I'm Pam Newman.

I am awesome every day & you are too.

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I'm a writer of aricles, poems & songs. Here's some cool stuff I wrote.

Angry Black Woman

I want to reclaim this title.

I’m an unfriendly black hottie.

I’m an enraged black woman.

I’m pissed off at the system which fails me, and people who I love.

I’m enraged in solidarity with my Latin@ brothers and sisters who are shunned for being from the other side of an imaginary line.

I’m enraged with my LBGTQ others, brothers and sisters who are othered, particularly my LGBTQ family of color.

I fight for the future, and I will not be passive. I will not be silent. I will re-tell stories of how institutional violence has destroyed the lives of those around me.

I will not be silent about how my mother suffered an early death due to an institutionally racist and classist healthcare system.

I refuse to not point out that my body is not valued by America at Large.

Just because I smile doesn’t mean that I am not constantly irate.

I am a woman. I am black. I’m intensely angry.

To paraphrase James Baldwin, to be black and conscious is to be in a constant state of rage. 

I see facts, statistics and the harsh reality of the world we live in, and it gets me ANGRY.

It gets me angry to think of how black children are treated in school by their teachers, especially young black boys. 

I’m also pissed that someone decided that being an angry black woman means that I am driven by some savage, uncontrollable emotion. My anger is precise. My anger is driven by facts. My anger is furiously kind and dangerously compassionate. My anger drives me to take action.

My anger is a sign of my intellect; don’t get it twisted.

What’s real in the streets

Being a responsible adult is really hard work.

Bills, navigating different personalities, being honest when honest hurts, doing stuff you don’t wanna do but promised you’d do, waking up when you don’t wanna but you still have to?

That shit is hard.

And our generation has more bills than any other generation that ever existed so far. Our grandparents didn’t have cell phones with data plans, or cable tv with 5 HBOs. Shit, I think my grandfather existed at a time when you didn’t have to buy car insurance.

Don Draper’s america hasn’t existed for a long time, and there are good things about that like, you know, the right to eat wherever I want and shit wherever feels right… but also it sucks because the economy makes it difficult to eat wherever I want, and the economy shits on me whenever it feels right.

That’s what they need to prepare graduating high school and college students for, man.

totaldrivel:

I tried watching Girls the other day. It was so bad I didn’t last 15 minutes into the program.

I have literally watched more hours of Nick Cage’s “acting,” than I ever will of this over-inflated, unfunny, bland, Wonder Bread in The City, annoying, deplorable show.

We can all do better.

You’re entitled to your opinion and I totally get that young, privileged, white girls in NYC is a tired premise. That specific demographic is vastly over represented in our culture and its definitely a problem.

But I don’t get why people place the responsibility of correcting this problem at the feet of Lena Dunham. She is who she is and she’s writing a show based on her (extremely privileged) life experiences. And personally, I think it’s really funny and original, for what it is. Is it everyone’s story? No. It’s not my story, but I find it entertaining and smart and different than any other show on TV.

It sounds like you went into it wanting to hate it. I don’t think you can make a fair assessment after 15 minutes of the pilot. Maybe what Lena Dunham has come to symbolize is just too off putting to you…. Which I get. I just don’t feel like she deserves to be that symbol.

So who’s feet should I deliver my distaste for this show to?

What magical white lady in the sky do I complain to or blame for the fact that the show Dunham has written, produces and stars in is something I find boring? How does Laura Dunham deserve a lack of scrutiny for the very thing which she created?

I’m complaining on the internet, so nobody is bound to care other than other internet people, but I think the monologue among women of color who are pissed off about this show have several reasons why we don’t like the show.

It’s titled Girls— and much like Friends, it only shows one kind of girl or friend. It only depicts one way of being, and no. I don’t think it’s funny, clever or interesting. I was bored, and there is absolutely no reason why I needed to watch more than 15 minutes. I didn’t watch the pilot either, but I’m getting all semantic-y now.

I’m utterly exhausted by white women telling me to be nice to successful white women. I’m utterly exhausted by white women feeling some sort of offense when a white woman is singled out for doing boring, crappy entertainment.

Meanwhile black women who are doing dynamic, incredible things are being called sluts and whores and have every bit of power they’ve earned extracted from them on a systematic basis.

Get back to me when a 20-something black woman has a show on cable tv about her experience in new york, and maybe I’ll be less frustrated about you telling me how to feel about a tv show.

