Saturday, January 29, 2005

What is white theology and how does it intersect with indigenous spirituality?

Jim Perkinson's answer:

This post is for those googlers out there who type in "pinay" or "sexy pinay" in search of a list of porn sites with Pinays on them. If you ended up on this blog, linger awhile. There is far more to titillate you here and on the links to your left. So go ahead, look around, save some money. You can always return to your porn sites later.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Veronica is deciding: to be or not to be...Other. Bureacuracy always gets us, enit? I've been thinking of what strategy of resistance (to other-ing) might be available in this case. If enough people check all the boxes that apply instead of just one, it would probably invalidate the form thus skewing demographic data that the statistic feeds into. What does it feed? Like Michelle said, those statistics are used to determine and allocate resources. Resources that are supposed to make sure there is equity of opportunity for all in the system.

Or if enough people check "other," the category would still remain vague so as to render it... meaningless?

Clearly we need a new system since more and more children of interethnic and interracial marriages are born everyday.

But as Maria P. Root says in her Love's Revolution, all of our fears about race are always about sex. And when I think of the dilemma such as the one Veronica is facing, I fear it might take many more decades, if not centuries, to undo the fears and anxieties that created those categories in the first place.

There is a New Politics of Race that would have us believe that race has declined in significance in this global age. But not so, says Howard Winant; in fact, race is more central than ever to our lives. Read him.

Michelle pointed me to the Pampanga comix hero and in the same page there is even a Mendoza hero. Oh gosh, I don't know if I like this namesake -- all bronzed, buffed, and with a giant (phallic) weapon. But I do like the blue hero.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

You know you're getting old when you can't keep up with your friends' blogs! ...

When you don't know the comix hero who is from Pampanga and never heard of those comix cards and you are Kapampangan!...

When you feel dizzy just trying to keep up with the readings of Barb and Manong Oscar...or the saga of Eileen in snowed-in-New York....

And who can keep up with Jean and her precious finds online -- from accordions to comics...

Anyway...aside from being old, what has really kept me away from the blog is my new cat - Waiwai. We adopted her from my niece in Seattle; she is an older cat (I suspect even menopawsal) and she often meows at me when I'm sitting at my desk and I must obey and move to the recliner, have her sit on my lap and give her a thorough brushing and stroking.

I am realizing that trying to be a pet-person is not easy. I need to be able to change my language: from thinking of her as a "pet" to thinking of her as "companion and friend," from "distraction" to "paying attention." Maybe I can even think of her as my zen tutor.

So when I'm feeling dismayed by the recent tsunami song dissing its victims, or reading about the hidden messages in Bush' inaugural address, Waiwai is here to teach me mindfulness.

When the mind is still, interconnections become more clear. Four more years of Bush in the context of infinity become bearable. And Gramsci says: pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will. Sign those petitions. Make your voice heard.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Notes on White Identity from James Perkinson's new book White Theology:

White identity as a condition of double-unconsiousness.

Whiteness is simply the unself-conscious reflex of a perception of difference that racial discourse and social structure stigmatize as "nonwhite" and "inferior."

It is the unexamined presumption of entitlement to material wherewithal gathered historically and continually from the populations of color that have been marked and constrained by those discourses and structures.

White identity is generally lived, that is to say, as a kind of "artless ignorance," an almost incorrigible lack of awareness of either one's racial position or of the actual cost to others of one's prosperity.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Cornel West: on Martin Luther King's legacy. Read the entire essay here.


In 1946, when the great Eugene O'Neill's play The Iceman Cometh was produced, he said America was the greatest example of a country that exemplifies the Biblical question, "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world but lose his own soul?" Artists like Harry Belafonte and Coltrane and Toni Morrison and others have been asking the same question, as the young people say, "How do we keep it real?" When we look closely at jazz, or the blues, for example, we see a profound sense of the tragic linked to human agency. This music does not wallow in a cynicism or a paralyzing pessimism, but it also is realistic enough not to project excessive utopia. It responds in an improvisational, undogmatic, creative way to circumstances, helping people still survive and thrive. How can we be realistic about what this nation is about and still sustain hope, acknowledging that we're up against so much?

When I talk to young people these days, there's a sense in which they're in an anti-idealist mode and mood. They want to keep it real. And keeping it real means, in fact, understanding that the white supremacy you thought you could push back permeates every nook and cranny of this nation so deeply that you ought to wake up and recognize how deep it is.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Adding Jim Paredes of Apo Hiking Society.

Professor Dan Begonia of San Francisco State University has been using Coming Full Circle in his Filipino American Studies courses. He recently sent me the following email -- which, to me, shows the transformative power of LOVE in the class room. Thanks, Dan!

Thanks, Leny. The combination of your book and Ver's book is perfect. I can only hope that I will be able to continue to use the winning combination in the forseeable future.

FYI: I always start out having them read the last chapter first in CFC. After reading that, my students are hooked and will often read the whole book before I even assigned them the weekly chapters. However, some students get lost when you start using the technical Filipino terms - that's where Ver's book becomes very useful because he offers clear definitions of the terms and their logical connections. Because of the nature of the assignments and activities (including a 15 hr retreat towards the end of semester), students are usually very emotional when the course ends. Many of my best and brightest volunteer to return as TA's, each of whom becomes a team leader for the groups organized at the beginning of class. This spring semester I have 22 TA's, some of whom are veteran TA's with 3-4 years of experience in helping administer/facilitate the class.

My TA's have included Chinese, Lao, Korean, Japanese, Euro-American, Thai, Mexican, as well as Filipino TA's (unfortunately no African Americans - yet) It's a testimony to the universal appeal of the courses which, as you might imagine, are always packed and have huge waiting lists because of referrals. The course last year was the subject of a huge front page article in the school paper.Our dean once acknowledged me in a very public way for consistently having the highest class evaluations in the entire college. He said that the class ratings were always "off the charts" and recommended that faculty who had evaluation problems should consult with me to learn from my teaching style.I mention all this to you not to brag, but just to let you know that using your book in the last couple of years has multiplied exponentially the potency of the course for all students, not just Filipino students.
I truly LOVE teaching that class.

As a last comment on the significance of the class at a high personal individual level, I have had 5 pairs of students who met through the course - all of whom eventually got married and I was always included in the wedding party. I was blown away when one of the couples informed me a few years after they graduated that they named their son "Danilo" in honor of me because of the way the class had changed their lives. I cried when I read their email testimonial to me that included an invitation to be a godfather for the child. I wish I could have sent you a copy. Unfortunately, my computer(s) ate it and has been lost forever. Fortunately, I have shoe boxes and photo albums filled with letters, cards, and photos sent to me by students and entire classes as mementoes of their transformative experiences. Many of the classes still meet on their own at re-unions, bonfires, parties, etc. years after.

Ironically, the students have no clue as to how they have transformed my life as well, thus vivifying one of my favorite proverbs that I share with my students at the beginning of the course:

"Every person you meet is a like a book ready to share its knowledge and its wisdom. At the end of our lives, the quality of our existence can be measured by the size of our library" - African proverb.

Cheers and thanks for your constant support and encouragement and much gratitude and admiration for the good work that you do,

Monday, January 10, 2005

For now, I am just glad to be alive.
On the drive back from our short Seattle vacation, we ran into snow and ice on the Oregon coast.
The car went into a spin and we ended up on an embankment with the left rear bumper taking in the impact.
Two male angels in their 4wheel drive stopped to help us.
They towed us out of the embankment.
Thankfully, the car was driveable and we were able to get home.

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