the philosophactivist

Monday, October 28, 2013

Words from the Pacific Northwest


"So...I woke up this morning and made an agreement with myself to no longer engage with white supremacy in any of its forms. No more benefits of the doubt, no more ally training, no more internalizing racist bullsh or second guessing microaggressions. No more just dealing with it because 'that's the way things are'.

This illness that I carry in my body is a direct affect of all the silencing, all the repression, the smoldering of embers lit when Mami Wata begrudgingly saw her children abducted and carried to foreign shores.

I now pray for the wrecklessness of Olokun...the unharnessed strength of Oya....the unapologetic destruction of the warriors...I pray for the might of Chango. I pray to climb the bark of this ancestral tree up to the branches of the spirit world. Orun. And stare down, vision unobstructed, with the eyes of Olodumare to see the Ase connecting, surging through us all.

And then to climb back down to this realm never to again be affected by illusion/delusion again. All I'd see is Osun's golden honey-harmony. Wrap myself in Yemaya's sweet, sweet 7 skirts of liquid, cerulean peace. And walk in whites with Obatala seeking crystalline clarity. Unbridled understanding. Observing with Orunmila the constellations of coco and cowrie from beyond telling me is time. We are strong. They are listening. Are we? The shells whisper: Now. now. now."


Dear Portland, I.just.can't. The microaggressions and "black presence" and "south asian presence" at stores were egregious. From the mascotization* of blacks to the vintage book cover about a nazi cult adjacent to the book cover of a book about a brothel in Tokyo to the snake skin shirt (surrounded by other asian artifacts)with the explanation that 2013 is the year of the snake...I am truly speechless. You hipsters have truly lost your everloving mind. I was agitated after 2 hours and I almost ran out of the co-op screaming. Almost every interaction was a microaggression. So thanks for that. We are making a zine of the microaggressions we've experienced throughout the tour and probably half of them so far have come from Portland.

Here are just a few gems:

  • Hip Hop music playing (Snoop- Drop it like it's hot) in (white) artist collective house/crafty arty nic nac store
  • Strip of profile shots of black men with different haircuts on two walls in a very white bar/cafe
*and random pictures of black or indigenous people (just because they miss us so much after gentrifying)

  • white woman in "vintage" store talks to us about how in Portland it is "easier" than New Orleans because their's less racial tension and you can get to everything by foot.
      -bonus gems: the nazi cult novel book cover and the book cover of the     novel about a brothel in Tokyo side by side (but that's not's campy!)
  • A painting of a native american chief standing by someone from his tribe pointing out to a steamboat of colonizers like..'oh yay! we're saved' but I would have liked to spray paint a thought bubble saying 'there goes the neighborhood!'
  • Racist store names, menu items, party/show fliers<<which we found throughout the tour
  • Bill Cosby as some kind of a mascot for this hipster store...??
So yea, folks. The whiteness is so stifling in some of the areas we spent time in. I joked that it's probably what the Virginia settlements were like...the perfect white male paradise. (Except when those damn savages would want their land back!) 

Seattle tomorrow and it honestly can't come any faster. No really it can't. You have no idea!

(ps- we may or may not have had the show at this very store...but the event was actually pretty chill)

Hilarious photo montage entitled 'brown people not amused with uberwhitehipster town'

Want to know more about Portland and Racism? Here are some links a friend forwarded me:

Yet Another Racist Derailment at Portland Q Center
More Racist Derailment at Portland Q Center
Racist White Supremacist Terrorism in Portland
Brown in PDX

And here's info about a rad zine by women of color in Portland:


"Seattle was a true surprise. The coffee shop (Black Coffee Co-op) was paaaacked (standing room only) and folks gave so much in donations and really supported by buying our zines and books. I read my piece 'Frankly Not about Food Forests' since everyone in the nation is taking their cues from the Beacon Food Forest there and I read what I wrote about my past job's current ideas on food sovereignty and my divestment from engaging with white supremacy and my prayer to the orishas. 
People really appreciated my candidness and (white folks) didn't ask me to educate them on any of the points. They didn't try to convince me about food forests and were happy to sit with being uncomfortable with my directness and Truth. They even told me they were fine with not getting half my references to Ifá 
 and the orishas because it WASN'T FOR/ABOUT THEM. So take heed white do-gooder/liberal/progressive/radical Austinites!!
So many folks came up to us to thank us for being there and reading. This was a great end to the tour for me. POC Zine Project will push on through the midwest, east and back down south but I will be back home this weekend to process all that I've seen and incorporate it into all that I'm becoming."

 Above Photo: Daniela Capistrano, Nyky Gomez, Anna Vo, Toi Scott, Nia King, Cristy Road

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