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What Good Is Science Fiction to Black People?

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by Maisha Z. Johnson I’ve seen justice for all genders and classes and sexualities, and it was as alien to me as the extra-terrestrial creatures who practiced it. This image of justice sprang from my own imagination, taking place on another planet, in another time, for a species of people very unlike humans. It took science fiction for me to see a clear picture of what justice could be. And at the end of the day, that’s all it was – fiction. What good is science fiction to people who struggle to survive here and now? To those of us…

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Black, Woman, Traveler: Safer In Strange Places Than In the City Where I Live

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by Tessara Dudley There is a belief that women face more danger when traveling than men do, and that we must take extra steps to ensure our safety. Women are generally viewed as more vulnerable, and cautioned to be particularly careful, lest a stranger victimize us somehow. Yet when I travel, I feel freer. The idea that I won’t see most of the people I interact with again is a comforting one, especially if I do have an unpleasant encounter. And since most of my traveling is for conferences or work events, the chances someone will miss me if I…

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The Courage to Change the Things We Can: A TWOC in Recovery

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by Princess Harmony Rodriguez “Hi, my name is Princess and I’m an addict-alcoholic.” Looking back at almost a year of being clean and sober, it’s a necessity to reflect on the victories and struggles of this past year. Recovery was not easy in the beginning, it’s a process that started out difficult because it required me to shed my old way of life and find a new, better way to live. Faith in recovery was necessary if I was to shed the destructive power of addiction. I spent more of my life addicted to something than not. I was 9…

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Why We Need Mandatory Anti-Racist Education

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by Ron Lester Whyte What do the deaths of Aiyana Jones, Trayvon Martin, Andy Lopez, and Michael Brown, the 2012 Wisconsin Sikh Temple shooting, and the continued exploitation and occupation of Native lands all have in common? These cases, all just the tip of a very large and very ugly iceberg, show us that the methods used by our society to fight racism and prejudice have failed to tackle the root of the problem: entrenched structures of white supremacy and the cultural narratives that support it. A recent article by Rachel Shadoan entitled, “I am racist, and so are you”…

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Trying Therapy As A Queer Person of Color, Despite All the Reasons Not To

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by CarmenLeah Ascencio This is the first installment in CarmenLeah’s new, monthly column about QTPoC wellness and healing. When I was 12 years old I was diagnosed with asthma because of a series of hyperventilation episodes I had in school. I wasn’t sure what triggered the episodes, yet asthma was the most common explanation for any type of breathing problems in my predominantly Black and Latinx urban neighborhood. I was given an asthma pump and every time I felt my breathing become shallow I took it. My only sense of relief was the high I got from the medication. It…

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Ebola and Black-Phobia

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by Ola Osaze When I look at those images of black people looking diseased, emaciated, blood and gunk crusted around their eyes, nose and mouth, when I see the fear and hopelessness in their eyes, I can’t tell the difference. Is that me out there? The fate of my black, queer and trans body is inexplicably intertwined with those Liberian, Sierra Leonean, and Nigerian bodies. I’m reminded of this every time a white man passes me on the street and whispers “nigger” under his breath or a store clerk trails me in a store, reading malevolent meanings into my black…

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Angry About The White Lesbians Suing For Having A Black Child? You’re Missing Something

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by Ki’tay Davidson There has been a recent public outcry after a White lesbian family initiated a “wrongful birth” lawsuit against an Ohio sperm bank. The family was dismayed to birth a half-Black child after they had specifically requested a White donor because of their racist family and living in an “all-white” neighborhood. Okay. Yes, that’s a lot. I won’t even begin naming all of my issues with this. Rather, I want to talk about the real and pervasive reality of unnoticed and unchecked ableism in our communities. Wrongful birth lawsuits have justified the devaluing of and violence against disabled…

