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Posts tagged social consciousness

In his Discourse on Colonialism (1951), Aimé Césaire wrote that Hitler slumbers within ‘the very distinguished, very humanistic and very Christian bourgeois of the Twentieth century,’ and yet the European bourgeois cannot forgive Hitler for ‘the fact that he applied to Europe the colonial practices that had previously been applied only to the Arabs of Algeria, the coolies of India and the Negroes of Africa.’

Mahmood Mamdani, from “Modernity and Violence” in Good Muslim, Bad Muslim  (via tzunuun)

It bears repeating that the reason Hitler is a Western symbol for the darkest depth of all evil, is that he broke the pact of whiteness and did things within Europe that white people agree should only be done to non-Europeans in Africa, Asia, America. Genocide in those places is acceptable, even natural, to Europeans; but Hitler brought genocidal brutality to Europe, and for that he’s the epitome of evil.

(via zuky)

Exactly. Ugh. That doesn’t make the act less atrocious but just use your fucking brain as to what that means. Especially in reference to antiblackness and Black bodies that many of these genocide methods were tested and perfected on first

(via strugglingtobeheard)

elindigenazi:
snarkbender:
sofriel:
setfabulazerstomaximumcaptain:
gadaboutgreen:




Go read the source article. And if you haven’t, go read “1491” by Charles Mann. Indigenous people in the Amazon actually found a way to farm that instead of wearing out the soil, actually IMPROVED it with extensive farming. It’s called terra preta and no one has been able to replicate it (not even living indigenous people), and if it were to become replicable it could have enormous impact on agriculture worldwide. #indigenoustechftw
Charles Mann states that for a long time (and still today) outsiders have thought of Amazonian Indian people as “remnants” of the most “primitive” state of humanity, when in fact evidence increasingly points to the idea that modern Amazonian indigenous ways of life are the result of massive upheaval in the face colonizing disease, warfare, land theft, and general genocide. That, effectively, modern Amazonian indigenous people are living in the aftermath of what probably looked a lot like an apocalypse to them.
Which, well, no duh. 

are you sure it wasn’t some alien technology that let them farm sustainably before the White Men came & showed them how to civilised?


I also read that the Amazon is just a giant garden. In other words, IT’S MAN MADE!!!! THE PEOPLE CREATED A STABLE ECOSYSTEM!!!! THEY WERE FUCKING GENIUSES. Read it here and here. 

elindigenazi:

snarkbender:

sofriel:

setfabulazerstomaximumcaptain:

gadaboutgreen:

Go read the source article. And if you haven’t, go read “1491” by Charles Mann. Indigenous people in the Amazon actually found a way to farm that instead of wearing out the soil, actually IMPROVED it with extensive farming. It’s called terra preta and no one has been able to replicate it (not even living indigenous people), and if it were to become replicable it could have enormous impact on agriculture worldwide. #indigenoustechftw

Charles Mann states that for a long time (and still today) outsiders have thought of Amazonian Indian people as “remnants” of the most “primitive” state of humanity, when in fact evidence increasingly points to the idea that modern Amazonian indigenous ways of life are the result of massive upheaval in the face colonizing disease, warfare, land theft, and general genocide. That, effectively, modern Amazonian indigenous people are living in the aftermath of what probably looked a lot like an apocalypse to them.

Which, well, no duh. 

are you sure it wasn’t some alien technology that let them farm sustainably before the White Men came & showed them how to civilised?

