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Anonymous asked: Have you watched the show Girls?

I don’t watch it. I have tried a couple episodes and I find the show boring at best and disturbing at worst. Lots of great pieces out there about everything wrong with it, but this is one I often refer to:

I think she’s an embarrassment to millennials. Not really interested in shows that typecast black women as nannies, Latina women as sassy coworkers, and otherwise act like people of color don’t exist… in Brooklyn, no less.

Sorry to be so cross— Lena Dunham makes me really grumpy!! Thanks for the question.

Send Nia to Journalism Camp!

I am raising money for one of my phenomenal former students, Nia Curtis, to attend summer journalism camp at Boston University this summer. Please help if you can!

Why do I want to be a journalist? Why does an artist make art? Why does a singer sing? There’s something in me as a writer. I want to explain the world. I see writing as love. Words can move people, start riots, end them, or simply tell a story about a girl from Chicago.”

Nia is a 16-year-old girl from the South Side of Chicago who is passionate about writing, especially poetry and journalism. As a teacher, I have known Nia since she was 10 years old, and now I am so proud that she has been accepted into a special summer program at the Boston University’s New England Center for Investigative Reporting. However, she needs funding to attend!
The requested amount will cover two weeks of tuition, roundtrip airfare to Boston, meals and expenses. Any extra money will be used to visit colleges in the area (Nia has her eye on Brown and Columbia). 

Nia’s full statement:
Ta-Nehisi Coates, an African American writer for The Atlantic, once said “when I was 19, all I wanted was to write like black people sang.” By relating to the soul and effort in the songs of many African American singers, he explains exactly how I feel when I write: soulful. I see the world in lines, words on pages that tell every detail. They’re like lyrics in a song of my opinions, beliefs, and feelings. It comes from my soul. I’m a muckraker in the City of Chicago, so the only way I know my voice is heard is when it is written down. 

So when asked why I want to be a journalist, I will ask you about your own desire. Why does an artist make art? Why does a singer sing? There’s something in me as a writer. I want to explain the world. I see writing as love. Words can move people, start riots, end them, or simply tell a story about a girl from Chicago. A girl who knows that when she grows up, rich or poor, she wants to write the way black people sing, the way the artist paints, the way the musician plays a tune.

Gentrification is violence. Couched in white supremacy, it is a systemic, intentional process of uprooting communities… [Its] central act of violence is one of erasure.

…“Girls,” for example, reimagines today’s Brooklyn as an entirely white community. Here’s a show that places itself in the epicenter of a gentrifying city with gentrifiers for characters – it is essentially a show about gentrification that refuses to address gentrification. After critics lambasted Season 1 for its lack of diversity, the show brought in Donald Glover to play a black Republican and still managed to avoid the more pressing and relevant question of displacement and racial disparity that the characters are, despite their self-absorption, deeply complicit with. What’s especially frustrating about “Girls” not only dodging the topic entirely but pushing back – often with snark and defensiveness against calls for more diversity – is that it’s a show that seems to want to bring a more nuanced take on the complexities of modern life.

In an appallingly overwritten New York magazine article with the (I guess) provocative title “Is Gentrification All Bad?,” Justin Davidson imagines a first wave of gentrifiers much the way I’ve heard it described again and again: “A trickle of impecunious artists hungry for space and light.” This is the standard, “first it was the artists” narrative of gentrification, albeit a little spruced up, and the unspoken but the understood word here is “white.” Because, really, there have always been artists in the hood. They aren’t necessarily recognized by the academy or using trust funds supplementing coffee shop tips to fund their artistic careers, but they are still, in fact, artists. The presumptive, unspoken “white” in the first round of artists gentrification narrative is itself an erasure of these artists of color.

