Archive for anti-racism

“Oops… I said it again”: Pop Stars and Their Window into Our Racism

Posted in celebrities, humor, politics, racism with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 5, 2010 by Sunshine Superboy

yo, I know this is old news, but I wanna post this during this lull of feet-in-our-mouths cuz Its not even about John Mayer and racist crap that Pop Stars spout…
The thing that really gets a lot of people of color and anti-racist organizers miffed is the useless circus of inane conversation ostensibly about “race” but actually about whichever celebrity blabbermouth in question. (oh right, sometimes I forget how broad the blackmaps audience is: We’re talking about this bloke to the right, who writes pop songs and won a Grammy a minute and a half ago (who hasn’t??!). He famous also infamous for his utterly brilliant tweets (!) and for being an ex of both Jennifer Aniston and Jessica Simpson, and no there’s no reason for you, or any of us to care, but he’s been on the cover of Rolling Stone recently, and apparently some people in the world give a damn about who he is. Great, we’re all caught up!)

The lightening-rod of so-and-so actor or such and such politician said some racist bullshit (surprise…) serves as a big distraction not to mention a misframing of what racism really is and how it operates. This isn’t the place/time to belabor the theoretical pillars of racism as a legacy of institutionalized inequality.

Nevertheless, I think its a quick and important intervention to just point out in those moments when the media zoo gets all fired up about our unspoken consensus on being non-racist (!), (as opposed to being anti-racist?!), that its not about individuals, or even the things they may do or say, but a historically entrenched system which carries global momentum in dispossessing groups of people through the clever metrics of colorism and ethnic scapegoating. And its gonna take people getting organized in a big way to overturn those patterns. No paparazzi-flanked apologies are going to liberate people of color and white people who are all bound up in these systems of oppression. Least of all, since capitalism has everything to do with it, and lets not forget, pop stars looooooooove capitalism.

We dont’ have to hate them for it. We can enjoy goofy 3-D flicks and guitar hooks even as we begin to piece together how capitalism is operationalized by racism (and vice versa). Lets just keep these things in mind as we co-opt GaGa Radio tunes as inspiration and fuel for our movements.

oh, and for the record, John Mayer is a douchebag.

Up up and Away,
Sunshine Superboy


Tears of a Spect-Actor

Posted in art & music, politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 3, 2009 by Sunshine Superboy

Its been a short while since my last post, and I would have preferred that my return post would not bring such somber news. Theater of the Oppressed creator, Augusto Boal passed away at the onset of this May Day weekend. He was a great inspiration for me and a lot of the current anti-oppression organizing and education work that I and many friends and organizations with whom I work have been doing.


Unawares of his death, I spent six hours yesterday in a Cop-in-the-Head workshop, one of the major techniques in Theater of the Oppressed/ Rainbow of Desire. It was kinda uncanny to learn one day later of Boal’s passing.

According to the AP:

Legendary political theater practitioner, director, and teacher Augusto Boal died on May 1, from complications arising from a long-term health condition, according to the The Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory in New York City. He was 78.

Boal is best known for founding the Theatre of the Oppressed, an international movement and system for creating theater that seeks to examine forms of discrimination and oppression, with the goal of possible transformation. He conducted workshops throughout the world, and his techniques have been widely inspirational and influential.

Boal authored several books, including Theatre of the Oppressed, Games for Actors and Non-Actors, The Rainbow of Desire, and Legislative Theatre. He served as a Member of Parliament for Rio de Janeiro in the 1990s and was formerly the President of the Centre of Theatre of the Oppressed in Rio de Janeiro and Paris.

He is survived by his wife Cecilia, his sons Fabien and Julian, and several grandchildren.


As for some of his transformational pedagogy:

In Forum Theatre, a unique participatory-theatre technique, everyone in the room is considered a “spect-actor,” a participant-observer. For Boal, who conceived the term, “when the first spect-actor comes on stage, he transgresses, like a member of a church congregation who takes the place of the priest and celebrates the mass himself. And, since the spect-actor is one individual rising out of the audience, he does not make this transgression in place of the other spectators, but in their name. The actor acts in place of the spectators; the spect-actor acts in their name, because each member of the audience can decide whether she feels represented by this intervention or not, and, if she doesn’t, she can go on stage and give her own version of things

Boal is also survived by the current and future generations of spect-actors who make use of his techniques to dismantle oppression in our personal lives and throughout the world. He was, perhaps the great negation of Mac Beth’s bitter pill brought to us by Wm Shakespeare as such:

Out. Out brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player, That struts and frets his hour upon the stage And then is heard no more; It is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.

Brief candle, may be. But what Boal helped us see is that we are much more than “the poor player,” and that perhaps the sound and the fury signifies so much more…

And that, dear friends, all-of-it, is yours,
Sunshine Superboy

“That Thing”: a white privilege pre-quel

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 2, 2009 by Sunshine Superboy

ummm…. What to do when a Jewmaican is too overwhelmed to kvetch??!

… So we have to have a chat. Nah, its not you in particular (unless, maybe it is), I’ve just had the thing come up again and again in the last week and figured its time to broach the subject here. (Ahem, not THE Thing, mind you, since he’s pretty much got his shit together since buddying up with Storm and the Black Panther in the NEW Fantastic Four…)newfantasticfour1 A different thing. And not Lauryn Hill style, either. You know the talk I mean, about that nasty little thing that some of us are better at identifying than others, called white privilege. Sure, its a heavy conversation, so why not lead things off with a little chuckle before I get all People’s Institute on yr asses.

consider this a pre-quel, and I’ll catch you on the flip.

catch ya on the flip,
Sunshine Superboy