I also read that the Amazon is just a giant garden. In other words, IT’S MAN MADE!!!! THE PEOPLE CREATED A STABLE ECOSYSTEM!!!! THEY WERE FUCKING GENIUSES. Read it here and here

masculinity so fragile | HOUSEHOLD CHORES

organicsomethings:

i could never use my maleness to excuse myself from household chores. i couldn’t even fathom it because my father taught me how to use elbow grease. he taught me how to get down on my hands and knees and how to sweat scrubbing baseboards and bathtubs til the house was clean enough to pass military inspection. 

i watched him fry pork-chops and vacuum carpets and wash clothes and not a single counter he cleaned threatened his manhood. not a single meal he prepared for two boys and a wife diminished his masculinity so i don’t understand what these boys are talking about when they say they need a wife to do this or that around the house. 

they speak as if they’re allergic, disabled even. as if some aspect of their maleness prevents them from learning to care for themselves. is there a masculinity so fragile that it need protect itself from scrubbing pads and spatulas? so fragile that it would melt in hot water and bleach?

like sugar?

divasdishblog:

"People are perfectly happy to see women as sex objects, but the actual biology of our bodies is apparently gross and unmentionable."
- Our Bodies, Ourselves.

divasdishblog:

"People are perfectly happy to see women as sex objects, but the actual biology of our bodies is apparently gross and unmentionable."

Our Bodies, Ourselves.

Rape culture depends on you being willing to turn a blind eye to it because you like him/her/them too much to believe they could be a part of it.

fyahblaze:

blackfeminism:

ourtimeorg:

If you don’t know who Johnnie Tillmon was, look her up.

Welfare is a Women’s Issue (1972) by Johnnie Tillmon
I’m a woman. I’m a black woman. I’m a poor woman. I’m a fat woman. I’m a middle-aged woman. And I’m on welfare.
In this country, if you’re any one of those things you count less as a human being. If you’re all those things, you don’t count at all. Except as a statistic.
I am 45 years old. I have raised six children. There are millions of statistics like me. Some on welfare. Some not. And some, really poor, who don’t even know they’re entitled to welfare. Not all of them are black. Not at all. In fact, the majority-about two-thirds-of all the poor families in the country are white.
Welfare’s like a traffic accident. It can happen to anybody, but especially it happens to women.
And that’s why welfare is a women’s issue. For a lot of middle-class women in this country, Women’s Liberation is a matter of concern. For women on welfare it’s a matter of survival.
Survival. That’s why we had to go on welfare. And that’s why we can’t get off welfare now. Not us women. Not until we do something about liberating poor women in this country.
Because up until now we’ve been raised to expect to work, all our lives, for nothing. Because we are the worst educated, the least-skilled, and the lowest-paid people there are. Because we have to be almost totally responsible for our children. Because we are regarded by everybody as dependents. That’s why we are on welfare. And that’s why we stay on it.
Welfare is the most prejudiced institution in this country, even more than marriage, which it tries to imitate. Let me explain that a little.
Ninety-nine percent of welfare families are headed by women. There is no man around. In half the states there can’t be men around because A.F.D.C. (Aid to Families With Dependent Children) says if there is an “able-bodied” man around, then you can’t be on welfare. If the kids are going to eat, and the man can’t get a job, then he’s got to go.
Welfare is like a super-sexist marriage. You trade in a man for the man. But you can’t divorce him if he treats you bad. He can divorce you, of course, cut you off anytime he wants. But in that case, he keeps the kids, not you.The man runs everything. In ordinary marriage, sex is supposed to be for your husband. On A.F.D.C., you’re not supposed to have any sex at all. You give up control of your own body. It’s a condition of aid. You may even have to agree to get your tubes tied so you can never have more children just to avoid being cut off welfare.
The man, the welfare system, controls your money. He tells you what to buy, what not to buy, where to buy it, and how much things cost. If things-rent, for instance-really cost more than he says they do, it’s just too bad for you. He’s always right.
That’s why Governor [Ronald] Reagan can get away with slandering welfare recipients, calling them “lazy parasites,” “pigs at the trough,” and such. We’ve been trained to believe that the only reason people are on welfare is because there’s something wrong with their character. If people have “motivation,” if people only want to work, they can, and they will be able to support themselves and their kids in decency.
The truth is a job doesn’t necessarily mean an adequate income. There are some ten million jobs that now pay less than the minimum wage, and if you’re a woman, you’ve got the best chance of getting one. Why would a 45-year-old woman work all day in a laundry ironing shirts at 90-some cents an hour? Because she knows there’s some place lower she could be. She could be on welfare. Society needs women on welfare as “examples” to let every woman, factory workers and housewife workers alike, know what will happen if she lets up, if she’s laid off, if she tries to go it alone without a man. So these ladies stay on their feet or on their knees all their lives instead of asking why they’re only getting 90-some cents an hour, instead of daring to fight and complain.
Maybe we poor welfare women will really liberate women in this country. We’ve already started on our own welfare plan. Along with other welfare recipients, we have organized so we can have some voice. Our group is called the National Welfare Rights Organization (N.W.R.O.). We put together our own welfare plan, called Guaranteed Adequate Income (G.A.I.), which would eliminate sexism from welfare. There would be no “categories”-men, women, children, single, married, kids, no kids-just poor people who need aid. You’d get paid according to need and family size only and that would be upped as the cost of living goes up.
As far as I’m concerned, the ladies of N.W.R.O. are the front-line troops of women’s freedom. Both because we have so few illusions and because our issues are so important to all women-the right to a living wage for women’s work, the right to life itself.

