This So-Called Post-Post-Racial Life

January 7, 2011

My Blogging 2010 in review

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — pprscribe @ 9:54 am

I was interested to receive the information below in my email in0box–especially since I have been considering shutting down this blog. Maybe I’ll restart the blog after all…

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The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

The average container ship can carry about 4,500 containers. This blog was viewed about 19,000 times in 2010. If each view were a shipping container, your blog would have filled about 4 fully loaded ships.

In 2010, there were 18 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 323 posts. There were 27 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 7mb. That’s about 2 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was February 2nd with 106 views. The most popular post that day was Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Questionned.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were racialicious.com, twitter.com, blogsurfer.us, search.aol.com, and happynappyhead.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for don’t ask don’t tell pros and cons, disco ball, dont ask dont tell pros and cons, black pin up girls, and mirror ball.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Questionned November 2009

2

Peace, Love, and Soooooooul Train: Old School Friday May 2009
10 comments

3

Working With Black Women, Part 1: My First Black Friends June 2009
7 comments

4

My People and Other People’s Children April 2009
3 comments

5

Finding Words: A photographic trip through the National Underground Railroad Museum May 2009
5 comments

March 6, 2010

A Presidential View

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — pprscribe @ 11:01 am

I am still taking something of a blogging break from serious and contentious news of the day. Usually when I feel worn down like this I retreat to music, fiction, or photography. I have been listening to a lot of music lately—and can’t wait to re-join Old School Friday soon to share some of my musical ministry here. I have picked up an interesting novel, and have a couple more on my list. So that leaves photography. These shots I modified from the White House’s Flickr photostream.

They are nothing momentous: Just moments.

I don’t know why I am partial to this image. Actually, yes I do. It shows the President writing with his left hand. I’ve written before about the pride I feel, on behalf of my leftie daughter, whenever I see Barack Obama use his left hand. But I also like to imagine the moments right before this shot was taken, when he asked this brother (personal aide Reggie Love) to hold up a minute so he could write on his back.

This guy’s folks will have this image forever. He’ll show it to his own grandkids one day, should he one day be a grandfather. This young man will never know a United States in which a Black President did not exist as a reality. I know that there are important policy issues that we should be attending to—and holding this president accountable for. But in doing so we should not lose sight of the radical-ness of this president’s very Being President.

This is another one of those captured moments that I want to imagine the moments just before. The kid in the baseball hat really wanted to play this whole thing cool. But you can tell he’s interested. (Though I wish he had taken his cap off.) The President has got his Dad-face on.

And of course, who doesn’t like Bo. The “Snowcopalypse” may have shut down the Capital and much of the rest of the country, but it was all fun and games, apparently, for the First Dog.

February 24, 2010

“I’m Still Standing…”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — pprscribe @ 9:01 am

“It’s been a long time; I shouldn’t have left you…” (Without a blog post to step to…)

“…All apologies; What else could I say..?”

“Funny how time flies when you’re having fun…” (Or working really hard)

“I’m (or soon will be) back in Black…”

(And at that time) “Don’t call it a comeback…”

“The B**** is (or soon will be) back…”

…I don’t know how else to sing it. I’m on something of a blogging hiatus. Follow me on Twitter—or drop my my house to help with laundry or my office to help me write. Otherwise, I’ll be back blogging soon!

January 18, 2010

#MLK

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — pprscribe @ 1:57 pm

As I have said here in the past, I am ambivalent about Twitter. I have been tweeting, and I even have a couple handsful of followers—who are not trying to sell me herbal v-eye-ah-grah and foolproof investment advice. But I would not yet say that I am committed to doing so long-term. We’ll just have to see.

But I am glad that I am at least familiar enough with the concept of Twitter to be able to get the humor of this Vanity Fair piece from Baratunde Thurston.

It was just the laugh I needed today while contemplating posting an angry, perhaps not-appropriate-for-MLK-Day post. I may still post it (working title: “Don’t Call It a Movement”). In the meantime while I try to get my heart and mind right I’ll leave you with this wonderful, hypothetical Tweet from Dr. King that pretty much sums that draft post quite nicely.

January 5, 2010

I got 666 comments but a superstition ain’t one

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — pprscribe @ 9:46 pm

…or something like that. The other day I posted the most recent comment to my own blog—the six hundred and sixty sixth comment. Actually I am not all that superstitious, nor do I fear that the apocolyptic events from the Old Testament will ever come to pass. So 666 blog comments should not bother me in the least. It shouldn’t bother me, but it does.

So I am making a plea for someone to comment and break the evilness that may be, as I type, descending upon this online space. Actually, I will even approve a spam comment just to stay on the right side of good.

Just in case.

