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Rebecca Walker Blog

Newseek: What Michelle Obama Can Teach Us

Interesting Newsweek piece today, with nice reference to yours truly, referring to my post on about the CNN black in America series.

November 2nd, 2008

If the world could vote

The Economist endorsed Barack today. Love this amazing graphic of how the world would vote.
October 31st, 2008

Election 2008: Are You Okay?

I don't know about you all, but I've come down with the election-flu.

I've identified the germinology:

1. 24 hour election coverage. I've got news about the Mccain-Obama situation coming at me from Twitter, Friend Feed, CNN, Rachel Maddow, Chris Matthews, and Fox News (thanks to my multi-news channel that lets me watch all the major stations at the same time), the local Hawaii ten-page newspaper, Alternet updates on my Blackberry, a constant stream of posts on my Facebook page, huge Hawaii for Obama posters at the supermarket, and even Tenzin. Right this second, he is in the bathtub singing, "Barack Obama, Barack Obama, Barack Obama."

2. The growing hostility. I was just speaking in the bible belt, the midwest, the west coast, and the northeast. Among many moments of difficulty, an airline attendant looked me up and down when I asked for a cup of water, then told me there wasn't enough to give me. At a hotel in Tennessee, a family of five asked me huffily to show them to their room.

When I asked why there was a "No Firearms Allowed" sign on the front door of a hotel in another Southern state, a policeman stood up from his post in the lobby, put his hand on his gun, and asked the woman behind the desk if she was having a problem with me.

And then, last night when I got home, I heard what I can only describe as Commando-style yelling coming from across the yard. I heard "Go!" and "Aim!" and "Move out!" Was it a television? A white supremacist group doing an exercise for the day after the election? I wish I could say definitively that it was the former, but since I've been hearing a lot of bagpipe playing over yonder, and checking in with the SPLC on the staggering rise of white hate groups, I'm not so sure.

The truth is, the backlash on this necessary step forward is going to be monumental. I recently saw a documentary on the civil war. One historian said the North won the war, but the South won Reconstruction-- black folks were emancipated, but they were also severely brutalized and disempowered shortly thereafter. I'm not saying it's going to happen, I'm saying Obama supporters of all colors need to get ready. Now is the time for all of us to vote, and also prepare. 

Today, my friends, I am going to take some time off to rest and recover. I'm going to lie in bed with a book after I post this and try not to think about the economy. I am going to send messages of reassurance to all of the people in the world terrified of change that we will make it through if we can be open to what is rather than attached to what was, and I am going to check all of the locks on my doors and windows to make sure they are secure. 

I'm also going to try, try, try, to give Tenzin my undivided attention for at least thirty minutes. And that includes being with him without thinking about the ten thousand things on my to-do list and what the world might look like at the end of next month.

And one more thing. The Dalai Lama says a guaranteed way to feel better is to think about others more than yourself. So I'm going to ask how you're doing with all of this. How are you managing these final days to E-day?

Are you okay?

October 30th, 2008

This Has Been the Year of the Woman

Interesting piece about the shift in feminist discourse.
October 24th, 2008

Colin Powell Endorses Barack Obama

October 19th, 2008

Fact or Fiction?

October 19th, 2008

Obama Roasts McCain at Al Smith Dinner

A fascinating moment in American politics.

October 16th, 2008

The Truth with Jeff Johnson on BET: Masculinity and the Final Debate

Thoughts on masculinity, the final debate, and Obama.

October 14th, 2008

Five Favorite Books for Venus Magazine

the lover

I almost always read for inspiration. I’m on a perpetual hunt for books
that make me want to sit down and write my own. I can’t believe they
are so hard to find—there are millions of books, after all. But to find
my books, the ones that call my name, is a major deal. Once found, I
read these books in bed at two in the morning, take them on airplanes
again and again, and get teary-eyed remembering who I was the first
time I cracked their pages.

Read More

October 13th, 2008

American Prayer - Dave Stewart (Barack Obama Music Video)

October 9th, 2008

Alltop - Top Frugality News

Alltop - Top Frugality News

More ways to save. Thanks, alltop.

October 9th, 2008

The Silver Lining: Five Ways To Make the Crash Pay for Itself

Hey beautiful people,

Like everyone else, I've been thinking about the economy. This week I've been identifying with my paternal grandmother, who grew up during the Depression. All us grandchildren used to laugh when she emptied the sugar packets from restaurant tables into her purse, and moved her money from bank to bank to get a free toaster or portable television for opening an account.

On my mother's side, my uncles rolled pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters every couple of months, and then took the rolls to the bank to change into dollars. My mother and her siblings were all about paying for things outright, too. Credit was for people who didn't understand the system, who lacked restraint, who would one day lose what they owned because if you owed on it and couldn't pay, well, that was that.

And they had already, as black sharecroppers in the Jim Crow south, lost enough.

So I'm wondering how we can use the current economic crisis as motivation to change our generation's behaviors for good. If my son can look back on this moment as the turning point in species sustainability, this economic nightmare will have officially earned a silver lining.

You all might be way ahead of me, but here's what I've come up with so far:

1. Macro: Let's push for what Van Jones calls the "green collar economy" in his book of the same title. We can use the current energy crisis as the impetus to completely transform our domestic business model. Instead of an ever-expanding prison industrial complex, let's have an ever=expanding environmental industrial complex. We can create American jobs, train skilled workers, and propel our nation to surplus and eco-sustainability without leaving at-risk youth, working class people whose jobs have gone overseas, or regular middle-class Americans behind.

Micro: I'm slowly acclimating my family to the idea of getting our power from the sun and wind. We use solar panels during the day for showers, but I've also got solar chargers for the Blackberry and I'm working on getting one for the laptop. Solar chargers have a long way to go, and at the moment the cost benefit isn't there, but the shift in mindset is crucial. It's mind-blowing to see it takes a full day of direct sun to charge my Blackberry.

2. Macro: Take greater accountability for our health so we don't have to rely on the medical industrial complex for wellness. More than exercising and eating right, this means incorporating exercise into our workplaces--like the Google campus and so many other future-forward companies have--and turning our mind on while we exercise. Mind and body are one, and real health is more than the absence of illness.

Micro: I'm looking into HSA's, or Health Savings Accounts. I've just written how they work ten different ways and none of them made sense, so I'm just going to give you this link to start your research. Switching from regular private health insurance to a tax-free Health Saving Account invested in the market over the next twenty years could reduce health insurance costs by more than half--and help build a nest-egg for the future.

3. Macro: Develop a better relationship to credit. The US is 300 billion dollars and counting in debt to the Chinese government alone. Now is the time to get into CASH. I know Suze Orman has been telling us this forever (and so have our parents), but it seems to make even more sense right now, as the crisis swirled around a potential credit freeze.

Micro: It's actually liberating. I was zipping through the airport last week and instead of whipping out the plastic, I handed over the green. It felt GREAT. I knew I wouldn't see some crazy airport charges on my statement, long after the mags and bottle of water had been consumed. Of course, that doesn't mean shutting down credit cards--we still need those, but it does mean using them less.

4. Macro: Re-thinking the way we look at food, in terms of basic proteins and healthy fats.

Micro: When I heard the price of grain was skyrocketing and countries are facing rice shortages, I bought huge sacks of rice for my house. Also cases of beans. Rice and beans are a perfect protein. If the economy collapses and food can't make it to the island, or the fuel tax on imported goods is out of this world, we could eat rice and beans for weeks and maintain good health. Throw on a little Bragg's and an avocado from the tree and you've got yourself a perfect meal.

I should mention that when I raised this around the dinner table, everyone's eyebrows went up--they think I'm extreme, but as far as I'm concerned, better to be safe than sorry.

And finally,

5. Macro: This is a time for giving what you can, receiving what's coming your way, and believing in amazing abundance.

Micro: I've been going through closets and putting everything I don't need, use, or deem essential into bags to drop at shelters, clothing recyclers, and anywhere else they may do some good. Even and especially "the good stuff" because, well, who doesn't deserve the good stuff?

I'm also working on getting better at receiving the non-material essentials--love, advice, gratitude, admiration, affection, hugs, you name it, if it spreads goodwill, I'll take it. Even if the sky doesn't fall, and it looks like it probably won't, there's no better time to remember that true wealth is being loved, understood, and respected for who you are.

How are you making lemonade out of lemons?

October 6th, 2008


October 4th, 2008

Men: the new misfits

This is for all the beautiful people who came to hear me at St Louis University last night. It's a great follow-up piece to my talk: Barack Obama, Al Gore, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama: Revolutionizing Masculinity for the 21st Century.


October 1st, 2008

Double Blood, Greater Good Magazine

Double Blood

September 17th, 2008


Like many biracial Americans of my generation, my parents met in the
tumultous cultural revolution of the 1960s. They married when it was
illegal for people of different races to do so, and continued to challenge
entrenched assumptions about race by having me. It was dangerous work.The Klan threatened our interracial family in Mississippi often. My father's Jewish mother disowned him for marrying a black woman.

September 17th, 2008