It’s not different from other shows on tv. It’s not dynamic and new. You even explained why. It’s about rich white girls in New York.

How about we tell the story of white disabled girls in new york? White girls who are sex workers in new york? White trandgender girls in new york? Bisexual white girls in new york? Homeless white girls in new york? The show doesn’t even show diversity among white girls, let alone other ethnic groups.

I’m over this conversation. I probably shouldn’t have replied, because I generally like to keep the peace on my blog— 

But gosh, this is why we can’t have nice things.

It’d be one thing if you just said something like you enjoyed the show and disagreed (which at least one person did!), but don’t you ever tell me how to feel or that my opinion on something wasn’t justified because you don’t find my non-expert, 4 sentence evaluation of a television show comprehensive.

My opinion is valid and your response was dismissive.

(Source: awesome-everyday)

Frustrating News Reporting

I’m a little conflicted. I really want to complain about news reporting in this day and age. I also want to rant about how people of color are disrespected by the news system as a whole.

All of this is inspired by the sudden death of a professional black woman from my neighborhood.

Today, Louisville’s major print news outlet, the Courier-Journal reported that the former Metro Councilwoman of my neighborhood, Dr Judy Green, passed away. She was a professional Black woman (A dentist!), and was involved in some controversy involving her time as a metro council member.  

It was really sad news. She was only 57 years old.

I have a mother with health problems in her 60’s so this was especially troubling to me. I’ve also had many conversations with Dr Green, and this news was shocking. 

Then, Louisville’s Fox Affiliate, WDRB, said:

Although several other media outlets have reported that Green is dead, her daughter, Joy, tells WDRB’s Stephan Johnson that family members are gathering at the hospital while Green remains on life support.

Say what?

Not only are you conflicting the city’s only major newspaper, and another television outlet, you’re talking smack on them, in regards to the death of a professional black woman? That’s not only ballsy, but it’s disrespectful to Dr Green and her family, who’ve already been through a media shitstorm.

Then, I got a tweet from a reporter for WAVE!

image

So… here’s the problem.

On one hand, I’m thinking that a part of the conflict here is that news happens instantaneously  I started getting confused (And complained about it publicly) with the conflicting reports on twitter. All of the articles had been posted and/or updated around 10:30.

About 10 years ago, all the news stations probably would have published the same news, because by Noon, everyone would have everything all cleared up… possibly?

A 24 hour news cycle helps keep us informed, but it also allows for terrible mistakes like this regarding sad, devastating news. 

What I think is the bigger story here is, was this mishandled because of the 24 hour news cycle mentality of getting the story out quickly, or was it mishandled because Dr Green was a professional woman of color who had already suffered from ongoing public scrutiny in a city known for publicly racist behavior?

America!

Here’s the thing, y’all.

The folks in charge of producing American propoganda are some of the smartest, most skilled individuals on the face of the planet.

They have us convinced that this barbaric behavior we put up with in this country is modern, the pinnacle of civilization and filled with freedom!

Okay, so we live in the past.

We have lawmakers who go to work with the sole purpose of enriching their grandchildren’s inheritance. They intentionally say racist things where everyone can hear. As they hit their pillows at night, they reflect on how they believe they’re fucking philanthropists. 

We live in a place where violence is expected in specific neighborhoods where people who were once worked and beaten and abused while exchanged for commerce are now worked, beaten and abused under the promise of controlling commerce. The violence is now, in many cases, initiated or multiplied exponentially by the police. The very people who we are taught to believe are supposed to protect us, have merely been showing us the negatives of the big  picture.

So when violence is your pavement, your lawn and your conflict resolution, no strangers in Nebraska cry when you’re shot in front of your house at 2pm. Our propaganda has taught us what to get upset about.

Call me a bitch, but I didn’t shed one single tear for the tragedy in New England  It’s terrible. But I come from a city where when I was 7, men killed each other on my block over a few crystals in a plastic container. I come from a city where when I was 9, FIVE HUNDRED PEOPLE WERE MURDERED, predominantly Black people.

Propaganda tells us that we should be outraged when a criminal terrorist mass murderer kills a couple of scores of human beings.

I am outraged that propaganda doesn’t encourage us all to be outraged that a little 7 year old can still very easily live in neighborhoods in America where men and women murder each other to resolve conflicts.

Conflicts that burn from an anger many people of color carry because society has our minds on a short, tight leash.

