i CHANGE EXPOSURE VULNERABILITY FEAR ANGER ACTION
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cover image by justin palmieri
A LETTER FROM FROOT Welcome to Froot Magazine! The story of this publication begins on a Bushwick stoop in September 2015. We were beginning our NYC careers â€” Jeremiah working as a PR intern in a fashion showroom and Kylie looking for a full-time graphic design position. We needed a creative outlet and wanted to build a platform to give artists a voice that is too often unheard. The U.S. Presidential Election of 2016 was the catalyst for this issue. Like many others in the world, we are devastated by the results. The content of this issue is reflective of that itself â€” devastation, vulnerability, fear, anger and action. From stoop to fruition, we are humbled to bring you this issue and we hope you like it. Much love,
J + K
Splattered over cement your story spills Into the gutters. Swim with the chlorine meant to kill your color but blood is thicker.
image by nicholas scattergood words by vanessa gutierrez
Burn their eyes and fill their lungs. Let them gasp choke cough call for help. Let them drown the way they always let you.
NOVEMBER 9TH, 2016. I pulled myself up out of bed, reluctantly and with even more effort than usual. It was a cold, rainy morning, the effects of which were escalated by my buildingâ€™s lack of heat and the gaping crack in my bedroom window. Still, I felt nothing. I was numb. I threw on my softest, most comforting scarf, and ambled the two blocks up the street to board the Manhattan-bound R. I plopped myself down on an empty, orangeplastic Subway seat facing the front of the train, and immediately noticed the bizarre energy that infiltrated the space. Gazes shifted as strangers eyed each other uneasily. Several feet in front of me sat another young woman, perhaps a few years older than myself. She had pulled her straight, blond hair back into a messy ponytail, and it looked as if she had gotten about as much sleep the night before as I had. She took a brief respite from staring out the window into the underground darkness, and our eyes met. Shock, disbelief, fear, anger, sadness.
image by nicholas scattergood
Stand clear of the closing doors please. Atlantic Avenue—Barclays Center. A woman boards the train with her young daughter. I wondered how she would tackle the next four years of motherhood. Had the meaning of the word pussy been included in a recent vocabulary lesson? When she tells her little girl that she can grow up to be anything that a man can be, will her voice quaver slightly? Stand clear of the closing doors please. Fourteenth Street—Union Square. A mass of people exit the train, and I notice an elderly woman clutching a worn handbag with a sewn-in patch that read "I’m with her." How long had she been waiting for what almost was? How many jobs had she been passed up for in place of a less qualified man? How many hundreds of times throughout her life had she been held to a different standard than her male counterparts? Stand clear of the closing doors please. Thirty-Fourth Street—Herald Square. The woman with the blond ponytail was still on the train. As I looked at her troubled face and puffy eyes, I thought back to a recent late-night run to the drugstore. A man I did not know had sent a chill up my spine when he biked passed me and shouted, "I’d let you sit on my face any day, Princess." How many times had Ponytail Woman been frightened, sexualized, and degraded by a strange man who felt entitled to say or do whatever he wanted to her? I wondered if she too was sitting there lamenting for the numerous women who had come forward recently with painful memories of assault and abuse that had been inflicted upon them by the soon-to-be leader of the free world. Stand clear of the closing doors please. Fifth Avenue—Fifty-Ninth Street. I stand, button my coat, and drag myself back above ground into the chilly, wet morning. My feet felt heavy as I trudged up Madison Avenue, anticipating the long day ahead.
image by justin palmieri words by vanessa gutierrez
and to be the enemy isnâ€™t really something new. Your mother born a martyr to give birth to you. Your presence is war Did you know?
images by nicholas scattergood
images by nicholas scattergood
gloria steinem and dorothy pitman-hughes via blackgirlsbeing.com
Using White Guilt To Combat Racial Inequality AM I RA RA S OOL I S A W R I T E R A ND ENT REPRENEUR B A S E D I N B R O O K LY N , N YC . S H E R E C E N T LY C O C R E AT E D T H E P O D C A S T A N D B L O G , B L A C K G I R L S B E I N G , T O A C C E N T U AT E A N D C E L E B R AT E T H E M U LT I FA C E T E D L I V E S O F Y O U N G B L A C K W O M E N IN AMERICA. If you’re petty like I’m petty, or simply seeking tangible progress in America’s battle to mend race relations, it’s time to capitalize off of this sudden temporary moment in collective white guilt. Although, the concepts and feelings that form white guilt are deeply flawed, slightly disturbing, painfully narcissistic and often wrongly displaced (remember the time Starbucks forced its baristas to talk about race?), we must admit, white guilt has played an instrumental role in the social, economic, and political progress of minority communities. It has already been a few weeks since the buzz from the election has set in, so POC if we’re going to act we have to do it fast. Below I’ve compiled a list of the most beneficial ways POC can utilize white guilt to promote universal equality. >>
LET WHITE PEOPLE KNOW THEY HAVE NOTHING TO FEEL GUILTY FOR.
The distress of white guilt is counterproductive and honestly kind of annoying because, unlike some people, we don’t take joy in the despair of others. Unless home girl or home boy was outside of your momma’s house burning a cross and your metaphorical freedom papers, let your white comrade know that his or her guilt is not warranted. Despite the many years of painful neglect and/ or plentiful missteps in the struggle to maintain white supremacy, white people we don’t need your guilt we need your assistance.
DON’ T WASTE TIME MAKING WHITE PEOPLE AP OLOGIZE .
