On: Violence

violence

Violence is any action perpetrated with the intent of harming oneself, an individual, a group, community, establishment, or idea, which results in or has the potential to result in any form of tangible damage. While the outcome is an important part of the understanding of this definition, the focus should be on the notion that violence is enacted when the intention of the perpetrator is malicious. The perpetrator’s intention in any act of violence is to cause either physical, sexual, emotional, or psychological harm, socioeconomic deprivation, degradation, to strip one of their agency, maldevelopment, or even death.

Fortknox Kentucky U.S. Army Base,  C. 1970.

My father was immediately drafted in the military after he graduated from UCLA in 1969. Being ethnically Japanese, he was heavily discriminated against by the white people who also served with him, and it did not help that the U.S.’s enemy were the Vietnamese, as the whites often called anyone who was of Asian descent a “gook”, as they did my father. He was thus immediately marked as the enemy despite his U.S. citizenship, his actual ethnicity, and the fact that he too was fighting for his country. As his story goes, my father encountered violence midway through his training in Kentucky. One afternoon, the drill sergeant was explaining to everyone how to detain and capture “the enemy” when out in the field. He told my father to stand up, pointed at him directly in the face, and told the room, looking straight into my fathers eyes with contempt, that “this is what the enemy looks like”. My father, intelligent but prideful still, raised his middle finger directly at the drill sergeant and said, “I am an American citizen and you just violated my civil rights”. Without delay, two drill sergeants grabbed my father and dragged him to the barracks where they ruthlessly and incessantly beat him with sticks and bats to the point where he had to be hospitalized. That afternoon, yet another instance of violence enacted against a person of color occurred with the intent to degrade, dehumanize, and hopefully kill. This act, amongst countless more at the time, were meant to demonstrate to colored people that White Supremacy was still alive and well, and that no matter how hard they tried, no matter how loyal they were to the U.S. government, they were and would always remain the enemy. This is violence.

Violence is geographically and historically ubiquitous, covering large spans of time and physical space. It is present insofar as greed is perpetuated, and can be best understood through a cross-sectional analysis of three particularly shaking events that have marked entire generations and palpable landscapes, intertwining beautifully to comprehensively rework the definition violence. 

Native American Boarding Schools C.1869 into 20th c.

“U.S. and Canadian authorities took Native children from their homes and tried to school, and sometimes beat, the Indian out them” starting in 1869, enacting further cultural genocide against Native Americans, as if literal genocide and the appropriation of their lands was not enough. “Through a process of forced acculturation that stripped them of their language, culture, and customs”, the U.S. government maintained and eternalized not only a physical structure of violence, but a timeless, unbroken practice of systematic oppression through the forced co-optification of White Supremacy, and this “genocide is the law of the country”. As The violence here is permanent, affecting generations of Native peoples, as not only were their mouths “scrubbed with lye and chlorine solutions for uttering Native words”, but their culture was violently assaulted and consistently undermined. Through this experience, we reshape our conception of violence, understanding its ability to cross generations through traumatic emotional and physical wounds, its geographical and structural permanence manifested through the physical buildings of these schools that still stand today, and its ability to desecrate cultural pride. Violence thus becomes a discursive and defining narrative for Native peoples in America.

African American Lynching; Post-Reconstruction Era

Lynching, “the practice of killing people by extrajudicial…mob action” is a central and reoccurring theme in the African American, post-emancipatory narrative. “The major motive for lynchings… was the white society’s efforts to maintain white supremacy after emancipation of slaves”, and was responsible for the inexplicably cruel deaths of 3,446 blacks in less than one hundred years. Onlookers and participants treated these deeply violent lynchings as social events, where white people would bring their families to picnic, their sons to partake in the physical abuse as a rite of passage, and where people would celebrate White Supremacy and the further social death of black men, women, and children. The blood of the lynched is physically located in the soil below which these bodies were burnt, beaten, dragged, hung, and slaughtered. This fetishized violence is ingrained not only in this country’s White Supremacist narrative, but it is situated across every generation of black ancestry. It is precisely this tangible and conceptualized violence that was sanctioned and promoted by law enforcement, celebrated by the democratic left, and photographed to freeze in time — that serves as a tool to better understand the aspect of violence that is intentional and preserved in order to further a historically oppressed group’s maldevelopment.

Executive Order 9066: Japanese Internment; February 19, 1942

Executive Order 9066, or the forced, mass internment of Japanese Americans beginning in 1942 under President Woodrow Wilson, “nullified [Japanese American] citizenship, exclusively on grounds of racial difference”. The remnants of their physical internment can still be found on this country’s soil, the stories and trauma still shake the lives of the U.S. citizens that were deemed “the enemy” by the country they pledged their allegiance to. “A Jap is a Jap”. The color of their skin, the shape of their eyes, the combination of letters that formed their last names — these were grounds on which the U.S. government constitutionally appropriated the dreams, lives, property, and sense of pride that belonged to these people. In attempting to “protect” U.S. citizens, the government deeply compromised the lives of thousands of U.S. citizens, just not the ones that ‘mattered’, or white people. Violence is deeply rooted and its origins are in unfounded debates, constitutionally upheld and often perpetuated by those who we trust the most to protect us.