still relevant today


  source

fyahblaze:

blackfeminism:

ourtimeorg:

If you don’t know who Johnnie Tillmon was, look her up.

Welfare is a Women’s Issue (1972) by Johnnie Tillmon

I’m a woman. I’m a black woman. I’m a poor woman. I’m a fat woman. I’m a middle-aged woman. And I’m on welfare.

In this country, if you’re any one of those things you count less as a human being. If you’re all those things, you don’t count at all. Except as a statistic.

I am 45 years old. I have raised six children. There are millions of statistics like me. Some on welfare. Some not. And some, really poor, who don’t even know they’re entitled to welfare. Not all of them are black. Not at all. In fact, the majority-about two-thirds-of all the poor families in the country are white.

Welfare’s like a traffic accident. It can happen to anybody, but especially it happens to women.

And that’s why welfare is a women’s issue. For a lot of middle-class women in this country, Women’s Liberation is a matter of concern. For women on welfare it’s a matter of survival.

Survival. That’s why we had to go on welfare. And that’s why we can’t get off welfare now. Not us women. Not until we do something about liberating poor women in this country.

Because up until now we’ve been raised to expect to work, all our lives, for nothing. Because we are the worst educated, the least-skilled, and the lowest-paid people there are. Because we have to be almost totally responsible for our children. Because we are regarded by everybody as dependents. That’s why we are on welfare. And that’s why we stay on it.

Welfare is the most prejudiced institution in this country, even more than marriage, which it tries to imitate. Let me explain that a little.

Ninety-nine percent of welfare families are headed by women. There is no man around. In half the states there can’t be men around because A.F.D.C. (Aid to Families With Dependent Children) says if there is an “able-bodied” man around, then you can’t be on welfare. If the kids are going to eat, and the man can’t get a job, then he’s got to go.

Welfare is like a super-sexist marriage. You trade in a man for the man. But you can’t divorce him if he treats you bad. He can divorce you, of course, cut you off anytime he wants. But in that case, he keeps the kids, not you.The man runs everything. In ordinary marriage, sex is supposed to be for your husband. On A.F.D.C., you’re not supposed to have any sex at all. You give up control of your own body. It’s a condition of aid. You may even have to agree to get your tubes tied so you can never have more children just to avoid being cut off welfare.

The man, the welfare system, controls your money. He tells you what to buy, what not to buy, where to buy it, and how much things cost. If things-rent, for instance-really cost more than he says they do, it’s just too bad for you. He’s always right.

That’s why Governor [Ronald] Reagan can get away with slandering welfare recipients, calling them “lazy parasites,” “pigs at the trough,” and such. We’ve been trained to believe that the only reason people are on welfare is because there’s something wrong with their character. If people have “motivation,” if people only want to work, they can, and they will be able to support themselves and their kids in decency.