January 1, 2010

Me and My (Blog) Ego

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — pprscribe @ 4:16 pm

Happy 2010 to all! I have been thinking about what, if any, changes I want to make to this blog during the new year. Should I change my profile picture and/or the blog design? Abandon the black-and-white-only photo posting policy? Should I “come out” as myself here on the blog? I don’t feel any huge need to change my picture. I kind of like the garden of Eden look of that black stone statue amongst the tropical foliage that I now use. I also like the blog design, though I do need to update my blogroll. I may or may not start posting color photographs. Mainly I need to get back into taking photographs, period.

As for “outing” myself, most regular commenters already know me from other environments, whether “real” life, the old blog, or other on-line forums. So I don’t feel a real need to blog here under my real name. At least not at this point.

But this last issue has been on my mind lately. As much as I resisted it, I have begun to Twitter. So far, the experience is still new to me. And still a little odd. I am continually shocked about what, on Twitter, people will reveal about themselves. I have heard of families airing all their dirty laundry via Tweets for each other and all the Twitterverse to see. Some people I follow have begun using a program where they will entertain the most intimate questions about themselves, promising to answer any and all queries honestly.

All of this, I do not quite get, nor do I expect (with my personality) I ever will. This has made me think of the following post from my old blog. “Egocasting” has gone warp speed since I wrote these words. There are now so many potential on-line selves to coordinate, so many potential worlds and audiences to collide. I think Twitter might be the end of the technological personalization line for me. If folks want to know anything more than what I already share they’ll just have to get to know me face to face.

(Also related: this BlogHer post from Nordette Adams.)

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I have been rather busy lately…a little friend called a dissertation. But I also enjoy keeping this blog. As I have said before, this is an extension of the journaling—personal and academic—that I have always done. My compromise has been to largely post brief entries of things I have read elsewhere, with perhaps a little commentary from me. Lists also seem to be a quick, enjoyable way to keep a blog going—and, a main initial feature of [this blog] was my making lists of things that I seemed to not be able to get to.

In this vein, a while back I thought I might post a list of the summer reading I wanted to do. But while I was compiling in my head what I would post here to the blog, I found myself excising a few of books from the list.

What was that about?

Well, these books were “light reading”—what some would even call “trash.” As this blog is, in large part, about my PhD journey, posting such non-intellectual fare would have been like admitting to the world that I planned to spend the summer on the couch watching “Three’s Company” re-runs on one of the nostalgia TV channels.

Blogger as Product

“I am so hip even my errors are correct.”
~Nikki Giovanni, “Ego Tripping”*

My being loathe to make such an admission was the first I had realized that I was intentionally and strategically using this forum as a way to reveal some things about myself—and, more interesting—to cloak others.

I have heard this kind of on-line self-presentation called egocasting. And it appears that blogging could be part of the realm of technologies of personalization. Just as I can use my iPod to listen to my own personalized 24-hour radio station full of only those songs I like, just as I can use my television and remote and DVR to view only those programs I like, I can use my blog to “broadcast” only those aspects of my graduate school experience that I like.

Even if I reveal my frustrations and errors, I can wait to craft a post until I have successfully overcome and corrected them. Even if I reveal my shortcomings, I can spin them in such a way that procrastination appears to be reflection, lack of divergent thinking becomes focus, pathological perseveration becomes dedication.

I can be a product of my own production.

Same Broadcast, Different Station

You ain’t ridin/
You ain’t bumpin like I’m bumpin/
You ain’t sayin nuthin homie/
You ain’t fresh az I’m iz…
~Bow Wow, “Fresh Azimiz”

It just so happens that while I was having this summer reading/egocasting epiphany, I was also updating my CV (or, resume, for you non-academics). In a stroke of convergent thinking (or, in a sure sign of being mired in a mental rut) it occurred to me that a CV is a much older and much more widespread type of “egocasting.” In my CV I broadcast the professional self that I hope will be pleasing to my “audience”—prospective employers. I do not (purposefully) reveal my negative qualities, perhaps hoping to give the impression that I am in possession of none.

Not only do I try hard to broadcast myself in the best possible light (evident, for example, by spending inordinate amounts of time deciding between “developed” and “designed”) but I implicitly try to convey that I am better—muchmuchmuch better—than any other egocast my audience may be tuning into on their prospective employee dial.

Again, I am a product. Plus I am a better/fresher/tastier/faster product than the others.

“Become the Boast…”

Well, anyone who has ever sent themselves off to faceless others in the form of a multi-page listing of awards, accomplishments, and action words knows that such an endeavor can be pretty rough on the ego. You’re supposed to be confidently tooting your own horn, but just as often you feel as if you may be sounding discordant notes. The act of egocasting via plain old CV-writing can be undermining to one’s ego.

In true spin-making form, though, I have decided to look upon both my blog writing and my more formal professional presentations of myself not as occasions for doubt and worry, but as opportunities for goal attainment. My CV is a catalog of my proudest moments for others; But for me it can be a “how-to” manual for even more proud moments to come.