Through this triangulation of historically situated events, violence is modified from its original definition, as it is able to cross generations and indirectly affect individuals whose ancestors were hung or interned, it is able to seep into the ground of countries, to be the law of countries. Violence still aims to harm, it maintains that intention that is so central to its definition and to its spirit — but what I have discovered is that the pain is meant to be felt for hundreds of years, through millions of lives, and on limitless acres of land.

sources:

  1. Mae Ngai. Internment and Renunciation. PDF.
  2. Rucker, Paul . REWIND. Accessed February 24, 2017. www.rewindexhibition.com/ documents/PRucker_Rewind2_PressReady_rev4.pdf.
  3. Smith, Andrea. Heteropatriarchy and the Three Pillars of White Supremacy. PDF.
  4. “Soul Wound by Andrea Smith.” Manataka. Accessed February 24, 2017. http:// http://www.manataka.org/page2290.html.

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On: Freedom

Google defines freedom as “the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint,” but there is much more to it than just this. When I was younger I completely believed, and was convinced, that in our day and age everyone had freedom. I thought that everyone could do whatever they want and, knowing the consequences of doing the things they want to do, could decide freely, “without hindrance or restraint,” if the consequences or rewards were worth it. I realize now that I could not have been farther from the truth. I realize that no one has complete freedom.

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Every single living being is constrained by some sort of fear, desire, or external or internal pressure to be, think, do, and speak a certain way. To me, freedom can be seen through two distinct lenses: freedom of body and freedom of mind. Freedom of body mean materialistic freedom. It is the tangible freedom that people who have violated the law in some way and are locked behind bars lack. It is the freedom that our new administration constricts when they implement travel bans for people from a particular origin. It is the kind of freedom that allows people with a valid passport or visa to travel wherever they want to and explore and experience the world around them. It’s the freedom that allows people to do whatever and go wherever they desire. It’s the freedom that people with physical disabilities lack in many ways to participate and engage in any activity. Freedom of mind, on the other hand, is not directly associated materialistic liberties. Rather, it is something very intangible and something that everyone, whether they know it or not, lacks to some extent. It is the kind of freedom that allows people to love, think, feel, be happy, learn, and experience whatever and however they want. I touched on this earlier but to be more specific, there is no possible way to avoid all the pressures and constraints of society, accessibility to information, fear, insecurity, and hopes and dreams from getting in the way of what you think or believe.

My first two years of high school in 2012 and 2013 I lived in Los Angeles with my family. I attended my local all-girls private high school and was the MVP of the varsity cross country team. I worked extremely hard to stay at the top of the team and did not let myself be relaxed about my performance. I was constantly anxious because in my head I could never let a single person beat me—that would be the end of the world. In my own head, I created a barrier of stress and anxiety that enclosed me to the experiences, happiness, and lightheartedness that I desired. I lacked freedom of mind in this case. I could tell my body to do whatever I wanted but that was was confined to the thoughts and feelings I had. I tortured myself and put myself down during practices and devoted much of my weekends and free time to training. Essentially, I had no social life. My entire self-confidence depended on my performance in my sport comparatively to my peers. Before races and meets I would shake uncontrollably out of fear that I would not be able to beat every single one of my peers this time. I feared what my family, friends, and teammates would think of me if I let them down. But what I did not know was that it was not them who cared, it was only me. I was stuck in my own mind.

At a certain point, I decided that I could not withstand the pressure and anxiety that I had brought upon myself with this sport being a vehicle. I told my parents that I wanted to change high schools because I wanted to quit my athletic career in cross country because I realized that my anxiety around it was taking over me. I decided to go to a boarding school in Rome, Italy because it would give me so many opportunities to learn and experience new things and start fresh. I did not want to admit to my peers that a large reason for moving was because I was, in reality, “giving up” because I realized that my obsession with being the best in the sport was getting the best of me. During my time in cross country I was confined to my mind’s pressures that I truly believed were external pressures. Separating myself from those experiences I now realize that I gained so much freedom in escaping my anxieties and fears of not only what people thought of me and my successes or failures but what I thought about myself and how I used cross country to value my worth.

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We’ve made Protest Materials so you don’t have to!

Feel free to print these out and bring them to protests / hang them up on campus or around town / put them up on your walls or on your windows / hand them out to anyone wearing a MAGA hat.

{all designs by blend}.

fuck-trump-3recoveredfuck-trump-4recoveredfuck-trump-7recoveredfuck-trump1recoveredfuck-trump2-recoveredfuck-trump5-recovered

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BBB Reading Lists: Social Justice Edition

The purpose of this reading list: to get woke.

