Category Archives: Bay Area

Post-Election Thoughts: Bittersweet but Hopeful

(This is written as part of the Youth Media Blog-a-thon, sponsored by Youth Outlook and WireTap.)

I know I’m a little late on this, but thought I should weigh in on some post-election thoughts now that I’ve had some time to digest.

My feelings on the election results have been a weird mix of joyful relief and bittersweetness. Both the homies Colin and Rage have posted their own thoughts, and they had similar sentiments.

On the one hand, I was very fortunate to be able to celebrate Obama’s victory at Martin Luther King, Jr.’s church, Ebenezer Baptist, on Auburn Ave in Atlanta’s historic Old Fourth Ward on election night, and the joyous, celebratory mood was amazing. There were literally hundreds, maybe thousands, of people outside, dancing in the street. The traffic on Auburn Ave was stopped and people were just parking their cars in the middle of the street and getting out to dance, hug, and celebrate with all the other people there. I have never seen such excitement around an American political election in my life, and could not deny the historical significance of the moment, especially since I’m now living in the South, in one of the hearts of the Civil Rights Movement no less.

And to top it off…hundreds of people started doing the Cupid Shuffle on the corner we stood on:

Cupid shuffling for Obama? Pretty dope.

It is no small thing that we in 2008 America have progressed to the point where we can collectively elect a Black man to the office of President, in a country where those in power have and continue to demonstrate a clear hatred towards the African American community. It is no small thing that, even if on a completely superficial level, Obama’s image symbolizes to children of color that they have the ability to pursue many different paths in life (as opposed to narrowing them down to say, being entertainers or pro athletes). It is no small thing that we have a President who demonstrates an image of masculinity that includes being a loving, respectful, supportive husband/partner/father.

However, after the joyous celebrating in reaching this step on the path to progress, I was then very sad and disappointed to find out that in my home state of California, voters passed Proposition 8, effectively amending the state constitution to define the state-recognized version of marriage as that between a man and a woman. Now I know the issue of sexuality is a controversial one in our society, but I’m staunchly against any laws that take away freedoms from a group of people based on criteria like race, gender, class and yes, sexuality/sexual preference. And seeing as how a lot of California’s fucked up policies get spread to other states (Three Strikes laws, anyone? How about private prison development?), I couldn’t help but feel like we as a people had taken some very small steps forward, but many steps back as well.

Which leaves us where? Right here:


Right back in the streets, demanding justice. Proposition 8’s passing has fired up opponents to be out protesting in the streets, particularly targeting Mormon Churches, many of whom which, along with Catholic congregations, contributed millions of dollars and countless hours of work to get the initiative passed. The
media has also pointed to the high percentage of African American voters who supported Prop. 8 as a factor contributing to its success, but I would caution against falling into that divisive trap. To pin the outcome of an election on another group of oppressed people who make up a tiny portion of the total electorate (Blacks make up 6.2% of CA’s population, and an even smaller percentage of it’s eligible voting population) is ridiculous, and seems more like a classic strategy by the powers that be to divide different oppressed groups against each other. That’s not to say that homophobia in communities of color does not exist, or excuse it, I’m just trying to keep everything in perspective.

Interesting times we find ourselves in. A Black President, although a definite sign of progress, is not going to solve all of our societal problems, and Obama in particular has clearly demonstrated he is a moderate Democrat at best, or at least very willing to move to the center, no matter where his true beliefs may be situated.

Still, I am inspired by him to continue to fight for the world I would like to see, in any way that I am able to. Change only comes with struggle, and no one understands that lesson more than the people out in the streets demanding equal justice. I draw inspiration from my GLBTQ brothers and sisters out there fighting for equality. As much as we’d like to think so, a courtroom or policy change alone oftentimes doesn’t bring about the real changes we want to see in our communities, in our culture, in our society. When the institutional avenues available to us do not work, you have to take it to the streets. I have hope that we will make sure that our communities are well informed and organized to take action and demand that the government recognize that it is created by us, the people, and it will be held accountable to a progressive vision for the world.

“Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”

~Arundhati Roy


Nene Gets Beaned

Post-election thoughts are coming soon. For now, pro basketball is off and running again, and since my fantasy football team is pretty sad this year, bring on the hoop rock! My Warriors have a lot to prove, but everyone loves a good underdog story.

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Kiffin Gets The Boot

Raiders owner Al Davis finally pulled the trigger and fired coach Lane Kiffin. Damn, Al D. is really looking one piece of bacon away from the shit these days.

Tough times for Raider Nation. I think this team has some solid players, but still needs some pieces to get us back to the proud franchise we used to be. Shout outs to linebacker Kirk Morrison, who I went to high school with and who has been one of our most consistent guys over the last few years.

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Gene Upshaw

I’ve been spending way too much time micromanaging my fantasy football team lately, and one cool thing that anyone who’s been watching the games probably noticed is the fact that the league is honoring former Oakland Raider Gene Upshaw, who passed away about a month ago now, on 8/20/08. Every player will be wearing either a patch on their jersey or a decal on their helmets with his initials “GU” and number 63.

On top of being a Hall of Fame player, what’s interesting about Upshaw is that he was the director of the National Football League Player’s Association (NFLPA), the labor union that represents the players in the NFL, until his death.

Dave Zirin has really gotten me to look at professional sports as a labor struggle, with the athletes as labor and the billionaire team owners as management, so I appreciate Gene Upshaw not only for repping the city of Oakland but also for being such an active member of the union, and the labor struggle within the world of pro-football. RIP.

Peter Camejo 1939-2008

Last Saturday, we lost a truely progressive pioneer, as third party political activist Peter Camejo succumbed to lymphoma and died at his home in Folsom, California.

Camejo helped to found the California Green Party and ran for governor three times, including during the Gray Davis recall election (I am proud to say I voted for him). He ran for president in 1976 as the Socialist Workers Party candidate and was Ralph Nader’s VP candidate during his independent presidential campaign in 2004.

A short excerpt from the article above:

Active in the Free Speech Movement and in protests against the Vietnam War as a student at UC Berkeley in the late 1960s, Mr. Camejo landed on then-Gov. Ronald Reagan’s list of the 10 most dangerous people in California. School officials eventually expelled him, two quarters shy of a degree.

The spark of activism stayed with him as he became a leader in the movement to give voice to third-party candidates. He fought for universal health care, election reform, farmworker rights, living wage laws and against the death penalty and abortion restrictions.

His forum was often electoral politics, where he challenged Republicans and Democrats alike.

As a strong supporter of third parties in this country, as well as being a pioneer in the area of socially responsible investing, Camejo was a person whose beliefs and work really resonated with me.

RIP Peter Camejo, your lifework was and will continue to be an inspiration.

The X-Men Move To The Bay

Oh hell yeah. The X-Men comic books and accompanying mid-90s cartoon were probably some of my favorite things ever growing up. And now, the current X-Men team in the comics have moved to the Bay.

It makes a lot of sense really. The X-Men stories have always been about escaping persecution, tolerance of differences, etc. Where better for them to be located than a “sanctuary city” like SF?

Axel Alonso, executive editor at Marvel Comics, is a San Francisco native and the driving force behind bringing the X-Men to the Bay. When asked how far he is willing to go when it comes to including local landmarks and Bay Area minutiae in the books, Alonso replied:

“All the way. For me, I want to see the X-Men eating at La Taqueria on 26th and Mission and enjoying the carne asada taco. I want to see (X-Men member) Emma Frost getting out of bed in a Monta Ellis Golden State Warriors jersey. I want to feel that culture.”

How dope is that?

Maybe the X-Men can fight the rampant gentrification that is drastically changing the city for the worse as well!

Go See Ali Wong Tonight, 7/21

Laughing is good for your soul!