And no, I can no longer claim that this blog is “just an on-line journal”—It is also a digital representation of a (somewhat/some times) carefully crafted on-line self. But it does not have to turn into a forum for private self-guessing and self-authentication—It, like my CV, can be part of the road map to my personal mission.

In that spirit, I just may post that summer reading list. And think what you may if it is not packed with great classics or deep literary prize winners. I will likely list a few of those in the hopes that my seeing those titles here will serve as motivation to actually read (not just purchase) them. I like to think of it as having a healthy balance between work and play, seriousness and fun. (Though I could also think of it as my being shallow and frivolous.)

Whichever way you slice it: Both my CV and my blog are me—or at least a part of me that I decide is ready for public consumption. Whatever perfection contained herein is true even when it doesn’t tell the complete story. And of course, any lack of perfection is part of the story, too. But at least a part of the rest of the story is my intention to reach higher…

I am so perfect so divine so ethereal so surreal.
I cannot be comprehended except by my permission.
I mean…I…can fly
like a bird in the sky…

~Nikki Giovanni, “Ego Tripping”*

*(Recorded spoken word available on iTunes and here on Amazon)

December 29, 2009

The War on the New Years

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — pprscribe @ 11:38 pm

Forget the so-called war on Christmas. The real war is on all things New Year. As evidence:

1) We see images of Santa Claus, Frosty, and Rudolph—as well as religious icons from Christianity and Judaism during this holiday season. But rarely do we see images of Baby New Year to the same degree. Abortion may be to blame. In which case this is a liberal plot against the new year. Or a conservative bias against nudity, because most often Baby New Year is butt nekkid. In either case, I bet that both the old man in the red suit and the little baby in swaddling blankets get more image time than the little guy with the top hat.

2) All these “best of” and other ending year lists unduly elevate the year that will soon be no more at the expense of the year that is not yet quite here. There seems to be a list for all things ending-year. And people argue over the lists—what should have been included that was not, what was not included that should have been, what should have been higher or lower than something else—as if these rankings had any meaning.

3) The mad rush of celebrities passing away in the latter days of December is a clear bid for attention from a year-ending-obsessed media. In any given year, about a half of these deaths are of celebrities most people had assumed had already left this earthly plane, while nearly a half were of people who once were famous but who need “of…fame” after their names to let us know why their death is news. Most years there are only a handful of truly famous, truly unexpected celebrity deaths to close out the year.

4) There are numerous day-after-Christmas sales, but few (if any) high profile January 2nd sales. In years where January 2 falls on a weekday, most people just grudgingly return to work. There are no consumerist efforts to, say, get a jump on the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday gift-giving season. True, at this point on the calendar a lot of stores begin putting out Valentine’s Day decoration and merchandise. But who, truly, starts planning for V-Day in January?

5) Many people make resolutions for the new year. Few keep them—for example, as evidenced by the vast drop off in gym attendance, smoking cessation sessions, etc. People may have good intentions, but somehow these good intentions are never enough. This is due, I believe, to the lack of true commitment to the new year. A lack of commitment that gives aid and comfort to those who are trying to destroy new years.

6) Although many make predictions for what the new year will bring, most seem to make them for the satisfaction of seeing at the end of the year which things have come to pass. No one makes predictions that are that much truly unexpected or that would really be something come December should they come true. Like, say, that this will be the year we learn to clone the gene for human flight. That would be a prediction worth reaching for all year long.

I submit that this neglect of the New Year is an organized and evil effort to keep us focused on the past instead of looking forward to the future; to keep us stuck on what was instead of oriented to what could be. This is an all-out attack. A war. And we must fight it. I’ll volunteer to be one of the foot soldiers on the front lines of this battle. I will not blog these next couple days about all that was in 2009. I will not compile any “best of” lists. I will not lament any high (or low) profile celebrity passings.

My eyes are on the new year: 2010.

Which is, to be correct (and despite the frequent statements to the contrary), the last year of this current decade. Not the first year of the next.

December 15, 2009

What Comes After “Post-Racial”? (re-post)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — pprscribe @ 11:05 am

made_at_wwwtxt2piccom

On the 14th of January of this year, I posted my first entry to this blog. Prior to that post I had thought long and hard about what I would name it. Seems everyone has a blog, and so many good names are taken by bloggers who have come before me. I had decided on a theme and a focus for the content, and had early on developed a loose rationale for this space—one that I purposefully left rather open-ended to allow for further development:

…Some claim that we have been a post-racial society for some longer period of time and, in fact, continue to exist in such an epoch. Still others claim that “post-racialism” is purely the stuff of mythology…or wishful thinking…or willful ignorance…or cunning malice. Or some combination of the above.

Myself, I’ll grant we may have had a post-racial moment. But I am calling it over.