Meanwhile, “overall,” american wealth is higher because our richest rich are richer, and we let the richest put their cold feet on our legs when we cuddle with them at night.

Hi!
So, here’s a short tale of excitement, disappointing events and mild triumphs.
I went on a couple of dates with this extremely f-i-i-n-e (two i’s for incredibly) guy with whom I enjoyed spending time. I was excited!
As you may know, I’ve been single for a couple of years here. I’m sure that’s painfully obvious considering the absolute lack of me ever talking about a relationship, and my constant complaints about the sex drought of 2011 - 2012 (Damn near 2013, ugh).
I hadn’t really been in a state of mind to date anybody for a while because being broke and unemployed and miserable just aren’t attractive qualities. Since that state of mind has started to drift away, options have been scarce.
So it was pretty snazzy that a guy who looked like a comic book superhero wanted to hang out.
Welp, that fizzled into nothingness after I returned from my Missed Planes, Birthday Parties and Greyhound adventures. Bummer, squared.
I’m also riding the crimson wave, so I’m cranky, and things haven’t been going exactly my way. But I’m getting back into meditating in a bigger, different way, and you know what? All this crap is rolling off my back. It’s gonna be okay, and I predict that I’ll have an awesome New Year’s.
Maybe I’ll even have someone to make out with! :D

Hi!

So, here’s a short tale of excitement, disappointing events and mild triumphs.

I went on a couple of dates with this extremely f-i-i-n-e (two i’s for incredibly) guy with whom I enjoyed spending time. I was excited!

As you may know, I’ve been single for a couple of years here. I’m sure that’s painfully obvious considering the absolute lack of me ever talking about a relationship, and my constant complaints about the sex drought of 2011 - 2012 (Damn near 2013, ugh).

I hadn’t really been in a state of mind to date anybody for a while because being broke and unemployed and miserable just aren’t attractive qualities. Since that state of mind has started to drift away, options have been scarce.

So it was pretty snazzy that a guy who looked like a comic book superhero wanted to hang out.

Welp, that fizzled into nothingness after I returned from my Missed Planes, Birthday Parties and Greyhound adventures. Bummer, squared.

I’m also riding the crimson wave, so I’m cranky, and things haven’t been going exactly my way. But I’m getting back into meditating in a bigger, different way, and you know what? All this crap is rolling off my back. It’s gonna be okay, and I predict that I’ll have an awesome New Year’s.

Maybe I’ll even have someone to make out with! :D

THE DEMON SEED!

Y’all, I am so glad that this egg is a period and not a person.

It’s fucking evil.

I’ve never gotten this sick, ill, or been in this much debilitating pain from my period in all of my womanly days. 

If this month’s egg had been fertilized with some poor sod’s sperm? I am positive that it would have grown into some psychopathic killer just waiting for the right day to go all “We Need to Talk About Kevin,” on my life.

Perhaps it would have even left some ovarian cancer in it’s wake so I wouldn’t be able to attempt to have an apology-to-the-world child.

Really stoked that you’re going on an Always pad and not to pre-school, you evil little motherfucker. 

THIRTY SEVEN? (Thoughts and facts on American voter turnout)

Y’all. Look.

I’ve been a little pissed at the “Undecided voters are stupid stupid-heads,” rhetoric floating around lately. I feel like that conversation likely pushes those people further away from even casting their vote. This is exceptionally frustrating when you think about the actual number of Americans who are eligible to vote vs the number who actually do.

At least these undecided voters are registered, man.

This PDF from the Census breaks down the number of people who are eligible to vote in every state, as well as the percentage of how many people actually voted. It goes so far as to break it down by state & the District of Columbia as well (sorry Puerto Rico).

According to this document, little more than half of eligible Americans actually turn out to vote for president. 

To that point, in consideration of elections where the electoral college doesn’t get activated; an abysmal 37% of registered voters showed up to the polls in 2010 to vote for US representatives. Thirty seven. 

Dude, congress and senate are where shit actually happens! They make decisions about laws, get them written, and speak on your behalf. Why do you think when some stupid law is about to get passed, Planned Parenthood, the Sierra club and other advocacy groups ask you to call your Congress rep and your senator and NOT the white house?

Also, most local issues that the federal government can do something about are the responsibility of your senator and congress rep to speak up about. The president isn’t thinking about the expressway that might get built over top of a grocery store when he drinks his morning coffee, but your house representative probably does.