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My Journey to Embrace My Undocumented Transgender Identity

by Gabby Benavente I emigrated from Peru to Miami in the Summer of 2003, eager to finally express myself and my gender, safely, within a community of people who’d welcome me. The first thing I noticed was how astonishingly different Miami’s humidity was from dry Lima, but, sadly, the weather differences were minor compared to my experiences of difference. Before moving to the states, my mama had the sole responsibility of raising my sister and I, as my father was always working. She would cook, clean, and provide my only source of affection. Paranoid that my father’s absence would affect…

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A Note From A 16 Year-Old Feminist On Behalf of My Queer, Black Sisters

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by Shama Nathan When I was nine years old, I started to question my “role” as a woman and how society and my parents wanted me to be. Growing up, I was bombarded with myths that suggested my value depended on my purity and submissiveness. I was told that as a Black woman, it was my duty to support my strong, Black husband while protecting and building the Black family. Of course, my budding queerness conflicted with nuclear values of family and began to plant righteous little seeds of curiosity. Today, six years later, I am fixated with studying societal, cultural,…

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Why I’m Not Really Here For Emma Watson’s Feminism Speech At the U.N.

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by Mia McKenzie Actor Emma Watson, of Harry Potter movie fame, is a new Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women and she spoke at the UN on Saturday to launch the HeForShe campaign, which aims to mobilize men to end gender inequality somehow (the campaign doesn’t seem to call men to any particular action of any sort). The campaign wants men to make gender equality their issue, too, and Ms. Watson extended “a formal invitation” to men to do so. Some of the mainstream (white) feminist interwebs are all abuzz because, according to said mainstream (white) feminist interwebs, it was all kinds of…

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Why We Should Abandon the Word ‘Subtle’ When Discussing Racism

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by Travis Alabanza Subtle, Subtlety, Subtly—as a British man, these words saturate my conversations by the thousands. From my mother: “remember, be subtle in your wisdom.” From my friends: “yeah, sneak me in that party, but be subtle about it.” From my primary teacher: “Travis, your work has subtle hints of promise.” And from the oppressor AND oppressed when talking about racism in the UK: “Yeah, it exists, but it’s so subtle compared to what they go through in the US.” If you are a person of colour in Britain who has discussed systematic racism, you have probably said, or…

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What Finally Gave Me the Courage To Speak: Reflections On Writing A Political Prisoner

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by Erika Gisela Abad Merced [caption id="attachment_2539" align="alignleft" width="150"] Oscar Lopez Rivera. Photo courtesy of the National Boricua Human Rights Network[/caption] Despite the Latina lesbians who were my teachers and supervisors, despite the friends I consoled through the trials of beginning to live honestly, I did not come out in college. Still struggling with the social stigma of being a survivor of sexual assault, I did my best to work around the stereotype of its relationship to homosexuality and focused, instead, on working with organizations and student support offices that sought to provide opportunities for people and, more specifically, students…

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Saying NO to Class Privilege (White Privilege’s Deceitful Little Minion)!

by Jezebel Delilah X The first time I learned that being perceived as smart and having access to money made me more socially valuable than the children around me, I was about six years old, sitting on my father’s lap, crying about being bullied by my classmates—yet again. My father did his best to lovingly comfort me: he pulled out his bank statement and showed me the tens of thousands of dollars he had in savings. “Baby,” he said. “Those kids are mean to you because they are jealous. You think their parents got this in the bank? No. Plus,…

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Reclaiming the Sacred Black, Indigenous QTPOC Science of Sustainable Living and Survivor-Ship Magic

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by Mercy Medusa Mahogany Immanuel Thokozane Minah When most people think of scientists, they think of white, cis, non-disabled, heterosexual men in lab-coats cooking up ways for other white, cis, non-disabled, heterosexual people to survive sci-fi horrors like dinosaurs—but who, for what ever reason, can never think of ways to sustain the world’s need for electricity without stripping the earth of vital minerals. These Ivy-League educated, so-called genius scientists who send people to the moon and other planets and calculate the distance between this planet and our neighboring planets in order to speculate the probability of a select few humans…

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