Despite Style editor Paul Wilner getting laid off, my story on About-Face finally appeared in the Chronicle Style section. You can read it here:

SELLING A POSITIVE SELF-IMAGE: Group weighs in on advertising impact

Also, since it's getting so much hype, it bears mentioning that I am the "Her" in this blog post titled Hipsters and "post-feminism"

The blog belongs to my pal James Minton, who is a cool guy on several levels. He is both an anti-sexist warrior and a devoted anti-Iraq war activist. He wrote a very moving post on Cindy Sheenan's resignation from the movement and alerted me to the weird, old-world sexism still alive in Europe. Also, he made a incredible movie about the veterans protesting the Iraq War in the ruins of Hurricane Katrina. You can download it here

Our discussion about hipsters has been linked at least three times. First, on Stan Goff's Feral Scholar blog. Stan is one of my favorite people I've never met. He's a very smart, plain-spoken, Southern progressive.

James M. on Being Hip

On this site, Insurgent American, but it looks like one of their servers is down.

And on Briar Patch magazine's The May B-List, next to the likes of Naomi Klein and Seymour Hersh.
firebreath613: (realshirley)
I started writing about this, and I thought I'd share.

http://www.eastbayexpress.com/Issues/2006-08-30/news/feature.html

My housemate who is a part of the RPS Collective is pissed. She's mostly pissed because the whole article is so divisive and doesn't come up with any solutions. It seems to me it was written to be inflammatory. He did make a really good point about the Chronicle labeling the neighborhood as full of "hookers, homeless, and drug dealers" - something I complained about. But the Chronicle isn't the voice of the artists.

You can't accuse people of crimes without checking the facts. It irresponsible to make off-hand insults, to generalize and to characterize a movement that embodies many voices, objectives and goals as one perspective.

For example, if I wrote about hyphy and talked about how it's all about going crazy and shooting people up, then I would be making the same sort of generalizations he does. But everyone I interview says, yes, that's a negative faction, the anarchy/riot mindset. But for most artists and kids, hyphy is about jubilation and fun and dancing. The negative story would miss how Mistah F.A.B. devotes so much time and energy hanging out and listening and talking to kids at Youth Uprising, the get-out-the-vote campaign, and giddinesss of the dance battles.

It's such a tired and easy thing to target hipsters and artists. Sure, many are clueless. Others really care about Oakland and want to include black artists and the old residents of the neighborhood. Many work with at-risk youth and are involved in socialist organizations. Mama Buzz and RPS offer free classes and services every day practically.

If you think someone has failed to be inclusive or consider their community, you call them on it and then you ask them why or what they think. If someone accuses someone of a misstep, you go and ask the accused what they have to say about it. If someone is self-absorbed and thoughtless, it will come out in your reporting.

He made valid points about the careless naming of the gallleries like LoBot and Ghost Town and the self-absorbed nature of the artists who come in and start something without talking to their neighbors or including black artists. But it just came across to me like promoting segregation. Do we want a society like that? Where there's a black town and a white town? I mean, why was there no talk about working together? Obviously there are a lot of deep, complicated issues about race, real estate, gentrification and privilege, and those aren't going to get sorted out over night, but I don't think segregation is the answer. People of different races need to know each other, and talk to each other, to eliminate "the otherness" that feeds racism and discrimination.

What David Downs didn't ask was why did Oaklandish and the Oakland Box get closed down? I know both of those organizations worked with the emerging art scene, and the police came in and cited them with code violations. Why do hyphy parties get shut down by cops? These things are much more interesting questions. Why is the CITY supporting white-owned galleries and parties, and not black-owned ones? Where is the infrastructure support the for the black creative community? The institutional discrimination is more interesting to me than "These people are making art and throwing a party, how annoying."

I didn't realize I had so many opinions. But yeah, I think he missed the mark. He almost got there, but not quite.

In other news, my pal Gerry is in a reggaeton video. Click on "Fuego - Me Gustan Todas." He's the Asian bookie.

http://edwindecena.com/
firebreath613: (blossom)
Yesterday, I got sucked into the History Channel's The Ku Klux Klan: A Secret History. It totally creeped me out.

Here's the thing. When you think of the Klan, you think of burning crosses and lynchings - horrific acts that any sane, moral person would object to. What got to me about the documentary: In the 1920s, the Klan grew have MILLIONS of members across the United States. And most of them DIDN'T get into it to hang blacks or burn down buildings. They weren't necessarily in favor of terrorism or murder; they saw those acts as the extremist, or perhaps necessary evils.

No, it was much more insidious. It was about exclusion. Excluding blacks, Jews, Catholics, union members. They spoke of lofty ideals about purity, patriotism, chastity, Christianity, conformity. They had members who were highly educated from Ivy League schools. They had members in all ranks of government and authority - judges, police, senators, etc (kind of like "Fight Club"). They marched in Fourth of July parades. Basically, it was our version of Nazism, and it included about 15 percent of the nation's population.

The Klan, of course, had its ups and downs and got more extreme in the '60s. And Klansmen who killed blacks or white civil-rights activists usually got off scott-free on their trials because of sympathizers in the juries. They HATED MLK with a passion. Even as late as 1979 the Klan had the manpower to bring terror upon an anti-Klan protest.

I'll be nice )

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