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A thought, an idea, a flash of inspiration. Potently Pickaninny but small enough to fit on a scrap of paper. Leave a comment. 


Entries by Lucinda (4)


Beyoncé Owns It at the SuperBowl

By Lucinda Holt

As a child, I can remember being admonished in subtle and not-so subtle ways—especially by people like my grandmother—to represent the race well through how I did in school, spoke and carried myself. The pressure of Dont embarrass us was ever present as I was growing up, and part of not embarrassing us was always being seen as respectable and never sexual. The last thing you wanted to do as a black girl or woman was feed into the already hyper-sexualized image of the black woman that is alive and well in the American imagination.

Of course the problem is that black women are human beings, who also happen to be sexual people. Can I be a fully realized, complicated person who is many things, including sexy? Do I have to be the poster-child for respectability?

Photo by AP

We all come up with ways to express our full humanity in spite of the racist and sexist notions that would limit who we are and how we express ourselves, and I have to say that I'm not mad at Beyoncé for expressing that sexuality in all its glory in front of millions of people during the SuperBowl. Beyoncé is an amazing performer who dances and sings better than any of her critics ever will, while being very sexy. Do we need a variety of images of black women that aren’t limited to the sexual images that we often see? Yes. But let’s not disavow the power of owning one’s sexuality and determining how, when and with whom we share that part of ourselves.

I love what The Nation’s Mychal Denzel Smith had to say about these issues in his blog post  Michelle, Beyoncé and the Fruitless Politics of Respectability.

What Beyoncé did was own her sexuality, for herself and no one else, in a public space—and it freaked some people out. Whether you think Beyoncé was ‘self-objectifying’ is a question of whether it’s possible for a woman to publicly embrace her sexuality without being defined by the hetero-male gaze. As a hetero-male, I hope I’m not speaking out of turn when I say: Not everything is about us. In fact, most things aren’t, we just pretend they are so we can feel good about ourselves.


Junot Shows Our Girl Octavia Some Love

Photo by Beth GwennBy Lucinda Holt

 I’ve recently developed an especially soft spot for Junot Diaz. In an interview with The New York Times yesterday, he was asked which three writers he would invite to a dinner party of writers. Of course there are many, many writers he could have chosen, but I was delighted that one of the writers was Octavia Butler—a woman full of pickaninny spirit if there ever was one. Junot had this to say:

“Octavia Butler because she’s my personal hero, helped give the African Diaspora a future (albeit a future nearly as dark as our past) and because I’d love to see her again.”

Oh, Junot, any man who calls Octavia Butler his “personal hero” is alright with me. Any Dominican man who acknowledges and—dare I say—embraces being part of the African diaspora is alright with me. And I’m not mad at anyone who would love to see our beloved Octavia Butler again. I would, too.



What Paul Ryan Means When He Says “Class Warfare” 

Republicans, like Paul Ryan, have said Warren Buffett’s call to have the super-rich pay the same tax rate as other Americans is class warfare. When Ryan says “class warfare” he’s not imagining angry proletariat mobs taking to the street or even the recent civil disobedience protests down on Wall Street. Ryan and his ilk are very concerned about big, bad government waging war against the super-wealthy.

But do the very wealthy need to be protected? In billionaire Warren Buffett’s New York Times op-ed, “Stop Coddling the Super-Rich,” he noted that last year he was taxed at 17.4 percent, while the other 20 people in his office—who make considerably less than he—were taxed at 33 to 41 percent. The wealthy pay a lower tax rate, but as so many people have pointed out—including Elizabeth Warren below—wealthy people’s thriving businesses have benefited greatly from an infrastructure, educated populace and services, like police and fire departments, that are all paid for with taxes.

I get that Ryan wants to protect his campaign donors, but if he wants to have all Americans pay for the services we all benefit from, he should support President Obama’s Buffett Rule, a tax plan that would require the super-rich—those earning more than $1 million a year—to pay their fair share. The plan makes sense, especially if there’s going to be the kind of “shared sacrifice” that so many politicians talk about.


Proud of Georgia’s New Sex Trafficking Law

It has baffled me that a teenager who is too young to consent to sex in most states can be arrested for prostitution, while the men who are pimping her out and paying for sex with her don’t get charged. But things are changing in some states, like Georgia, where a new law just went into effect that prohibits prosecutors from charging people with sex crimes if they have been trafficked for sex. The new law includes medical treatment for the survivors of sex trafficking and sexual exploitation and tough penalties for human traffickers. If we’re serious about putting an end to commercial sexual exploitation, then we’ve got to penalize the people who profit from it, not the people being sold.