The truth is a job doesn’t necessarily mean an adequate income. There are some ten million jobs that now pay less than the minimum wage, and if you’re a woman, you’ve got the best chance of getting one. Why would a 45-year-old woman work all day in a laundry ironing shirts at 90-some cents an hour? Because she knows there’s some place lower she could be. She could be on welfare. Society needs women on welfare as “examples” to let every woman, factory workers and housewife workers alike, know what will happen if she lets up, if she’s laid off, if she tries to go it alone without a man. So these ladies stay on their feet or on their knees all their lives instead of asking why they’re only getting 90-some cents an hour, instead of daring to fight and complain.

Maybe we poor welfare women will really liberate women in this country. We’ve already started on our own welfare plan. Along with other welfare recipients, we have organized so we can have some voice. Our group is called the National Welfare Rights Organization (N.W.R.O.). We put together our own welfare plan, called Guaranteed Adequate Income (G.A.I.), which would eliminate sexism from welfare. There would be no “categories”-men, women, children, single, married, kids, no kids-just poor people who need aid. You’d get paid according to need and family size only and that would be upped as the cost of living goes up.

As far as I’m concerned, the ladies of N.W.R.O. are the front-line troops of women’s freedom. Both because we have so few illusions and because our issues are so important to all women-the right to a living wage for women’s work, the right to life itself.

still relevant today

source

jessehimself:

4607873

Gynecology Invented Through The Torture of Black Women

In the 19th century, the father of modern gynecology, J. Marion Sims, conducted his research experiments on enslaved Black women. Sims performed the invasive and torturous procedures without anesthesia. J. Marion Sims’ justification for choosing not to anesthetize his test subjects was that he did not believe Black women felt pain at all. In an 1857 lecture, he stated that it was “not painful enough to justify the trouble”.

Nurse_&_subjects_outside

The Tuskegee Experiment

The Tuskegee Institute and the Public Health Service began a study of the natural progression of syphilis involving 600 Black men (399 with syphilis, 201 uninfected) in 1932. The infected men involved in the study were never made aware of their condition upon diagnosis and believed they were being treated for “bad blood”. In exchange for their participation, the men received free medical examinations and burial insurance. They were never treated for the disease. These trials went on until 1972 when the study was exposed by The Associated Press. The remaining victims and their family members won a $10,000,000 reparations settlement which guaranteed them lifetime health coverage and burial insurance.

pellagraus_pellagra_hospital_spartanburg

The Pellagra Incident
Pellagra is an ailment commonly caused by a lack of niacin (vitamin B-13) in the human diet. The symptoms include skin lesions, sunlight sensitivity, dementia and ends in death. At the turn of the twentieth century, millions of people in the United States died from this disease. Scientists claimed that the cause of the disease was a toxin found in corn. In 1915, the U.S. Surgeon General ordered government funded experiments on Black prisoners afflicted with pellagra. Poor diet and niacin deficiency was found to be the cause. However, these life-saving findings were not released to the public until 1935 because the majority of Pellagra-induced deaths affected Black communities.

syringeshield_hires
The Ebb Cade Experiment

In 1945, African-American Ebb Cade, a 53-year-old truck driver, was secretly injected with plutonium, the substance used to make nuclear bombs. After breaking several of his bones in automotible accident, he was rushed to the emergency room. Unbeknownst to Ebb Cade, he was in the care of doctors that were also U.S. Atomic Agency employees. For six months, he was held in the hospital under the belief that they were treating his injuries. During that time, he was injected with more than 40 times the amount of plutonium an average person is exposed to in a lifetime. The doctors and researchers collected bone samples and extracted 15 teeth to monitor the effects of his exposure. Ebb Cade grew suspicious of his broken-bone treatments and escaped from the hospital. Unfortunately, Cade suffered from the brutal effects of intense radiation until he died from heart failure eight years later at the age of 61.

