I'm Off To Cuba! Also, A Reminder!

Hi all! A bit ago I wrote a post about how I was going to Cuba and that I was worried. I'm leaving tonight, so I thought I would say goodbye for a week and remind you about the book reading we are doing.

Well, I just finished shaving my legs (post to come when I return, it was a very interesting experience!) and I just finished packing and we leave as soon as I get home from work tonight, so I won't get to see you guys for a week. I'm pretty nervous. My partner said nothing about this whole thing until two days ago she says:

"I'm kind of scared to go to Cuba."

Me: "Me too. Why for you?"

Her: "Well, I'm afraid I'm going to go off on someone and my family will get all pissed."

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Me: "Don't say that! I've never been to a resort hun, but my worst fear is that it will be a walled garden of concentrated oblivious financial and white privilege and that it won't be two minutes before someone says something racist, sexist or homophobic, etc. that makes me get all stabby. I'm afraid it will all be too much and by the end of the week someone really will get stabbed."

Her: "It's going to be exactly like that."

Me: :(

If it gets too crazy, I'll know right away and start taking notes. I want to write a post about my adventures when I return. See you all later.

I will miss you dearly!

Edit: I just put my jeans onto freshly shaved legs for the first time in 20 years. Sooooo strange.

Educating Ourselves: Intersectional Book Reading

We all know that we need to educate ourselves in order to combat racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. but we also know that it isn't fair to ask marginalized people to educate us. So what can we do? We ask for recommendations, but do we do anything with them? Lets put our money where our mouth is.

We are all very good at recognizing obvious problematic behavior. Stereotypes and racist words are easy to spot and we are very good at it, but we still have learning to do. Often we find something we feel is problematic, but are unsure as to why. Often I see posts asking the kind POC to explain why something is racist for instance, when it is not obvious. We know that simply desiring a fair and equitable world is not enough. We need to take actual action and the first step is a deeper understanding.

Over the holidays I will be reading a book called 'The Wretched Of The Earth' by Franz Fanon. I invite you to join me in reading this book.

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From Wikipedia: "Frantz Omar Fanon (20 July 1925 – 6 December 1961) was a Martinique-born French psychiatrist, philosopher, revolutionary, and writer whose works are influential in the fields of post-colonial studies, critical theory, and Marxism.[1] As an intellectual, Fanon was a political radical, and an existentialist humanist concerning the psychopathology of colonization, and the human, social, and cultural consequences of decolonization"

He has written several books which are still read today and have influenced groups such as the Black Panthers and the IRA. Colonialism is still today an issue in our lives, though we as the privileged may not realize or notice. It forms the base on which racism and xenophobia flourish and propagate. In Canada, for instance, we are currently continuing to steal the land of the Native Canadians to use for our own purposes and continue the colonialist methods of using propaganda to paint the 'Idle No More' protesters as violent terrorists at worst, misguided children at best.

How does a colonized people protect themselves? What issues are present on their minds? How does this colonialist othering continue to effect them generations after initial contact and what does that have to do with me today?

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On January 5th, when the holidays are over, I will open up a discussion thread and we can discuss our thoughts and what we have learned. I am not an educator in any way nor am I academically 'qualified' to lead this discussion, but hopefully after reading this book you will begin to question your definition of 'qualified' anyway!

This thread will be opened on my personal blog so I can assume responsibility for outsiders who may join in. I will invite people in my real life to read this book with me and I encourage you to do so as well if you feel comfortable. The world will not be changed by sitting alone in our echo chamber.

Some things we read may surprise us or we may disagree with author in places but we are guaranteed to have expanded our understanding of the effects of colonization. If this goes well, I have a great lgbt book to do next.

"O my body, make of me always a man who questions!"

Franz Fanon