This other census PDF shows that as of 2010, roughly 60% of all eligible Americans are registered to vote. That same table shows that about half of registered voters actually turn out and vote (Look at the “All races” breakdown in the 2nd table).

That sounds to me like 30% of America is deciding who our elected officials are. Meanwhile, only 60% of us even have the ability to do so. 

That’s why it’s so damn important to get more people registered. That is why people are screaming their faces off to get human beings to show up at the polls. This is why we are not adequately represented. Even worse, this is why people who aren’t even representing their constituents get elected over and over again, and the same problems don’t go away.

So all of this to say, VOTE!

Banks

So today I was at a groundbreaking thing. It was pretty cool, and the place that had ground broken for it is a cool concept: A live-in place for single parents to stay with their kids, with free housing (with washers & dryers in every unit!), and a program for them to get their 4 year degree.

AWESOME.

Anyway, stuff like that needs funding. Housing, programming, education, childcare all sorts of stuff require money.

So this guy from a bank spoke at the event. I won’t out the bank, or say the name of the operation in this post, because google tells no lies, and I really like this nonprofit program a lot.

Bank dude got up and said to an audience including our democrat councilperson, democrat mayor, democrat congressman (who has co-sponsored legislation reversing the citizens united decision), democrat vice-governor’s wife and all the nonprofit green-party celebrating peeps in the crowd like me that he wanted to, “Speak on behalf of tax loopholes.”

:/

He went on to say how tax credits helped to fund the erection of the org we were there to celebrate, and that when politicians and others talk shit on tax loopholes, we talk shit on the some-odd 10-20 billion dollars that get spent on great things for nonprofits.

THIS DUDE.

FROM A MAJOR BANK.

THAT WAS TOTALLY INVOLVED IN THE SHADY ASS PRACTICES INVOLVED IN MANY AMERICAN PEOPLE LOSING THEIR HOMES.

A MAJOR BANK THAT GOT A GOVERNMENT BAILOUT.

A MAJOR BANK THAT HAS PROFITED, AND WILL CONTINUE TO PROFIT FROM THE LOSS OF HOMES, AND BENEFITS FROM THE INHERENTLY FLAWED MORTGAGE SYSTEM.

This white, rich (he has to be rich, say with his position & title) bepenised bro had the nerve to use time at the groundbreaking of a nonprofit which may very well house people who LOST THEIR HOMES in the foreclosure crisis to say the words, “In an election year,” along with, “In defense of tax loopholes,” to a very obviously majority democrat crowd, less than 50 days out from a major election.

To this bro I say, thanks for helping make this groundbreaking possible, but it was downright rude to abuse the time you had to say cool things about what Major Bank is up to, and get all political.

Also you talked too fucking long.

Connections to history

Sometimes I see examples of thousands of years of history from countries which are majority people of color, and I get pangs of jealousy.

I’m jealous that I have no idea where my history goes beyond the shores of the united states. 

I wonder what it’s like to be an American and still be able to say, “I’m Irish/Korean/Japanese/Kenyan.” I wonder what it’s like feeling as though there is another place on the planet where you are pretty sure you’d fit in because you share some sort of cultural similarities.

Because even if your family’s been in america for 4+ generations there’s still a solid connection. Well there likely is if you’re familiar that your family is German or Chinese or whatever, surely your family has some culturally specific behaviors they’ve maintained.

I wonder what it’s like to have a long-standing connection to a way of life, culture or simply a bit of land and know that your blood is a part of all of it. I wonder if people who live in a country that has been inhabited by the same group of people for more than a thousand years have a different level of connection.

The concept of the american tradition of slavery, leaves my soul singed in so many different ways. The idea that my grandfather’s mother was born into a world where she was considered someone else’s property frays up pieces of my heart.

Would I connect better with my neighbors if I knew we shared a common country in our history?

What would the spirit of the black community be like if most of us had a direct connection to our people?

I think it was Ciji who said many black americans are cultural orphans.

I mean, everyone spends their life looking for their, “people.” Our chosen family. But there is a greater connection to a select group. I think that’s why we separated off into cliques of countries in the first place… but now I’m just rambling.

Guilt, Social Programs and the Republican Party

It would seem as though we have some guilt running rampant!

I was just contemplating the fact that having social programs which benefit low-income people are an admission that the system, as-is, just so happened to be completely flawed.

If the way America worked was like this: “You work your hardest at a job that helps people, and you will be successful(!)”

Teachers would live in mansions, traveling spoken word artists would have personal jets and every non profit employee would have valet parking at their 12 bedroom palace.