Screen Shot 2014-03-28 at 5.39.10 PM

Infants Injected With Test Drugs In Los Angeles

In June 1990, more than 1500 six-month old Black and Hispanic babies in Los Angeles were given what seemed to be a standard measles vaccination. The parents were not told that this particular vaccine, Edmonston Zagreb measles vaccine (EZ), was still in its research phase and not approved by the FDA. The EZ vaccine already had a reputation in Senegal, Guinea Bissau and Haiti, triggering an increased death rate among infant girls, most not living past the age of two. The Center for Disease Control would later confess that the infants were injected with an experimental vaccination without their parent’s knowledge. Presently, it is believed that many of these families are still unaware that their babies were used as guinea pigs.

Sources:

http://atlantablackstar.com/2014/03/29/7-accounts-of-black-people-used-as-guinea-pigs/3/

http://www.livescience.com

http://www.naturalnews.com

http://sanevax.org

http://www.tolerance.ca

http://www.democracynow.org

http://www.rawstory.com

http://myfivebest.com

http://www.cdc.gov

http://www.newafricanmagazine.com

http://www.democraticunderground.com

http://www.nejm.org

queer-punk:

WE NEED FEMINISM BECAUSE WHEN LANCE ARMSTRONG GOT CANCER AND LOST A TESTICLE IT WAS ALL ABOUT HIS HEALTH AND HOW INSPIRATIONAL HE WAS BUT WHEN ANGELINA JOLIE GETS A DOUBLE MASTECTOMY TO PREVENT HERSELF FROM GETTING CANCER, IT’S ALL ABOUT HOW SHE WON’T BE A SEX SYMBOL ANYMORE AND HOW MEN ARE OFFENDED CAUSE SHE WON’T BE AN OBJECT FOR THEM 

tumblingdoe:

todaywercancellingtheapocalypse:

March Is bisexual health awareness month The bisexual resource centre in Boston USA have a page devoted to links regarding bisexual health awareness…

Every week I work on an episode about bisexuality. Soon….

You meet a lot of people around the world and you look at it and think, “Oh, okay… Better put my back into that.” It’s not getting better. In many cases it’s getting worse. You know, there’s that great film out there 12 Years A Slave and you go, “Hm, well, it’s still here,” and slavery is on the rise. It’s on the rise! And you go, “How did that happen? How did we let that happen? How have we managed to drop the ball quite so spectacularly?” You know? And to pretend it’s not happening, it’s an unqualified disaster and failure. Failure of political will- it’s a failure. We have failed. We have failed this generation. I’m just interested in that now because I’m old enough to have seen and heard a lot. [x]

are the gifs and text a part of the same thought or nah?

a haiku for disney

ethiopienne:

simba doesn’t count

tiana was mostly frog

y’all racist as hell

White People Crying About Being Excluded From The Term “Person Of Color”

loverrtits:

clarknokent:

versacegravy:

antisocialonsocialnetworks:

You literally did this to yourself.

Literally.
LITERALLY.

^^

😂😂

Without You by Lee Michelle

strawberrymyeolchi:

i started crying by the time the chorus came around. 

everybody, please watch this video. it’s not another cute romance or  break-up song.  the video very clearly shows that this is about Lee Michelle’s struggle to be accepted in very large part to her skin color. The child acting in this deserves every single award, as does Michelle. Both the song and the video hit really hard.

some important things to keep in mind:

- Michelle is half black and half Korean. Some people act like saying “African American” is better than black, but she’s never been to America. Afro-Hispanic people exist, African people exist —  not everyone black is African American.

-for God’s sake, PLEASE don’t comment on how amazed you are by her Korean.  She was born and raised in Korea. It’s her first language. Just because she doesn’t “look Korean” to you doesn’t mean she’s not.

- I skipped the first 1:30 of the video because watching a little girl run around in panic makes me anxious, personally. The song starts around 1:35, but parts of the beginning are really cool. I just couldn’t handle it.

- Michelle was also featured in the absolutely gorgeous Rewind by Double K. Please go support both songs!