The loaded nature of an apology often accompanies attempts to save us rather than work with us. Removing blinders from the eyes of even this country’s most "woke" white people is an extremely frightening process for them to endure (more on white irrational anguish to come in another post). The sudden reality of America’s dark racial climate could prompt a response that, even if well intentioned, may expose us to deeper hardships if white people don’t combat these realities with a sound strategy
and a solid idea of what POC really need. America’s post-reconstruction era lends credence to the harm "help" can do, or in this case, undo.
FOCUS ON IMPARTING KNOWLEDGE.
EMPHASIZE THE NECESSITY TO ACCEPT AND
Despite what white school systems instruct during the shortest month of the year (aka Black History Month *rolls eyes*), Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Thurgood Marshall, and Fredrick Douglass were not the only black people with the ability to read and write prior to the 21st century. Introducing: Jean Toomer, James Baldwin, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Zora Neal Hurston; better yet, won’t today’s contemporary black faucets of knowledge—Ta-Nehisi Coates, Junot Díaz, and Michelle Alexander—please step to the front of the white guilt congregation. Their sermons have turned starry eyed black freshman in to fist raising, Malcolm X spewing, twitter finger shooting, reincarnations of Huey Newton and Kathleen Cleaver. Nevertheless, books alone won’t oppose the years of blissful ignorance brought to you by the good folks living in *insert predominately white community here.*
ACKNOWLEDGE AMERICA’S DARK PAST. Yes white person, we know it wasn’t you who unleashed the hounds on our poor grandfathers or packed the bags for your oneway white flight, but you are benefiting from it, therefore, a simple acknowledgement of it would be cute. That white privilege phrase that POC of color keep throwing around may seem redundant, but so is racism, therefore if we can’t expel the latter we must continue to acknowledge the former and urge you to as well. Nothing warms our hearts more than to see a white person openly and whole heartedly admit to the faults of his or her community, define the role he or she has played in the misconduct, and assert a plan to remedy the situation moving forward. Not only do actions like this strengthen our trust in white people, it opens the doors for our voice to be heard in boardrooms, classrooms, and other public spaces that our physical presence has yet to penetrate.
ENCOURAGE THEM TO HAVE CONVERSTIONS WITH THEIR WHITE COUNTERPARTS.
If they are really about it, this should not be a difficult task. As comfortable as racist feel expressing their hatred, white "well meaning" people with all the guilt in the world, should feel no shame in admonishing those who rain terror on the
backs of others in their name. If for no other reason than self preservation, our white allies should encourage racists to end the war against POC in this country as it will do nothing to advance their lives, and in fact, could under a Trump presidency, make financial and social conditions worsen. If you are a "liberal" white girl with a Mexican boyfriend sporting Warby Parker eyeglasses, and you know your parents voted for Trump, I’m talking to you, and may the force of the intelligent clap back be with you this holiday season.
CHALLENGE THEM TO COMBAT RACISM IN THEIR EVERY DAY LIVES. As Sherrilyn Ifill so eloquently emphasized in her book On the Courthouse Lawn: Confronting the Legacy of Lynching in the Twenty-first Century, reconciliation efforts should start at the local level where the brute of the pain and injustice festers. Personal experiences with racism hold a deeper meaning to individuals than that of which is experienced on a national level. Encourage white guilters to look for signs in their corporate offices of discrimination and racism (there are several) and work towards mending those; urge them not to allow their children to grow up in that fantastical colorblind society Trump’s election has surely forced them out of. >>
TELL THEM TO MAKE SOME NONWHITE FRIENDS .
No, I will not, no, be the only, no, black girl, no, attending another, no, white ass, no, expensive ass, no, green juice serving ass event ever again. The token black friend days have come and went, and there are more than enough POC on college campuses now to require that white people raise their quotas up to a solid 7 or 8. The more genuine multiracial friendships that form, the more that understanding and knowledge can be exchanged. Racial burdens in America can no longer be a problem for POC’s to fight alone, we will need friends and the power of genuine friendship.
GO BEYOND THE BLACK AND WHITE SCOPE OF RACIAL ISSUES .
POC everywhere are being discriminated against, and often times they are left out of the conversations. The Sioux tribe in Standing Rock, the Mexican Americans by the border, our Cuban brothers and sisters fighting for and against us, are all under siege as well and we need to ensure that we, nor our white allies, forget that. Also, while you’re at it, check the POC who don’t understand the harm that they are doing to themselves and their community by holding on to conservative and alt-right values.
SCHOOL THEM ON THE PROPER WAY TO ASSIST THE MOVEMENT. The NAACP and Black Lives Matter are not the only organizations assisting people of color, and Teach For America isn’t doing anything but scaring these white folks even more than before Bebe’s Kids got to them. Sometimes monetary contributions to the cause are honorable, other times standing on the front lines of demonstrations may prove important, but please let them know not everything is for everyone. We need the politicians on our side working in congress just as much as we need the local shopkeeper to give our kids jobs in our own communities.
SHARE THIS .
Because if you don’t feel comfortable engaging in these conversations to utilize white guilt, I sure as hell do.
find more of amiraâ€™s voice on her new podcast and blog black girls being about black girls being intelligent, loving, ambitious, funny, artistic, angry, joyful, and everything in between.
F I N D U S O N I N S TA G R A M -
@frootmagazine ALL THE THANKS TO OUR CONTRIBUTORS -
@vzanza @justinpalmieri @nicholas_scattergood @amirarasool
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