Gentrification’s insidious violence: The truth about American cities | Salon  (via america-wakiewakie)

"One of the challenges that African-American artists face is that we enter into a structure that we had no part in creating. The institution of artmaking as we know it now is not something that we had any critical input into the development of, nor any formal input into the development of. And so you’re entering into a field where the parameters have already been set and established. And so you gotta try to find a way in that world and do it in such a way that you can trust— and not even trust, you have to know— that the way the work will be perceived is the way you want it to be perceived, and that when people make comments about it, that the comments they’re making are fair. So if you didn’t have anything to do with setting the terms, then you have no way of judging whether the assessment of the work is fair or not. And I think what African-American artists are looking for, really, is a fair assessment of what they do.”

- Kerry James Marshall says true things. Full video in which this quote appears can be found here.

"Possible selves derive from representations of the self in the past and they include representations of the self in the future. They are different and separable from the current or now selves, yet are intimately connected to them. Possible future selves, for example, are not just any set of imagined roles or states of being. Instead they represent specific, individually significant hopes, fears, and fantasies. I am now a psychologist, but I could be a restaurant owner, a marathon runner, a journalist, or the parent of a handicapped child. These possible selves are individualized or personalized, but they are also distinctly social. Many of these possible selves are the direct result of previous social comparisons in which the individual’s own thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and behaviors have been contrasted to those of salient others. What others are now, I could become.

An individual is free to create any variety of possible selves, yet the pool of possible selves derives from the categories made salient by the individual’s particular sociocultural and historical context and from the models, images, and symbols provided by the media and by the individual’s immediate social experiences. Possible selves thus have the potential to reveal the inventive and constructive nature of the self but they also reflect the extent to which the self is socially determined and constrained (cf. Elder, 1980; Meyer, 1985; Stryker, 1984).”

- Hazel Markus & Paula Nurius, “Possible Selves,” American Psychologist, 1986. Emphasis mine.

I think this theory is super important for anyone who works with adolescents to understand, and has really important intersections with sociology, public policy, and lots of other fields. This, for instance, is why media representations matter. It’s why having diversity in various employment sectors matters (teaching field, I’m looking at you). 

You didn’t see me on television, you didn’t see news stories about me. The kind of role that I tried to play was to pick up pieces or put together pieces out of which I hoped organization might come. My theory is, strong people don’t need strong leaders.” - Ella Baker

[Sort of related to the other quote about community organizing I posted a couple weeks ago.]

Anonymous asked: Hi Eve! Any tips/advice on long distance relationships? How do you deal?

Hi there! Hm. Well, I don’t think of myself as being in a long-distance relationship per se, as New York and Boston are pretty accessible to one another. That being said, it is tough sometimes, especially since Josh and I are both really busy. As I’m writing this, I’m in Philly for a conference and he’s traveling from Utah to Cali to give a keynote. Between us we have a lot going on and sometimes it’s tough to find time together. I think what makes it work is 1) technology! 2) each of us actually being deeply invested in what the other one is doing. Like, beyond just “how was your day?” We talk about what we’re reading, share articles and videos, family and friend news, we read each other’s work, we follow each other’s aspirations and celebrate each other’s accomplishments. These things are important in any relationship, but when you’re physically apart, if you keep track of the details and make it your business to care about how so-and-so is doing and who did what and when that deadline is coming up, it means that the other person’s time is not a mysterious black hole. You’re part of it, if remotely. If your idea of a relationship fundamentally includes having wonderful conversations with someone, supporting them emotionally, challenging them intellectually, and spurring their creativity, I think you’re more likely to be able to pull off the distance, because those things are replicable from afar.

But we do miss each other lots.

Thanks for saying hello and thanks for your question!

"We see film clips of Martin Luther King, Jr., making a speech before thousands of people. We never see how all those people got there. No scenes of all the phone calls made to the bus and porta-potty companies; all the work to raise the money, publicize the march, set up the sound system; the millions of meetings, planning sessions, and organizational details that brought all those people there at the same time on the same day."

- Building Powerful Community Organizations, Michael Jacoby Brown