I want this girl to get support and love from us. Please, check her out, reblog this video, support her with views, anything you can.  It’s clear that she has a struggle before her in the k-pop world despite her incredible talent, charisma, and beauty. It’s really inspiring that she is making that the root of her work.  As a person with brown skin, and also a person with a heart, this was really, really important to me.

You'd hate anyone who isn't Mercedes.. just because you like Mercedes more, doesn't mean everyone else's opinion is completely invalid. You are just being rude.

Asked by Anonymous

bana05:

I don’t hate anyone who isn’t Mercedes; and since I’m actually able to refute people’s BS based on canon, I would actually say I’m more accurate than rude. What I hate is the show not giving Mercedes chances to shine (without needing permission/blessings from the show’s fave white characters). I’m not interested in her excelling at the expense of everyone else, like they’re doing with Rachel; I’m interested in them not breaking and resetting everyone else’s narratives and characterizations just to prop up Rachel on a pedestal. Mercedes is never allowed to win (even when she does), and that’s bullshit. I’m not going to apologize for calling it out or being annoyed about it - especially when making her thus really advocates the status quo of black women always having to stay off the sidewalk for a white woman’s sake and be twice as good (which Mercedes is) just to be considered equal. This goes deeper than some petty show nonsense; it hits buttons. If it were happening in a vacuum, it would be one thing. But it’s not, and I’m going to keep riding or dying with Mercedes, bc there are too many girls of color/fat girls/black girls who may think the way she’s being treated is okay and not even remotely racist/sizeist, which it is.

because the tags add to the already great response.

In this context, “you are just being rude” echoes that “time and place for the truth” comment from the when it aired. Here, the demand for politeness is a silencing tactic. It’s not that they want you to find a different way to say it; it’s that they don’t want you to say it at all.

i.

“Your name is Tasbeeh. Don’t let them call you by anything else.”

My mother speaks to me in Arabic; the command sounds more forceful in her mother tongue, a Libyan dialect that is all sharp edges and hard, guttural sounds. I am seven years old and it has never occurred to me to disobey my mother. Until twelve years old, I would believe God gave her the supernatural ability to tell when I’m lying.

“Don’t let them give you an English nickname,” my mother insists once again, “I didn’t raise amreekan.”

My mother spits out this last word with venom. Amreekan. Americans. It sounds like a curse coming out of her mouth. Eight years in this country and she’s still not convinced she lives here. She wears her headscarf tightly around her neck, wades across the school lawn in long, floor-skimming skirts. Eight years in this country and her tongue refuses to bend and soften for the English language. It embarrasses me, her heavy Arab tongue, wrapping itself so forcefully around the clumsy syllables of English, strangling them out of their meaning.

But she is fierce and fearless. I have never heard her apologize to anyone. She will hold up long grocery lines checking and double-checking the receipt in case they’re trying to cheat us. My humiliation is heavy enough for the both of us. My English is not. Sometimes I step away, so people don’t know we’re together but my dark hair and skin betray me as a member of her tribe.

On my first day of school, my mother presses a kiss to my cheek.

“Your name is Tasbeeh,” she says again, like I’ve forgotten. “Tasbeeh.”

ii.

Roll call is the worst part of my day. After a long list of Brittanys, Jonathans, Ashleys, and Yen-but-call-me-Jens, the teacher rests on my name in silence. She squints. She has never seen this combination of letters strung together in this order before. They are incomprehensible. What is this h doing at the end? Maybe it is a typo.

“Tas…?”

“Tasbeeh,” I mutter, with my hand half up in the air. “Tasbeeh.”

A pause.

“Do you go by anything else?”

“No,” I say. “Just Tasbeeh. Tas-beeh.”

“Tazbee. All right. Alex?”

She moves on before I can correct her. She said it wrong. She said it so wrong. I have never heard my name said so ugly before, like it’s a burden. Her entire face contorts as she says it, like she is expelling a distasteful thing from her mouth. She avoids saying it for the rest of the day, but she has already baptized me with this new name. It is the name everyone knows me by, now, for the next six years I am in elementary school. “Tazbee,” a name with no grace, no meaning, no history; it belongs in no language.