  1. The Communist Manifesto – Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Gareth Stedman Jones
  2. The Autobiography of Malcom X – Malcom X, Alex Haley
  3. Why We Can’t Wait – Martin Luther King Jr.
  4. Animal liberation – Peter singer
  5. Up From Slavery – Booker T. Washington
  6. Are Prisons Obsolete – Angela Y. Davis
  7. On Anarchism – Noam Chomsky
  8. Profit Over People: Neoliberalism and Global Order – Noam Chomsky
  9. The History of Sexuality – Michel Foucault
  10. Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption – Bryan Stevenson
  11. Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City  – Matthew Desmond
  12. Undoing Gender – Judith Butler
  13. Plunder: When the Rule of Law is Illegal – Laura Nader

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Go to the forest and get angry.

**Learn more about Trump’s USRAP here: (links provided by my Ethnic Studies professor at UC Berkeley**

https://pennstatelaw.psu.edu/sites/default/files/MuslimRefugeeBanSummary.pdf

https://pennstatelaw.psu.edu/sites/default/files/AILA%20Summary%20of%20EO3.pdf

https://pennstatelaw.psu.edu/sites/default/files/Muslim%20Advocates%20Fact%20sheet%20Jan%202017%20re%20Trump%20EO.pdf

https://pennstatelaw.psu.edu/sites/default/files/Muslim%20Advocates%20Community%20Guidance%20Jan%202017%20re%20Trump%20EO.pdf

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/28/trump-immigration-ban-syria-muslims-reaction-lawsuits

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Like I’ve said many times before, it’s ok to be angry. But when you’re angry, try and figure out how you can channel that anger into something productive and good.

I went to the forest today with a friend. I took in the vastness of everything and wondered how trees that beautiful and big could withstand all of the elements that have come against them. Resilience. Strength. Staying grounded. These are lessons I’ve learned from the trees today. From the little bugs we saw. From the streams that (finally) flow in the valley. From the moss that thrives on the Redwoods. They’ve been strong throughout it all, and that’s what we need to do moving forward.

With that being said, I want to make it clear that BBB is a space where you can feel safe and loved, and if you are in need of support or legal help or anything at all, know that you can feel free to email me (Brianna: bhd@berkeley.edu) and I will do the best I can to help you.

BBB has become a blossoming community of beautiful people, and I would like for all of us to support each other through all of this fucked up shit.

With love always,

Blend HQ. 

 

Weekly Tunes: BBB14

it’s ok to be angry.

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Weekly Tunes: BBB13

Mourning music for sad situations.

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How to do a flight to Paris the right way

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I’ve flown to Paris more times than I can even count, but this is the first time I’ve been here in a couple of years, and my experience has proven to be very different than it usually is.

On this trip, I decided that I wanted to test out some tricks to make my flight the best it could possibly be, while minimizing jet lag and getting some beauty sleep. Here’s my advice.

  1. Take an Edible 

Ok, so this was 100% my first time taking an edible before a long flight, and I do have to say that I was a bit weary, considering a lot can go wrong with edibles. All I can say is that it depends. First of all, I took an edible that I’m very very used to taking, so I know exactly how much I need to feel fantastic, and I know exactly how I’ll feel too, instead of being surprised and then having an anxiety attack on the plane. Secondly, although I took a sativa edible (which energizes), I actually had a really great time experiencing all of the new sounds and feelings that being in a plane can bring. Many first recommendation would be to take an indica edible if your goal is to fall asleep on the plane, however. But if you do want to have the trippiest plane experience ever, take a sativa edible.

Also, I opted to take the edible about an hour before takeoff, and it ended up hitting about two hours after that, which came to my surprise as I was watching a movie. It hit me like absolutely out of nowhere. But damn was it fun.

2. Come prepped with sleeping supplies 

Planes are cold and uncomfortable places (if you’re flying in economy, which I’m assuming most of us do!) To make your 11 hour flight much more enjoyable, bring a few things in your carry-on:

3. If you’re over 18 and flying to Europe, you can drink on the plane.

When the flight attendants were bringing drinks down the aisles, I noticed two things. Firstly, the flight attendants were French. Secondly, they were passing out champagne. Through various mental processes that lasted much longer than they should have, I reasoned that since the flight attendants were French, they probably wouldn’t I.D. me, since the drinking age in France is basically nonexistent. Also, I figured that if I asked confidently, everything would be fine. And it was. I had multiple glasses of champagne during my flight, and it definitely helped me sleep 😉

4. Bring Snacks!

I’m vegan. Plane food is awful. Vegan plane food is even worse. So I always bring snacks in the form of protein bars and sushi rolls! Usually I’ll just make a Tupperware full of rice rolls and bring them on the plane, and I’m a happy camper. And everyone else will be über jealous!

5. If you can, try to travel as light as possible and avoid checking any bags!

This may seem obvious, but it’s probably my best piece of advice in terms of traveling. The Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris has the worst baggage claim situation, and it’s honestly just best to skip it, or your wasting precious time you could be spending outside of the airport and in fucking Paris. But this stands for any airport in the world. Bring a little carry-on suitcase and a backpack, and you’re fine. You don’t need 3 pairs of shoes and an entire bottle of hairspray. You’ll live.

Happy travels!

With love, from Paris ❤

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Weekly Tunes: BBB12

With love, from Paris. ❤

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Weekly Tunes: BBB10

Being in love sucks sometimes. But sometimes it’s fucking beautiful.

 

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