But guess what? That’s not how it works.

We have people with professional degrees working for 10 dollars an hour, and meanwhile, people with little-to-no education are struggling to eat.

But!

There are assistance programs! Assistance programs are the government’s admission that things are flawed. And the republican party is hell bent on not feeling guilty about jack squat. Like any bully, they propel themselves by taking advantage of others. That same bully mentality forces them to sit on some of their guilt, because they see reflections of themselves in the people they hurt!

So when the republican party is trying not to look at people who have suffered educationally in both the aspects of the quality of a k-12 experience and the mere ability to attend college? When the republican party is forced to read numbers, facts, statistics and personal stories that reinforce the reality that poverty is what reduces people’s lifespans and ulitmately kills them?

They say, off with the programs! This actualization of filling a few gaps in this system reminds me that not everyone is like me! They say, “The great social experiment would to be kicking everyone off of every social program, and then watch darwin go to work… except darwin was wrong.”

Internet Evolution

Watching the Internet grow and develop into everything it is over the years has been much like watching a child grow.

It learns more as it interacts with more facets of society and develops into something that supports the people who love it most.

I say that because I have some weird mommy complex or something, because a more accurate comparison would be true evolution. 

What the development of the internet has been like is an entire new society and culture, and that evolution. But what is remarkable about the internet, is that although there are some language barriers, the internet is the only major culture which has ever been comprised by people who simultaneously exist in a separate place and culture. 

Okay, so this is what I’m saying. I’m saying that I can interact about stuff that happens on the internet, in a few key places (Chat rooms, tumblr and twitter for example). And the people who I’m interacting with? They could be people I see everyday, or people who live so far away that there is a pretty firm chance that otherwise I would have NEVER met those people.

When we’re offline, we exist in all sorts of different places, and interact with a completely different culture. My friend in Germany has a totally different everyday experience than I do here in Louisville, KY yet we can exist with others online and share jokes, language and even shop in an entirely different culture.

The Internet may not be the final frontier, but I’m not shitting you when I say that we really do dictate what the internet does moreso than any other place in the world. Keep that one in your pocket.

You should run for public office.

People I know, directed at me.

Yikes!!

This conversation usually begins with me saying something about how I think programs should get started, or what programs don’t matter, or maybe just my basic understanding of something. Then people toss out questions, I give my opinion based on some facts, and then… occasoinally someone will say, “Wow, Pam. You should run for office.”

No.

I’m very flattered every time someone says this to me. People are basically telling me, “I think you should be in charge of some stuff and I’d vote for you.” When people first started saying this, I was like, “LOL they can’t be serious.

Then when these words started coming out of the mouths of more than just my BFFs, I thought of it in the way you think of a six year old saying, “I’m gonna be president when I grow up.” Like, the ambition and drive are there, but “Aww, sweetie you have no idea what you’re getting into!” These folks have the love and the passion for what I’m saying… but I don’t think I’m ready to get waist deep in the American Government.

There is an enormous disconnect between-

how I get down: my passion for changing policy, creating positive change in our communities as well as my personal belief structure and my general leadership style 

And

how the american government gets down: silencing voices through policy, elections that are MEAN side shows, the requirement to represent both bad and good ideologies in order to be successful.

I wanna do what I want, say what I want, and not be afraid that someone’s gonna say mean shit about me on tv because I’m bisexual, don’t subscribe to any organized religion’s newsletter, I’ve smoked pot, say “Fuck,” and had an abortion.

I’m a nice person, but I’m also super-sensitive, and the american political media bullshit would give me a nervous breakdown.

Also? I need the ability to say whatever the fuck I wanna say whenever the fuck I find it appropriate. 

People thinking that I could effectively be responsible for the lives of other americans is both humbling, and an incredibly scary prospect.

But the two biggest reasons I don’t wanna do it? I never want to be a government employee and the idea of being a semi-radical (REALLY RADICAL in this political climate, geez) black woman in office saying the things I would feel obligated to say? Someone would kill me.

I’m not great at playing the “We don’t do that around here,” game. I do what I want. I’m nice to people, I talk to people, I build relationships with my co-workers, and don’t stay quiet when people aren’t treated nicely. It’s gotten me fired from or pushed out of corporate jobs. I know they’d wanna watch my bones get eaten up in a meat grinder if I held a political office.

I can be far more effective as a community organizer, and a boots-to-streets kinda person.