Longtime Bitch contributor Jake Anderson-Minshall and Rebecca Nay are co-hosting a new radio show called Gender Blender, which aired this week on KBOO, our local community radio station here in Portland.
Shortly before the birth of my first child nine years ago, while browsing the bookstore for mommy wisdom, I discovered Anne Lamott’s Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year and fell in love with the author and the book. More than any parenting truisms the book might have contained, it was Lamott’s writing style—funny, self-deprecating, and brutally honest—that kept me reading. The big mommy insight I gleaned from Operating Instructions was that I wasn’t quite as neurotic as Anne, so my kid and I would probably be all right.
What that means is that right now I need to listen to peoplewhoknowmorethanme: to their analysis, to their experiences, to their strategies (not that I'm expecting anyone to hand me the answers on a silver platter, or that I think it's up to other people to tell me all about what's wrong with the world I live in, or that I plan to rely on others to do my intellectual heavy lifting, or that...yeah, you get the picture). And I'm eager to read what the carnival brings forth.
But if I just want to listen, why the hell am I talking?
Special guest report from friend of Bitch Kyla Wagener...
I have yet to read Tim Wise'sWhite Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son (Soft Skull Press) or Affirmative Action: Racial Preference in Black and White (Routledge), but have heard tons of praise for his work. So I was excited for his appearance at the First Unitarian Church of Oakland earlier this month, an event sponsored by Speak Out!. I was a little wary when he took the mic and started speaking; his manner initially conjured up memories of some egotistical, "Check me out, I'm one of those aware white folks—I'm down!" types I've run into. But he ended up being sharp, funny, and—most important—aware of his role as an ally rather than a leader in the antiracist movement, acknowledging that the majority of his sources for information about race have been people of color. He was loud, but in a good way—not arrogant-bratty-white-boy loud.
Here in Northeast Portland is a place called In Other Words Women's Books and Resources, a nonprofit bookstore founded in 1993. I've only lived in Portland for a year, so most of what I know I've learned from talking to people and reading news articles, like this.
A few nights ago I went to a screening of a short documentary called Moving In: A nonprofit feminist bookstore and the politics of place. The documentary, created by Dawn Jones (who's on the board of Bitch; photographed below), examines the bookstore's 2006 move, which resulted from being economically displaced from their original neighborhood, to a historically African-American neighborhood. The film is fantastic; you should see it if you have the opportunity.
....check out this lecture by the awesome Jennifer Pozner, Executive Director of Women in Media & News:
Even though the human, environmental and economic impact of Hurricane Katrina are all still deeply felt throughout the regions that were ravaged by the disaster, the ongoing personal and political tolls of Katrina have fallen away from the headlines and out of public debate. This is just one of many ways media have failed the American people their treatment of one of the worst natural disasters in the history of our country.