professor and activist in Japan with the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and the Women’s International Network Against Militarism; and John Junkerman, a documentary filmmaker currently working on a film about U.S. military bases in Okinawa.
Hands down the loveliest basketball video I know of. I watch it all the time. When I’m happy it makes me happier. When I’m sad it’s a real frowner upside down turner. What could be better? Well if I was there that would’ve ruled. But watch these two geniuses. So many fun shots and dribbles. Obviously the best part is the flirting. Dudes have so few outlets for showing tenderness and care and being able to touch each other at all. I think sports is one of the few places this comes out. Although not always in the healthiest way but it sure is beautiful to watch two grown ass man enjoying each others company like this. Plus I like the song.
These are two stencils of Muhammad Ali. I made them at my mom’s house with an exacto knife and some love. I love Muhammad Ali. bell hooks says love is an action, never simply a feeling. So I try to do things for Ali. And anyways his birthday is coming up.
My first memory of Muhammad Ali came in 1996 when he lit the olympic torch in Atlanta, GA. Unfortunately, at the time I didn’t know shit about the guy, so I didn’t care too much to see him up there all struggling like a badass. A couple years later he was named sportsmen of the century by Sports Illustrated. Still ignorant to his greatness, I was pissed off by this decision. Being the front-running young punk that I was, I adored Michael Jordan and thought he was the glaringly obvious choice for this award. Stupid young me.
Years upon years later, if you’d ask me who the top 5 greatest athletes were I wouldn’t hesitate to tell you,
1. Muhammad Ali
2. Muhammad Ali
3. Michael Jordan
4. Bo Jackson (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQQQ161c4S4)
5. Serena Williams (17 grand slam titles, oldest to be ranked no.1)
I’d tell you that, and just before I told you that I’d wrap my hairy arms around you and whisper in your ear, “thank you for asking such a delightful question”. The reason for my unflappable conviction is simple. Ali didn’t box from March 1967 to October 1970. He didn’t box during those years because he was exiled from boxing for refusing to be inducted into the armed forces and going to Vietnam. That’s 3.5 years during the peak of his career. His reasons were complex but summed up with Ali’s typical poetic concision, “no Vietcong ever called me nigger”. Volumes have been dedicated to Ali’s life and opinions. He’s the type of person whose life demands that kind of attention. There are beautiful books and illuminating movies about Ali. The best ones will tell you about who Ali was outside the ring. If you look closely you’ll find that not only was he fast and pretty and “can’t possibly be beaten”, but he was unflinching in his courage to fight for racial justice and equality.
Michael Jordan and Bo Jackson were otherworldly talents. They both were breath-taking in their abilities and accomplishments. But Muhammad Ali. Holy gosh, he soars above them like a golden child of a pegasus/MLK/Goku. It’s hard to imagine someone today simultaneously delivering at the highest level athletically and politically. Chris Kluwe is doing a nice job but he’s a punter. Brittney Griner is bringing in the new and outing the old, but still we struggle to create the space for female athletes to shine in the same way as their male counterparts. Lebron James wore his hood up one time but what’s he doing now. Muhammad Ali won the heavyweight title three times while at the same time shattering the notion that sports and politics don’t mix. Hero.
Forgot about how Ali could dance? Watch this: