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Leveraging the Power of Race and Gender

Leveraging the Power of Race and Gender

Hey from beautiful San Miguel de Allende. Did a talk at the literary festival here and had a wonderful time with some super smart expats, all eager to engage on issues of writing memoir and surviving it. Any of you out in SMA, the memoir writing workshop is Monday from 3-6. Come on down!

Check out this piece by Kavita Nandini Ramdas, Leveraging the Power of Race and Gender. We met years ago when we were both honored with the Women Who Could Be President Award from the League of Women Voters. Hers is a smart, interesting, and more international view of the election.

I've been watching with interest the turn HRC's campaign is taking, and how the media reacts. Seems no matter which way she turns, she's motherized. She's either team leader soccer mom, cold and stoic mom,vulnerable and loving mom, or now, this new incarnation, scolding mom.

Much has been written on the paternalism of the President, the way the citizenry identifies the president as the ultimate father/protector. I'd like to see HRC embrace being the mother of the nation rather than evade or tip-toe around the gender issue. She should take a few lessons from Queen Elizabeth, or even just Cate Blanchett.

Being a mother is nothing to be ashamed of.

February 24th, 2008

The Root | TheRoot.com

The Root | TheRoot.com

Hey peeps, here's a short spot of local flavor by yours truly. I wish the HBO ad wasn't right in the middle, but what are you gonna do? Happy Hawaiian primary!

xo
February 20th, 2008

Who Is Michelle Obama? | Newsweek Politics: Campaign 2008 | Newsweek.com

February 19th, 2008

Quote of the day: Obama on Clinton

Quote of the day: Obama on Clinton

Do you think the word "feel" is inappropriate here? It uses Clinton's gender against her by associating her responses with irrational emotion (always seen as weaker) than certainty, logical thinking, and a determination to win. My biggest concern about Obama? He married Michelle, but forgot to take Women's Studies 101 at Harvard.
February 18th, 2008

Samantha Power, Barack Obama's campaign, foreign policy | Salon News

Samantha Power, Barack Obama's campaign, foreign policy | Salon News

To be clear: I'm still on the fence, but as I gather information about the candidates, I continue to be impressed by the team Obama has brought together. Passionate, incredibly smart, with a good grasp of both the analytical and the heart and soul of the matter. They are multi-racial, women and men, community and ivy-league trained.

I understand the concerns about their youth, but how much longer will young leaders have to wait to put their future first ideas into action? My father was 26 when he won lawsuits against white segregationists in Mississippi. My mother was twenty-five when she published her first collection of poetry.

If not now, when?
February 18th, 2008

For EcoMoms, Saving Earth Begins at Home - New York Times

For EcoMoms, Saving Earth Begins at Home - New York Times

So glad to see this. I just wrote a piece about being an eco-mom for the upcoming collection The Maternal Is Political, edited Shari MacDonald Strong. It's an uphill battle and I wish I could sell my SUV and buy a Prius like, this afternoon, but amazingly, Maui doesn't even have public recycling!

Here are a few of my favorite eco-friendly things:

Fit--vegetable and fruit wash

Solio--the solar charger for all things portable including Blackberry and Ipod

John Patrick--beautiful clothes, organizer for organic cotton farmers

Newman-Os--Paul Newman's Oreo alternative

Rawganique--Organic Linen Sheets

Acme Grocery Bags--they fold up into little pouches you can put in your pocket

Ecover dishwasher cubes--because I hate the idea of washing Tenzin's bottles and cups with an ammonia based product

What are yours? I'm always on the hunt. At the moment looking for non-plastic kids cups...

February 17th, 2008

Mad, Mad, Men

I continue to be amazed by the dexterity of the writers and creators of Mad Men. Each episode, including the one I just watched on Itunes about Draper's wife being used as a pawn in her husband's business dealings, is so smart in the way it handles the misogyny and backwardness of pre-feminist white America.

The show deals with the conflict between the beats and the straights, the counter cultural left and the Nixon right, the woman who wants to be judged on the merits of her mind and the women who think going to work is synonymous with looking for a husband. It deconstructs the supposedly assured hyper-butch provider masculinity and shows that beneath it lies a complex, insecure little boy dying to make his mother/wife happy.

It shows that while the "little lady" is going insane with boredom in a Valium induced haze at home, the "big man" is jockeying for position at work, and fielding literal and psychological punches from men more and less powerful than himself.

It's gripping, really. Like a horrible accident. Down to the black men working as elevator "boys," and the Jewesses in the garment business who can get the ad men to take their company accounts but never, ever, anything more. There's the closeted gay man, too, suave and gorgeous, and eternally alone. There's the incessant drinking and smoking standing in for real, human interaction; and those damning issues of class, status, and who can afford what apartment in New York.

I'm writing about Mad Men because all of the coverage I read doesn't seem to get how smart it is. Perhaps because it is too awful to imagine that it represents 1950's white America the way it really was. And maybe because if it can be recreated so deftly, a lot of that so-called lost world must remain.

February 14th, 2008

Nextbook: Chosen People

Nextbook: Chosen People

I don't know if it was being with all those Jews at the SF Jewish Community Center last night, or thinking more about what spiritual tradition my partner and I should pass on to our son, but I found myself wondering about the black jewish thing today.

I came across this very interesting podcast on the largest African-American synagogue in America. It raises important questions about what it means to be Jewish. Most people consider Jewishness to be synonymous with European culture, as most American Jews descended primarily from Eastern Europe, some via what was then called Palestine. But what does it mean to be Jewish for someone from Uganda, or the South side of Chicago?

This is a must listen for anyone interested in the subject.

PS It's cold cold cold in Philadelphia! But I am looking forward to speaking at St. Joe's tomorrow. Hope to see you there!

February 13th, 2008

Toni Morrison's Letter to Barack Obama

Toni Morrison's Letter to Barack Obama | The New York Observer

I'm sure you've seen this, but I found it quite moving and eloquent.

He's going to win. Then it will be on to McCain.

February 9th, 2008

Jesse Jackson Needs To Blame Media, Not Barack Obama For Neglecting Issues Facing Blacks

Jackson Needs To Blame Media, Not Barack Obama For Neglecting Issues Facing Blacks

Found this list interesting in light of the constant questions about whether Obama is black enough.
February 7th, 2008