So now we are in a state of post-post-racialism. What will that mean? What adventures await us in this new era of racial relations and racial perceptions?

I knew I should restrict my choices to a name that would reflect that theme. We are not (if we were ever) “beyond race.” But we may be beyond that moment where (some) of us (not me, though) thought we might be beyond race or at least headed in that direction. So the “post-post-racial” part of the blog title was easy once I figured out a loose definition of what that means. But what goes with post-post-racialism?

I decided early on that I did not want the blog name to have anything to do with me personally. I decided my pseudonym would be PPR_Scribe, but I did not want the blog title to be that pseudonym. I am Black and I am a woman and I am a mother…but I did not necessarily want the blog name to declare these or any other of my identities. I sought to shift the focus away from me and towards the content.

And anyway—other bloggers have personality to spare, so it is fitting that their blog names reflect who they are personally. In contrast, I consider myself rather dry to some extent and in some social situations. Rather quiet. I was often the kid sitting on the side observing and writing in my head for later. Even when I am involved I can be somewhat out-of, as if interacting with others just outside of myself. In high school I got into photography and this, too, fit with my observe-but-don’t-be-noticed personality. So anyway, that is why the blog is not named after me—and, indeed, why the blog is “this” post-post-racial life instead of “my.”

I also decided that I would give my new space a kind of stripped-down, minimalist feel. Embedded videos are everywhere on the ‘Net, and on my previous blog I greatly enjoyed posting them. But I decided against posting them here. Thus, for example, when I participate in Old School Fridays I post links to audio instead of embedding video.

I also decided that I would only post black and white images here. First of all, I am drawn to black and white photography. I think the lack of color forces one to look at content, contrast, texture, line, light, and shadow—all things that I find most interesting about visual images. Additionally, there are so many shades of white, gray, and black that I do not feel any “lack” of color at all in these images.

I chose a WordPress theme for the blog that reflects this minimalism. No fancy banner images. No color. And the name of the theme was perfect: The Journalist. Yes! That’s who PPR_Scribe is: a journalist, just reporting from the racial front.

What about the “so-called” in the title? Well, I am not entirely convinced we live in a post-anything society. In fact, I find it pretty presumptuous to give a name to a time in which one is currently living. Surely that is a job for those at a much later date, looking back. So, this life—for now—is just post-post-racial in air quotes: so-called, but not yet proven.

There. The obligatory blogging self-assessing, self-disclosing, navel-gazing post is now over. My blog title has been chosen and whatever regrets I have after seeing everyone else’s cool blog titles have long since been stifled. Seven words, three hyphens. A work still very much in progress, but the blogger is definitely enjoying the journey.

Thanks to everyone who drops in to see how it’s going. Please accept this as an invitation to de-lurk and say hello.

And if you don’t mind sharing with me how you came upon your own blog title, I’d love to hear it.

December 8, 2009

NaSeWriWee, Day 6

Filed under: Riddle, Poem, Tale, or Joke — Tags: , , — pprscribe @ 11:32 am

This is it—the next to last day of my National Sentence Writing Week! And here is my output: One random sentence from some random novel that I will likely never write.

Indeed (and much to her surprise), the only things she required were an old desk lamp, a pair of needle-nose pliers and all the yellow M&Ms from a 56-ounce bag.

December 6, 2009

NaSeWriWee, Day 4

Filed under: Riddle, Poem, Tale, or Joke — Tags: , , — pprscribe @ 12:13 pm

Indeed (and much to her surprise), the only things she required were ___, ___, and all the yellow M&Ms from a _____ bag.

This draft was ready yesterday but went through a couple of incarnations. I have to do some research regarding the size bags M&Ms come in. I want a big bag—preferably the biggest bag Mars makes. And for some reason, I think the color must be yellow. I fooled around with the first two necessary items. A few I liked because of the content, but the rhythm was all wrong. So I still have some work to do.

Still, I am continuing to make progress!

December 4, 2009

NaSeWriWee, Day 3

Filed under: Riddle, Poem, Tale, or Joke — Tags: , , — pprscribe @ 8:38 am

Already, a rewrite is in order. On a whim, I googled my sentence so far and got a hit:In fact, and much to her surprise, they were seeking her out as an expert talking head on a new crime series.” [Source] Different punctuation, but still—not very original. And since I am only aiming for one sentence, the least I can do is make it original.

So, draft two so far:

Indeed (and much to her surprise), what she required

I’m not really feeling “indeed.” Musically, “in fact” was so much better, using three notes on the scale to say instead of just two. But I’m going to work with this for today and see where the sentence takes me tomorrow.

December 3, 2009

NaSeWriWee, Day 2

Filed under: Riddle, Poem, Tale, or Joke — Tags: , , — pprscribe @ 12:54 pm

In fact (and much to her surprise)

I’m making progress!

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