“Tazbee,” says one of the students on the playground, later. “Like Tazmanian Devil?” Everyone laughs. I laugh too. It is funny, if you think about it.

iii.

I do not correct anyone for years. One day, in third grade, a plane flies above our school.

“Your dad up there, Bin Laden?” The voice comes from behind. It is dripping in derision.

“My name is Tazbee,” I say. I said it in this heavy English accent, so he may know who I am. I am American. But when I turn around they are gone.

iv.

I go to middle school far, far away. It is a 30-minute drive from our house. It’s a beautiful set of buildings located a few blocks off the beach. I have never in my life seen so many blond people, so many colored irises. This is a school full of Ashtons and Penelopes, Patricks and Sophias. Beautiful names that belong to beautiful faces. The kind of names that promise a lifetime of social triumph.

I am one of two headscarved girls at this new school. We are assigned the same gym class. We are the only ones in sweatpants and long-sleeved undershirts. We are both dreading roll call. When the gym teacher pauses at my name, I am already red with humiliation.

“How do I say your name?” she asks.

“Tazbee,” I say.

“Can I just call you Tess?”

I want to say yes. Call me Tess. But my mother will know, somehow. She will see it written in my eyes. God will whisper it in her ear. Her disappointment will overwhelm me.

“No,” I say, “Please call me Tazbee.”

I don’t hear her say it for the rest of the year.

v.

My history teacher calls me Tashbah for the entire year. It does not matter how often I correct her, she reverts to that misshapen sneeze of a word. It is the ugliest conglomeration of sounds I have ever heard.

When my mother comes to parents’ night, she corrects her angrily, “Tasbeeh. Her name is Tasbeeh.” My history teacher grimaces. I want the world to swallow me up.

vi.

My college professors don’t even bother. I will only know them for a few months of the year. They smother my name in their mouths. It is a hindrance for their tongues. They hand me papers silently. One of them mumbles it unintelligibly whenever he calls on my hand. Another just calls me “T.”

My name is a burden. My name is a burden. My name is a burden. I am a burden.

vii.

On the radio I hear a story about a tribe in some remote, rural place that has no name for the color blue. They do not know what the color blue is. It has no name so it does not exist. It does not exist because it has no name.

viii.

At the start of a new semester, I walk into a math class. My teacher is blond and blue-eyed. I don’t remember his name. When he comes to mine on the roll call, he takes the requisite pause. I hold my breath.

“How do I pronounce your name?” he asks.

I say, “Just call me Tess.”

“Is that how it’s pronounced?”

I say, “No one’s ever been able to pronounce it.”

“That’s probably because they didn’t want to try,” he said. “What is your name?”

When I say my name, it feels like redemption. I have never said it this way before. Tasbeeh. He repeats it back to me several times until he’s got it. It is difficult for his American tongue. His has none of the strength, none of the force of my mother’s. But he gets it, eventually, and it sounds beautiful. I have never heard it sound so beautiful. I have never felt so deserving of a name. My name feels like a crown.

ix.

“Thank you for my name, mama.”

x.

When the barista asks me my name, sharpie poised above the coffee cup, I tell him: “My name is Tasbeeh. It’s a tough t clinging to a soft a, which melts into a silky ssss, which loosely hugs the b, and the rest of my name is a hard whisper — eeh. Tasbeeh. My name is Tasbeeh. Hold it in your mouth until it becomes a prayer. My name is a valuable undertaking. My name requires your rapt attention. Say my name in one swift note – Tasbeeeeeeeh – sand let the h heat your throat like cinnamon. Tasbeeh. My name is an endeavor. My name is a song. Tasbeeh. It means giving glory to God. Tasbeeh. Wrap your tongue around my name, unravel it with the music of your voice, and give God what he is due.”

Tasbeeh Herwees, The Names They Gave Me  (via libeeya)